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Archive for the ‘Montessori Articles’ Category

I was perusing the net and came across this very interesting article about Maria Montessori’s Catholicism and its effects in her methodology…very interesting.  Read it and tell me what YOU think!

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Walsingham


Our Lady of Walsingham

   
"Wooden statue of the Mother of God with the Infant Christ at Walsingham. The statue, dating from the 19th century, was crowned with papal crowns in 1954, the year of the proclamation of the dogma of the Assumption. Shown here carried in procession traditionally led by the Arhcbishop of Westminster, the statue is surrounded by flowers traditionally associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary.

(Pictured in The Madonnas of Europe – Pilgrimates to the Great Marian Shrines of Europe – English edition 2002, Ignatius Press)"

I was perusing the net today and I came upon this picture of Our Lady.  I am so taken by the thought of Her being presented in various arts symbolically.  My children are so attracted to this symbolism too.  They are fond of icons, old tapestries, mosaics, stained glass and now, the symbolism we find in Mary Gardens.  It is as though the children are captivated by their unique "language" and are eager to decipher its meaning.

"Flowers are included in works of Christian art not only because they are pretty and decorative, but also because they had a particular meaning. ("Iconography" is the word used by art historians for the study of symbolism in works of art.) The symbolism of flowers was used especially in medieval and renaissance paintings and tapestries to reinforce the message of the main subject. Sometimes the background of a tapestry would be carpeted with symbolic flowers. In paintings, a bouquet in a vase might be included, or the Virgin or another person might hold flowers. Elaborately embroidered vestments often had floral decorations, and the borders of illuminated manuscripts were very often embellished with symbolic floral ornaments. The significance of the flowers was generally known at the time these works were originally produced for the decoration of churches or private dwellings (most are now in museums).

"Children are usually very interested in deciphering the message contained in these art works. And they may enjoy using this "code" themselves. A bouquet or wreath to honor Mary can be made of real or silk flowers, and could include those that traditionally symbolize Mary and her virtues and attributes."

Why is it that the children’s attractions in anything …most especially anything dealing with faith seem to capture my attention as well?  THEY are teaching ME?!  Yes!  They have a special way of listening and responding to God where God speaks to them "personally and with profound simplicity".  …and their JOY is contagious!  Leave it to God to catch our attention with a sense of awe and wonder just like that of a child.  I know from reading about The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd that God has a very special relationship with children.  I guess it is because of that special relationship that we have with our little ones that we also get a glimpse of that same awe and wonder that they have with Him. 

In
Listening to God With Children: The Montessori Method Applied to the Catechesis of Children by Gianna Gobbi, it talks about sharing religious experiences with children, a role which we are CALLED to live.  It also states "there is only one true Teacher, who is Christ Himself".   "Both our own joy to be living a religious experience with children, as well as our effectiveness as catechists, rests in our desire and commitment to listen to God with the children."  …once again God knits His seamless garment….

(The term “seamless garment of life” was developed by Cardinal Bernardin as an attempt to link together all human life as valuable. We can have a more modest goal as we think about a “seamless garment of love” for children, born and unborn, and the women who nurture them."  This quote came from a pro-life article that I read, but it struck my heart in a different kind of way….)

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Lately I have been re-reading  The Good Shepherd and the Child by Sofia Cavaletti.  I have been using the first few pages of this work for my copywork!  I love the copywork journals that my children have been amassing over the last year.  I thought that they should not be the only ones who should be doing this type of valuable schoolwork.  I remember reading once about Maria Montessori copying every word of a book to carefully measure the weight of its words so that she would not miss anything.  So here I am on my joyful journey of homeschool motherhood doing MY copywork.   

I love this book in its simplicity.  It reminds me of how I began a deeper journey into the faith as an adult when I heard Scott Hahn on EWTN talking about God’s covenant relationship with His people over the centuries.  And as I browsed through this Joyful Journey book and then went back over in greater detail over the pages of this book, I could see the unique covenant relationship that God has with young children, especially those children under the age of 6 years.  God’s LIVING covenant with them helps them to receive and respond to God’s unconditional and personal love for each of them whom He calls by name.   

The Good Shepherd parable satisfies a vital need in the child, one of nurturing and protection that allows the child to be fully and holistically who he was created to be.  When this occurs, the child is full of a special quality of JOY that resonates in the depths of his heart. 

“Many things make children happy, but there are different qualities of happiness.  There is a kind of happiness that makes children nervous, tense, and tired.  The happiness that they feel when they come close to God is a quality of joy that makes them peaceful, relaxed, as if something very deep has been struck in their heart and they go on listening to this sounding in the depths of their heart.  It is like the response of someone who has found a life-giving place and having found it, does not want to leave.”

I have found The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd to be just this kind of life giving catechesis.  It inspires a relationship that is so very natural to the child and is the gratifying satisfaction of a vital need.  This religious formation is not imposed on them.  The experience is so deep and peaceful and to live it with the child, it becomes an education for us as adults and we learn that as educators, we need to be the servants of this covenant relationship.  Children are radical in their simplicity in that they get to the root of things and this is seen also in their religious needs.  They are satisfied with the essentials and are free of the extra things that clutter our lives.

The young children are our guides.  They are so very creative in the first few years of their lives and they have a particular religious hunger that needs to be fed NOW…just like when they are physically hungry they need to be fed now without waiting till the morning.   

While living this special covental relationship, the children are full of a quality of love and joy and are in a sense His heralds of God’s living presence among us.

“If Jesus said we are to be like little children to enter the kingdom of God, then they must have something to teach us.”

Someone once told me that God is with us in the most natural of ways…. Leave it up to a child to “get it” in ways that many adults do not.

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