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Mindfulness in Catholic Schools
Transcript of Mindfulness in Catholic Schools
J.C. takes quiet time
Catholic High Schools
James L. Heft, S.M.
Jacobs, R. M. (1998). A matter of mindfulness.
, 29(2), 20-21.
Principals ought to set aside time to be spiritual
Mayotte, G. (2010). Faculty prayer in Catholic schools: A survey of practices and meaning.
Journal of Catholic Education, 13
What are Catholic Faculty Doing?
Campion, J., & Rocco, S. (2009). Minding the mind: The effects and potential of a school-based meditation programme for mental health promotion.
Advances In School Mental Health Promotion, 2
Meditation in Catholic Schools in Australia
Mindfulness in Catholic Schools
In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.
And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,
In these days he went out to the mountain to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God
Divini Illius Magistri, 1929
21: "Schools adapted to every branch of learning"
28: "Methods of science are ... in complete harmony with it [the Church]."
58: The subject of Christian education is man whole and entire ... with all his faculties natural and supernatural
98: The true Christian ... develops and perfects them [his natural faculties], by coordinating them with the supernatural
To Teach as Jesus Did, 1972
7: Since the Christian vocation is a call to transform oneself ... with God's help, the educational efforts of the Church must encompass ... personal sanctification....
Simone Weil: "The key to a Christian conception of studies is the realization that prayer consists of attention. It is the orientation of all the attention of which the soul is capable towards God" (185).
"Another practice which can help students think beyond themselves is silence . . . . Periods of silence in the classroom ... are all too rare" (183-184).
"It takes both prudence and courage to develop a spirituality that as yet does not exist in sufficiently clear forms for Catholic laity" (130).
"Among the physical and spiritual practices important for moral formation is the practice of silence" (69).
A Diocese in Queensland Australia introduced a meditation program to 3 schools that included 1,000 students aged 5-12.
The researchers conducted semi-structured individual and group interviews with 54 students, 19 faculty, and 7 parents as to the effectiveness of the program
1. Increased relaxation
2. Feelings of calm
3. Reduced Stress
4. Reduced Anger
5. Improved Concentration
6. Calmer Class after meditation
7. Better Relations with peers
8. Meditation outside of school (esp. when stressed)
Mantra: "Come, Lord" in Aramaic
Students performed the mantra 1 minute for every year of age.
Variety of practices, from silence to teacher led mediation. Frequency varied from every day for 15 minutes to occasional. Many used mantra:
The Principal as Spiritual Leader
"If Catholic school principals neglect the practice of the faith, they cannot provide spiritual leadership for their faculty or students. Only people of faith can share faith."
"With an earnest effort, a principals may be able to find a quiet place where distractions can be put aside for 15 minutes."
Principals and Mindfulness
"Catholic school principals might consider how mindfulness can make them more reflective about the words and actions, the people and events, the ups and the downs that shape their day."
"Mindfulness can enable principals to evaluate whether the theological virtues of faith, hope and love motivate their actions and help them to recognize their need for God's grace."
What the Principal Can Do
1. Alter the focus of faculty meetings to include mindful reflection or sharing about message, community, & service.
2. Lead faculty retreats 2x/semester.
3. Schedule days for faculty reflection or spiritual renewal.
4. Faculty meeting 1x/week to focus on vocation.
5. Mentor a student to proclaim a daily scriptural reflection
Survey Instrument was developed that collected quantitative and qualitative data.
Catholic elementary school and secondary school faculty were contacted from 3 archdioceses from each of the 5 regions in the USA. (n=702).
Response rate was 41%.
Faculty prayer is infrequent (30% Daily v. 65% once/wk or less) and is usually at mass or before meetings.
Resource book or tradition prayer are most common methods of prayer.
Only 8% do not value prayer experience (other ~92% moderately to greatly).
Challenges included insufficient allotted time (46%), faculty lack interest (27%), prayer lacks meaning/relevance (12%), prayer inclusiveness (7%), not preferred style (10%).
Findings (Part Deux)
Over half of the respondents noted that praying as a school faculty greatly mattered to them (59.9%) and believed that such prayer greatly strengthens the school’s Catholic identity (76.9%), incarnates the school’s mission statement (70.9%), and gives witness to the greater school community (61.8%).
Participants did not believe as strongly about faculty prayer’s impact on their teaching or administration (43.6% responding greatly), school decisions (35.6%), or job satisfaction (42.9%)
1. Prioritizing time for faculty prayer
2. Bringing help of prayer to everyday situations
3. Providing faith formation