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The new culture of care, an option for this school year 2021 - 22

T eventTuesday, 28 September 2021

See al pictures here

 

It is early Monday morning, the lights in the classrooms are already on even before the sun rises. The teachers are there very much on time to carry out the Covid sanitary protocols and prepare to welcome the students in safe and appropriate places which implies changes in our usual way of doing things...

This morning we greet each other with a very special joy that lights up every face, even in the semi-darkness.  We have been waiting for this moment for more than 17 months... and although the online classes have been a successful challenge for all of us: students, staff and families, it has been a very long time of trial.  Like the boat on our emblem, we seem to have sailed in the midst of a storm, with uncertainty and turmoil, but we have always felt the presence of Jesus and Mary who have strengthened and encouraged us, and we have also been a support to each other in these difficult times.

Throughout the school year 2020 - 21 and part of the previous one, virtual learning was the only option allowed by the authorities, and it was only at the end of the year that we were allowed to hold some face-to-face activities to our great joy and intense emotions. Some Eucharistic celebrations were allowed at the end of the school-year with just a representative participation of the educational community, as well as some socio-emotional and sporting activities.

The Administrative Team and the Sisters worked during most of the holidays so that the return to face-to-face activities in the school would be approved by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health.  Now, the great challenge is to take care that all the protocols are strictly followed to maintain control of infections and, as far as possible, to ensure that students and staff remain free of Covid.

At the beginning of this school year, all the school staff reflected on the "Culture of Care" to which Pope Francis invited us in January 2021.  We all felt very inspired and convinced not only to take care of ourselves, to take care of our health but also to take care of others, as so often repeated today ...

Analysing the environmental crisis that the planet has been experiencing for several decades, we feel the urgency to make our own the paradigm of care in all its dimensions: physical, spiritual, care for the environment, care for the other… "We take care of ourselves or we perish". the human species has become the worst threat to the planet1.  It is necessary to "love by caring and care by loving"2.

Today we know, as the Pope reminds us, that this new culture implies a paradigm shift:

In an age dominated by the throwaway culture, in the face of worsening inequalities ... let us not lose the "compass" of the essential principles that give globalization a common course "a truly human course".

  • appreciate the value and dignity of each person,
  • acting together for the common good and in solidarity

Through this compass, I invite all of us to commit ourselves as prophets and witnesses of the culture of care3.

St. Marie Eugenie and the Sisters were convinced that "Christian principles should favour a social state where no one would have to suffer oppression from another"4 and that education could contribute to this profound transformation of paradigms to bring about these social changes.

They were convinced that everyone is called to contribute to the common good, to the harmony of creation according to their own vocation and talents, developing them to the full. They would do this by taking care not only of the students entrusted to them, but also of all the details of an education with a clear purpose of transformation. Thus, they foresaw a series of conditions that today we can read as "culture or pedagogy of care".

Today in the “Instituto Asunción de Querétaro” all the staff are reflecting on this great theme, and we are creating strategies to change the paradigm, both at a personal and family level, as well as through learning projects that place a culture of care at the heart of our educational action.

Some of these strategies and projects range from school gardens, waste separation, learning to "eat well", supporting the vulnerable population through Social Services, analysis of the current causes of the climate crisis through forums and debates, activities for personal reflection and internalisation so that our attitudes and choices, as well as those of our students and their families, favour a culture of respect, listening, gentleness and attention towards others, an attention that allows each person to grow and develop to their full potential.

With this in mind, we have decided to join the "Global Education Pact" which will be celebrated on October 15 in Rome.  In it, Pope Francis invites us to "turn the current development model upside down". 

Focusing on the transforming power of education, Pope Francis reminds us that educating is always an act of hope "which invites us to share and to transform the sterile and paralysing logic of indifference into a diverse logic capable of embracing our common property". 

This is our journey today in Asunción-Querétaro, tracing furrows of hope in our small radius of action, this 2021-22.

 

Ana Sentíes r.a.

Referent Sister

Assumption - Querétaro

 

[1] Leonardo Boff https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMBYAtEAxlc&t=14s&ab_channel=AldeasInfantilesSOSdeEspa%C3%B1a

[2] Bernardo Toro, conferencia en el congreso SIEI 2021

[3] Papa Francisco, mensaje del 1° enero 2021

[4] carta al P d’Alzon, en 1844

[5] Cfr. Carta al P. Lacordaire citada en Orígenes, tomo II

[6] Cfr. Carta no. 1563 al P. D’Alzon. 1842

[7] https://www.vaticannews.va/es/papa/news/2020-10/papa-francisco-videomensaje-pacto-global-educativo.html