At a time when not a few Catholic schools have become tainted by a neo-modernist philosophy, thus sparking a virtual exodus into the very laudable realm of home-schooling, it is sometimes difficult to recognize that good Catholic schools do exist —schools that would no doubt make our Holy Father, well, smile.
And I'm not just talking about the handful of high schools, colleges, and universities that have, by the grace of God, remained true to their Catholic
identity; I'm talking about the private Catholic elementary schools scattered about the country that are teaching children the truths of our glorious Catholic faith.
One such example is White Pines Academy, a small but growing Catholic elementary school located in Lemont, Ill. Affiliated with the Legionaries of Christ and operating with the blessing of Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., archbishop of Chicago, White Pines is an example of what should be the norm for forming a young follower of Christ.
According to the school's promotional brochure, “White Pines Academy's educational philosophy is committed to the development of Christian maturity and leadership. This mission is fulfilled by teaching, educating, and forming each student to follow the will of God.
“Class instruction challenges students to reach their full intellectual potential. Our balanced curriculum includes reading, math, phonics, spelling, language arts, history, science, Spanish, Latin, art, music, and physical education. Our goal is to cultivate each student's ability to mature in Christian values and leadership skills…. The student's human formation centers on integrity of character. Interior discipline is accomplished through the development of personal conviction, hard work and accountability. This formation will yield a mature and self-confident leader, capable of meeting the world's challenges of today and tomorrow….
“White Pines Academy's curriculum integrates the guidelines of The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Focused on the fullness of the Roman Catholic faith, students develop a personal love for Christ and His Church. Students are encouraged to live their faith.”
This last aspect of White Pines' educational mission is what stands out the most, especially when you consider the multitude of Catholic schools which do not portray authentic Catholic teaching in a favorable light. But this school's teachers are grounded in the faith and in love.
Renee Everson is one of those teachers. Everson, a graduate of the University of Dallas and a faithful Catholic, decided to forgo teaching at a public school — and thus a higher paycheck — to help instruct the next generation of (faithful) Catholics.
Everson's niece and nephew attend White Pines. They, like the other children who attend the school, are the fruit of parents who truly care about their children's formation in the faith. Such love and dedication is a joy to witness.
In these times of tumult and practical atheism, a school like White Pines Academy is a strong sign of hope for the future of Catholic education — an education that shapes the hearts and minds of the child in Christ, thus helping to build a culture of life, a civilization of love, and the Kingdom
(For more information about White Pines Academy, call 630-243-1995; or visit their website.)
Matt C. Abbott is the former executive director of the Illinois Right to Life Committee and the former director of public affairs for the Chicago-based Pro-life Action League, respectively. He is also a contributor to The Wanderer Catholic newspaper.
(A version of this article appeared in The Wanderer and is reprinted here with permission of the author.)