Saturday, February 13, 2010

Janet Erskine Stuart



I'm sorry to have neglected the blog!  Life gets crazy sometimes, and you could say that about the last month.

Today, my community is doing a day of formation centered on the life and teachings of Mother Janet Erskine Stuart, the fifth Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart.  She's most known for her ideas about education, and in fact, you can find her work The Education of Young Girls in its entirety online here.  (Another work, The Life and Letters of Janet Erskine Stuart, by Maud Monahan is also available as an ebook.)

One quotation to share, which I find fits with my understanding of a teacher's role:

"What do we want to bring up? Not good nonentities, who are only good because they are not bad. There are too many of them already, no trouble to anyone, only disappointing, so good that they ought to be so much better, if only they would. But who can make them be more?… Those who have to educate them to something higher must themselves have an idea of what they want; they must believe in the possibility of every mind and character to be lifted up to something better than it has already attained; they must themselves be striving for some higher excellence, and must believe and care deeply for the things they teach. For no one can be educated by maxim and precept; it is the life lived, and the things loved and the ideals believed in, by which we tell, one upon another.... If we want integrity of character, steadiness, reliability, courage, thoroughness, all the harder qualities that serve as backbone, we, at least, make others want them by the power of example that is not set as deliberate good example, for that is as tame as precept; but the example of the life that is lived, and the truths that are honestly believed in."