A truly Catholic college.
Many Catholic families make sacrifices by home-schooling their children or sending them to certain private Catholic schools for their elementary or high school education in order to safeguard their faith, sometimes even from Catholic schools. Similarly, some Catholic young people make sacrifices to go to a truly Catholic college. It is my good fortune to be able to teach in such an institution after I have already retired three times from the teaching of philosophy.
One of my former students and some home-schooling parents together agreed that, even after high school, young people and the Canadian Catholic Church can benefit greatly from a fully Catholic college. The result of their dream was the beginning of such a college three years ago in Barry's Bay, Ontario: the Academy of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom. New faith-filled administrative and teaching persons have joined the effort, and in September 2004 the flail three years of university-level education are being taught. The Academy is probably the only institution of higher learning in Canada in which each year the entire faculty make a profession of faith and pronounce an oath of fidelity before the local Bishop. The oath of fidelity promises obedience in word and action to the whole teaching of the Church.
The syllabus of courses gives an immersion in Christian culture necessary for a modern person to understand the tremendous gift of Christianity, especially with courses in Scripture, liturgy, theology, philosophy, history, and literature. What is stressed is the relevance as well as the content of our Faith, the connections of all phases of life with one another, and the ability to dialogue with the world. Additional courses are taught in Latin, economics, biology, mathematics, the physical sciences, and the fine arts. The aim of the Academy is to lay a foundation for reason to cope with the attacks made upon the Catholic faith from all sides today. There are also guest lectures, sports, outings, drama, and choir.
This year the Academy is adding a third university-level year. Its academic standards are high, and some good Catholic universities in the United States accept the Academy's credits. Students have come from the United States and many Canadian provinces, and some of course from the Barry's Bay area. Students live in college residences. The Academy does not have enough space at present for its chapel, but the beautiful parish church is next door, and its vibrant parish administration and parishioners have established a healthy mutual relationship with the Academy. There can be found daily Mass, weekly Confession, Rosary, etc., and excellent sermons.
Most students in Canada's filly-funded Catholic public schools do not go to Sunday Mass. Many of them leave high school without a good knowledge of their faith or an acceptable practice of it. I wish that every grade twelve graduate in Canada could spend at least one year at the Academy of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom. The Academy deliberately keeps its fees low, and students can save on fees by helping with chores.
I have nothing but admiration for the administrators and the faculty of the Academy, for their dedication to the purpose of the institution, and their sacrifices for the work of Catholic education, knowing in faith that "they that instruct many to justice shall shine as stars for all eternity" (Daniel, 12, 3). The students are competent, several are outstanding, all are happy. I congratulate them and their parents for their wisdom in putting first things first, in assuring that the foundation of their higher education will be of stone, not of sand, that while being prepared for this world they will, first of all, be prepared for the next.
The Academy's website is: www.seatofwisdom.org; its address is 18 Karol Wojtyla Square, P.O. Box 249, Barry's Bay, ON, K0J 1B0, Canada; its phone number is (613) 756-3082 or 1 (877) 369-6520, its fax number is (775) 743-4231.
Fr. Leonard Kennedy, Ph.D., travels to Barry's Bay twice a year to teach philosophy at the Academy.
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|Date:||Jul 1, 2004|
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