March 5, 2010

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Exceptional reflections about Catholic schools

Shirley Vogler MeisterI am a product of both Catholic and public schools during different periods of my education.

I will always be grateful for all of my learning experiences in or out of school.

So when the time came to educate our three daughters, my husband, Paul, and I knew we would send them to Catholic schools through high school. Our own years in Catholic schools sealed that decision, and we were blessed to be able to do so.

As readers know, The Criterion beautifully showcases Catholic educational opportunities, especially during Catholic Schools Week.

Recently, I was privileged to read a blog written by a talented writer friend, Roxane B. Salonen, from Fargo, N.D. She and her husband have five children not yet out of grade school.

Roxane says she looks forward to hearing other parents share why they send their children to Catholic school because it energizes her, and “affirms the sacrificial choice of being part of our local Catholic schools.”

Paul’s and my decision to send our daughters to Christ the King School and Bishop Chatard High School took sacrifice on our part, both monetarily and as busy volunteers—especially during their grade school years.

As Roxane suggested in her blog, “It’s not something I can necessarily put into words. It’s more a feeling I have from being part of this community.”

Roxane noted many other reasons for wanting her children to attend a Catholic school: “I believe strongly in the philosophy of fully educating a child’s soul as well as the physical and mental components of who they are.”

Another “plus” she shared was: “I love school uniforms. I view them as a beautiful equalizer that removes a lot of pressure of having to keep up with the latest trends.”

Children don’t always realize this though.

Roxane said she also loves how “the kids start their day with prayer, and have a supportive community of friends and teachers praying with them. When their souls are troubled, they can bring this to their school community and be supported in prayer and actions.”

She also appreciates “the base our children are getting in the chance to know and live out their faith through community service projects carried out with a Christ-like spirit.”

Roxane acknowledges how “the generous, tight-knit Catholic community truly provides a safe haven for the children and parents alike.”

She also sees that “God is allowed to flourish in the hearts of their children in a very vital way, and they are allowed to openly express their love for him and their faith—and the children will be more grounded spiritually when it’s time to step out into the wide world.”

Readers can view Roxane’s “Peace Garden Mama” blog by logging on to

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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