A New Start And A New System

Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year, Titans! This year is already shaping up to be a great one. Everyone is ready for a new, fresh start and excited for the new house system that Holy Trinity has implemented. Each student and staff member has now been sorted into one of six houses, inspired by great Catholic and Jesuit leaders from throughout history. Students have started earning points for their houses and are beginning to build bonds with their fellow house members. We can’t wait to see how this system grows over the year!

Our six houses are The Arrupe House, Becraft House, Day House, Juana House, Romero House and Xavier House. Below you will find a brief biography of each founder along with each house trait. In the coming weeks students from each house will share what it means to be a member of their house.

  • Arrupe House-
    • Founder: Pedro Arrupe was a Spanish Jesuit Priest with a heart for refugees who served as the Superior General for the Jesuits in Japan. After the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, he cared for 150 sick and wounded Japanese. In 1980 he started the Jesuit refugee service, serving Vietnamese refugees. The organization has now served over 40 millions refugees from around the world.
    • Trait: Compassion
  • Becraft House-
    • Founder: Anne Marie Becraft was a lifelong educator, teaching in Washington D.C. and Baltimore. At just 15 she started the Georgetown Seminary, a day and boarding school for young black girls in The District. She eventually left the school and when she was 26, became one of America’s first black nuns, joining the Oblate Sisters of Providence. Georgetown University recently named a building after Becraft.
    • Trait: Perseverance
  • Day House-
    • Founder: Dorothy Day was a Catholic convert who felt God’s calling to serve the poor. She was the co-founder of the Catholic Work Movement, a radical but non-violent movement which provided service to the poor and homeless and took political action on their behalf.  Her canonization is currently being considered by the Church.
    • Trait: Gratitude
  • Juana House-
    • Founder: Joanna of Austria is the first and only female member of the Society of Jesus. After the death of her husband she was expected to take Franciscan religious vows, but felt called to the Jesuit community instead. The Jesuits had never accepted females, but she persisted in her efforts and ended up taking Jesuit vows under a male name.
    • Trait: Humility
  • Romero House-
    • Founder: Saint Oscar Romero was a social activist and Archbishop of San Salvador. He stood up for the poor and voiceless and passionately denounced the persecution of members of the Catholic Church in El Salvador. In 1980 he was assassinated while celebrating mass and was canonized in 2018.
    • Trait: Justice
  • Xavier House-
    • Founder: Saint Francis Xavier was one of the first members of the Society of Jesus and was the first Jesuit missionary. He spent most of his life as a missionary in Japan and is credited with developing the early Jesuit mission approach. He was canonized in 1622.
    • Trait: Courage

Magis – More

“… looking at myself, [I consider] what I have done for Christ, what I am doing for Christ, what I ought to do for Christ.” — Spiritual Exercises [53]

The Ignatian word “Magis” literally means “more”. In our world, where people are always looking for more in an earthly sense, it is important to be specific about what the word means in a Jesuit sense. Magis is not about more for the sake of more. Not more production, not more money, not more praise, not more to do. Rather, it is about more faith, more love, more patience, more grace, more glory to God. Magis is about quality, not quantity.

Looking around our school, there are examples everywhere of teachers and students living out Magis in so many ways. A few of them are highlighted below.

 

IMG_4085
More Faith – Third Grade Prayer Corner
IMG_4089
More Love- Pre K Kindness Board
IMG_4086
More Service – 4th Grade Coffee Cart to Support Refugees

Keeping God at the Center – Cura Personalis from a Parent’s Perspective

Written by Erin Greene, Kindergarten Parent
Our hearts are restless until they rest in you.
St. Augustine

 

Like many of us, I’m pulled in too many directions. My little ones tug at my heartstrings when they are disappointed or sad. I can’t always keep up with my email, and I’m often one step away from forgetting a water bottle, permission slip, or returning library books on time. Last week, I rolled up to school, proud of myself because I was a few minutes early for the 7:50 start time, only to realize there was no school that day! Yes, indeed. That really happened. Sometimes life is a blur. But no matter how consuming life can be, I know I need to carve out time for my prayer life, my creative life, my time with God. Cura Personalis, caring for the whole person, reminds me how essential it is to keep God at my center.

 

Cura Personalis guides me when I take care of my children. It nudges me to help them recognize the areas in their lives that bring them joy and feed their soul. Their lives are busy too. My children are blessed to be part of the Holy Trinity community and the larger Washington, DC neighborhood. They are cared for, they are challenged, and they are exposed to a broader world in the nation’s capital. But this life also comes with full days and very full schedules. Carving out time for them on the weekends to explore their passions in their own space, with less time constraints, helps them discover where their hearts are leading them. It brings them back to God and caring for the wholeness of their being.

 

My five year old loves to create inventions. We will spend hours immersed in his creative world. He leads and I support him. In these quiet moments, my message to him is, “Trust yourself. Dive into your passions. Follow your heart now and always.”

 

My two year old finds wonder in our our small backyard and nearby Rock Creek Park. When he’s out there, he’s finding God. Whether he’s gathering leaves, collecting rocks, or just digging in the dirt, his heart is happy. As we linger there a few extra moments, I hope he knows this is exactly where we should be. “Enjoy. Explore. Be you.”

 

As a family, we are all still learning how to keep Cura Personalis top of mind. Living in a way that honors Cura Personalis will be a lifelong pursuit of mine, and I hope for my children as well. But even when I stray, I know I can always come back to quiet moments with God. When God is at the center, I know I am well nourished and my family is too.

Cura Personalis from a Teacher’s Perspective

Written by Ms. Colleen Brady

On a Friday in early November, instead of quizzing my ELA students on their new vocabulary words, I walked them over to Georgetown University for a session of Christian meditation. During the 12 minutes of silence, some students delighted in the peace, others had a hard time with the stillness, and one even fell asleep in the quiet. When we walked back, all expressed gratitude and told me how much they needed that time to let stress melt away and pray. I know that vocabulary practice is very important for my students intellectually, but I also want to show them that caring for their spiritual, social, emotional, and physical well-being is equally important. This is one way I practice cura personalis as a teacher.

Cura Personalis is an Ignatian value that refers to caring for the whole person – mind, body and spirit. Jesuit schools seek to nurture and promote the best in everyone, and help each one to reach his or her greatest human potential. Cura Personalis is bringing snacks for my hungry eighth graders. It’s going to chapel mass and praying the examen at the beginning of 7th period. It’s collaborating with other teachers and communicating with parents. It’s being present and attentive to what students need most in the moment. Cura Personalis is not easy, and I am not perfect at living it out, but most of all, I hope my students know I deeply care about them, wholly.  

I aim to encourage my students every day and help them recognize that their value does not lie solely in their intellect, but also in their talents, personalities, desires, hearts, faith, and ability to be a good friend to others. Cura personalis also implies a commitment to inclusivity and caring for students of all background and experiences. In my teaching, I try to help students learn about each other’s different traditions, experiences, and cultures to help build a more inclusive community. Our library is full of diverse books that help students practice empathy and understanding. My hope is that through their Jesuit education, students will learn to live out cura personalis with one another.

Olivia’s Take on Cura Personalis

written by Olivia Maguire

 

Cura Personalis translates to, care for the whole person. Cura Personalis is one of the six Ignatian Values. As a Jesuit School, Cura Personalis is a big deal. The big question is, why is it such a big deal?  Holy Trinity talks a lot about service. Holy Trinity is dedicated to making the world a better place.  No matter big or small,  HTS encourages people to help out our community. Things as small as smiling at people or picking up trash, to service trips! This is one way we practice Cura Personalis as a school. We are caring for all those around us and the Earth.
When we are caring for the whole person, it means that we are appreciating other people’s talents, abilities,  personalities, desires, hearts, faith, and minds because they are all equally worthy of care and attention.  This all relates to our Christian faith and Catholic Education. When we learn we learn with our head, but Cura Personalis wants us to learn with our heart and respect the whole body. When we pray, learn and eat healthy we are practicing Cura Personalis. This is because we are caring for our faith by talking to God through prayer. We are caring for our minds by learning new information to help and find answers to our questions. Finally, when we are eating healthy, we are caring for our physical needs. These are some ways that you can practice Cura Personalis in your own life!

Celebrating Our Jesuit Identity

Over the next few months, the Holy Post will be taking a deeper dive into our Jesuit Identity by focusing on one of the key Jesuit values each month. Students, parents and teachers will be sharing their insights and perspectives on what it means to be Jesuit educated and how the Jesuit values can shape our lives. We will also highlight the ways in which these key values are being taught to our students. Join us as we discuss what it means to fully embrace:

 

Cura Personalis

Magis

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

People for Others

Unity of Heart and Mind

Contemplatives in Action

 

In February we will focus on Cura Personalis, or “Care of the whole person”. Follow along as we hear from teachers, parents and students and take a look at what is happening around our school. You may even brush up on your Latin in the process!

Community Building

Holy Trinity School is committed to educating the whole person. As part of this mission, HTS has developed a guide based on the Jesuit Schools Network’s Profile of the Graduate at Graduation. This guide highlights five desirable characteristics: open to growth, intellectually competent, religious, loving, and committed to doing justice.

Recently, Ms. Brady’s religion class reflected on community building. Building relationships is an important component of being a loving individual. Keep reading for Caitlin R.’s and Sarah F.’s thoughts on friendship in their final year at HTS.

By Caitlin R.

A quote that has stood out to me for a while is an old saying that says, “Good friends are like stars; you don’t always see them, but you know they’re always there.” I agree with this quote because it is saying that when you have a true friend, you don’t need to see them to know they will always be there to support you. This quote represents what I want in friendships. I always want there to be trust between my friends and me, trust that they will always be there for me and that friends will be the shining stars in the night to light my path. One friend of mine is always there to support me and listen to me vent about the hard things going on in my life. She never gives up on me, even when we have arguments. We always get through our arguments, especially since she is one of the kindest and most understanding people I know.

Friendship to me is the family I choose. The people I am destined to meet and learn to love. Friends are the backbone to society. Without them, people would be miserable people slumping through life. Friends add light to society. I can be a good friend to others by showing them my light and supporting them through whatever they need. Jesus is a friend in a way by showing us the light in others and always being there for us to talk to. Jesus is one of the best people to talk to because he is always listening and protecting us. By being a true friend, you are going above and beyond to help your friends when they need it. The magis is about doing more, and there is no better way to do more than to do more for and with friends.

By Sarah F.

The quote I chose was, “God sends us friends to be our firm support in the whirlpool of struggle. In the company of friends we will find strength to attain our sublime ideal,” from St. Maximillian Kolbe. This quote stood out to me because I know it is true. Hard times are so much harder without someone like a friend to talk to. I believe that this quote is true. The reason that I believe this is that humans can’t survive on their own and need other people as friends. If we didn’t have friends, we wouldn’t have as much strength or confidence to get through hard situations. In my friendships, I aspire for several things. The first is honesty. Friends should never lie to each other. The second is comfort. Good friends should always feel comfortable being who they are with each other. Finally, friends should enjoy each other’s company and have fun hanging out with each other. One example of a book with a good friendship is A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. In this book, one friend promises another that he would die for them or anyone they love. At the end of the book, the character dies for his friend’s husband. I can be a good friend to others by being sensitive to anything they might be experiencing in their lives and by cheering them up when they are sad. Jesus was a good friend because he always encouraged his friends or disciples and showed them the right thing to do. We can seek magis in a friendship by striving to be better people and helping each other to be better people. Friendship means many things to many different people. However, most importantly, we have to respect each other.