Our Educational Philosophy at SBC and IHM School

What follows is an excerpt from our IHM School Handbook describing the school’s Educational Philosophy. We post it here for your edification.

Education at IHM School is firmly rooted in Catholicity. We believe what was said so strongly by Ven. Emmanuel d’Alzon: “Education is the formation of Jesus Christ in souls.”

The School’s tasks, therefore, are to inform our students’ intellects with the Truth concerning nature and grace, to guide their wills into the moral Goodness of the natural and supernatural orders, and to direct their emotions toward the Beauty of God and His creation. The True, the Good, and the Beautiful — the pursuit of this “trinity” leads us to the Holy Trinity.

Part of the mission of IHM School is to inculcate in our students such things as reverence, virtue, honor, sanctity, self-mastery, love of truth, zeal, and true friendship, that is, a friendship rooted in the life of grace. We do this by classroom instruction, example, encouragement, and close cooperation with the primary educators of our students: their own parents.

IHM School strives to inculcate gentlemanly chivalry, and ladylike manners in our boys and girls respectively, and courtesy in all. Courtesy, chivalry, and respect for gender roles are safeguards to Catholic morality and virtue, and strong foundations for the integral Catholic culture IHM School strives to build.

The various disciplines taught in the classroom are rooted in the patrimony of Western classical and Christian culture. The dogmatic teachings of the Catholic Church are the certain foundations of our supernatural knowledge, while perennial natural philosophy gives us the foundations of natural science. Our ideals of moral beauty are found in the Holy Family and the saints. The Church’s traditional liturgy provides us with the foundations of aesthetic beauty, for from it came the various arts and crafts that adorned Christian culture.

It is the conviction of IHM School’s founders that a “liberal education” must take precedence over a “servile education,” and that utilitarianism in education is a dangerous and profoundly undermining thing. Brother Francis, M.I.C.M., Catholic educator par excellence, explains this well:

Liberal education is contrasted with specialized or professional education, the latter being that which prepares a man for a craft or profession whereby he may render a service to society and thus earn a living. Without diminishing the nobility of service, from the Catholic point of view there is implied in the attribute “liberal” another great value: namely, the education of man as a free person; as a value in himself; and for his own perfection and happiness. A person being educated liberally is truly treated as a prince or princess.

In contrast to liberal education we may talk of servile education, which we may also call ministerial education. Both are necessary, noble and can make us virtuous. For this reason Christians do not despise service. Man is meant in this life to serve, and especially to serve his fellow men. …

The kind of good that is aimed at in non-liberal education is the useful good, also called utility. Utility is truly a good, but it is not the highest good. This last statement cannot be emphasized too much, because somehow one of the biggest fallacies that exists today is the fallacy of utilitarianism. This fallacy can be simply defined: It is the exaltation of utility over all else. …

When a man is educated liberally, he is being prepared to be a value in himself. He is being prepared for the joys of knowing for the sake of knowledge, for contemplation, for being perfect. This perfection is not moral perfection but ontological perfection to be developed according to all the potentialities in him.

The school’s motto is “Semper Deo Gratias et Mariae.” The school’s patron saints are Saint Philomena and Saint John Bosco.