Working in the field of education is a gift from God that I am utilizing to be a beacon of God’s radiant love to the young children, staff, and families at Montessori Academy.
It is a gift that I treasure and am very passionate about because it is a life-giving, joyful ministry; it is the essence of our Salesian charism to be a living presence with and for the young. It is a living witness of living out my FMA identity and culture in the everyday day of our modern world.
It is safe to say our very own Maria Mazzarello and Maria Montessori have a lot in common in regard to the education of young people. Maria Montessori believed in the freedom of choice for children to foster their independence, encouraging decision-making and, therefore, nurturing the child’s understanding of reciprocal and loving relationships with educators and others.
The Montessori educational ethos resonates with the Preventive System and its focus on Reason, Religion and Loving Kindness. We, as Salesian Sisters, love and care for each individual holistically regardless of what the ‘gender category’ thinks of them. We educate with a spirit of motherly love, truth and firmness because we believe that each young person is created in the image of God.
Maria Mazzarello was a magnet to young girls back in Mornese more than 150 years ago. She was cheerful, understanding to all of the various personalities that came through the door. Her love for God was evident in all her duties that ‘every stitch be an act of love for God’, she would tell the girls in the sewing classes.
I, too, would like to be a magnet of love at Montessori and in all that I do.
One of the highlights of working at Montessori was receiving a heartfelt gratitude Christmas card from one of the parents who wrote: “… please know that what I see in you is not only an amazing educator but someone who daily reminds me of God’s love … In all that business and daily chaos you are the reminder that Jesus is here for me, that He is good all the time. Thank you Sr Sia … ”
This message indeed gives me a lot of hope in my ministry but, particularly, in my vocation as a FMA in the modern world of teaching. I am also grateful to my Scoresby community for their constant support and interest in what I do. They are experienced educators in their own respective educational fields and so I am ever thankful for their expertise and knowledge shared with me.
This story originally appeared in the Autumn 2023 edition of the Australian Salesian Bulletin