Guided by the Holy Spirit,
In the New Testament, Jesus promises to send us the Holy Spirit as an advocate and guide. In the Creed, we profess that the Holy Spirit is the Lord and the giver of life. Therefore, in our Mission Statement, we have chosen to entrust everything that we are and all that we can be to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit initiates every movement in the Christian life and is the agent of bringing about God’s plan for our lives. As baptized Christians, the Holy Spirit dwells in us as in a temple to animate us and give us life. Our responsibility is to be open and receptive to how the Holy Spirit moves us, not only as individuals but as a school community within the Church.
under the Mantle of Mary,
As a school dedicated in name to the patronage of Our Blessed Mother, we have chosen the particular image of the Mantle of Mary for our Mission Statement. Our Lady’s primary role in the Church is a mother; with the Holy Spirit, she brings to birth new members of her Son’s Body, the Church. Our Lady’s mantle or veil is a symbol of her motherly care and protection for us. Artistic depictions of Mary’s Mantle may have their origin in a devotion to her as “The Virgin of the Navigators” or “Our Lady of Seafarers.” The devotion was popular among sailors from Portugal who would place their voyages, crews, and ships under Mary’s protective mantle. As Lakers, we too have chosen to place our school community under Our Lady’s mantle in the hopes of the calm voyages and safe harbors that await us.
Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic School forms disciples
As a Catholic school our mission is quite clear, because the mission of the Church is clear: to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). If the mission of the Church is to make disciples, then the mission of the parish is to make disciples, and the mission of the parish school is to make disciples. We specifically chose the word disciple because, at its root, it is the word for student. A student learns a subject from a teacher, or a disciple learns a trade from a master. As Christians, we have Jesus Christ as both our Teacher and Master. The word “forms” was also chosen specifically because it implies the process of becoming a disciple. We are not born disciples, but through the sacramental life of the Church, the guidance and indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the intercession of Mother Mary, we are formed into disciples. Formation as a disciple implies a choice on the part of the one who undergoes the formation. Formation does not happen instantly, but takes place gradually when one is open to the formation. The image from the Old Testament of this formation is God as the potter and we as the clay, the work of His hands (Jeremiah 18:1-10).
through Catholic Tradition,
The word Tradition was chosen because it means something that is handed on. As a Catholic school, we teach the faith as it has been handed on to us. Faith is a gift that we receive first from hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17) and the gift of faith can be increased in us, if we ask for it. Teachers in Catholic schools must faithfully transmit and hand on the truths revealed by God that come to us through the Church. Parents too, the first teachers of their children in the ways of the faith (Rite of Baptism) must authentically prepare and form their children to know God and keep His commandments. In our Mission Statement, Tradition is rightly written with a capital “T” because it refers to Sacred Tradition. Sacred Tradition, along with Sacred Scripture, are the two distinct ways that the faith has been handed on throughout the centuries (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 81). A Catholic school in the 21st century is entrusted with the same truths of the faith to hand on that the disciples were in the first century.
In Catholic education, personal discipline is expected. An integral part of the the Christian life, and therefore Christian education, is that attention be given to every aspect of the human person. As the school community of Our Lady of the Lakes, we care for the spiritual, physical, intellectual, and emotional aspects of our students’ lives. We believe that the human person is perfected through a reliance on the grace of God, but also through the pursuit of personal discipline and virtue. The saints witness to us that “the goal of a virtuous life is to become like God” (St. Gregory of Nyssa). In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, virtue is defined as “a habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person…pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.” (1803).
and academic excellence.
The belief that each student is a unique human being, has unique gifts and potentials, and that she or he is important, are all implied in this phrase. Our approach is to help all of our students achieve the high levels of learning required for success in their next level of learning, whether that is a middle school, high school, college or post-secondary training.
“Academic excellence” in our context does not mean simply that our schools have very high academic standards and that most, if not all, students meet them. Rather, we expect our schools to have the capacity and sufficient resources to allow our students to perform to their potential, or even exceed what was assumed to be their academic potential. We believe all students if given the appropriate support and proper interventions will have an opportunity to learn and succeed at high levels.
Academic excellence is not a static outcome, but a dynamic process that continues to change as the student body changes. Schools must continuously develop and implement plans for improvement.
The placement of this phrase at the end of the Missions Statement is deliberate. To place it first would have diminished the primary goals of providing a Catholic environment and calling people to discipleship. Items in a list can gain prominence by being placed either first or last in that list. Placing Academic Excellence at the end of the Missions Statement, gives it appropriate prominence, an emphasis that would be lost if it were placed in the middle of the statement. The placement at the end provides the nuance that, although it is not the first priority, it is, nonetheless, essential.