Lecture explores mission of Holy Cross education
Nicole Caratas | Thursday, September 17, 2015
In a lecture at Saint Mary’s Wednesday, Brother Joel Giallanza spoke on embracing and continuing the mission of a Holy Cross education, and how Saint Mary’s helps to do just that.
The lecture focused on the mission of Holy Cross education and how it should be applied to modern schools. Giallanza, theassociate director of the Holy Cross Institute at St. Edward’s University, said the purpose of a Holy Cross education is to help prepare students for the world after school and the supply them with the necessary tools to be active and ethical citizens.
Giallanza said it is important to consider how the current education system will affect the future.
“For the College to offer what it says it offers, what do we as faculty, as staff, need to be,” he said. “What kind of persons do we needs to be? Because it will not happen by itself — otherwise we’d be running a factory.”
Giallanza explained the history of Holy Cross education, starting in 1835 when Fr. Basil Moreau decided to start a boarding school.
“The [school] would become a place of promise,” Giallanza said. “Those who gathered there and committed themselves to that mission would dare to look at France and the absolute devastation following the French Revolution … with eyes of hope and conviction about the future. The heritage would become a source of passion, life and especially educational life.”
Giallanza said the boarding school was designed solely for the benefit of the students. He said the plan was to design a curriculum that would help the students learn not only the subject matter being taught, but also how to form values and how to implement those values into their lives after school.
Moreau was extremely influential in helping private schools gain accreditation, Giallanza said. Schools during that time were only accredited if they were government schools, but Giallanza said Moreau worked for years to help make private schools equal to government schools.
Giallanza said there were three principles a Holy Cross education needed to have to be successful: information, formation and transformation. According to Giallanza, information means academic excellence, while formation means putting the information into use. He said transformation is defined as a student’s use of his or her education after graduation.
When considering modern Holy Cross institutions, Giallanza said there are additional points beyond the three principles that schools need to meet. He said he believes Saint Mary’s meets all of these principles.
“First, Holy Cross education is concerned primarily with leading students to understand and to live the Gospel,” Giallanza said. “Second, Holy Cross education enables students to become informed and active citizens. Holy Cross education nurtures an environment of collaboration and cooperation, supported by a sense of community, which touches and includes everyone associated with the college.”
Giallanza said the principles fostered by a Holy Cross education will help teach students important values, which will help students in many different aspects of their lives.
“Holy Cross education teaches respect: personal, social, racial, political, cultural, religious, gender included in this diversity,” he said. “Holy Cross education fosters participation in the life of a living community and promotes dialogue between faith and knowledge, faith and daily life, faith and culture.
“Holy Cross education of course maintains standards of excellence established by local, state, federal, diocesan, whatever accreditation you seek,” he said.
“Holy Cross education maintains a global perspective. It’s one of the riches of Holy Cross education. We’re in 20 countries on six continents. It’s good to remind ourselves of that every now and then.”