The World’s First Montessori Sister’s Perpetual Vows, Montessori Educator Closely Bound to the Catholic Faith

Sister Chiara Therese after taking perpetual vows and Novice Sister Lucia Rose shortly receiving monastic robes

Sister Chiara Therese after taking perpetual vows and Novice Sister Lucia Rose shortly receiving monastic robes

NORTH DAKOTA, Gtpministries.org – In 1950, world-renowned educator Maria Montessori wrote about her dream. One day, a religious community will be formed, to carry out the teachings and spiritual values ​​that he lives by. It only took 74 years for this dream to come true. The first religious community in the world whose main charism was Catholic Montessori Education was founded in Bismarck, North Dakota, United States.

This community is still new, founded about three years ago. Even though currently, the community is only an association of Christians, one day it hopes to become a religious order. There are currently two members of this community, Sister Chiara Thérèse and a Novice Sister, Sister Lucia Rose.

Sister Chiara took perpetual vows and Sr. Lucia Rose received religious vestments at Mass on January 6, 2024. This Mass was a historic event for Catholic education, Catholic religious life, and the Montessori education model.

Sister Lucia Rose receiving religious robes

Sister Lucia Rose receiving religious robes

Founding Inspiration

Sr. Chiara said that the inspiration for the establishment of this new religious community was the Holy Spirit. He said, whenever a need arises in humanity, God often forms a new religious community, to answer this need.

The Community of Montessori Sisters was canonically founded on October 1, 2020, in the Diocese of Bismarck, North Dakota. Currently, the status of this community is as a Public Association of Christian Believers. Sr. Chiara said the founding of this community was a response to the universal call to send workers into the vineyard to serve Christ.

“This community was founded after a long period of confirmation with the Ordinary of our region (Bismarck diocese-ed),” said Sr. Chiara.

Sr. Chiara said that life as a nun is to be a “bride of Christ”, so the main concern of a nun is a close relationship with her Divine Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

“Therefore, prayer has a primary place in our community, along with the Daily Prayers, the Rosary, Adoration, and Lectio Divina,” said Sr. Chiara.

As their daily apostolate, Sr. Chiara and Sr. Lucia currently works educating children at Christ the King Montessori Catholic School in Mandan, North Dakota. In this place, the two sisters developed the values ​​of Christian education in accordance with the spirituality of Maria Montessori.

In the spiritual life, the Montessori Sisters fill the day with fraternal time in prayer and deepening the Scriptures. In addition to adhering to the gospel’s advice on poverty, chastity and obedience, the Montessori Sisters have a unique fourth vow: respect for Christ in the Son. This is a characteristic that was acquired from the spirituality of Maria Montessori herself.

Special Features of Montessori Education

As a devout Catholic, his entire educational method was imbued with Christian anthropology. Montessori Sisters saw in the child a new creation that was extraordinary, unique and completely belonging to the Creator. With this understanding, there is a close connection between Montessori Sister education and the Catholic faith. Sr. Chiara said that separating Montessori education from its Catholic roots would be the same as hindering the fullness of the method that is embedded, not only in the soul of the Montessori teacher, but also in the child’s soul.

Montessori education gives the child a deep sense of reverence, allowing him to fully become who God created him to be. Maria Montessori said, there is no room in a Montessori teacher’s heart for pride, anger, or impatience.

Maria Montessori, continued Sr. Chiara, has set herself the task of helping children build themselves; to give birth in him to a “fully living man” who would then glorify God. He said that Montessori tutors must be both saints and scientists.

“He should observe the child with a heart full of awe and wonder. He must guide the child to the right materials in a prepared environment, which will help his development, and then purify his soul from everything that is not from God,” said Sr. Chiara.

Sister Chiara Therese taking perpetual vows at the Motessori Public Association

Sister Chiara Therese taking perpetual vows at the Motessori Public Association

The most important thing the world wants to know about the work of Montessori Sisters according to Sr. Chiara Montessori Catholic Education wants to restore the dignity and place of children in their families and communities.

Today’s children, especially the youngest children, are often misunderstood by society as a whole. Sr. Chiara said their place in the world’s social network, led by adults, hinders the development and formation of the soul.

By understanding in detail the various stages of child development, education needs to give children freedom with boundaries and responsibilities. Education needs to teach social graces, providing integral and harmonious methods of formation.

“We, as a religious community, want to be part of this noble work, as Maria Montessori said, Sr. said. Maria.

Now, starting with two sisters, the Montessori Public Association has taken the first steps to expand the value of Montessori education throughout the world. Even though this pioneering “Montessori Congregation” has just started, many educational institutions around the world are already using the Montessori Education model as a guide.

Sr. Chiara said that Montessori education helps children shape themselves into the human beings they hope to be. For him, educators are instruments from God to shape children according to God’s will.  

“We are only instruments in the hands of Divine Providence, which helps the Creator in this increasingly urgent task, namely honoring Him in a child,” said Sr. Chiara.

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