SSA’s charism is the legacy of the Benedictine Sisters who founded the school in 1903. The sisters gifted the school with a legacy of prayer, work, study and community. This charism permeates everything in the life of the school, especially in the Theology department. The Theology and campus ministry programs work symbiotically to consider the whole student in her spiritual (prayer), intellectual (study), human (community) and apostolic (work) formation. (Pastores Dabo Vobis 42) Our explicit aim is to form disciples of Jesus Christ.
The Theology department curriculum flows from the United States Bishops’ Framework whose design is centered on the person and mission of Jesus Christ. The bishops, in implementing this curriculum, echo the words of St. John Paul II who reminds us that the aim of religious formation is to put students, "not only in touch, but in intimacy, communion, with Jesus Christ.” (Catechesi Tradendae 5)Our particular approach to this curriculum is theological. Simply put, "Theology is faith seeking understanding.” (St. Anselm) The students are taught, in a rigorous academic discipline, to examine the content of the Faith with reason and experience. We consider that Theology demands a relevant cross curricular understanding of culture, arts and sciences in order to bring alive the content of our Catholic Faith in the mind and heart of the student. All St. Scholastica students take a Theology course each year.
As an integral part of overall formation the Theology department and other members of the campus ministry team provide opportunities for the students’ participation in the life of the Church beyond the classroom. In retreats, school Masses, rosary, liturgy of the hours, Eucharistic Adoration, regional and national youth ministry events, and in elective studies students are invited to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. All are also required to participate in a class retreat day and complete service hours as part of their theology credit as well. These experiences bring alive an encounter with Christ and embrace the mission He gives to all. The mission of service is realized through the school’s service program,, drives, mission trips, and other initiatives.
The Church’s mission of proclaiming the message of the Gospel, creating a community of disciples, and being of service to one another is consciously fostered at St. Scholastica Academy through the guidance of those primarily charged with the students’ spiritual formation and through the lived Christian values of the faculty and staff.
THEOLOGY 8 -Eighth Graders - Benedictine charism/The Revelation of Jesus Christ in Scripture/ Human Formation (Theology of the Body) - 1 Credit
The eighth grade Theology course begins with an introduction to the unique spirituality and heritage of St. Scholastica Academy: Our rooting in Benedictine spirituality, the life of St. Scholastica, and the vision of sisterhood that flows from our roots. The heart of this course examines the origin, structure, and message of scripture with a focus on Christ as the source of all revelation. The concentration of study for the whole year is the first course in the bishops’ framework, which helps students to address questions about how the Bible came to be, how faith and reason complement one another, how God inspired human authors, and how we come to meet Jesus through the Gospels. Students will also be given practical skills in order to read scripture as a guide to their personal growth in faith. Also included in this course is an 8 session program called “Theology of the Body for Teens: Middle School Edition.” This program, used in the 8th grade year in all Archdiocesan schools, addresses questions of identity, relationship, love, and vocation according to St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.
THEOLOGY I -Freshmen - Christ: Who is Jesus?/ The Paschal Mystery - 1 Credit
The Freshmen year is comprised of courses II and III in the Bishops’ framework. The first course is a direct examination of the person of Jesus Christ, as fully God and fully man. This course helps students to grow in mature understanding and relationship with the person of Jesus through examination of his divine and personal revelation. The second zeroes in on Christ’s passion, suffering, death and resurrection as the heart of Christian faith. Students confront the paradox of Jesus’ cross and its place at the center of human history. Given the flow of the liturgical year course two will guide students into the flow of the Church’s liturgy during the Lent and Easter seasons.
THEOLOGY II - Sophomores - The Church/The Sacraments/YOU: Life, Love, and the Theology of the Body - 1 Credit
The Sophomore year begins with study centered on the reality of the Church. This course examines the deep mystery of the Church as Mother, Bride of Christ, People of God, and Mystical Body of Christ. So often the vision that flows from the word, “Church,” is narrowed to a building or an institution. This course, the remedy that, builds what we call an ecclesiology: a full and fleshed out vision of Church. An early Church Father put it this way, “You can not have God for a Father if you do not first have the Church for a Mother.” The second course in the sophomore year is a study of the Sacraments. This course begins with a deeper look at the meaning and notion of sacramentality and then a survey of the 7 sacraments. Sacramental life is the way in which we encounter Christ and experience the fully human body and soul reality of redemption. Also in the Sophomore year the YOU program guides students into a deeper look at their human identity and particular dignity as women. The YOU program is formation centered in the virtue of chastity and oriented toward a deeper vision of vocation.
THEOLOGY III -Juniors - Morality / Social Justice - 1 Credit
The Christian Morality course offers to guide the moral life of the students in the direction of Catholic values and vision. Catholic Christian morality examines virtues, conscience, and sin from the standpoint of Scripture, the Commandments and Catholic Catechism, as well as poses a prime question throughout the course, "What kind of person do I want to become?” The course offers a Catholic Christian answer to the question, centering on Jesus as the model of full humanness and looking at the virtues of Jesus as they can be seen in the lives of people past and present and in the students’ lives. This course provides the basis for the process of moral decision making and instructs the students in the principles and practice of the social justice teachings of the Catholic Church.
THEOLOGY IV- Seniors- Christian Vocations / Sacred Scripture - 1 Credit
The first component of this course invites the students to examine realistically the various dimensions of Catholic teaching on vocational choices in life - single, married, consecrated life, and ordained ministry - and how individuals can best live them within the context of the Christian faith. Students will be challenged to understand and describe Catholic teachings on the dignity of the human person, the unselfish nature of genuine love, and the sacredness of human sexuality and Christian marriage. The second component of the course consists of a more mature exploration of Sacred Scripture. Much changes and develops in terms of the capacity of the student to encounter Scripture between 8th grade and senior year. The capstone of the formational experience here is to revisit a mature Catholic reading of Scriptures and to ensure Biblical literacy as a necessity of Christian discipleship. As St. Jerome says, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”
FAITH & SCIENCE / FAITH & SCIENCE HONORS - Juniors / Seniors - 1 credit
“Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.” This course is an overview of scientific and religious dialogue and cooperation throughout human history. The purpose of this course is to give students (1) a robust understanding of the philosophy behind scientific inquiry, (2) a comprehensive knowledge of the history of scientific discovery, and its congruence with religious thought, and (3) a developed intellectual grasp of the relationship between faith and reason (or religions and science). This course will move the student from theory to practice. The class will begin with a unit on the philosophy of science, then progress into historical analysis of science, and will then proceed into an exploration of particular fields of science and their complementarity with religious belief.
C.S. LEWIS & THE CHRISTIAN IMAGINATION - Sophomores / Juniors / Seniors - 1 credit
Imagination is a vital ingredient for higher order thinking and overall human formation. For C.S. Lewis, the art of storytelling was a way to explore the depth of the Christian faith, to challenge hollow and cliched notions, and to still faith. From his familiar children’s literature in the Chronicles of Narnia, to his less widely known space trilogy, to his telling of myth in ‘Till We Have Faces, there is a great opportunity for students to explore topics of faith and morals using the vital tool of imagination. Using Lewis’ writings as a springboard, this course will challenge students to cultivate a richer sense of imagination and faith. The capstone of this course will be the student’s own work in sub-creation, styled after Lewis’ work. Students will retell a myth or develop a story to share with the class.
CATHOLIC FEMININE GENIUS / WOMEN IN THE CHURCH - Juniors / Seniors - 1 credit
The professor, philosopher, martyr, and saint Edith Stein said: “The world does not need what women have, but what women are.” Her contemporary, St John Paul the Great, confirmed this truth from his papacy: “Woman has a genius all her own, which is vitally essential to both society and the Church. Without the contributions of women, society is less alive, culture is impoverished, and peace is less stable.” This course will examine the unique nature, dignity, and vocation of the woman; the pillars of feminine genius; what does and does not constitute authentic femininity; the complementary relationship of woman and man; the ways in which society has and has not integrated complete, vibrant equality for women; critical review of the historical roles and expectations women have encountered and continue to encounter; what can we learn from the vast diversity of models of Catholic feminine genius, from Mary to Joan of Arc to Therese of Lisieux to Mother Teresa to Dorothy Day; and how women can genuinely fulfill their “indispensable role in society.” We will do this via selected powerful readings, robust group analysis, social justice projects, and critical examination of the arts.