July 2 – THE NECESSITY OF STUDIES
THE NECESSITY OF STUDIES
True, Fr. Deshayes, Br. Augustin and Br. Simeon have all urged their Brothers to be good teachers, but never with as much insistence, conviction and precision as their successor, Br. Eugene-Marie. His circular of 2nd July on The necessity of studies is revolutionary. Here are some extracts of it.
«A teacher who does not like to study is not only unworthy to teach the youth but surely also not at all capable of doing it; this is as true of science as it is of virtue: the one who does not advance retreats. From inability to discouragement and distaste there is only one step, and a man of distaste is always useless for his pupils and dangerous for his Brothers. Would a lazy catechist be able to inspire love for the study of religion in the children? Will not be able to get them interested in his classes ? Without preparing the heart through prayer and the mind through studies he will only be, if I can use the expression, a tap of tepid water. A Brother who does not know how to choose his books, or to be moderate in what he reads, or to sacrifice this for solid and special studies so urgently required of his profession, does not seem to me to be meant for religious life, in which the mind counts for nothing if the heart does not forget itself and devote to the task.
Some men dedicated to teaching would have been much richer now in science and more distinguished in the art of bringing up the youth if they only were as studious by virtue as they were naturally intelligent. (…).
I know a training school where they are striving to make all their students who study there obtain the diploma of the second grade. Nothing of that surprises or frightens me; but everything is suited for inspiring us to a religious emulation in the formation of our subjects. Moreover it is our duty to make ourselves capable of giving to the parents, who entrust their children to us, the same advantages as other schools.
Let us continue to work, my dear Brothers. Let us not draw back in the face of the sacrifices or work that will demand the execution of our plan.
* Are you a senior member of our Congregation, dear Brother? Continue to study so that you do not lose what you have acquired and you learn the things that you ought to know. St Jerome started the study of Hebrew at over sixty years of age. The good example you give to the young Brothers will be of great value. ,
* Are you young? Who can devote himself to studies more and better than you?
Who more than you is obliged to develop the noble faculties with which God has endowed your mind and your heart? ·
* Are you the head of a house? Study so that you will honour your functions by your knowledge, be worthy of the trust of your subjects and be really useful to them. This is your duty(…).
* Everything is progressing around you: would you alone remain stationary? If you do not refresh your memory today, if you do not enrich your mind now, when are you going to do so? What you have not sown by work in your youthful days, do you hope to harvest it in the retirement of a peaceful old age? Sow laziness and you will harvest one day ignorance and shame(…).
* Since when has holiness been the exclusive domain of ignorance? (…). Perhaps it may be objected that science has cost more than one vocation. I reply: voluntary ignorance, the daughter of laziness, has lost many more of them (…)».