“To those who have been given much, much is expected.” This phrase rings true for the community because we consider ourselves to be fortunate in many ways. In our global awareness of other peoples and their needs, the Handmaid community, faculty, parents, and students of the Academy participate in a number of networking endeavors to further the Handmaids’, and ultimately the Church’s mission, of working on the side of the poor. Regularly scheduled food collections, seasonal service endeavors, and volunteer opportunities at the Handmaid mission in El Salavador are only some of our community efforts to reach out locally and globally to “share all that we are and have”, to feed the hungry, and to be Eucharist for those in need.
The Mission of Ancillae-Assumpta Academy is to educate students with love and for love so that they become Responsible, Interdependent, Creative and Empowered Christians who utilize their God-given talents in service to others. To do so, we incorporate service learning into our rich curriculum with the intention of framing the students’ academic development in a Christian framework, recognizing that the gifts that we have been given are meant to be strengthened and shared in solidarity with our brothers and sisters. Students learn to appreciate and to care for the particular gifts and abilities they have received, especially their education. They will grow to recognize their responsibility to develop these gifts and to share them in creative ways, seeking a more meaningful life for all. Learning and service are connected to the intellectual and moral development of each student.
Ancillae’s Service Learning is based on Catholic Social Teaching. As the US Conference of Catholic Bishops affirms1, the Church's social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society.
Rather than creating a separate curriculum about Catholic Social Teaching, Ancillae-Assumpta Academy provides formal study of the seven Principles of Catholic Social Teaching within the Religion Curriculum and then integrates this study and discussion with a concrete and direct service opportunity that is grade appropriate. The dialogue between the social teaching of the Church on justice with the needs of people in our local community as well as those in our global community teaches students through an integral experience that we must put “two feet of love in action”2 in order to respond to issues facing our world. The work for social justice and charitable works must complement each other.
This service learning pedagogy is an expression of the charism of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, that of reparation. The educational mission of the school flows from this charism that seeks to work with Christ to bring healing to people’s hearts and peace to their relationships with God, with one another, and with creation.
1 From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, www.usccb.org
2 USCCB document: “Two Feet of Love in Action”