Saints and Scholars Newsletter October 14, 2022

Saints and Scholars Newsletter October 14, 2022

Words from our Principal

Dear families and friends of Lumen,

We hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend. With temperatures dipping and the trees changing color, we’ve officially left summer behind – and it feels like it too!

Last Friday our Church celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, commemorating a day when the power of prayer to Our Lady enabled Christians throughout Europe to defend themselves against Turkish invasion at the Battle of Lepanto. October is, in fact, the month of the Holy Rosary – and the scholars and families who attended our Columbus Day Hike on Mount Wachusett took the opportunity to celebrate by praying the Rosary at the summit, braving the wind and cold!

While there is so much that could be said on the history and theology of the Rosary, I’d like, if I can, to connect the practice of praying the Rosary with the virtue of respect, as enshrined in our honor code: “To speak and act honestly and respectfully in all things.” I’d like in particular to make the case that the act of praying the Rosary is a way both to practice and to learn what respect truly is. The word “respect” is tossed around a great deal, and a quick Google search reveals such milquetoast definitions as “polite behavior towards someone you admire.” While polite behavior is certainly a laudable expectation for us to have of one another (and hopefully we can be polite to others whether we admire them or not!), I think there might be richer understanding of what respect might mean for our community at Lumen Verum Academy.

The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, synonymize the virtue of respect with the virtue of reverence, which means “standing in awe of.” To respect another person is, therefore, to “stand in awe” of him. This awe comes not from anything that person does, but because of who he is – made in the image of God, infinitely mysterious and infinitely precious. As Christian writer Marilynne Robinson put it:

[I have] recently read that there are more neurons in the human brain than there are stars in the Milky Way, and [I have read] that the human brain is the most complex object known to exist in the universe, and that the mind is not identical with the brain but is more mysterious still. . . If we are to consider the heavens, how much more are we to consider the magnificent energies of consciousness that make whomever we pass on the street a far grander marvel than our galaxy?

To stand in reverence of someone – to treat him or her with respect – is simply to acknowledge the great truth of who that person is. We know by faith and by reason the great glory and dignity of the human person. To treat others with respect is simply to put that knowledge into action – to see them with the eyes of God, and treat them that way. And to treat ourselves with respect means that we act in accordance with our own dignity in God’s eyes, and never in a way that would diminish that dignity.

The word “respect” itself comes from the words re + spicio, meaning “to look at again,” to reexamine, to reconsider. To behave respectfully requires, therefore, that we “look again” at others and purify our vision – that we see others and ourselves as they truly are, and to speak of and behave towards them in a way that accords with the truth. The angel Gabriel spoke to Mary in such a way when he acknowledged her as full of grace – his praise of her was little more than stating the truth about her relationship with God. And Mary spoke of herself with similar respect when she called herself God’s lowly servant but also said that all generations would call her blessed. Far from being self-deprecatory on the one hand or boastful on the other, she was simply stating the truth about herself and her God.

When we pray the Rosary, and repeat the words of the angel Gabriel in the Ave Maria, we stand, with the angels, in reverent awe of Mary and the Child she would bear. When we meditate on the Mysteries of the Rosary, we show respect by looking, again and again, at the life of Christ and His Blessed Mother. Thus, to pray the Rosary is a deeply respectful practice, in the fullest senses of the word. In turn, the practice of praying the Rosary shapes and purifies our vision and our imaginations, enabling us to see ourselves and others more clearly, and thus to respect them more fully. As Pope Leo XIII wrote, praying the Rosary and meditating on its Mysteries enables us “to see for [ourselves] how easy, how abundant, how sweetly attractive are the lessons to be found therein for the leading of an honest life.” Through the example of Christ and His Mother, we learn how to live a life of “mutual respect and love.”

If, in praying the Rosary, we speak and act respectfully towards Mary and Jesus, how do we extend its lessons of respect to the way we treat ourselves and others? Again, Leo XIII gave us some concrete examples:

  • By meditating on the Joyful Mysteries, we learn to treat ourselves and others with respect through our devoted service, our hardworking endurance, our kindness, and our diligence in the small duties of daily life.
  • By meditating on the Sorrowful Mysteries, we learn to treat ourselves and others with respect through our generosity, our forgiveness and patience with others, our courageous self-sacrifice for others, and our compassion for those who suffer.
  • By meditating on the Glorious Mysteries, we learn to treat ourselves and others with respect by our mindfulness of our higher, eternal destiny and by bringing hope, comfort, and solace in times of despair.

Serve others. Work hard. Be kind, diligent, patient, forgiving, generous, courageous, compassionate. Bring hope and comfort to all you meet, and remember the end for which you and others were made. A good start towards living a respectful life, if you ask me!

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

Pax et bonum,

Karen Celano


Recent In-Person Days

A recent math tutoring session at one of our in-person days.

A recent math tutoring session at one of our in-person days.

One of our scholars completing a science project.

One of our scholars completing a science project.

We're grateful for our dedicated Lumen teachers and instructors!


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