As I mentioned in January, this year my monthly letter will highlight some interesting stories about the Jesuits and their work across Canada. Last month, I wrote about the Jesuits of Pickering. This month, I want to share something about Mother Teresa Middle School, (MTMS), in Regina, Saskatchewan.
MTMS is a Jesuit, Nativity-modelled school that serves students living in poverty. The school educates students from grades 6-8 and then continues to journey with them via a specialized Graduate Support Team that provides much needed coaching, advocacy and supports through high school and post-secondary, up to employment. The school’s mission is to break the cycle of generational poverty for students and their philosophy is built on the Jesuit cura personalis or care for the whole person. In this case, the school tends to students’ intellectual, social, physical, spiritual and emotional needs.
One example of this is finding ways for students to experience and explore their Indigenous culture. Here, Indigenous traditions and spiritual practices are infused and woven into the overall curriculum at MTMS. While the medium of delivery has changed during COVID-19, students have been afforded the opportunity to celebrate and honour their diversity. Students have been participating in Virtual Mindful Beading Sessions, once a week, under the guidance of local artists Lorne Kequahtooway and Joely Big-Eagle Kequahtooway. These sessions are rooted in traditional Indigenous spirituality as well as the artistic, linguistic, and cultural history.
Cultural Hour also occurs school wide, on a weekly basis, and is led by MTMS Cultural Liaison, Evan Whitestar, who is an Oskâpêwis (elder’s helper). These sessions provide a space for knowledge sharing and teachings that emphasize the spiritual connection to Mother Earth and our relationships with one another – a timely message as our experiences with COVID-19 have demonstrated that we are closely linked to each other as well as the planet.
The Jesuits are grateful for your continued and generous support and pray for you daily. None of the good works happening in the Province of Canada would be possible without you.
Take care and stay safe,
Barry J. Leidl