Church Militant Visits St. Therese Academy

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by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  •  June 19, 2017   

Terri Raciti: "Catholic education is a mission; it's not a business"

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CHESTER, N.Y. ( - Saint Therese Academy, a small Catholic school in upstate New York invited Church Militant to attend their graduation ceremony Wednesday.

Michael Voris and crew had the honor of getting to know faculty and some 40 students, who attend this "Little Flower" located in the town of Chester. Classical education is presented to all students from kindergarten through grade 12.

Headmistress Terri Raciti told Church Militant that the Faith comes first at their school. "Passing on the Faith is the most important thing we can do. It addresses that you're not alone. It reinforces that we all have a mission, that we're all here to be better people and to help each other get to Heaven," she said.

Raciti shared the grassroots origin of the school with Mr. Voris. "We started as just a homeschool support group," she related. "And we decided to do the classical education, because I feel that is the true way. Eventually we transitioned into a full-time school, and now we're here in Chester."

What makes this place unique from secular schools, besides the Catholic faith, is their classical education program. "The curriculum is strictly classical, meaning no Common Core, no appeal to modern techniques of the education establishment that have proved themselves massive failures," said Raciti. "Here, there is actual reading and arithmetic and writing and most importantly, the Faith being interwoven into every aspect of the curriculum."

The schools offers the full gamut of standard subjects from math, science, English and history; but students aren't taught merely what to think but how to think said Raciti. "This way of teaching was how people used to be educated," said Raciti. "It was the way we were taught; it was the way our founding fathers were taught. It was the way our greatest thinkers were taught — St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine."

Most importantly, however, the Catholic faith is imparted to students here with the goal of getting them and their loved ones to Heaven. All of the subjects are related to and integrated with the Catholic faith. Raciti says going back to this classical norm is the future of Catholic education:

I fully believe that Catholic education is a mission; it's not a business, as a beautiful nun once said. We lost sight of the obligation to raise our children not only in the Catholic faith but to educate them Catholic. I don't understand why the schools would adopt a standardized curriculum when we have so much beauty right before us.

Watch the panel discuss grassroots efforts to restore religious schooling in The Download—Catholic Education Revolution.


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