Aimed initially at ages 6-11 years in Chicago, it will offer a radically new form of education, that reaches back to the classical tradition in a way not seen in modern times. It will offer a formation in beauty and instill an ethos of creativity and the motivation to contribute to society in pursuit of their personal vocation.
Dostoevsky wrote famously, "Beauty will save the world." But can it save Catholic education? The answer is yes! in the opinion of Michael and Kelly Sullivan who are creating The Sanctuary Academy in Chicago. I was excited recently when they contacted met to ask for advice in incorporating the principles of education on those described in the Way of Beauty into the school they are founding for students aged 6-11 years. Michael and Kelly are inspired also by another book, published last year by Angelico Press and written by Dr Ryan Topping. It is called, the Case for a Catholic Education:
As Ryan has pointed out, we are in a crisis of Catholic education. Our educational form has aped the public school industrial model of education with only marginal better testing outcomes, and disastrous results when it comes to faith engagement. The Church is losing 70% of its young people to apostasy and the remaining 30% are only nominally Catholic according to a recent study. We are living with the fruits of what Bishop Baron has called "beige Catholicism" where atheists and agnostics know our faith better than we do.
One response to this problem is The Sanctuary Academy, and they need your help.
The Sanctuary Academy is a new model of Catholic education that is combining The Acton Academy in Austin, TX with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and The Way of Beauty (inspired by my book). The Acton Academy model has come out the Acton Institute and is a model that aims at promoting the values that will form the children so that they are able to contribute to society creatively. The Sanctuary Academy is working within the Acton model, but is adding an additional Catholic element that seeks to direct the students to the end of all Catholic education - supernatural transformation in Christ through a liturgically centered piety.
The Big Idea is that when children are free to pursue their own interests they will have accelerated learning and become lifelong learners in pursuit of the work God has called them to fulfill in His Kingdom. What children need alongside this ordered freedom is a culture of encounter, love and Beauty.
The Sanctuary Academy is seeking to form "world changers" to change the world through their encounter with the World Changer Himself.
How do I know about this new effort? I know the founders and am was honored to be asked to serve on the advisory board for The Sanctuary Academy.
What they need now though, is your help. They must quickly raise funds to pay for the remaining $9,000 of the $10,000 licensing fee for the Acton Academy materials. They are on their way and with your help will get there.
You can hear a bit more about the project here and donate to their crowdfunder, here
More on The Sanctuary Academy to come!