Faith » Education in Virtue

Education in Virtue

I plead with you -- never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.” // Pope St. John Paul II 


Suppose for a moment that someone approaches you and asks you this question: ‘ Why do you send your child to McGill-Toolen?’  The first and most obvious answer you might give is that you want your child to receive an excellent education.  But now suppose that this imaginary interlocutor is a bit impertinent, and pushes you to answer a further question: Why do you want an education for him or her?


At this point, you might, with a little irritation, point out that the answer is obvious – you want your child to be prepared for college.  And why college? Because college will give a person a chance to acquire the training and contacts necessary to be successful in the pursuit of a career, in earning a living.


Does such a pragmatic goal for education adequately convey what you want for your children from McGill-Toolen?  I would suggest that you want more, something much greater and deeper. You rightly expect us to lead your child not just to college and a career, but to Jesus Christ, who is the ‘Way, the Truth, and the Life’.  We exist, not just to help young men and women in earning a living, but in finding a life, the only life that truly matters, the life of Beatitude as taught by Jesus.


In the 2021-22 year, we  introduced a new pedagogical element to our daily activities – Education in Virtue.  And we have continued to build on it each  year.   It is a plan of formation first developed by the Dominican Sisters in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and it gives teachers the resources they need to guide students to learn about the virtues which lead to lasting happiness.  A person can only be truly happy by learning to be truly good, and that means learning to be just, prudent, temperate, and brave, habits which are inspired and strengthened by faith in God’s Word, hope in His promises, and, most important, the fire of His love.




What is virtue? 


A virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.” CCC 1803 

The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God. — St Gregory of Nyssa 



What are our goals with Education in Virtue?

  • Embody our Mission in Catholic Education: To grow as individuals and as a school community in the life of virtue and ultimately to become like Christ and to become Saints
  • To show students that the happiness which they desire is found in the virtuous life — fulfilled in God 
  • To build up a culture of virtuous living within our school community that spreads out into the world, that when others encounter us they might encounter the Lord
  • For all of us to move from vice to virtue — the end of the virtuous life is to be like God, so not ending at: “doing the good” but further “desiring to do the good”