Our Greatest Problem

by Mr. O'Connor

Happy Opening Day, but I’m actually not going to write about the greatest sport of all time; rather, today’s edition is about the greatest problem of our time (and maybe of all time).  According to many, including Pope Benedict XVI, the greatest problem of our time is relativism – the idea that objective truth, especially in the moral and religious realm, doesn’t exist, but the truth varies from person to person and culture to culture. 

Without necessarily naming the problem, Lourdes Classical seeks to combat this problem every single day, starting in pre-school!  But in 8th grade we spend a significant amount of time debunking this destructive philosophy (if you can call it that) in detail.  Given the relativistic air we breathe, I’ve found this unit to be the most important and fruitful one I teach.  We have no shortage of examples from the culture to show students before they start to excitedly find examples on their own almost daily.  Thanks to the classical education offered here, each year I find our students more and more “pre-disposed” to make mincemeat of relativistic thoughts, whether they are from the media or even a supreme court justice (sadly), and the unit takes less time to master each year.  It also sets the stage with a critical foundation for a fruitful study of Pope St. JP2’s “Theology of the Body.” 

The final assessment asks students to write an imaginary dialogue with a relativist.  Here are the first 2 pages of one 8th grader’s 4.5-page off-the-cuff answer: 

[I noticed the “tolerance” bracelet on her wrist and wanted to see if she knew what it actually meant.]

Me: I like your bracelet.  I see those everywhere but I don’t quite understand the point that they are trying to get across.  What’s your name?

Girl: Ali.  My sister and I got these a few months ago.  We both strongly agree that everyone should stop disagreeing with people and we would have a more peaceful world.

Me:  But isn’t the definition of tolerance “enduring actions you don’t agree with.”  So in order to be tolerant, don’t you have to disagree with the action?

Ali:  What makes that so true?  Who are you to judge whether or not a person is bad just because they can do what they want?

Me: [At that point I knew for sure she was a relativist.]  Agreed, we cannot judge a person’s soul, that’s only for God, but we can and must judge an action.

Ali: That’s not true! In fact, there is no absolute truth!

Me:  Do you believe this is true for everyone?

Ali: Yes! [She looked down, realizing what she had just said.]

Me: So what about 2 + 2?  Does it not equal 4?

Ali: Well, only scientifically verifiable statements are true.

Me: So in order for that statement to be right, it has to be scientifically verifiable.  Is it?...

Meet Mrs. Phillips

Hello, my name is Ann Phillips. I am the Fine Arts teacher here at Lourdes. I grew up in Central-West Texas and graduated college from Stephen F. Austin State University (East Texas) with a BFA in Fine Art, minor in Human Development; and a Master’s of Education from CSU. I am also a professional artist having shown various artwork around the Denver area since 2006. My mother was also an artist and sculptor and encouraged my creative gifts from an early age. Growing up in a Christian home in the rural west, I learned to appreciate the natural beauty that surrounded me with many excursions to the old family farm and camping trip to the San Juan mountains in the summers. My eyes, heart and mind were always open to see windows into His eternal creation around me and helped develop my artist style. 
I come to Lourdes with diverse educational experience. I have taught in Littleton Public Schools as a para-professional K-5th grade for seven years; and as a substitute teacher k-8th grade at Littleton Preparatory Charter School. I also taught Art 5th-9th grade through the Aurora Public Schools Option program. 
I love teaching real Art here at Lourdes with the classical curriculum. The wonderful staff, students, families, and parish community are amazing and so supportive. It is a joy to be able to integrate the Truth, Beauty, and Goodness of our faith with Art. For there is no other real basis to truly teach Art. We are made in the image of our Creator; therefore, we are made to create and reflect His Beauty, Truth, and Goodness to the world around us. As St. Teresa of Calcutta so wisely said “I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.” St. Francis echoes this reality saying “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.” 

 

 

 

Meet Our Music Teacher

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My name is Gudrun Fraser, and I have been the Performing Arts teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes since 2013.  I am from Salt Lake City and earned my Bachelor's in Piano Performance from the University of Utah.  After attending The Julliard School in New York, I concertized in Europe (Hochschule Hannover) for 2 years.  Upon my return to the States, I spent a year recording and performing various ballets for the Colorado Ballet, including Fiddler on the Roof and Annie.  I then worked as a music teacher in a Denver public school before getting married and starting a family.  At this time private lessons (piano, voice, and musical theater) became a better fit for our young family.  I am very proud of my students, some of whom have gone on to places such as the Peabody Conservatory, Boston School of Music, and the Denver School of Performing Arts.  One former student is a professional singer in England!

I came to Lourdes Classical in 2013 because I love our commitment to the arts.  It also allows me to write and direct (truly) Christmas plays.  I enjoy teaching music theory, history, choir, recorder, keyboard, guitar, and theater arts, all while integrating these lessons with what students are learning in other classes.

In my spare time I enjoy reading, golf, tennis, and NASCAR.

A Small Taste of Heaven

by Mr. O'Connor

On Wednesday we celebrated the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day).  Thousands of people honored and prayed for loved ones who have gone before them, offering Masses and visiting gravesites, praying for a completion of the purgation process and an end to their suffering with an eternal reward of heavenly glory.

One of the men who honored his father on this day is named Wayne Williams.  Mr. Williams drove from North Carolina to Indianapolis to spend a long evening at his father’s gravesite listening to the radio broadcast… of a baseball game.

A baseball game!  Of course, you know this wasn’t just any game.  This was Game 7 of the World Series, featuring a team whose loyal fans have suffered through more than a century-long purgatory.  And like no other sport, baseball gives us hope for eternity.  It is timeless (no clock) and eternal (without boundaries).  The battle’s object is to navigate an adventurous path filled with perils and dangers, but not without its zones of consoling safety, all to successfully reach the place for which we were made:  home.  The goal is also to help your brothers make it home, even if it means sacrificing yourself.

On the same day the postseason started, the Vatican opened the first Global Conference on Sport and Faith.  In his opening address, Pope Francis said, “Sport is a human activity of great value, able to enrich people’s lives.”  This echoes Bishop Carlo Mazza’s introduction to his summary of the Church’s teaching on sport: “The Church recognizes the role that sport can play in perfecting the human person with its potential to moderate human instinct and its capacity to gather people together towards a common goal, promoting fellowship, solidarity, and peace…”

A young Mr. O'Connor with his dad.

A young Mr. O'Connor with his dad.

Oh my, this game on Wednesday “gathered people together” alright.  Days afterwards people are still gathering along the outside brick wall of Wrigley Field and chalking the names of loved ones with whom they weren’t able to experience this game.  I can relate to this emotion.  Before the game I had to call my 92-year-old grandmother.  She expected the call and had to tell me how worried she was that the nursing home staff would try to make her go to bed before the end of the game.  I also had to text my hometown buddies to tell them how much I wished we were able to watch this one together.  After the final out, my wife and I shared a time-freezing glance of ecstatic shock before hugging and all three of us leapt for joy (including the baby - maybe we should call him John?).  A few minutes later I looked at my ringing phone and read the words “Call from Dad,” and the floodgates opened.  I answered but could not say a word.

Why?  What causes such joy and emotion?  What causes a man to drive 600 miles to listen at his dad’s gravesite to the 4-hour live report of a bunch of men wearing baby bears on their shirts while trying to hit a yarn-wrapped cork stitched together with cowhide?  It’s about relationship.  This glorious victory was beyond emotional because of the human bonds that had been formed, in part, by a lifetime of disappointment and heartbreak over a failed “common goal”.  It’s about the solidarity we feel with fellow humans.  And this is what we’re made for!  We’re made in the image of God, and God is a Triune relationship of love and communion.

Decades later celebrating a World Series Game 2 victory.

Decades later celebrating a World Series Game 2 victory.

Even though our culture’s obsession with sports can sometimes twist the soul into an unhealthy disorder.  I think the root of this passion is a desire to experience communion.  Because to do so is to experience a glimpse of heaven.  Not a single Cubs fan wanted to watch that game alone.  May this passion inspire us all to hunger and thirst for the fullness of communion and a humanity fully alive, which is possible only through Jesus Christ.

The Chicago Cubs Baseball Club has taught several generations of fans powerful lessons in loyalty and perseverance.  On Wednesday millions of the long-suffering faithful were granted a taste of heavenly glory.  It finally happened!  And of course it happened on All Souls’ Day.

Our 4th Grade Teacher

My name is Mary Defilippis. I have been teaching 4th grade since 2011. After I graduated from University of Dallas, I began teaching in San Diego, CA. I taught at a small, Catholic academy for three years, after which I decided to move closer to family in Denver. I was then hired as the 4th grade teacher at Lourdes in 2014 and couldn’t be happier. I have found the home and community I have longed for here at Lourdes, among the parish, faculty and staff. The classical curriculum at Lourdes draws out what is innate in the students and the teachers: the Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of Christ. I am grateful to be at a school where the heart and mind are nourished together, for as Aristotle says, “Education of the mind without education of the heart is no education at all.”

Meet Mr. Beach

My name is Andrew Beach and this is my second year teaching at Our Lady of Lourdes. Along with teaching Physical Education and serving as the Athletic Director, I am excited to also be in the classroom teaching History for the 6th and 8th grade this year. 


A little about myself… I am a true Colorado native! I grew up in Morrison, just outside of Denver, and spent much of my early life hiking trails, skiing, and climbing. I developed an avid love for sports, and particularly for our home teams here in Denver. Within the first 12 years of my life the Avalanche won two Stanley Cups and the Broncos two Super Bowls. To say the least, I thought I was living in a sports Mecca! And even though the Rockies weren’t winning a whole lot, at least we had the Blake Street Bombers! 


Beyond sports, I developed a love for books and learning. From an early age my parents instilled this love of learning within me; to seek and desire the truth was of the highest priority in our household. I credit much of my call to the teaching vocation to this wonderful gift given to me by my parents, both of whom are teachers themselves. I have loved seeing a similar spirit within our families here at Lourdes, who seem to understand and inculcate an environment of learning within the home that is then capable of being further nurtured in the classroom.  


As for my own schooling, after graduating from D’Evelyn High School, I went on to study Economics and Philosophy at the University of Colorado, Boulder. I continued on from there to pursue an M.A. in Theology from the Augustine Institute, graduating in 2016. 


From the second I heard about Lourdes and all that is going on here in terms of its Classical education, I knew it was the school where I wanted to teach. I was also excited to be part of a community where faith and true Catholic identity and culture is placed at the very center of the school’s mission. G.K. Chesterton once said that “a dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.” I find Lourdes to be a community that exemplifies this fine quote. We live in a society that has largely lost its way.  Our secular culture tries its hardest to conform all to its distorted and self-seeking manners. And for many it is the easiest thing to do just that – to conform. But Christ calls us to go against the stream - “Do not be conformed by the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rom 12:2). To live for Christ is a truly radical thing! Lourdes exemplifies this. It is because of this that I am so glad to be a part of such an alive community of faith and have been so blessed to be able to be a part of the faculty here. 

 

Meet Mr. O'Connor

I have been so blessed to serve as the Vice Principal and Middle School Theology Teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes since 2013.  My path to this calling has been quite unconventional!  I am originally from Herscher, IL, a small town south of Chicago.  After earning my Bachelor’s in Accounting from Illinois State and working for Caterpillar, Inc., I earned an MBA from the University of Notre Dame and worked there as an internal auditor.  It was at this time when God called me to the vocation of teaching.  I switched careers by earning my Master’s in Education through Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education program.  I taught in Los Angeles and Guatemala City before moving to the Archdiocese of Denver in 2007.

Over time, I became disillusioned with the modern approach to education, and I prayed for answers.  The Holy Spirit, through a suggestion from a wise priest, pointed me toward the answer:  classical education.  The more I learned about it, the more I found an approach - in its purpose, its content, and its methods - that aligned with the truth about the human person.  I quickly became convinced that this is the vision described by the Church documents on education.  I felt God calling me to administration, preferably at a classical school, while I begged Him to let me keep one foot in a Catholic theology classroom.  My prayers were answered in 2013 when I joined Lourdes Classical, where training students in the liberating arts of truth perception centers on the only logos big enough to integrate the whole of reality:  Jesus Christ.

I believe Catholic classical education is the powerful antidote needed to counter our culture's rejection of reality.  The truth is on trial and authentic humanity is under attack.  Our students must be prepared to "give an account for the hope that is in them" (1Pet. 3:15), to spread what is objectively true, beautiful, and good, and to recognize and expose what is not.  So while we must teach the authentic Doctrines of the faith and the love story that is Scripture, we must partner this faith with reason, which allows students to dive ever more deeply into the revealed mysteries of the world, to unpack their implications, and to carry out their logical conclusions.  Strong Catholics of conviction will foster a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and the development of virtue, which sets us free to love God and neighbor.  May God give us this grace!

Beyond my day job, I enjoy the adventures of married life.  My wife and I have been blessed with four sons so far, and we have taught marriage preparation classes since 2012.  I am also a 2013 graduate of the Denver Catholic Biblical School.  My love for evangelization and sports have merged into a new ministry called Frassati Sports & Adventure, where I work to form strong male disciples of Jesus Christ.

I enjoy adventures in the mountains, especially skiing and hiking.  I am also a connoisseur of books, peanut butter M&M's, roller coasters, Major League Baseball stadiums (having attended a game in 30 different ballparks so far), amateur video production, all-things Catholic and most-things Chicago (including the pizza, Italian beef, and hot dogs; NOT including the White Sox!).  

Magistra Bauman

Salvete! I’m Miss Bauman - I teach Language (Latin for grades 1- 8 and English for Middle School) at Our Lady of Lourdes. I grew up in Englewood, attending St. Louis Catholic Elementary School and Bishop Machebeuf High School, and graduated from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas with a major in Theology and accompanying minor in Classical Languages. When I heard about Lourdes in 2013 and came to visit the school, I fell in love with the classical program and the mission of the school. It was evident to me at the end of that short visit that within these walls children are being formed in a coherent manner that not only addresses the entirety of their persons - it calls them on to be the best human beings, the best saints they can be in every aspect of daily life. A vision this cohesive and this vibrantly lived out was something I had never encountered in any other academic setting, and I was deeply struck by a strong desire to work in a place like this. Two years later, God offered an opportunity I had not dreamed would come so quickly, and I began teaching in the Middle School, where I am able to combine my love of teaching (and learning from the students) with one of my favorite hobbies-gone-somewhat-out-of-hand: Latin. My time here has thus far been highly blessed - the students bring me joy every day with their smiles, their questions, and their natural inquisitiveness, and my colleagues call me to constantly strive to deepen my own relationship with Jesus, in order that I might be able to say that I am doing His work, not my own.

In my “free” time outside of the Lourdes classrooms, I enjoy hiking, cycling, playing with my three little nephews, studying languages, and spending time with the homeless with Christ in the City.

Meet Miss Mason!

My name is Kathleen Mason and I was born and raised in Gallup, NM. I attended Franciscan University where I got a degree in Early Childhood Education. For two years I taught second and third grade in Gallup, NM. After teaching in Gallup, I moved down to Phoenix to teach first grade at a classical charter school. I have been at Our Lady of Lourdes since 2012. 

When starting out teaching, I was thrown into a classroom and given textbooks and told to teach. Two weeks in, I realized that the students were bored with the material, they were not being taught to think, and the curriculum weren't infused with Christ. I threw out the textbooks, all I was taught about education in college, and started looking for a way to teach children that would educate the heart and mind, filling them with knowledge while simultaneously cultivating virtue. These principles are what I found at the heart of a classical education. 

Classical education is focused on the True, Good, and Beautiful. These transcendentals show up in the study of language, poetry, mathematics, history, and science. These subjects open the student up to wonder about the world before them. The best thing about a Catholic classical education is that Christ is the Truth that connects all of these truths together. The study of religion is not simply learning the catechism but learning about the beauty and order of the human body in science, the religious desires and life of those in Ancient Egypt in history, the truth of mathematical principles, and so on in every subjects. All truths are connected to Christ, the Truth. 

Miss Mason leads her Trivia Bowl team, the "Edith Einsteins".

Miss Mason leads her Trivia Bowl team, the "Edith Einsteins".


Classical education also effects my self understanding as a teacher. While, I want every student to love to learn and have a disposition of gratitude towards the gifts of our western tradition. My goal as a teacher is to open the child’s eyes to the beauty around them, to model good, to help them always strive for virtue, and to help them seek the truth in learning. I like to think of teaching as giving a child as many tools as possible and taking them to the top of a mountain and letting them go free. It doesn’t matter if they use those tools to be a grocer or get a PHD. I just hope I have helped instill in them virtue, a love of learning, and a joy and love for Christ.

Meet our Kindergarten Teacher

Miss Tina Dam

Miss Tina Dam

I grew up locally here in Denver and went to nearby schools all the way up to college. I attended the University of Denver, where I received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Education with minors in Art and Sociology. My initial experiences in teaching started in a local Public School for three years which included student teaching in Kindergarten before I started teaching at Lourdes.. 

I was first introduced to Classical education when I was starting my studies at the Augustine Institute while discussing the challenges of modern education with a professor when he promptly encouraged me to look into Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Classical School. The following four years I have been blessed to be a part of the team at OLOL. In my first year here I was the PK-8 Art teacher and have been the Kindergarten teacher for the following three years. 

I find great trust in how Lourdes affirms parents' role as being the primary educators and is a school dedicated to forming saints! I love that our school is not about segregation of the subjects but developing an understanding that all subjects are deeply interconnected in God’s great design. Scripture tells us that we are to love God with our whole hearts, minds, and souls, I believe this is also how classical education approaches the child--the formation of the whole person. In the Kindergarten classroom we are no strangers to the recitation of poetry, discovery in God’s creation through nature studies, and the immersion of fables and classic fairytales that incite the the moral imagination that takes a first look at goodness, beauty, and the virtues. 

I am blessed to teach at Our Lady of Lourdes, and am excited to see how God continues to bless and nourish our school and community, may all the glory be to Him! 

The Power of the Mass

As the school year winds down we’ve been thinking about what an amazing year it has been.  One of the most powerful things about this year has been our experience with the new middle school Mass schedule.  This year we were able to shift the schedule around in such a way that allowed our students to attend Mass 4 days per week (instead of 2) while not taking away from classroom time. 

The response and outpouring of grace has been overwhelming!  The commitment to liturgical formation has created a tremendous buzz and excitement with so many families here and around the Archdiocese.  So many of our new families, enrolling both mid-year and for next Fall, have said that the Mass schedule was a big reason why they chose Lourdes Classical! 

            And the students?  Survey says?  92% of our middle schoolers like the change!  That’s higher than we expected.  That number was probably lower at the beginning of the year, but how beautiful it is that almost all of our students have come to appreciate the opportunity to attend daily. 

Check out a sample of quotes:

“I think the increase in Mass helps us get closer to Jesus.”  -7th Grader

“At the beginning of the year I struggled with that feeling that you know you should go but you still cling to your old way of being.  But since we learned about the Passover I actually feel very refreshed and ready to start the day!”  -6th Grader

 “I think that going to Mass 4 times a week really shows that we are a Catholic school.”  -8th Grader

“We have a church right next door, so really there’s no excuse for not doing so.”  -8th Grader

“Since the Crucifixion is made present during Mass, it is an amazing gift to go to Mass this often.”  -6th Grader

“I think the increased Mass schedule raised general awareness of God’s presence and importance in our lives.  It can be a pain sometimes, but that’s a feeling born of human imperfection.  After a while it became part of our routine, and I hardly remember it not being like this. Going to Mass daily is a good habit to get into.”  -8th Grader

“Daily Mass should be in schools everywhere.”  -8th Grader

“I wish we went to Mass 5 times a week.”  -6th Grader

“I wasn’t very hyped about going to Mass almost every day, but now I’ve adjusted to it and I rather enjoy it.”  -8th Grader

“None of the Saints went to Mass only once or twice a week.  They went as much as they could!”  -8th Grader

“It’s wonderful to be able to go to Mass daily this year… Mass has been different for me ever since I learned about the 4th Cup and anamnesis.” -7th Grader

“The Mass schedule helps me to better pay attention to everything about the Eucharist… I think it is better for us because we get to hear Fr. Brian’s homilies.” -7th Grader

“I haven’t gone to this school long, but I love how many times a week we go to Mass.  I feel way more connected to God.”  -7th Grader

  Amen!!  

 

Opening Day!

by Mr. O'Connor

As we look East to the Risen Son and beautiful weather sets in, hope springs eternal! 

One sign of this hopeful season for me is always Opening Day of the baseball season.  No, not because my Cubs are always the favorites to win the World Series (although that is indeed the case this year, just sayin’).  For me baseball and the Easter Season is a perfect match.  Both point to eternity.  Easter for obvious reasons, but baseball is the only sport not modeled after war.  It’s timeless and boundless (no clocks, with an endless field of play).  The goal is not to conquer the enemy’s territory, but to go on an adventure and make it home. 

I enjoy many sports, but something is different about baseball.  I’ve attend games in the home stadium of 27 of the 30 MLB teams.  In 2000, my dad and I took the ultimate father-son vacation, attending 9 games in 8 different ballparks in 10 days, plus visited the Hall of Fame.  On Father’s Day we enjoyed a silent game of catch in the (old) Yankee Stadium parking lot with giddy grins on our faces and tears in our eyes, with no need to speak of a bond forged in our backyard ballpark dreaming of such an occasion.  Baseball and other sports helped give us a strong relationship, and a strong relationship led us to God.  For the Trinitarian God is a relationship Himself.  We are made in the image of God; therefore, we are made for relationship.

It’s safe to say sport is popular in America today, but unfortunately its eternal power is usually missed or even worse, reversed, especially when it comes to youth sports.  Sport will train our youth for eternity, but whether that means heaven or hell depends on how it’s directed. 

Last week I spent 3 days of my spring break in Cincinnati learning how to direct sports towards heaven.  I attended the first ever SportsLeader Catholic Sports Ministry Conference.  The keynote address was given by Dr. Santiago Perez, Head of the Vatican’s Office of Church and Sport (pictured with me at right).  Yes, this office exists!  Does the Church care about sports?  Pope Pius XII asked, “How can the Church not be interested in sport?” 

With Bishop Thomas "The Holy Goalie" Paprocki

With Bishop Thomas "The Holy Goalie" Paprocki

In the first century St. Paul addressed a culture obsessed with sports in Corinth, and compared the athletic life with the Christian life.  He knew it was a natural fit.  Fortitude, perseverance, sacrifice, solidarity, justice, etc. are needed for both the victory of the trophy and the victory of heaven.

Most often, coaches (myself included) don’t even come close to harnessing one of the most powerful evangelization and relationship building tools at our disposal.  We must do more than simply reject bad sportsmanship and cheating.  Even if coaches foster bland secular values but don’t ever mention Jesus Christ, we perpetuate the distortion in our players’ minds that separates general and religious culture.  And we must be systematic in our cultivation of virtue (not “values”). 

This conference reinvigorated my passion for infusing sports with the Gospel and gave me lots of new ideas.  Mr. Beach and I look forward to strengthening the Lions’ Den beyond “Play Like a Champion.”  May God give us this grace.

And may this historic 2016 Cubs season give my sons and I plenty of opportunities to bond and be drawn to eternity!   

Meet Miss D!

Montessori PreK Aide, Miss Annie DeLine

Montessori PreK Aide, Miss Annie DeLine

Hi, I'm Miss D or Miss DeLine. I am a Denver native and I am the oldest of eight children. I have 38 nieces and nephews that keep me busy and traveling all over the country. I have a B.A. in Education from Benedictine College and a Minor in Psychology. I was a High School Volleyball Coach in D.P.S. for 18 years, and I owned a family-run retail flower shop dedicated to St. Therese, the Little Flower for the past 20 years. I finally realized that I really missed kids, so I came back to teach, and boy am I glad I did! Being here at Lourdes these past few years have taught me how precious these little souls are, and what they will be facing in our ever-growing and challenging world. OLOL is a community of teachers, staff, parents, and families, that really care about each other and their faith. The Eighth-graders know the Pre-K and vice versa because we are Mass buddies. Every day I love coming to work because our kids are in love with the Lord and are so unique, and our staff is united in Christ. An added treat is when we do our Lions Showcase and the students do their poems. I feel so blessed to be here.

Meet our 3rd Grade Teacher

Hello! My name is Amanda Hicks, and I am thrilled to be teaching at Our Lady of Lourdes. Attending Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Denver from Kindergarten through high school set such a positive influence in my life, and I am blessed to be a part of Catholic Education as a teacher. After studying Elementary Education at Saint Louis University and serving as a catechist through the Totus Tuus program for the Archdiocese of Denver, I completed my Colorado teacher license and began taking classes at the Augustine Institute. Before teaching at Lourdes, I learned about Our Lady’s beautiful message of healing by traveling to Lourdes, France with a group of infirm pilgrims. When I began teaching at Lourdes I was impressed with how the mission of Our Lady leading the world to Her Son permeated the school! Teaching at Lourdes the past three years has provided a beautiful opportunity to encounter Christ with my students; in pursuing truth, goodness, and beauty in the classroom, and praying as a community at Holy Mass, class Rosaries, Eucharistic Adoration, and serving in our community. I enjoy sharing with students my love of being outdoors, crafting, cooking, and sewing. It is an incredible and humbling experience to be there with my students during those “light bulb” moments, whether it be in mastering our multiplication tables, observing nature, reading the Chronicles of Narnia together, or learning about the promises of Christ. I am immensely blessed to teach in a school where we can immerse ourselves in the life of the Church and the beauty of His creation here in Colorado!

Classical Math?

After learning the theory of classical education, people often wonder how this applies to subjects like math.  We thought we'd share some thoughts on the study of mathematics from the President of Thomas Aquinas College.  This captures well what we are trying to do as a classical school.

“If we want to change the world, we should begin with mathematics. I do not mean we should begin with the things that mathematics can do, though our daily lives are undoubtedly influenced by the achievements of engineers, physicists, and others whose work depends on math. I am speaking about deeper changes - changes not in the patterns of our environment but in the patterns of our thoughts - and about what mathematics IS, rather than about what it can do... Some people are surprised by such an emphasis on mathematics in a College devoted to the liberal arts - and some students certainly find the requirements daunting. But these classes are also occasions of great satisfaction, and often even of joy.
Last spring, one of our students reflected on freshman mathematics: ‘It was in this class that I experienced the inexpressible joy of knowing something with absolute certainty and clarity. This class above all gave me confidence that the truth is something that can be found and understood.’
Society today deals more in emotion than in fact. For many people, ‘truth’ is whatever you wish it to be - a combination of emotion and desire. The idea that truth exists as something eternal and independent of feelings has largely been lost.
Properly taught, mathematics can help us to recover an understanding of universal and objective truth... A proper method of instruction is key. The simple memorization of equations and formulae can create a belief that mathematics is purely utilitarian, that we use a given formula because it ‘works.’ By contrast, the College guides our students from first principles through the steps needed to derive these equations for themselves. They come to know not just the formula itself, but the reasons behind it...
Once learned, those skills go beyond mathematics. We send our graduates out into the world well equipped to ‘figure out what things are.’ In doing so, they remind the world that we need to make our choices based on what things are, rather than on what we wish them to be.”
— Dr. Michael F. McLean, President, Thomas Aquinas College

Meet Miss Brown

Hello! My name is Miss Brown, and I am the middle school Math and Science teacher here at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Classical School. I grew up in Maryland, on the west coast of the Chesapeake Bay, where my enthusiasm for astronomy, marine life and mathematics started. I fell in love with the classical curriculum when I was 18 and attended Thomas Aquinas College (a Classical Liberal Arts college) in Santa Paula, CA where I earned a Bachelor of Arts in the Liberal Arts. Since then, I have worked Financial Aid and Admissions at the college level. I have taught first communion class, discerned a religious vocation for a few years, and worked for religious sisters as a healthcare receptionist and an assistant in a retreat house. I have been teaching here at Our Lady of Lourdes since 2014, and I love it!

It is a privilege to be here, not only because I sincerely strive for the goals of classical education – seeking the true, the good and the beautiful, but because Lourdes is a wonderful community of faith where we are all striving to be holy. I love my students! We all work hard and excel in Math and Science, but we also know how to have fun, and to think about things deeply. I have found that I can offer my own experiences of the joys and sorrows of Mathematics, but also of my own life. I love my Catholic faith, I like to read, to ask questions, go night sky watching, fishing, crabbing, ice skating, and on occasion, encounter strange creatures in the wild, such as moose, whales, and mountain lions. When we talk about science, we also ask questions like, “What does it mean to be a man? How is that different from an animal? Why do we have senses? Why do we need the periodic table? Why do volcanoes erupt?” We must always be looking for ways to grow in the truth, and in a greater appreciation for the gifts God has given us. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to guide my students’ search for knowledge at Our Lady of Lourdes!

Meet our 2nd Grade Teacher

Miss Morgan McGinn

Miss Morgan McGinn

I grew up on the Eastern plains of Colorado in a little town called Elizabeth. We’re really proud of our yearly small town rodeo and the two stoplights in town. When I graduated high school I moved up to Greeley, Colorado to attend the University of Northern Colorado. I began my time in college studying music and theater; however I discovered my love for teaching and graduated with an elementary education degree with an emphasis in history. I still enjoy music and theater very much; and need to pick up my violin more often! After graduation I accepted a job with FOCUS (the Fellowship of Catholic University Students) and worked with them for three years. I served for our East Coast region in Washington D.C. as an administrative assistant and as an on-campus missionary at Ramapo College in New Jersey and back at my alma mater, UNC. My time with FOCUS was very blessed and I am grateful for the time I spent as a missionary. As my time with FOCUS drew to a close I was excited to finally pursue a career in education. I received my professional teaching license through the state of Colorado and began pursuing a Master’s Degree in theology from the Augustine Institute. Now, five years later I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else! Not only do I have the chance to share my love of the Catholic faith with my students but also my love for history, reading (especially the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder), and tea through monthly tea parties. Every day I am allowed to immerse myself in the mystery of discovering truth, beauty and goodness alongside my students. There is no greater joy than seeing their little faces light up while learning something new. I am honored to be the second grade teacher at such a lovely school. The Lord is doing great things and it is a blessing to be a part of the wonderful community found here at Our Lady of Lourdes!

 

Meet Mrs. Heule

Hello! My name is Erin Heule. I am the middle school Literature and 7th grade History teacher at Lourdes Classical. Although I consider myself a proud Colorado “semi-native,” I was born in the Chicago area. I am a graduate of Regis Jesuit High School (’10) and Gonzaga University (’14) in Spokane, Washington. In my college years, I felt called to teaching but I was disheartened by modern movements in public education. I began my career search in Denver and was blessed to find Our Lady of Lourdes! I was drawn to the educational mission at Lourdes, which encourages students to seek an intimate relationship with the Truth in all areas of study. As I begin my third year at Lourdes, I have come to appreciate the unique mission of classical education more fully: and continue to enjoy learning more! I am particularly excited to be a part of the CiRCE Apprenticeship, a three-year program dedicated to exploring classic literature and classical pedagogy. In my time outside of the classroom, I enjoy reading; training for half and full marathons with my sister, Megan; seeing the sights near and far with my husband, John; and exchanging funny faces with my little girl, Martha! 

Choir Rocks the Pepsi Center

For the second year in a row, our choir was invited to sing the National Anthem at the Denver Nuggets game.  On December 20, the Nuggets hosted its second "Catholic Schools Night," providing discounted tickets to Catholic families for their game against the New Orleans Pelicans.  The number of compliments received by the Nuggets last year compelled them to invite us back.  Congratulations to Mrs. Fraser and our students on a job well done!