Every mother and every father is a teacher. How important it is to have enthusiasm for this noble profession, in spite of the bumps, which inevitably follow our instructing footsteps.

What a legacy we leave behind!

This book was written at the turn of the 20th century for Catholic teaching nuns. It is called The Catholic Teacher’s Companion  – A book of Inspiration and Self-Help by Rev. Felix M. Kirsch, O.M.C. (1924). The lessons between the covers are valuable for parents, educators and all who work with children.


Our teachers may derive inspiration from the prize essay on this subject written by Mr. John Dixon, school superintendent of Columbus, Wisconsin:

“I like teaching because I like boys and girls, because I delight in having them about me, in talking with them, working with them, and in possessing their confidence and affection.

“I like teaching because the teacher works in an atmosphere of idealism, dealing with soul and heart, with ideas and ideals.

“I like teaching because of the large freedom it gives. There is abundance of room for original planning and initiative in the conduct of the work itself, and an unusual time margin of evenings, weekends, and vacations in which to extend one’s interests, personal and professional.

“I like teaching because the relation of teacher to learner in whatever capacity is one of the most interesting and delightful in the world.

Teaching is attractive because it i-poses a minimum of drudgery. Its day is not too long, and is so broken by intermissions, and so varied in its schedule of duties, as to exclude undue weariness or monotony. The program of each school-day is a new and interesting adventure.

“Teaching invites to constant growth and improvement. The teacher is in daily contact with books, magazines, and libraries, and all the most vital forces of thought and leadership, social and educational.

It is work that stimulates ambition and enhances personal worth. There is no greater developer of character to be found.

Also, teaching includes a wide range of positions and interests, extending from kindergarten to university, covering every section where schools are maintained and embracing every variety of effort, whether academic, artistic, industrial, commercial, agricultural or professional.

“There is no work in which men and women engage which more directly and fundamentally serves society and the state.

Teaching is the biggest and best profession in the state because it creates and molds the nation’s citizenship. It is the very foundation and mainstay of the national life.

“The true teacher is, and may well be, proud of the title, for his work is akin to that of the Master Builder, the creation of a temple not made with hands.”

In the following poem Mr. Louis Burton Woodward answers a question frequently asked but seldom as beautifully answered:


Because I would be young in soul and mind

Though years must pass and age my life constrain,

And I have found no way to lag behind

The fleeting years, save by the magic chain

That binds me, youthful, to the youth I love,

I teach.

Because I would be wise and wisdom find

From millions gone before whose torch I pass,

Still burning bright to light the paths that wind

So steep and rugged, for each lad and lass

Slow-climbing to the Heights above,

I teach.

Because in passing on the living flame

That ever brighter burns the ages through,

I have done service that is worth the name

Can I but say, “The flame of knowledge grew

A little brighter in the hands I taught,”

I teach.

Because I know that when life’s end I reach

And thence pass through the gates so wide and deep

To what I do not know, save what priests teach,

That the remembrance of me men will keep

Is what I’ve done; and what I have is naught,

I teach.

To preserve and increase her first love for teaching the Sister must be on her guard lest her interest in her work be based on other than idealistic grounds.

It is only with an enthusiasm based upon these grounds that she will be able to bear the thousand disappointments that every teacher is heir to.

But with an abiding love for teacher all labor will be light: Ubi amatur, non laboratur; aut si laboratur, labor amatur—”Where there is love, there is no labor; or if there be labor, it will be a labor of love.”

The teacher imbued with deep-seated enthusiasm for her profession will not think of the school-room as a field to work in, but as a force to work with.

“The study of Religion should be a regular part of the curriculum and taught just as thoroughly as Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and other subjects.

The child gains a deep and reverent understanding of the principles of his faith, and practicing his religion becomes second nature to him.

Parents who believe that Sunday School instruction is adequate for a religious education would protest vigorously if their child were instructed only one hour each week in geography, history or some other subject of considerably less importance in the long view.” -Fr. George Kelly, Catholic Family Handbook https://amzn.to/2ovgHpU (afflink)

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Drawing on the experience of dozens of saints, Fr. Plus explains sure ways we can recollect ourselves before prayer so that once we begin to pray, our prayers will be richer and more productive; he teaches us how to practice interior silence habitually, even in the rush and noise of the world; and he explains each of the kinds of prayer and shows when we should and should not employ each.

We all pray, but few of us pray well. And although that’s troubling, few of us have found a spiritual director capable of leading us further along the path of prayer.

Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., is such a director, and reading this little book about the four types of prayer will be for you like hearing the voice of the wise and gentle counsellor you long for but can’t find: one who knows your soul well and understands its needs.

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