An independent Catholic school for young women in grades 7-12

theology

The Theology Department seeks to provide all students with mission-based instruction emphasizing the development of the intellectual tools that will enhance understanding of the Catholic faith.  By learning about Jesus Christ and the implications of relationship with Him, by gaining in understanding of God’s saving plan and their own sanctification, and by growing in knowledge about the Church and its teaching, students grow in their capacity for moral decision making, and can deepen their own personal faith.  Rooted in the Ursuline community’s commitment to service, students learn to recognize the call “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” and how to act in accordance with principles of Catholic social teaching.
 

 

Theology Classes

Theology 7

This year-long survey course, “Introduction to Jesus, Scripture, and the Church,” provides seventh grade students with a foundation for understanding Catholicism and Ursuline spirituality, while also emphasizing growth in the skills of reading, writing, and conversation.  The year will begin with studying the life of St. Angela Merici and the history of the Ursuline Sisters.  Students will discover how the story of St. Angela intersects with their own lives as members of this school and faith community.  Students will also learn the fundamentals of the Catholic faith, including the Holy Trinity, Divine revelation, scripture, faith, sin, and grace.  Students will learn a common vocabulary of Christian theology that will assist them in future theology courses as they examine how God’s love manifests in the world and the invitation to participate in God’s love. (Grade 7)

Theology 8

Theology 8, “Living Out the Sacraments,” examines the seven sacraments that encompass the life and grace-filled foundation of the Catholic faith.  This year-long survey course will help eighth grade students understand that they can encounter Christ today in a full and real way through the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.  Students will study each sacrament in detail, from their biblical institutions to their role in the liturgy, as well as their role in the everyday.  In this course, students learn how all seven sacraments relate to one another while remaining distinct.  In addition, the doctrines of the Church concerning the seven sacraments will receive an in-depth consideration. 

*The eighth grade curriculum also includes a program on sex education and Christian values.  As students grow in awareness of their own sexuality, they will learn the Catholic perspective on sex via the church doctrine of Theology of the Body. (Grade 8)

Theology I

In this “Scripture” course, ninth grade students will encounter the Bible from various perspectives: historical, cultural, theological, and personal.  In doing so, it will provide a basic understanding of practical, foundational uses of the Bible.  Students will be encouraged to develop a reverent appreciation of Scripture as the source of the great heroic stories, wisdom, and revelation of the Judeo-Christian tradition.  This course will also seek to develop an awareness of the integral connection and common messages of the two testaments.  Finally, students will learn to apply Scripture to their daily lives and personal faith journeys. (Grade 9)

Theology II

During sophomore year, students will study the long and storied history of the Church. The year begins where the previous year ended, with Pentecost and the establishment of Christian communities described in Acts of the Apostles. The purpose of the course is to explore how the Church has worked diligently to fulfill its mission to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the whole world. Students will come to understand that the Church continues to be guided by the Holy Spirit even and especially through difficult times.  Students will study key periods of Church history as well as councils, saints and the development of doctrine to discover how the Church discerns what it means to be faithful disciples of Jesus and to be the People of God.  Students will also explore the meaning and history of the sacraments as gifts of God’s grace. (Grade 10)

Theology III

In junior year, the curriculum is split into two discrete courses. In the first semester, students come to understand the Christian vision of ethical decision-making with Jesus as the model of full humanness in a one semester course entitled “Christian Morality.”  Through a study of virtues, the nature of sin, human relationships, and a moral decision-making process, students arrive at a solid foundation for making moral decisions in light of Gospel values, Catholic Church teachings and contemporary understandings of human nature, legitimate authority, and conscience. 

The second half of the junior curriculum applies this learning in a wider context, as we live out our call “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, NRSV) in a one semester course dedicated to “Social Justice.” Students will learn that Christ's concern for others, especially the poor and needy, is present today in the Church's social teaching and mission, which includes recognizing and analyzing some of the injustices in our midst such as poverty and homelessness, human trafficking, the environment, and women’s rights. From this will emerge a deeper understanding of “life in communion with God and one another,” experienced as that sacrificial love (putting others needs before our own comforts) to which Jesus calls us unconditionally. (Grade 11)

Theology IV

Seniors spend the fall semester applying the learning they gained during Junior year to a wider context, as we live out our call “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, NRSV) in a one semester course dedicated to “Social Justice.”* Students will learn that Christ's concern for others, especially the poor and needy, is present today in the Church's social teaching and mission, which includes recognizing and analyzing some of the injustices in our midst such as poverty and homelessness, human trafficking, the environment, and women’s rights. From this will emerge a deeper understanding of “life in communion with God and one another,” experienced as that sacrificial love (putting others' needs before our own comforts) to which Jesus calls us unconditionally.

* Note: The course descriptions here reflect a shift in the progression of our Theology curriculum going forward.  Beginning in 2019-2020, the fall semester for all seniors will include a comparative and empathic study of World Religions. (Grade 12)

Senior Theology Elective A: Peer Ministry in the Spirit of Saint Angela

During the second half of the year, there are three potential paths from which seniors may choose to further their faith understanding for the remainder of the year:

Senior Theology Elective A:  Peer Ministry in the Spirit of Saint Angela

Grounded in the ministerial teachings of Saint Angela Merici, students will examine what it means to be an Ursuline companion on the journey of faith development and exploration with their fellow peers. Students will learn the application of evangelization, explore various methods of prayer, meditation, and reflection, and study different types of ministry. In addition to class work during school hours, students will be required to engage in service work after school and on weekends. Additionally, students will create and implement retreats for the younger grades and are also required to commit regularly to running Ursuline service events through Campus Ministry.  Note: Because class size is limited, students interested in this option must submit an application for review by the Theology and Campus Ministry departments.

* Note: Students do NOT have to be Catholic to participate in Peer Ministry. Students of all faiths and spiritualities are welcome and encouraged to bring their own, unique practices to the class, service work, and retreat experiences. As has been the tradition with Ursuline Peer Ministry, students will be required to sign a contract upholding the Ursuline mission and serving as role models in all aspects of life during their senior year. (Grade 12)

Senior Theology Elective B: Challenges of Faith

During the second half of the year, there are three potential paths from which seniors may choose to further their faith understanding for the remainder of the year:

Senior Theology Elective B:  Challenges of Faith

In this one-semester course, students will learn to stretch their minds to think more philosophically and theologically through a critical consideration of many of the basic existential problems with which adults struggle, with particular attention given to those involving religious and spiritual faith: What is faith? How do I know I have faith? What can we say about the existence and the nature of God?  Are science and faith compatible?  Students will explore various perspectives on these existential questions, reflecting on them in an open and honest way in conversation with their own experience and thinking. Through this process, students will come to understand the role that formation of a strong Christian character plays in the transformation to which we are called as disciples of Christ, a life of Christian integrity. (Grade 12)

Senior Theology Elective C: Spiritual Women

During the second half of the year, there are three potential paths from which seniors may choose to further their faith understanding for the remainder of the year:

Senior Theology Elective C:  Spiritual Women: (Auto)biographies and Writings

Students will examine the lives and ministries of several outstanding, yet very different, Catholic women who have lived the Gospel message with exceptional strength, courage, sacrifice, and love. Through biography and spiritual writings, we will consider the unique contribution and the tremendous impact these generous women have had on the world, both past and present. Those studied will include Saint Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux, Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa, and Sister Dorothy Kazel, among others. (Grade 12)

 

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