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Catholic school principals shine with bruised hearts

Published: August 16, 2019   
Theresa Hall

It is the time of year when the hot days of summer begin to wind down and the hustle and bustle for parents begin as they prepare for the upcoming school year.

Teachers and principals have had a break, but they question, “What happened to those months of June and July for they pass so quickly?”

At the recent Catholic schools principals’ retreat, which was held at the beautiful, peaceful grounds of Subiaco Academy, the principals and assistant principals gathered on the coolest days of July. During the time together they shared ideas and stories not only of their schools and faculty, but their personal lives as well. The support that they show each other is superior both in and out of school.

This year we were fortunate to have Father Mauricio Carrasco, a pastor in Danville, Dardanelle and Russellville, as our retreat master, asking us to reflect on “Are you a fountain or a drain?”

In hearing the topic, one might wonder what is going on in our Catholic schools? We know the principals wear many hats, including sometimes as the plumber of the school, but this is not what our retreat was about at all.

It was a spiritual reflection for them as the leader of the Catholic school. What a difference they can make by the conversations they have whether it is on the phone or face to face. They don’t even have to speak a word, but the expression on their face can say it all as they greet the families. As the principals and their staff journey with their students and families, it is not only the academics that they are concerned about, but more importantly their lives. We can pray for each other and share our faith with both our Catholic and non-Catholic brothers and sisters.

Father Mauricio shared the quote from Michael Leach who wrote of Brian Doyle, a Catholic author: “Only a tender heart can suffer a bruise and only a bruised heart can express tenderness. “

I believe in this case one criteria of a principal should be to have suffered a bruised heart. As none of the principals are fully aware of what hardships that each person faces that they meet, but it is crucial to understand the difference they can make by being gentle and caring and be that fountain. This relationship allows the living water to flow through them to the entire school and parish community. As the leader of the school they cultivate the atmosphere of their school community. They do make a difference.

And at the end of the year we can all acclaim to the principals, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23).

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