Fidelity to God & Fidelity to Man: The Catechetical Praxis of Maria Montessori

Authored by Sr. Mary Michael Fox in Issue #31.4 of The Sower

To many who live in the United States, ‘Montessori Catechesis’ may seem something of an oxymoron given the particular ‘unreligious’ mileu in which many Montessori schools find themselves. Yet anyone who has studied Maria Montessori and her educational philosophy knows that she was a devout Catholic, formed in the mind and heart of the Church. In her philosophy of education, we can hear an echo of St. Thomas Aquinas’ teachings on the nature of the human person[i] as well as Pope Leo XIII’s teaching on the nature of human liberty.[ii] Referring to her method, Maria boasted that ‘in its very substance (it) is Catholic!’[iii]

The General Directory for Catechesis states that ‘Catechetical methodology has the simple objective of education in the faith.’[iv] This being said, Maria Montessori offers us a unique ‘catechetical praxis’[v] that is both ‘faithful to man and faithful to God?’[vi]

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