Bonaventure Fagan had a vision to share the story behind the founding of Catholic independent and private schools across Canada, and so that’s exactly what he did.
Mr. Fagan, a nationally known advocate for Catholic education, has recently released his second book, Vision: Founding Catholic Independent/Private Schools in Canada.
The Newfoundland-based author says his book explores what may seem like a simple question: what is involved in establishing a Catholic independent/private school in Canada? Mr. Fagan explores the driving force behind any such process, which is the vision, as well as the underlying concept that provides the motivation to begin the project and the drive to see it through to completion, showcasing that the answer to his question has depth and history running back to the country’s settlement days.
“Canada has a rich mix of Catholic schools, those that are in place because of constitutional provisions and those which have no such provisions,” Mr. Fagan explains. “The majority of studies on Catholic education has focused understandably on the constitutional and attendant matters. This study recognizes the need for studies on those schools identified as independent or private.”
In the exploration, the first three chapters examine the meaning of that vision, the philosophy of education that attends such schools currently operating in Canada, and the history of Catholic education in this country. The last three chapters examine such matters as the varying provincial legislation pertinent to independent/private schools, the financial challenges attendant to such schools, and the matter of governance.
The major part of the research for Vision… was undertaken in the winter of 2012-13. The book thus uses the 2012-13 school year as the basis for much of the information presented. With most schools in Canada having its own websites, Mr. Fagan was able to access pertinent data as well a statement of principles under which the school operates. In addition, he made good use of various printed documents, including legislation, books, and articles.
When putting this book together, Mr. Fagan spoke to the foremost players; that is, the parents who wish to see their children have the opportunity to attend a Catholic school in order to receive a solid academic centre that reflects their religious beliefs and moral convictions. The story outlines the rich contribution of the many bishops, priests, religious congregations and lay persons to Catholic education in every province and territory.
Mr. Fagan wanted to tell this side of the story for a reason.
“In the current debate in some provinces about the appropriateness of continuing to provide public funding to Catholic schools, it seems all too often forgotten the very significant contribution Catholic education has made to the development of Canadian society from the very first days of European settlement,” he explains. “That story needs to be told and retold. Questionable and negative chapters, such as involve First Nations children in particular, we humbly acknowledge as part of the slow maturing of Canadian attitudes. Were the Catholic education story understood as fully as it ought to be, it would be cherished and protected by all citizens.”
To order your book, please email or write to the ADDA Press at 22 Dorset St., St. John’s, NL, A1B 1W9. The book is $15 plus S&H.