The Sisters of St. Louis & Education of the Young
The Sisters of St Louis have a long standing history of educating. We have been involved in education for the past 170years in some parts of Europe, America and West Africa. All Sisters of St. Louis wherever we are involved in education are imbued with the vision of our founder, Abbe' Louis Bautain, of a world healed, unified and transformed by the saving of wisdom of Christianity. As St.Louis educators we are called to teach all that is true and all that is good, all that needs to render human beings more enlightened and better. In the words of Abbe Louis Bautain, the Sisters of St.Louis are charged to "Give an education that is at once solid and wide" in scope, enabling the students to see as one whole all that concerns human kind, all the wonders of the natural world.... educated in this way, the students will be led to an understanding of the heart of things".
Abbe Louis Bautain, the founder of the Sisters St. Louis was born and went to school in Paris, France, in a very troubled time.The trauma of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars surrounded his early years. Louis was a very bright and hardworking student and at twenty years of age he became a professor of philosophy at the Royal college of the University of Strasbourg.
He loved his work, he yearned to share his search for the meaning of life; "Why am I here, Where did I come from,What is my destiny?" Reasons which seemed to him to be the truest guide did not satisfactorily answer these questions. He found that students were searching for something more concrete than the romantic idealism and egoistical materialism that was the philosophy of that time. With youthful enthusiasm he set out to discover TRUTH, i.e the meaning of existence. He had the reputation of being the best lecturer in the university. He worked and studied with passionate intensity in continuing his search for truth. A university colleague said "Nothing was inaccessible or difficult to the mind of Bautain, his intelligence climbed all heights,shone in all spheres and was everywhere at home".
He had a triple university doctorate, in medicine, literature and theology, and was also and expert, because of his writings,in philosophy and law. Yet, he was a very simple and warm hearted man.
Like our founder, the Sisters of St Louis view of teaching was that it should present challenges to the young, and allow them to challenge the situation of the world, so that they may be to choose, freedom for responsibility. Speaking and living are the two greatest ways of communication of the Truth that we live by.
We need to think well in order to speak well, and everyone should give time and effort to speaking well and being able to discuss and debate. 'We will have made progress if we in giving our pupils a taste for serious study and if we encourage them to have wide interests of humankind, all parts of the world and the wonderful world of Nature.
This will widen their horizon, raise them above themselves and interest them in all that is human, because they themselves are human'(Louis Bautain, Prize-giving Day , Institute de la Toussaint, Headmaster's Report, 1837)