Sisters Chair in Religious Education and Catechesis

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Welcome to the Mercy and Presentation Sisters Chair in Religious Education and Catechesis.

Historically, religious women and men have consistently led the way in the development of Catholic Christian education in Canada. Indeed, religious education, catechesis and formation in faith have been a central focus for many religious institutions across the country. From grade school to graduate school, efforts for excellence in education and research in education and faith development echo the call of the Church for a lively and renewed faith.

The educational charisms of the Newfoundland Sisters of Mercy and Sisters of the Presentation echo this lifelong commitment to learning for the deepening of understanding in faith and the critical dialogue with modern culture. So in 2007 The Mercy and Presentation Sisters Chair in Religious Education and Catechesis Chair was established by the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, both of Newfoundland and Labrador. They wanted to affirm and assure that the good work in religious education and catechesis would not only continue but flourish at Saint Paul University. From their shared vision of the power of education in faith to support the transformation and fullness of life for all people, the Sisters joined together to fund this endowed research chair. Prof. Miriam K Martin, pbvm was appointed the first holder of the chair in May 2007.

The Congregational Partners

Sisters of Mercy

The Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland is a congregation of women religious who live and minister according to the spirit of their founder, Catherine McAuley. Catherine’s gift of Mercy shaped the story and ideals of the congregation she founded and became the hallmark of its mission and spirituality. Three Sisters of Mercy from Ireland arrived in Newfoundland in 1842. The Sisters of Mercy formed the first community of Mercy in the new world. The story of Mercy in Canada, is one that is rich in history and tradition, steeped in and shaped by the unique culture of Newfoundland and Labrador, the most easterly province of Canada.

Sisters of Presentation

In the early 18th century new seeds of God’s creative dream were planted in the heart of a young Irish woman, Nano Nagle who went on to be the founder of the Presentation Sisters. In 1833 four pioneering sisters carried her vision to Newfoundland. They were the first community of Presentations Sisters to leave Ireland and they also formed the first English speaking community in what is presently Canada.  The story of Presentation Newfoundland and Labrador is also one rich in history and tradition, marked by the unique culture in which it has grown as they endeavour in new ways to meet today’s needs.

Mission and Aims

The Chair seeks to support the appointment and the work of a full-time professor, whose role involves:

  • promoting and providing teaching in religious education and catechesis;
  • fostering theological and practical reflection on the importance and value of education in faith;
  • fostering the development of leadership in religious education and catechesis;
  • organizing conferences and carrying out research in Religious Education and Catechesis;
  • establishing links with other research centres and organizations dedicated to studying faith formation;
  • ensuring that Saint Paul University obtains and makes available (e.g., through the University’s Jean-Léon Allie Library) the results of theological, educational and social research on religious education and catechesis;
  • serving as a resource person(s) for groups interested in issues related to theological and educational reflection on Religious Education and Catechesis.