Projects from around the world
Hawthorn School, Canada
A personal initiative inspired by st Josemaria Escriva in Canada
Inspired by St Josemaria’s message Teresa and her husband, with other parents set up a school offering integral education.
In 1989 a small group of parents and educators founded a school specifically for the purpose of educating the whole person. The founders dreamed of a school that would recognize parents as the first and most important educators in their children’s lives. They envisioned a school that would accept its responsibility to educate both the intellect and the will of each student—giving equal priority to the pursuit of academic excellence and character development. The dream that became a reality born of these convictions is Hawthorn School for Girls.
Teresa Tomory recalls the school’s beginnings:
"My husband and I had a concern for the education of our children. So we reached a certain point where we thought, well, we wanted to become more actively involved in what was possible in the education of our children.
Hawthorn was founded in 1989. A group of parents got together and there was a consensus that maybe we should look at the possibility of starting a school.
We had a great deal of enthusiasm, a great deal of hope. We had no money, we had no teachers, we had no location. We did have 22 students.
An important part of the vocation to Opus Dei is to shoulder a certain amount of responsibility. And so that gives one the strength, because you certainly need, I think, strength and fortitude to be able to embark on a project where there are a lot of unknowns.
Personal initiative is an endeavour or a project which an individual or a group of individuals see that there is a specific need. So they’re not looking to another organization or to the state or to outside sources to try to start something. The underlying philosophy that inspires Hawthorn School is really parents as primary educators, the dignity of each person as a child of God, the importance of character education, the importance of an integral education.
So as far as the spirit of Opus Dei is concerned within the school, that’s something that would be manifest in care for details, the family atmosphere. Many people come into the school and this is what they comment upon, that there is a certain warmth and family atmosphere. They sense without anyone doing anything in particular, but that’s just part of the ethos that we try to provide in accordance with what the teachings of Saint Josemaria were.
Of course he also stressed the importance of virtue in a life. So there’s a whole program that is set up to help in the acquisition of virtue.
Of course this is where you develop young women who are courageous, who are loyal, and are charitable and so on and so on.
And this is a project that is there for everyone, and I think everyone can benefit in their own specific way."
About Hawthorn School
Parents and teachers
Hawthorn views parents as the primary educators of their children, and this means parent involvement in the school is essential. The aim is for the school’s ethos to find an echo in the home, in practical ways, and particularly through parents’ personal effort to bring the Hawthorn vision to life. Hawthorn also contributes to the ongoing formation of both parents and teachers.
Living the Truth in Charity
Hawthorn’s mission statement is a lived reality—not just a plaque on the wall. Joy and hard work, growth in virtue and scholarly achievement, freedom and responsibility all co-exist within the school walls. Hawthorn girls, past and present, along with their parents and teachers, have truly taken the school’s mission to heart. The school aims to promote both academic excellence and character formation, developing creative tenacity, intellectual brilliance, and an uncommon spirit of service to others in the students. Hawthorn School aims for every girl who graduates to be a confident, compassionate woman whose integrity and wisdom have a positive impact on the world around her. The character training includes understanding human dignity, developing integrity and a strong sense of responsibility.
Hawthorn graduates have a choice of scholarships, universities, and volunteer, travel and career opportunities. They also have an education of the mind and heart that guides them to choose wisely.
Character education is central to all that we do at Hawthorn.
At Hawthorn Character Education means the development of virtue, which is fundamental to the happiness of the individual. Our students learn to understand and appreciate virtue, and to build it in their own lives. Character education is an essential and distinctive feature of the school.
Several “Generosity Projects” are organized each year to foster a spirit of service and generosity in the students. An awareness of the needs of others gives students an opportunity to share their talents and material resources with those less fortunate.