Catechesis of the Good Shepherd


The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is the result of a long period of careful observation of children by Sofia Cavalletti and her Montessori collaborator, Gianna Gobbi, in Rome. It began quite by accident, without warning or planning, the way God so often comes into our lives.

In 1954 Sofia was a Hebrew and Scripture scholar, comfortable in her role in the academic world, when a mother asked her to give some religious instruction to her son. At first Sofia refused, saying she knew nothing about children. The mother persisted and eventually, Sofia consented. That experience with a 7 year-old changed her whole life. She saw in that child and in numerous other children since, a way of being in the presence of God that is both unique to the child and a gift to the adult who stops long enough to notice. Perhaps it is because Sofia went before the child with no preconceived ideas of what should happen that the child responded with such joy. Certainly her background in Scripture made it possible for her to talk about God in a way that opened and enthused the child. From that day to the present time Sofia and Gianna remind us constantly to look to the child for that sign of a deeply religious life - joy - and to always ask the question: "What face of God is the child telling us he or she needs to see?"

At Our Lady of Joy Preschool, all of our students receive religious formation both in the classroom and for one hour in our beautiful Atrium. Our trained Catechist introduces each presentation to the students and then creates a peaceful learning environment for spiritual growth. OLOJ Preschool has the only Atrium north of the 101 that offers this program, it is truly one of a kind.