E-mail from Heaven: Is your computer on?
In one sense every saint is a teacher witnessing by his life how to love God and grow in virtue. But there are particular saints with a special charism to teach and a number of them are named John. We could add St. John Bosco & Fr. John Hardon too!
John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): The faith is not based on feelings, but truth, hence teaching dogma is absolutely essential, including rote memorization. Children need to understand what they memorize, but memorizing dogma, like the Creed, is an essential foundation for lifelong learning. Newman understood that. “From the age of fifteen, dogma has been the fundamental principle of my religion: I know no other religion; I cannot enter into the idea of any other sort of religion; religion, as a mere sentiment, is to me a dream and a mockery.” The lesson? Teach dogma!
St. John Cantius (1412-1473): was one of Pope John Paul II’s favorite saints and a patron of teachers. St. John taught Scripture at the University of Cracow. He taught his students moderation and urged them to always be mannerly in their argument. He was known for his poverty, charity, and humility and gave his students good advice on how to draw others to the truth. “Fight all false opinions, but let your weapons be patience, sweetness and love. Roughness is bad for your own soul and spoils the best cause.” Like St. John Bosco, St. John Cantius preferred patient perseverance to punishment.
St. John Baptist de la Salle (1651-1719): Not only did St. John pioneer classroom education for poor children in France, but college training for teachers. He founded the Brothers of the Christian Schools, an association of lay brothers committed to education. St. John identified the twelve virtues of a good teacher as “seriousness, silence, humility, prudence, wisdom, patience, reserve, meekness, zeal, vigilance, piety, and generosity.” Discipline is an integral part of education but St. John proscribed what was necessary for it to be appropriate. “To be useful, all correction must be, on the part of the one who administers it, pure, charitable, just, suitable, moderate, peaceable, and prudent, and on the part of the one who receives it, willingly accepted, respectful, and silent.” Is it any wonder St. John is the patron of teachers?