A sacred space
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd places a special priority on the space in which religious formation takes place. Maria Montessori observed that young children have “absorbent minds,” meaning that they learn language, culture and even religious belief largely through the process of osmosis or “absorbing” what is around them rather than through lessons and lectures. If children’s experience of the Spirit or “Inner Teacher” drives them toward what they need to grow, the environment around the children can be understood as the “Outer Teacher”; it can help them meet those needs or it can stifle them. Unlike traditional religious education, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd emphasizes the "atrium" environment in which formation takes place. It is purposely structured not as a classroom, but a place in which the spiritual life can be lived.
In early church architecture, an atrium was a gathering place between the liturgical space of the church and the street. It was a space where the faithful recollected themselves before entering into worship and where catechumens received instruction in the faith as part of their initiation into the Christian community. Maria Montessori understood the atrium to serve a similar purpose; it was not to be a children’s church separate from the adult church, but rather an aid to the fuller participation of children in the liturgical and communal life of the one church that includes baptized Christians of all ages.
Finding an atrium in the UK
If you are using the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in your Church, we would love to get in touch
Roman Catholic Churches
HOLY TRINITY CHURCH BROOK GREEN, LONDON
Level I every other wednesday
OUR MOST HOLY REDEEMER & St. THOMAS MORE, LONDON
Good Shepherd integrated in the weekly pre communion program
SAINT MARY'S CLAPHAM, LONDON
Good Shepherd runs level 1 every 1st Sunday of the month
MUSTARD SEED ATRIUM, SCOTLAND
Contact: Sister Anna Christi, O.P. firstname.lastname@example.org
Missionaries of Charity
In London and Newcastle upon Tyne