Sofia Cavalletti 1917 - 2011
The vision for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd formation began in 1954 with Dr. Sofia Cavalletti, a Hebrew and Scripture scholar and member of the Vatican Commission for Jewish – Christian Relations, and her colleague, Professor Gianna Gobbi, a Montessori trained educator.
Sofia was asked by a mother to give her son some religious instruction. At first she refused not having much to do with children in her academic world, but eventually she consented. This experience with the 7-year-old boy changed her whole life and began what we now know as the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Dr Cavalletti saw in that child, and in numerous other children since, a way of being in the presence of God that is unique to the child and a gift to the adult who stops long enough to notice.
Children desire to draw near to God but need the sensitive guidance of the adult as well as the inner guidance of the Holy Spirit to nurture this relationship.
Today the Catechesis can be found in many Christian traditions (Anglican/Episcopal, Lutheran, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic) as well as in schools throughout the world. It continues to grow and has spread over the years to many countries including Australia, Austria, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, France, Germany, Haiti, Ireland, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and the United States. It has also been adopted as a method of catechesis by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity and is now part of the formation of their sisters.