REGINA — Mother Teresa Middle School (MTMS) now has the official endorsement of the Jesuits of the English Province of Canada. While MTMS is based on Nativity Miguel Middle schools founded in the United States by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) MTMS here was not sponsored by Canadian Jesuits. Its administration and faculty are lay people, although Jesuits in training do volunteer at the school.
“It links us officially to the network (Jesuit schools) in Canada, it also links us to the schools in the US,” said MTMS Director of Education Curtis Kleisinger in an interview. The endorsement agreement was signed by Provincial for English Canada, Rev. Peter Bisson, SJ, and MTMS board chair Paul Hill at a special event held Nov. 30 at the school.
The Regina school is the only one in Canada, but a similar school is being organized in Winnipeg.
Kleisinger said there won’t be much change in the way the school delivers its programs, but it will require more liaison with the Jesuit Canadian Province to ensure it continues with Ignation principles of education.
“It’s something we’ve always done since we began in 2011,” said Kleisinger. “We’ve been very intentional in providing the spiritual piece for our staff and students. This will allow us to have a little more access, to have people come in and some of the resources are there to deepen the faith and the spiritual component of what we provide.”
The school follows the five Jesuit principles of education: graduate students that are loving, intellectually competent, religious, open to growth and, committed to doing justice in the world.
“We’ve got a good Jesuit foundation,” said Kleisinger. “Our animating principle is that we believe God is present in all things.” Everything the school does is deeply aligned with Jesuit tradition and closely aligned with Scripture.
The school was established in 2011 by the local Hill family following a visit with Mother Teresa. As Hill told the story at the time, Mother Teresa would not accept cheques from the group in the visit but urged them instead to use their wealth to better their own community.
The Hills became aware of the Nativity Miguel Middle Schools in the US and decided to bring it here. It offers faith-based middle school education for underprivileged children; an expanded curriculum, pre- and after-school programs as well as summer programs, a mentoring program and a support system that follows students through high school and post-secondary institutions.
The first Grade 8 graduates in June 2014 are now in Grade 10 and have an attendance record of 92 per cent and a passing rate of 93 per cent. MTMS is now an associate school of the Regina Roman Catholic School Division. As an independent school it receives 80 per cent of the funding provided other schools and relies on donations for its special programs such as breakfast, lunch, snacks, uniforms and special programs.