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A despised ministry
The Life Of St. Joseph Calasanz
Saints, Martys, & Venerables
Calasanzian Family

It took courage to break from the Tridentine Concept of priesthood and to dedicate an entire Clerical Religious Order not to liturgical celebrations, confessions and preaching; and not to adults, but rather to teaching children and youth.

Yet, it was needed because teaching, especially teaching poor children in villages or small cities, was a despised exercise. As Calasanz wrote,

"I recommend that you attend with all your strength to the exercise of the schools. This is our work. In this exercise, there is more merit than in attending to adults. The adults have many Orders that help them, but the children have only ours. The Jesuit Fathers are not allowed by their Institute to accept small places or to educate little and poor children. And these are the most abundant in the world. If they were allowed to become an Order fro the general benefit of older children and those living in big cities, why it is not allowed for us, the Poor of the Mother of God, to be of benefit fro the people living in small cities and little and poor children, who, in general, are in most need of help?"

It should be far from us to put the stickle to another's harvest. It would be nice to know how to humble ourselves to the level of the students's capacity fro whose instruction we have been sent by the Holy Church.

We are obliged to give better example than other religious. It could be because we are the last to be approved by the Church, or because we fulfill the most lowly ministry, and, therefore, are of more humiliation than others.

I hope that our Order will never lack persons who consider it a great honor to be humiliated, teaching calligraphy, handwriting and arithmetic even to kindergarten children."

His letters, however, show that not all Piarists were satisfied with this humble and despised work. But he remained firm.

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