Beauty and Art at Neumann

CONCERT SPEECH BY RACHAEL MARIE COLLINS

OCTOBER 13, 2014

Thank you Friar Alessandro for your beautiful performance. We are humbled and honored that an artist of your caliber is willing to support our parish and promote our school.

The Neumann Classical School is – as the name suggests – a classical school for children.

Part of our mission as a classical school is to emphasize the classical and sacred arts – including classical music.

Why? In part for its beauty.

Beauty is important because it points to God – the supreme Beauty. In the words of Pope Benedict, ‘[a]rt is capable of making visible our need to go beyond what we see, and it reveals our thirst for infinite beauty, for God”.

The transforming, evangelizing role of true beauty – its ability to turn hearts towards God – is part of Friar Alessandro’s special calling and mission, and it is part of ours too.

Children today are bombarded with messages about beauty and what is beautiful – most of it superficial and much of it damaging. Part of the antidote is to expose our children to true beauty. To beauty which – in the words of the Gospel – gives us eyes to see and ears to hear – beauty which turns us towards rather than away from God. Beauty, which inspires and elevates rather than oppresses or desensitizes.

Pope Benedict said, “art and the saints are the greatest apologetic for the Catholic faith”.

There is a connection between beauty and sanctity (and between beauty and conversion) that is too often neglected in the education of children.

Schools can and should form children in beauty. They should develop and whet a child’s appreciation and desire for beauty by exposing the child to beautiful art and the natural beauty of God’s creation.

Pope Francis explained that schools should “educate us about truth, goodness and beauty, which all go together.” “Education,” he explained, “cannot be neutral, either it is positive or it is negative; it enriches or impoverishes; it helps the person grow or it suppresses or even corrupts them.”

Students at Neumann Classical School will be trained in and surrounded by beauty. The books they read will be beautiful – beautiful words and beautiful illustrations – the very opposite of cheap and debased. The children will receive training in visual arts modeled on the training received by classical painters. They will learn about classical and sacred music when we teach them Gregorian chant using the Ward Method of Instruction. We will surround our students with tasteful décor and beautiful furniture – handcrafted, wooden objects. We want everything we do to be joyful, beautiful and excellent.

We do, however, need your support. Please support the children of our area by giving generously to our school. We won’t be able to open the school without your support.

Inside the packets you received you’ll find a donation form as well as additional information about the school. Please consider giving what you can.

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Rachael Marie Collins and Friar Alessandro at Saint Casimir Church (October 13, 2014).