How can a community be transformed from one of violence to one of peace? St. Francis de Sales School in West Philadelphia may have the answer. A vibrant assembly recently recognized dozens of peacemakers among the more than 500 students. Sixth-grader Fifi Degarr received a special peacemaker medal by the pastor, Father Louis Bier, and the principal, Sister Mary McNulty, I.H.M.
The accolades brought recognition to the 18-year-old program in which students find peaceful ways to handle conflicts. Younger students learn peacemaking by watching how their older peers react to arguments. Typically, they don’t respond by fighting but by stepping back and cooling down.
They take their dispute to the peace room at the school. It’s a quiet space where students can go without another adult to sit around a table and, each person speaking in turn, discuss their problem and work toward a solution.
Many St. Francis School graduates go on to West Catholic High School, where teachers are said to be able to spot St. Francis kids easily. They’re the ones stepping in to stop a fight from starting.
If peacemaking skills taught in childhood and honed during youths’ teen years become ingrained in their life as the main way of managing conflict, imagine the effect on the neighborhoods in which they live. Encouragement and training such as at St. Francis can reorient a young person’s life and, by God’s grace, guide their home communities on the path to peace.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103