The Education of Catholic Girls eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 210 pages of information about The Education of Catholic Girls.

CHAPTER XIV.

CONCLUSION.

“Far out the strange ships go: 
   Their broad sails flashing red
As flame, or white as snow: 
   The ships, as David said. 
’Winds rush and waters roll: 
   Their strength, their beauty, brings
Into mine heart the whole
   Magnificence of things.’”
                              LIONEL JOHNSON.

The conclusion is only an opportunity for repeating how much there is still to be said, and even more to be thought of and to be done, in the great problem and work of educating girls.  Every generation has to face the same problem, and deals with it in a characteristic way.  For us it presents particular features of interest, of hope and likewise of anxious concern.  The interest of education never flags; year after year the material is new, the children come up from the nursery to the school-room, with their life before them, their unbounded possibilities for good, their confidence and expectant hopefulness as to what the future will bring them.  We have our splendid opportunity and are greatly responsible for its use.  Each precious result of education when the girl has grown up and leaves our hands is thrown into the furnace to be tried—­fired—­like glass or fine porcelain.  Those who educate have, at a given moment, to let go of their control, and however solicitously they may have foreseen and prepared for it by gradually obliging children to act without coercion and be responsible for themselves, yet the critical moment must come at last and “every man’s work shall be manifest,” “the fire shall try every man’s work, of what sort it is” (1 Cor.  III).  Life tries the work of education, “of what sort it is.”  If it stands the test it is more beautiful than before, its colours are fixed.  If it breaks, and some will inevitably break in the trial, a Catholic education has left in the soul a way to recovery.  Nothing, with us, is hopelessly shattered, we always know how to make things right again.  But if we can we must secure the character against breaking, our effort in education must be to make something that will last, and for this we must often sacrifice present success in consideration of the future, we must not want to see results.  A small finished building is a more sightly object than one which is only beginning to rise above its foundations, yet we should choose that our educational work should be like the second rather than the first, even though it has reached “the ugly stage,” though it has its disappointments and troubles before it, with its daily risks and the uncertainty of ultimate success.  But it is a truer work, and a better introduction to the realities of life.

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The Education of Catholic Girls from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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