Sister Mary Avila
I am the Grade 7 Homeroom teacher at Queen of All Saints Academy. I graduated from Queen of All Saints High School and completed by novitiate and teacher training with the Sisters of St. Thomas Aquinas. I enjoy seeing the students apply their Latin studies in understanding the liturgy of the Church.
About the Course
This introductory Latin course is the first of a two-part Latin series for Middle School. In this first year of Latin, the students explore the link between English grammar and the structure of the Latin language. Conjugating verbs, declining nouns, and a study of Latin sentence word order prepare the student for the rigorous translating of Latin 1B.
Why Latin? Some educationalists, especially advocates of modern culture, see in the classical schools only a gloomy ruin of the time of the renaissance. Others of the more practical turn of mind see classical studies as useless because they do not teach the rising generation how to evaluate stocks or build bridges. These minds cannot appreciate classical studies because they cannot reduce them immedately to any corresponding value in the United States currency.
However, despite the many critics, classical curriculum is upheld at QAS not because it is an old traditional system, but because it has proved for decades to be the best means of training the mind, which is the one great end of education. If another study should prove better than classical languages, QAS would not hesitate to accept it. We would teach, for example, French and German, intead of Latin and Greek. But the proofs and testimonies in favor of classical languages are overwhelming. For example, after ten years of trial and discussion, the University of Berlin addressed the Ministry of Instruction with a memorandum declaring that students of the practical (modern) schools were not fitted to pursue university courses on par with students of the classical schools. Among the reasons mentioned in the study were slower development, superficial knowledge, lack of independent judgement, less dexterity, inferiority in private research, to name only a few. This only one example amongst a wealth of data and testimony.
Then why is the study of classical languages the best means of intellectual training? The first reason is the fact that Latin is a dead language. No longer in common use, everything must be learned by system, rule, grammar, and logic. Thought and judgement are constantly exercised in assigning the exact equivalents of the mother tongue. This logical training leads to correct and clear thinking, close and sharp reasoning. Latin is better adapted to accomplish this effect than any other language; for whereas Greek is more delicately organized, more beautiful and poetic, the Latin is perhaps the more systemically elaborated. This logical advantage is only the first of many aspects of Latin that make it the most suitable for the training of the mind. Other aspects include its historical, literary, aesthetic, and ethical advantages, not to mention the fact that two thirds of English vocabulary is derived from Latin. "Only great, concentrated, and prolonged efforts really train the mind." This training is found in the study of Latin.