by Friar Vince Petersen, OFM Conv.
St. Francis Fund supports Montesorri School in Sri Lanka
The Missionary Franciscan Brothers of Sri Lanka are doing their part in helping their country recover from a long and brutal civil war fueled by ethnic and religious differences. As one of their ministries they have developed a Montesorri School in Chilaw, Sri Lanka to serve the children of the poor. Open to all, this new initiative welcomes children from many different ethnic, religious and language groups into an environment that is creative and conducive to learning. Beginning with the youngest, the Franciscan brothers hope to begin laying the foundations for a new society that will be built on mutual respect, co-operation, and peace. This certainly was the prayer and hope of Pope Francis for Sri Lanka when he visited the Island nation last year.
It is with pride and joy that we report that through a grant from The St. Francis Fund they have now completed an important phase in creating this school environment – a playground! Now these little ones have a safe place outside where they can run, play, and interact. These are surely ways in which peace and cooperation are learned. The play area is secured by a new fence and filled with swing sets and jungle gyms. In addition to this, new restroom facilities have been added on to the school building.
Along with these new amenities the brothers have hired two new teachers who are trained in creative play. The collaboration with parents has also been improved as they are essential in helping to create a climate of love and learning. As a part of their curriculum they have also created a small band where the children learn to make a joyful sound to God together.
The Missionary Brothers are most thankful to the friars of Our Lady of Consolation for their support of this initiative. They write: ‘Without your assistance we never ever could have updated this worthy project.” Indeed we are proud to be collaborators in this beautiful playground for peace and reconciliation.