Catholic Studies

Building communities of faith, hope and service.

Catholic Studies

Welcome to St Thomas of Villanova, I’m Mrs. Coste your Catholic Studies Department Head. It is with great pleasure that we welcome your student to our Villy family. Here at Villanova we embrace all of our gr 9 students into the Catholic Studies program where they will learn about themselves and their faith first and foremost. The Gr 9 curriculum allows the students to truly examine who they are as a person and how faith fits into their life.

As you click on the various links on our page you will find an abundance of activities that the students are encouraged to participate in which can enhance their learning of different faiths from around the world as well as their own, allow them to demonstrate their commitment to the poor and vulnerable through charitable planning and giving, as well as embrace with conviction their stance on social justice issues of our world today. Throughout their 4 year journey here with us they will grow in their faith and learn what it truly is to live a life of excellence in heart, mind and body.

Jolene Coste – Department Head
Dawn Ibrahim
John Leclair
Nicole Ray
Kris Roehler

Community Building Activities

community activities

Blessing Bags

For as long as anyone can remember, we as a school community have been bringing in non perishable food items for our can drives. The incredible number of lbs of food that have been donated to our local food banks due to the incredible generosity of our student community is a sight to behold each year before Christmas. Our students show the love the have for the poor and vulnerable by being an instrument of God by sharing their abundance with those who are less fortunate.

EMS Dogs

The gr 12 graduating catholic studies students have been fundraising to purchase and donating plush dogs for our local EMS over the past 12 years. The recipient departments of these plush dogs have been LaSalle FIre & Rescue, LaSalle Police, Windsor FIre & Rescue as well as Essex County Ambulance Services. Each department has their own mascot: Fire = dalmatian, Police = German Shepherd, Ambulance = Saint Bernard.
The plush toys are given out to children in desperate situations such as MVA’s or house fires to calm children witnessing tragic events. These plush toys are used to assist the EMS in soothing a youth in order to expedite their services to ensure the well-being and safety of the children involved. This endeavor is an excellent example of our gr 12’s giving back to their community.

Gratitude Ornaments

One of our grade 9 classes has been working on Gratitude Advent Ornaments.
Using an Advent calendar of gratitude as a starting point, the students have been creating ornaments of gratitude to decorate a tree. For the first one they wrote the name of someone in their family/friend that they are grateful for.
Over the next few weeks the tree will be filled with gratitude.

community activities

Ice Cream for Breakfast

Ice cream is seen as a treat which is enjoyed by many. For children in hospital, having ice cream can bring great joy to them especially when had for breakfast. Each year at Villanova we partner with Make-A-Wish and bring a little piece of this joy to our students while helping children with critical illnesses receive their wish. This is a wonderful school event that benefits many children, while our students raise money and enjoy eating Nuccelli’s frozen yogurt during their first period class.

Smile Tiles

Smile tiles were a great activity for our students this quad as their smiles are hidden behind masks these days. The students put a great deal of effort into these tiles that will be displayed for all to see the smiles that are temporarily covered by our masks as we try to keep our Villanova community safe.

Grade 12 Retreat Experience

The Gr 12 Retreat experience at Holy Family Retreat House is a beautiful day away from the structure of formal classes in a tranquil setting created by God. The students connect through the day on another level with each other and with God. Mass in the morning before we come together to eat as a chosen family/class is our quiet time to celebrate Jesus and all that he has given us. The students really appreciate this day as a day to take a breath with the busyness of their senior year being overwhelming from time to time. Holy Family Retreat Centre truly is a blessing for our students to utilize as their retreat destination as it not only fills their soul, but their senses as well.

catholic studies faq

Frequently Asked Questions

We are not Catholic and my child has never gone to a Catholic school before, what should we be aware of before taking religious studies courses?

St. Thomas of Villanova welcomes students and families of many faiths and students from many religious backgrounds have found that our religious studies courses have helped them explore their own tradition of faith as well as challenging them to form strong morals and values. Many students from different faith traditions have had much personal and academic success in these courses, which are designed to give young people an experience of the sacred in our world and to give them an opportunity to explore how to live a moral life. Catholic Studies teachers are aware that some students have never taken courses in this subject area before and so begin with the basics of the faith. This allows for all students to learn or review material before moving into deeper concepts and issues in the classroom. As well, students are graded on what they are able to learn and not specifically how much faith they personally have.

Are students forced to participate in religious activities?

No, students are invited to participate and are encouraged to develop their faith, but the Catholic understanding of faith is something that cannot be forced upon anyone, as one must willingly choose it. Our school will offer school masses, the sacrament of reconciliation, retreats and prayer throughout the school year. Students are welcome to observe and/or participate in any way that is respectful for all individuals. Those who would prefer not to participate can respectfully observe these activities or participate in a way that they are comfortable with.

What are some of the activities or events that define your Catholic identity at St. Thomas of Villanova?

Our Advent/Christmas “adopt a family” tradition is one of many ways that our staff and students live out our faith by seeking the individual needs of families struggling in our community and responding to their needs with presents that are tailored to them. Our school encourages students to personally live out their beliefs and values in other ways that include support  and participation of many local charities and organizations from the Essex Food Bank, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Make-A-Wish, Canadian Blood Services, Canadian Cancer society and many more. There are many concrete reminders of our identity in our school; campus ministry, our chapel and sacred art displayed in the halls and in our classrooms. Our students are also invited to grow individually in their own faith life through daily prayer, class retreats and the availability of the sacraments offered at school.

Why is going to a Catholic school important?

The St. Thomas of Villanova school community is committed to the development of each individual’s excellence in Heart, Mind and Body; and we do this within the Roman Catholic Tradition. Faith in God is not only tolerated, but encouraged. However, we also know and understand that our students come from many different perspectives of life and may struggle within their own faith development. As a school community we encourage each student to grow in their own experience of faith while providing an environment that helps them to flourish spiritually and act upon their faith in ways that they are comfortable with. The promotion of Christian values in all aspects of school life help to make Villanova a loving community for all students to flourish.

What additional expectations should we have of a student that graduates from a Catholic school?

Along with the Ministry of Education’s expectations of graduates Catholic schools also include the following Catholic expectations for every graduate which is taught throughout every course in all four years of study: a discerning believer; an effective communicator; a reflective, creative and holistic thinker; a self directed, responsible, lifelong learner; a collaborative contributor; a caring family member; a responsible citizen.
catholic studies faq