What is CGS?

Click to watch a 3 minute CGS video.

What is CGS?  In the 1950’s, Dr. Sofia Cavalletti, a Hebrew Scholar, and Gianna Gobbi, a long-time colleague of Maria Montessori, sought to develop a method of catechesis based upon the work of Montessori.  ​Dr. Montessori, a devout Catholic, had considered the last great frontier of her research to be the teaching of the Catholic faith.  With Montessori’s mission in mind, Sofia and Gianna set out to observe the child and the way in which he/she responded to God.  Through much research and observation, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd was developed.  

Who is Sofia Cavalletti?  "Sofia Cavalletti, biblical scholar, has published various books and articles on the following subjects: Hebrew (scripture, studies), Judaism, and religious education.  In 1954, she began the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd with Gianna Gobbi...She received her degree in Hebrew and Comparative Semitic Languages from the Sapienza University, Rome.  She contributed to several editions of the Bible (Old Testament), translating Isaiah, Leviticus, Ruth, Esther, Judith, and Proverbs, and to international publications on biblical studies.  Dr. Cavaletti was also a specialist in the field of ecumenism, especially the Jewish-Christian relationship..."

"A plan has always existed in the mind of God, the aim of which is to bring humankind to the full enjoyment of God."

- Dr. Sofia Cavalletti (Hebrew scripture scholar, co-founder of CGS)

How did CGS begin?  "...In 1954, Sofia Cavalletti, together with Gianna Gobbi, began the Good Shepherd Center of Catechesis for children and adults in Rome.  This work has spread to five continents through lectures, seminars, courses, and publications, which have been translated into many languages.  In the course of more than 55 years' experience with children age two and older, the children have revevaled unexpected capacities in their relationship with the Transcendent.  Children from very diverse geographical, social, and cultural environments have always responded to this relationship with a profound sense of joy.  This puts them in a particular state of peace, which makes us think that this relationship satifies a vital need within children."  from Way of Holy Joy, Selected Writings of Sofia Cavalleti

What is the atrium?  "The atrium is a place where a community of children lives a religious experience together with some adults (the catechists) that prepares them to participate in the larger family community, ecclesial, and social," from Way of Holy Joy, Selected Writings of Sofia Cavalleti.  In the early church , a special room called the atrium was attached to the main church.  It is where catechumens were instructed before their profession of faith.  Maria Montessori adopted the name atrium as a room set apart to nurture the child's inner life.  Upon entering the atrium, you will notice its church-like style.  Montessori felt very strongly that this room should look like a chiesa bambini, a children’s church.  The furnishings reflect liturgical and church structures.  There are places for children to work on their own and in groups, places for prayer and reflection.  What is available in the atrium is simply time and space for God.


For more information about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, click here.

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