Jesus is always telling better stories. His providence is always perfectly timed.

 In his story-telling providence, He has brought us students we’ve always wanted to serve but couldn’t just yet. In Spring 2023,  a local school devoted to serving children with severe and profound learning needs was shut down, leaving dozens of students bereft of teachers and clinicians who could provide their specialized educational needs. Until…

 In July 2023, after months of conversations and prayer about how we might share ourselves on behalf of these children, The Academy’s Board of Directors approved a pilot program, St Joseph of Cupertino, to serve a number of children with Autism and other developmental delays. 

The patron Saint of developmental disabilities, Joseph of Cupertino, spent his childhood on the margins of society.  Lacking the tools and resources to properly accommodate her son, Joseph’s mother considered him a nuisance and treated him harshly.  He was ridiculed for his absent-mindedness, his ‘slow’ learning ability, his aimless wandering, and his gaping mouth.  Society rejected him until he found a home among the Franciscan friars, where he ultimately became known for the many miracles he performed.  Following Joseph of Cupertino’s canonization in 1767, we can think of no better icon to whom our pilot program should pay homage.

Now, each day at South campus, our very own St. Joseph’s children are offered a home among us — eating lunch, enjoying recess, and experiencing the liturgical rhythms of the day alongside their mainstream Academy peers. 

 Such a program fits beautifully within the Academy’s Portrait of a Graduate. Our desire is to provide an education that forms graduates who, in some way, participate in the building of the new heavens and earth. Scripture tells the story of the incarnate God remaking all that’s lost in Adam’s fall which always includes those on the margins of society. In seeking to produce graduates who ‘love their neighbors, especially the most broken and marginalized’, our students must be in contact with such. Loving one’s neighbor — especially the marginalized — means bringing them into one’s community, according to Isaiah 58. There are a number of historically marginalized students to include at the school, and we grieve the reality that we have not been able to serve them all. Nonetheless, accepting these St. Joseph’s students into our community fulfills both our desire to form a certain kind of graduate and, more importantly, a Gospel mandate to love (and be loved by) our neighbor.