Sacred Heart satisfies Peterborough’s hunger for Catholic education

  • October 19, 2011

Peterborough’s first Catholic liberal arts college is responding to the need for solid Catholic education for youth in the diocese, says Fr. Joseph Devereaux, chancellor of the Peterborough diocese.

“The focus is to provide something for youth that will help them,” said Devereaux.

“(It’s about) what can we do for youth intellectually, spiritually, socially. A well-rounded education can help provide that.”

Sacred Heart College opened its doors this September. It is offering two courses this fall on the ethics of leadership and Catholic bioethics. Three more courses will be available to students in January.

Twenty students are currently enrolled, Devereaux said.

Students receive a credit from Trent University which will accept the Sacred Heart College courses as transfer credits.

Sacred Heart College and Trent University signed a memorandum of understanding in April.

For now, classes are held at the old rectory of Sacred Heart Church on Aylmer and Romaine Streets, which houses a library and classrooms.

Instructor Bridget Campion, who teaches Introduction to Catholic Bioethics, says it’s an exciting time to be at Sacred Heart.

“What we’re witnessing is the beginnings of a college,” Campion said.

She said the first weeks of classes are off to a good start.

“The students are a delight. The thing is they want to be there. This is something they’ve been searching for to add to their programs,” she said. “There is a hunger for this kind of education.”

Students don’t need to travel outside Peterborough or register for online classes to get quality Catholic education in their hometown, Campion said.

More than $2 million has been raised to fund the college.

The idea of a Catholic college for Peterborough originated in 2006 when Peterborough Bishop Nicola de Angelis met with the Holy Father at the Vatican. De Angelis brought a poster for the Pope of Peterborough youth who attended an event modelled after World Youth Day. The Pope asked de Angelis if young people in his diocese had an opportunity to attend a Catholic college or university. When de Angelis answered “No,” the Pope encouraged him to start one.

In January, Sacred Heart College will host a grand opening of the college, including a ceremony for the installation of its principal, dean of studies and chancellor.

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