Fr. Edward Leen CSSP: What is Education?


I was pouring over some old notes I had taken at a professional development event a while back. I find it’s worthwhile exercise to review notes from past conferences, as I almost always get something out of it.

This particular conference utilised the writings of Fr. Edward Leen of The Holy Ghost Fathers. I have broken this up into three parts which I will post this week. I hope you too will find something of interest here…


Fr Edward Leen(1885–1944) was an Irish spiritual writer. A native of Co. Limerick, Ireland, he entered the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and studied at Rockwell College and Rome. He was ordained priest in 1914, became dean of studies at Blackrock College in 1922, and its president in 1925. From 1939 he was superior of the house of his congregation at Kimmage. Leen was among the most popular RC spiritual authors. Among his best-known works are Progress through Mental Prayer (1935), containing practical instructions on the lower stages of mental prayer up to the Prayer of Quiet; The Holy Ghost (1936), considered esp. in His workings in souls; Why the Cross? (1938), meditations on the problem of pain; and The Church before Pilate (1939). He also wrote numerous pamphlets and articles on Catholic education.

What is Education? (part one)

The culture of mind, will and emotion enables a man to be trained towards a true end. The purpose of education is human happiness. It is to give students life tools that show life principles, social skills and a livelihood.

Much depends on the will of the student. The will has to be conformed to the intellect in unity.

To achieve this, the teacher must show enthusiasm whilst framing a pattern of conduct, encouraging students to stay on the true path.

Teachers are duty bound to instill self-discipline and self-activity into their students.

When the cult of attraction is disciplined and brought under control, true peace is attained. In this peace, character is formed.

If you are controlled by the chains of emotions, then you are not free. Freedom comes when you control the emotions, therefore peace and freedom are goals of education.

We should be careful not to compartmentalise education into separate subjects. We would then be like ants, busying ourselves over purely material needs to support a material social system.

Education is not just personal (e.g. to get a job) but social, so work for the common good in society. We might see this in an excellent school spirit, through our teachers and students.

As students mature, they develop inner conviction to their achieve goals rather than relying on discipline to motivate them.

True education forms leaders and citizens who can remedy human and social problems.

Part two tomorrow Protection Status

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