Christ is the heart and life of Rosary Academy, which is driven by our Catholic faith through scripture, tradition, teaching, and service. Mary, our Patroness, models the abundance of life offered to us, and the evolution of our mission statement and philosophy reflect her importance. Our mission statement, which appears prominently on our website, in our handbooks, and in all our classrooms, states that Mary guides and inspires each of us to serve the dear neighbor, reminding us that our Catholic identity is only authentic if we live out our faith through action. In addition, the adoption of “The Seven Benefits,” into our philosophy reflects the spirit of a Rosary Academy student—above all, she is a young woman who embraces her faith, models the values of social justice, and instinctively seeks to recognize the face of God in the strangers she meets. Along with our ISOs, our mission statement and philosophy strongly support our Catholic identity, and our students can articulate how the Rosary Academy experience anchors faith at the center of all that we do.
Rosary Academy offers frequent opportunities for our community of students, educators, and families to immerse themselves in prayer, liturgy, signs and symbols of our faith, and the Sacraments. Our Lady of the Rosary Academy Chapel, centrally located, and our Marian courtyard serve as sacred gathering spaces. Catholic signs and symbols are also prominently displayed throughout the campus, including in every classroom, as visual reminders of the faith. Over the PA system, prayer occurs campus-wide three times a day: before school, at lunch, and at the end of the day. These prayers encourage all on campus to take a moment and participate in devotion (Morning Prayer). Blessed with a new Chaplain in September 2017, we are now able to offer the sacrament of Reconciliation two times per week in addition to holding a weekly Adoration/Holy Hour. With the help of the 75 campus ministry student volunteers (over 20% of the student body), we also offer school wide liturgies (Rosary Academy Liturgies) and Mass two times each week-- at lunch in our chapel along with monthly father-daughter and mother-daughter masses in the morning. Of course, as an esteemed tradition, the Rosary Academy community celebrates the feast of the Holy Rosary every October. Along with faculty, students are trained as ministers to assist and serve at our school Masses as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, lectors, and altar servers.
Retreats present important opportunities for our students to deepen their faith. In addition to three mother-daughter retreats held yearly, we are partnering with Servite High School, our brother school, to develop a men’s retreat program for our Rosary Academy dads. Each class level also has a yearly retreat, which allows students to experience adoration, reflect on the teachings of Christ through hands-on activities, participate in shared prayer, and break bread together. One of the most profound Catholic retreat experiences, Kairos offers seniors and some juniors interested in serving as retreat leaders the following year (Rosary Academy Retreats) the chance to leave technology behind for nearly a week as they "contemplate God's role in their lives." At the Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside, California, students have the opportunity to attend daily mass at the Historic Mission Church, built in 1815. Most seniors cite their Kairos experience as among their most memorable in their high school journey.
Trained in the history of the Sisters of St. Joseph, who encourage us to live out the mission of “service to the dear neighbor,” the Rosary Academy faculty take part in faith formation opportunities as we strive to be living examples of the Gospel mission. While the Catholic composition of our faculty and staff (Administration 100%, Instructional Personnel 75.9%, and non-instructional personnel 74.3%) indicates our strong commitment to Catholic values and education, we still relish in our desire to model the legacy of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Sponsored by the Diocese of Orange, the annual convocation held in August sets the tone for this important work as it focuses on our mission as a Catholic School. The event consists of a two-hour in-service on a current Catholic issue, and the presentation empowers and challenges us as educators to bring this topic to life in our schools. The convocation includes a closing mass and blessing of faculty for the upcoming year. To continue to grow in our faith and stay current in Catholic teaching, our faculty and staff also participate in four spiritual formations each school year and receive training in liturgical seasons and feasts.
The Rosary Academy curriculum is fully aligned with the USCCB Doctrinal Framework for Catholic high schools, and final exam results do not indicate the need for adjustment to our curriculum or modifications to the Bishop’s Framework. Teachers constantly review and reteach all major faith concepts if necessary. Currently, we are not able to offer additional electives due to the lack of teachers within the department, but we are eager to grow our school enrollment and explore the possibility of adding enrichment courses, including a bible study class. Our Religion department faculty meet all Diocesan educational requirements, are proactive in their personal and professional Catholic faith, and respond to the values and desires of the Bishop of the Diocese of Orange. All Rosary Academy teachers utilize in their teaching a formational/transformational philosophy of “head (knowledge), hands (action) and heart (transform).” There is also a commitment to the understanding that the religious and moral development of every student is a cooperative rather than instructive.
The Rosary Academy faculty and administration commit to partnering with parents, the primary educators of faith, in their daughters’ spiritual journey. We invite all parents to participate in liturgies, prayer services, and day retreats. In order to deepen our faith and strengthen our relationship with parents, we are currently exploring how we can provide our parents with even more faith formation opportunities.
Although Rosary Academy currently does not have a formal service requirement, our students are given many chances to actively engage in service and be the “hands and feet of Christ.” Many Royals actively participate in service clubs such as Higher Ground, which provides mentors to at risk youth; and Crittendon, which allows our young women to assist survivors of domestic abuse and human trafficking. At major diocesan events, Rosary Academy fields a majority of high school volunteers; our students enjoy challenging themselves to bring the Beatitudes alive through service. Nevertheless, we continue to debate the philosophical idea of requiring service for students; we wish to continue this exploration by engaging our student body, faculty, and staff in discussion.