Our school features a recurring sequence of field trips that we call “Frassati Fridays.” Every two or three weeks, we take education outside the classroom, rotating between three different types of field trips:
Adventures in the great outdoors, such as hiking, canoeing, foraging for edible plants, or an Outward Bound ropes course.
Corporal works of mercy, or acts of service, such as cleaning a house for pregnant homeless women, serving lunch at a soup kitchen, or gardening for an inner city home for recovering addicts.
Culture, such as a ballet matinee, a symphony rehearsal, or an art or archeological museum.
Why do we do this? Because while books and classrooms are essential, they are not the only thing that matters in an education. We want our children to develop a sacramental imagination and a Catholic way of engaging the great wide world. The world is big and beautiful, and we want our students to drink deeply from all that is excellent, as well as to honestly confront the world’s challenges and pain in age appropriate ways. We want them to meet God in creation. We want them to meet Christ in “the least of these.” We want to engage in culture, because nothing human and good is alien to a Catholic.
We call our field trips “Frassati Fridays” in honor of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, a young man who lived in Turin, Italy, in the early twentieth century. Our school motto is “the glory of God is man fully alive,” and Bl. Pier Giorgio embodies for young men and women what it means to be fully alive in Christ. Like St. John Paul II, he was an outdoorsman, a mountaineer, a hiker, and a competitive swimmer. He had a great love for the poor and a passion for social justice. As a teenager, he joined his local Vincent de Paul Society and eventually became its president. He avidly attended theatre, opera, and museums, and was known for his capacity to quote Dante. From an early age, in a time when this was unusual, he was a daily Communicant.
In short, Bl. Pier Giorgio explains why regular field trips are part of the curriculum at Martin Saints. We believe that adventures in the outdoors, works of mercy, and engaging our culture are ways that we can help our students deepen their Catholicism and become fully alive in Christ.