A Birthday Remembrance of Sr. Edna Ann Hebert, O.P.
Today we celebrate Sr. Edna Ann Hebert on what would have been her 90th birthday. Sr. Edna Ann entered eternal life last Thursday, July 8 and was laid to rest on Tuesday. We remember her for her joyous laughter, love of music, and passion for Montessori teaching. To know her was a blessing, and her legacy extends well beyond the children and families she guided during her decades of teaching.
Of the Montessori approach, Sr. Edna Ann said:
Montessori is a philosophy, not a method of education. It is a philosophy which recognized that children are guided by an inborn, natural process of growth and that, by removing the obstacles to this unfolding and answering the needs of the child as they arise, education should be an aid to life.
Sr. Edna Ann became interested in the Montessori approach to teaching in 1963 when, as a first grade teacher of eleven years, she read an article about the philosophy. In May 1966 she earned her AMI certification from the Washington Montessori Institute in Washington D.C., and co-founded Dominican Montessori School in August that same year. Dominican Montessori, Houston’s first Catholic Montessori school, would later become St. Catherine’s Montessori.
Over the years, with her long-time school partner and best friend, Sr. Shirley Owens, Sr. Edna Ann welcomed more Montessori guides and added classes to provide for the school’s growth and continuity. From the beginning, religious teaching was an integral part of student education.
In 1968 Sr. Edna Ann said:
Montessori advocates a separate room for the teaching of religion. Everything in this room has a bearing on the spiritual life; the general effect is that here the soul of the child and all his activities are centered in the life and personality of Our Lord. This room, “the atrium,” is set apart for the preparation of little children for their full participation in the life of the Church. This room is a place where the religious sentiment is born and nurtured, where the children are quite free in their expression of their religious instincts.
St. Catherine’s Montessori remains Houston’s only Catholic Montessori school serving children aged 14 months through 12th grade. Our school is dedicated to fostering the development of the whole child, guided by the shared values of our Catholic and Montessori heritages, and we are forever in heartfelt gratitude to Sr. Edna Ann for the continued gifts she bestowed on our community.
Happy Birthday, Sr. Edna Ann!