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Our Identity

Grade 9
Mrs. Szewczak


During Freshman Theology students will explore what it means to be a follower of Christ through Scripture and Mercy.

The first semester begins with a study of our Mercy charism and foundress, Catherine McCauley. We will explore the works of Mercy in the world through a thorough understanding of the spiritual and corporal works of Mercy.

We will then have a brief overview and introduction to the Catholic faith by studying the Apostles Creed.

We continue with a foundational overview of the Old Testament as the first part of the story of God's redemption of His creation. During this study of the Old Testament, students will explore and understand some of the basic themes of the Biblical narrative. Students will also develop essential Bible study skills and use them in engaging ways throughout the semester. The study of the Old Testament will give students many opportunities to apply the powerful truths that mercy brings.

The Second semester is a study of the New Testament including the Synoptic Gospels, the writings of John, the Acts of the Apostles, and the writings of Paul. Students will come to new understandings of the scripture by both prayer and study. The goal of this course is to integrate scripture into the lives of the students.

Our faith is based on God's Revelation through the Holy Scriptures and Tradition. During this course the students will begin to understand Biblical relationship to the Catholic Mass. The concerns of the Sisters of Mercy will be identified in the Bible throughout the course. 





Church History and Sacraments

Grade 10
Amy Cymerman

This course will supply students with a general knowledge of the history of the Catholic Church from the apostolic times through the Renaissance, Reformation and Counter Reformation. The course will also explore past Ecumenical Councils to better understand the changes within the Catholic Church through present day.  In addition, the Sacraments are historically and theologically extrapolated as well as explored within the context of everyday life. 


Catholic Morality and Social Teaching

Grade 11
Sr. Patricia Donlin

The first semester of this course seeks to provide the student with an introduction to the fundamental principles of Catholic moral teachings and the application of those teachings to contemporary moral issues. The concepts of the dignity of the human person, conscience, freedom, personal and social responsibility, law, sin and forgiveness will be explored in the light of Scripture and the moral tradition of the Church, along with a focus on decision-making skills. Areas to be addressed include: life issues, sexuality, authority, and truth.

The second semester of this course is designed to introduce the student to the rich social teaching of the Church on the many political, economic, ethical, and cultural issues and how they relate to the common good. This course will also focus on those poor and weak members of our society today to whom we must be committed in order to answer Christ's call in the Gospel to love and serve the poor. The Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy including: Anti-Racism, Nonviolence, Immigration, Women, and Earth will be studied in depth. Two books are also used as real life examples of the need for morality and social teaching.

Prayer and Social Teaching

Grade 11
Sr. Patricia Donlin

This course will look at Catholic Social Teaching and apply it to current events in our Church and world. The class will be based on Catholic Moral Theology and will include: Reading and discussing Church documents on Moral issues, reading and discussing Encyclicals and other writings on Catholic Social Teaching. The Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy will be an integral part of this course.

Topics to be covered include: life issues, sexuality, dignity of the human person, and social justice issues of poverty, Anti-Racism, Immigration, Women, Earth and Nonviolence.

The class will emphasize class discussions, prayer experiences based on the topics, and weekly reflection papers.

This is not an honors course however students must be able to think critically, share thoughts clearly, and have strong writing skills.

Vocational Life Choices/Women in the Church

Grade 12
Edna Tull

The main part of the curriculum focuses on Christian values and insights necessary to prepare young adults for future vocational choices: the single life, marriage, and the consecrated religious life. It revolves around Catholic teachings and beliefs on the sacredness of human sexuality, the unselfish nature of genuine love and the importance of realistic expectations regarding relationships, marriage preparation, and marriage as a Sacrament.

Included in this curriculum are the achievements of women, past and present, lay and religious, single and married, who, through their particular vocational life choices, have made significant contributions to the Catholic church community. Their lives of heroism, spirituality and service give inspiration and encouragement to everyone.

Mercy Women: Trailblazers of Faith in Action

Grade 12 Elective - 1 Semester
Mrs. Amy Cymerman/Sister Patricia Donlin
Prerequisite: Department Approval Required

This course highlights Christian women who have exemplified mercy in both deed and word. This course will chronologically delve into the lives of pre-selected women who have significantly impacted the Catholic faith with consideration to the social, political, religious, and economic context they endured during their lifetime.

Furthermore, this course will study and analyze primary sources and examine predetermined works through the historical lens of the time. This course will demonstrate to students the pivotal role of women in the development of the Catholic faith and how these women challenged historical stereotypes.

This course provides a strong foundation for the second semester course, Catherine McAuley and the City: Living the Mission. Please note, this course is an Honors Theology Elective, but will contain a variety of assessments.

Catherine McAuley and the City: Living the Mission

Grade 12 Elective - 1 Semester
Mrs. Amy Cymerman

Prerequisite: Department Approval Required

This course reviews the theology and spirituality of Catherine McAuley and how the Sisters of Mercy grew over the course of two centuries and established a particular mission. It includes the life and historical background of Catherine McAuley, with a special focus on why she felt compelled to assist the poor in Dublin. This course further explores the concepts of Mercy Charism and Catholic Social Teaching with particular emphasis on implementing the mercy missions today. Integrated into this curriculum is a service learning component that allows the student to combine what she has learned in the classroom with participation in service projects at Hope Partnership for Education in North Philadelphia.

This course is offered as a senior theology elective and is considered writing intensive and honors level course.

Department Members

Mrs. Amy L. Cymerman

Titles: Faculty
Degrees: M.A. LaSalle University

Sr. Patricia Donlin, RSM

Titles: Faculty
Degrees: M.A. Washington

Mrs. Margaret Szewczak

Titles: Faculty
Degrees: M.A. St. Charles Borromeo Seminary

Ms. Judith Wilson '87

Titles: Faculty
Degrees: M.A. St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, M.E.T. Boise State University