We were first introduced to Regina Luminis Academy in the summer of 2008, just a few months before it opened its doors for the first time. Prior to learning of its existence, we had been looking for a new school to send our children. Already knowing about Regina Angelorum Academy, then in Havertown; we considered enrolling our children there, but because it was so far away from our current house, it wasn’t logistical for our family. At the time, we even thought possibly of moving closer to RLA’s sister school, as a Catholic and classical education was of paramount importance to me and my husband. It was truly a blessing from God when we first heard of a Regina school opening just 10 minutes away from our home. We are incredibly grateful to God for placing us and our children in such a faith filled and salt of the earth community.
We are also thankful for RLA’s founders, Debbie Giardini and Cindy O’Brien, for inspired by the Holy Spirit, they spearheaded the start of the school and made its beginnings possible. These strong and exceptional women placed all their trust in God. Another exceptional woman to thank is Diane Toler who was instrumental in starting our high school a few years later.
The first year only 38 students enrolled in the school, 13 families in total; but despite this small number, the seeds planted and the fruits already growing were without number. On the last day of school that year, I distinctly remember conversing with the other moms about the shared love we had for this small and humble academy. This education, rich in faith and reason, was exactly what we wanted for our children’s schooling. As with all things, RLA experienced many growing pains; one of the first being that in order to open its doors the following year, RLA needed to raise 50,000 dollars, which may not seem much today but was an overwhelming task then. As we spoke with one another about the gift of RLA, this problem also entered our conversation. But when the next school year came around, through Divine Providence, the doors remained open and have remained open since then. It is so amazing that God always makes His presence known, His loving hands guiding the growth of Our Mother Mary’s school.
As mentioned before, one thing that drew us to Regina Luminis Academy was the strong Catholic and classical education. From the very beginning, there was never a question as to whether or not what our children were learning outside the home was beneficial to their growth. Ever since its foundation, RLA has prioritized the formation of the whole person, spiritually as well as academically. While many schools focus on the modern trends in education, RLA’s mission has and always will be the individual student. In every classroom, there is ample opportunity to grow in intimacy with God and in personal growth through the discussions had and the works studied. Throughout the years, we continue to see the fruits of this in our children. It is beautiful how they are given the opportunity to develop their minds and their love for God. One thing that RLA has surely cultivated in our household is a healthy love for reading. During the day, we often see any one of our children curled up on the couch with a good book in hand.
Not only is the education extraordinary at Regina Luminis Academy, but the families that the Holy Spirit has drawn to it are as well. We have seen over the years how each family brings their own individual gifts and charism to the school and helps strengthen it with the new life they bring. At different times in the history of the school, different families, led by the Holy Spirit, have helped RLA flourish. And we can’t forget the lasting friendships that our children have made over the years with fellow students. Even students who have attended RLA for a short time have built strong friendships. The bonds built at RLA seem to last, I’ll tell you that.
Having the opportunity to be part of such a community for the last 14 years has truly been a blessing from God. The education is phenomenal and the families dear to our hearts. Our children enjoy the running team and look forward to the school year at the end of each summer. We really do love RLA! One quote from Father C. J. d’Elbee, author of I Believe in Love, really sums up the special charism of the school: “Goodness attracts goodness… and what is more, it gives birth to goodness. It radiates something already heavenly.” Thank you, Lord!
The Gabris Family
Glenn, Anne, Theresa (Class of 2021), Alex (Grade 12), Gregory (Grade 10), Martin (Grade 8), Zelie (Grade 8)
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