The mission of the Academy is to “cooperate with divine grace in forming the true and perfect Christian, that is, to form Christ Himself.” (Pope Pius XI, Divini Illius Magistri) To achieve this proper end, the Academy assists the family and the Church in guiding the souls committed to its care toward the purpose for which God created them: to know, to love, and to serve Him.
Relationship with Fisher More College
Fisher More Academy is the handmaiden of Fisher More College. The two programs share one mission, a “co-mission” of assisting in the formation of a supernatural person who “thinks, judges and acts constantly and consistently in accordance with right reason illumined by the supernatural light of the example and teaching of Christ; in other words, the true and finished man of character.” (Pope Pius XI, Divini Illius Magistri) To “form Christ Himself” is nothing less than to fulfill His Great Commission to save and sanctify the world, the Apostolate given to Holy Mother Church. The College and the Academy, then, are both handmaidens to the successors of the Apostles and are detached from goals, even from good goals, which might detract from our primary mission. (On the college web site, the Statement of the Apostolate describes the College’s apostolate and answers important questions.)
The Means to Fulfill Our Mission
Though the means of delivering intellectual formation through modern technology are new, the curriculum is traditional. A Fisher More Academy diploma signifies successful completion of a liberal arts curriculum which has laid a solid foundation for higher education and inoculates the student against the “Heresy of Modernism.” The Church has long recognized the value of the skills mastered in the Trivium and the Quadrivium. She also has recognized that such intellectual formation requires proper guidance from clergy, parents, faculty, staff, and peers in order to cultivate the virtues and keep youthful ambition properly oriented toward man’s proper end.
Distance learning today is enabled by technology which brings young people together under the tutelage of a faculty and staff unflinchingly loyal to the Church’s teaching. Friendships forged in the crucible of arduous pursuit of a shared academic program grow in strength; our students frequently take the initiative to plan and execute local “reunions” where students and families meet in person. Thus, relationships begun “online” often result in lifelong bonds.
The Academy’s shared academic experience consists of the Trivium and the Quadrivium, both serving the study of the Faith through four years of religion courses. The Trivium consists of language skills honed by study of foreign languages, “great books” of literature, English composition, and classical rhetoric while the Quadrivium presents the philosophical underpinnings of science in tandem with science’s necessary quantitative skills from algebra through calculus. In this way, modern science, rather than being a stumbling block to theology, is properly understood as a path to theology.
The Institute for Study of the Liberal Arts and Sciences (ISLAS), precursor to Regina Coeli Academy, was founded on the steps of St. Agnes Catholic Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana when Linda Robinson asked fellow parishioner Allen Taylor after Mass one Sunday, “Do you think anyone would be interested in learning Latin over the internet?” Mr. Taylor’s answer was, “Why stop with Latin?” A few months later, in the summer of 1995, the first live internet Latin class in history was offered in a chat room furnished by a home school publisher. That fall, with the blessing of His Excellency Alfred C. Hughes, then bishop of the diocese of Baton Rouge, a complete freshman curriculum was offered, and 18 years later, the Regina Coeli Academy Program continues to provide high quality online instruction for as many Catholic families as possible. In 1995, both the internet and the Catholic Homeschooling Movement were in their infancy, but, undaunted by the small number of Catholics who were homeschooling, ISLAS offered courses to all faiths introducing Latin and the Catholic faith to anyone who attended. In 1995, after enrolling their son in a Latin course, Mr. and Mrs. Randy and Wendy Pierce began as administrative assistants, and in 1997 ISLAS was incorporated as a non profit 501 (c) (3) corporation. After ten years of internet maturation and growth of the Catholic homeschooling movement, there were sufficient resources for ISLAS program to establish Regina Coeli as an independent program. From 2005 – 2011, Regina Coeli Academy tripled the size of its student body and increased faculty size to meet its needs.
Mr. Michael King, president of The College of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More, heard of the Regina Coeli Academy online apostolate and contacted the RCA administration in November 2011 to discuss obtaining RCA’s help in establishing an online program for the College. The staff from both institutions met in March the next year and then again in the summer. After detailed examination of both programs, guided by prayer and trust in Providence, all participants realized that both organizations share a unity of purpose and agreed that it would be in the best interests of all (including students and families) to operate as one institution. The RCA and FMC staff continued meeting throughout 2012 to develop a plan that would provide a superb and affordable Catholic education for as many students as possible. In October 2012, Regina Coeli Academy officially changed its name to Fisher More Academy and began offering classes under its new name in Fall 2013.
Does Low Cost mean Low Quality?
A price significantly lower than the typical amount charged for service naturally raises the question of quality — “Am I getting the quality needed at this low rate?” Be assured that the reduced tuition offered by Fisher More Academy will not affect the quality of education you have come to expect from the Regina Coeli Academy program. A main goal of Fisher More College is to provide an affordable and quality Catholic education that prepares students to enter the state in life to which they are called. The sad reality is that few Catholic schools, secondary or post-secondary, arm students with spiritual and intellectual weapons against modernism, called the “synthesis of all heresies” in Pope St. Pius X’s Pascendi Dominici Gregis. To add insult to injury, Catholic institutions typically charge students unconscionably high tuition rates for an “education.” Such high tuition for large Catholic families, has contributed to crushing student debt which can seriously thwart a student’s answer to God’s future call, whether to the priesthood, religious life, or holy matrimony.
The College of Saints John Fisher & Thomas More has a greater vision.
With much prayer, the College and the Academy have labored for a year, carefully evaluating and combining resources. From this labor has been born a plan that provides significant tuition savings, prevents future debt to students, provides students an environment for discerning God’s call and the financial freedom to answer. The staff and faculty of both institutions view this undertaking as a mission to which they have been called and consequently realize that they, themselves, must strive to live holy lives, daily in prayer before God, humbly requesting Divine Assistance. Neither the faculty or the staff in either organization are offered, and will ever be offered, excessive compensation for what they do; they are a part of this mission because they believe in it and recognize the great need in our culture, especially among large Catholic families. In addition to administrative frugality, the college sponsors a combined capital campaign to raise donations for ongoing operations and to support an endowment fund, both of which will help sustain Fisher More College and subsidiary programs such as Fisher More Academy.
Who can help us fulfill this calling? As a currently enrolled family, supporting your students with their studies through prayer and practical hands-on help is the best way to support our program. If you are able to financially donate to our programs because of reduced tuition rates, we would greatly appreciate that. If you know of individuals or businesses desiring to support the cause of traditional Catholic education, kindly tell them about us and encourage them to donate. Most important, however, is your prayer support for our students, that they work hard at their studies in order to reach their full potential, and for our faculty and staff, that they would lead holy lives, honoring God in all things, as examples to students and one another.