Being a Catholic in Lublin!!


Written by: Shadia Sbait- The Mofet Institute

On May 2022, I participated in the international seminar of the PROMENTORS project in KUL, Lublin- Poland as a member of the coordination team of the project from the Mofet Institute.

The seminar was perfectly organized and included meetings with mentors and mentees, field visits to schools in addition to presentations and lectures that aimed to explain the unique mentoring model in KUL.

The atmosphere of the University was very Christian even for a Catholic Christian like me. Christian symbols were all over the place. Church bells were ringing while we were in the workshops and lectures. At this point in time, it felt like a romantic European atmosphere, and nothing more.

While taking part in the seminar and getting to meet more lecturers from the faculty of pedagogy, meeting schools’ principals and teachers, mentors, and mentees, I realized that they are all related and most of them graduated from KUL, the children of the professors of KUL are pupils in the same schools we were visiting, and they are a large Catholic community!

There are advantages that can be felt in a community which shares the same values. When a mentoring system is being implemented in a community, the importance of sharing the same values in education and in the mentoring process is manifested.

In a well-managed mentorship program mentees will move through defined stages of development. Beginning teachers need to be assisted and accompanied in the journey from survival to improved professional practice and developing a learning community. Mentees need sound advice regarding teaching practice, professional conduct and the culture of the school and community. Beginning teachers often move into communities and schools in unfamiliar areas, these new teachers need to be welcomed and valued as contributing members of the school and the community.

In Lublin, we witnessed a strong Catholic Church community, in which the people share the same beliefs, philosophy and values. This is what makes their mentoring system positive and natural, and this is reflected in the schools, in the classrooms and in the society. 

For me, this was one of the most inspirational experiences as a Catholic!

3 Comments. Leave new

  • Thank you for sharing your lovely experience.
    There is definitely something charming about such a community.

  • Rimona Cohen
    May 25, 2022 9:38 am

    Dear Shadia. I have carefully read your impressions and I join in admiring the experience of meeting a community that seems to have common values and shared lifestyles. As a member of the staff of the Beit Berl Academic College, I joined with my colleagues Dr. Ina Ben Uri and Ayelet Yariv for an educational visit at a Catholic kindergarten. It was a fascinating experience for me. I was impressed by the visibility of the religious symbols in the learning spaces of the kindergarten and it made me think about the power of visual representations to assimilate beliefs and perceptions from a very young age.
    The teaching staff at the kindergarten was excited to receive from us a souvenir we had prepared from Jerusalem; we did not know in advance how much it would touch their hearts because of the religious aspect. We saw how alongside the Polish flags created by the children are also some Ukrainian flags expressing the identity of refugee children who were absorbed and integrated into the kindergarten. A visit of this kind is an opportunity for reflection about the culture from which I came from. Thank KUL dedicated staff who built such a meaningful day for us.

  • Thank you Shadia and Rimona for sharing your cultural experience during the pedagogical seminar for mentoring orgenised by the wonderful team of KUL. Reading your impressions and sharing show the strong effects of culture and cultural symbols in education. Theses things build an atmosphere and give you a sense of belonging. For me, a person that was raised in a kibbutz- an ultra Communist community, that rejected any sign of cultural belonging, experiencing the Polish educational system, as well as other more cultural binds societies, is an asset and an opportunity to learn.


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