The successor of the one-time Roman Catholic Secondary School founded in Csíksomlyó is now one of the oldest schools in Transylvania.

Based on historical sources it can be concluded that as early as the second half of the 16th century there was secondary education in the region of Csík. Our school was founded by the Franciscan monks in Csíksomlyó, the holy place of our nation. It was named after the Virgin Mary, who has always been highly respected by the Szeklers, and whose protection they have experienced so many times throughout history.

The most important event in the life of the institution that with some interruptions had survived the historical turmoils of the past was the decision to move the school to Csíkszereda. The present building of the school was consecrated in 1911 by Bishop Károly Majláth-Gusztáv. After the two World Wars the school was taken into national ownership in 1948. The school with a Christian orientation could return to its original place after an exile of almost 40 years following the change of the regime and now it is continuing with determination to educate students in faith, science and morality.

The Roman Catholic secondary school, which was restarted in 1991, has been functioning for more than 25 years. The educational work now takes place in two buildings which are completely in the ownership of the Church:

     • Almost 500 students study in the building that is considered to be the status symbol of the town and the renovation of which was finished in 2011. The school has lower secondary(5th-8th classes) and secondary (9th-12th classes) sections, the latter functioning as a denominational theoretical secondary school having a theology class, a social science class and a natural sciences class each year. The lower secondary school section does not have a certain registration area.

     • The other building of the school is the student hostel, the renewal of which was finished in 2020. This building gives accommodation to 130 students coming from rural areas and at the same time it has a chapel with 450 seats, where we can celebrate our religious and school festivals as well.

Together with providing outstanding physical and financial conditions the real challenge lies in our answers to the following questions:

• How is the view of education different in our school, the Segítő Mária Roman Catholic   Secondary School?

• What extras can the school provide for our students in 4 or 8 years?

• What directions do we offer to our students and their parents?

Our educational activities are determined by the view that God loves everyone personally. Our main goal is to make our students realize this hoping that this realization will ultimately trigger the individual`s answer- the answer of the individual as a whole.

At first sight specialization in theology, social sciences and natural sciences has a theoretical aspect only. Regarding our work in this field the ranking of secondary schools in the country issued by the Ministry of Education gives a good feedback. This ranking is based on entrance exam results, 8th grade and GCSE exam results, different academic competitions and university entrance exam results and they give an insight into the quality of education.

Based on this ranking our school has been in the first three secondary schools of Hargita county for many years now. Our motivation is to give our students well-founded academic knowledge and ensure their university education.

Our modern classrooms and laboratories are scenes of high-standard and consistent intellectual work, where students are prepared not only for final and entrance exams but also for several scientific workshops, academic competitions and language exams.

Some of our school partnerships: a three-year long Comenius project with Western European denominational schools as well as our partnership with the Benedictine School of Pannonhalma.

However, this is only part of our value-oriented education.  Along with training the intellect we are doing our best to strengthen the will and the soul: to connect knowledge with the development of conscience and virtue because only in this way can we become valuable in our community. We strongly believe that our school teaches a sense of togetherness: togetherness with God and also with people. We are trying to form a need in our students to take an active role in their community.

In our community the Holy Mass has an outstanding role: it starts a new school year or a new week and closes a certain period with thanksgiving. It also highlights and sanctifies important days like “Maturandus” ( the coming of age ceremony of the 12th graders) or the school-leaving ceremony. Throughout the liturgical year there are memorable events like the contemplation preceding the preparation of the advent wreath, lighting the candles on the advent wreath on Tuesday mornings, the early morning masses in the nearby villages in the Advent period as well as blessing the classrooms at the beginning of the new year. During the Lent every class takes part in a 2-day retreat built around a topic specific to their age in order to prepare for the celebration of the Resurrection. Among these topics we can find the Christian interpretation of the individual and the community, the problems of self-evaluation and self-esteem, our approach to our addictions, the interpretation of our image of God, partnerships, the Christian marriage etc.

Students and teachers alike take part in the Way of the Cross on Good Friday and our male teachers sing the Passion. Our outstanding celebration is the Pentecost Pilgrimage of Csíksomlyó, which is a pilgrimage and a service at the same time. Throughout the year we have modest but nonetheless valuable moments like the prayers in our chapel said for each other or as thanksgiving, the Eucharistic adoration on schooldays, the silent evening prayers and the gift of confessions preceding religious festivals. As a continuous background of prayer we have the Congregation of the Virgin Mary made up mostly of girls. In the scout team called 126th Kájoni János boys are also active and `always on the ball`. The different activities going on in the students` council make it possible for the members to experience the ups and downs of organizing communities.

Tamás Levente, director