Saint Louis University

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the religious formation of the child that is rooted in Sacred Scripture, liturgy, and the educational philosophy and methods of Maria Montessori.

Each week the children gather in a room called an "atrium." This specially prepared space contains many materials that the children can work with and use. For example, there is an area in the room set aside for work with the articles of the Mass: a smaller than child-size model altar, chalice, paten, lectionary, sacramentary, tabernacle, chasubles, among other articles. Another area is dedicated to the sacrament of baptism, another has dioramas depicting key events in the life of Jesus (the Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, the Presentation in the Temple, the visit of the magi, and the Last Supper), yet another for a few select parables, and a prayer table is set up in an area where the children gather to pray.

This type of religious experience is well suited to the needs and capacities of the young child.

The College Church is home to three atriums that serve 36 young parishioners, ages 3-12. If you would like information on the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd or the atriums at the College Church, please contact Angie Doerr at 314-977-7302 or

Children with catechist

Children and catechist gathered around

Children working with materials

Children working with the Good Shepherd materials