As a shield is important to any knight, so our shield is important to us. The Coat of Arms of Ave Maria Academy and its symbolism embody much of the vision and philosophy of our education.
⧾ Ave Maria – The Latin for “Hail, Mary”, Ave Maria is an evocation of Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and of our Savior, Jesus Christ. She stands as our primary and revered protectress, mediatrix, and helper. The princess of St. George lore also represents Our Lady. Like St. George we are knights, called to protect Our Lady and all for which she stands.
⧾ St. George Cross (red on white) – St. George is our champion, chosen in large part to represent the ideals of this academy. He embodies virtue in sacrificial service to the Truth and through the action of saving the princess and children from the dragon (all that harms innocence, purity, and virtue). In addition, the red on white Cross of St. George signifies Christianity and is a symbol of Crusaders, defenders of the faith and figures whom, according to legend, St. George assisted miraculously.
⧾ Sun – This central image is a symbol of Christ, the Son of God, the source of all that is Good, True, and Beautiful.
⧾ Open Book with Sword (Upper Left) – The book is a symbol of learning, while the sword symbolizes the double-edged sword of the Word of God. Together it is a symbol of Faith and Reason. In addition the sword connects AMA’s teaching mission to the figure of St. George, the knight.
⧾ Fleur-de-Lys (Upper Right) – A symbol of the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially in blue, for it resembles both the Iris (emblem of Mary’s Seven Sorrows) and the Madonna Lily (emblem of virginity, purity). She is a special object of devotion for the AMA community, as well as the beloved patroness of our school.
⧾ Harp (Lower Right) – A symbol of song and poetry and the music and love that moves the Universe, the significance of the harp is essential to an AMA education.
⧾ Grain (Lower Left) – A symbol of a good harvest, the grain or wheat also recalls the Parable of the Sower and emphasizes our connection to the Earth in gardening and stewardship, and reflects Ave Maria Academy’s work to prepare the soil of its students’ souls for the seeds of God’s Word.
⧾ The color blue and stars – The blue background symbolizes the protective mantle of Our Lady. The color blue signifies heavenly grace, hope, and servitude. The stars remind us of our eternal destiny, Heaven, and the love that moves the stars. Specifically, the seven stars represent many significant sevens: days of creation, sacraments, liberal arts, gifts of the Holy Spirit, and virtues. The eighth star in the middle, the Sun, also symbolizes the Resurrection on the “eighth day”.
⧾ Veni et Vide – “Come and See.” These words not only embody a kind of evangelizing – for Jesus does not merely answer his disciples but accompanies them in many ways to know the Truth – they emphasize the ideal realm and experience of learning. When Philip invites Nathanael to meet Jesus, the one for whom they have awaited as a Savior, Nathanael is doubtful, and wonders whether “anything good can come from Nazareth?” Philip does not try to convince Nathanael with words, but rather, and simply, implores him: “Come and see.” Like Philip, the teachers of Ave Maria Academy wish to show children in an experiential and tangible way the answers to life’s questions, to come and see Jesus of Nazareth in the sacraments, in a personal relationship through prayer, in the discovery of Truth, and through the experience of good and beautiful things. Moreover, it’s in the nature of our Classical education to say, “Come and see.” Students will see their plants grow and bear their fruit in a garden, hear the lyrical harmony of the liturgy as they sing, nurture their hearts by memorizing and reciting poetry, grow in spirit as they feel the warmth of the sun and examine in their hands the conversion of nature’s old leaves as fodder for future trees. It is difficult to explain to someone the impact of a good Catholic education on children. Hearing about great things can never suffice – but living in a culture fed on stories of the saints, filled with the music of song, poems, worship, and play, balanced with joy and suffering alike, these things instill a desire to say, “I cannot explain it to you. You have to come and see!” Ultimately, we educate for sainthood, for the Beatific Vision – Veni et Vide – unto God, face to face.