By Father Gregory Mohrman, O.S.B. ’76
Headmaster, Saint Louis Priory School
Sixty years ago, on the evening of October 19, 1955, three monks arrived in Saint Louis at Union Station, after having undertaken the long and arduous journey by sea and rail from Ampleforth Abbey in northern Yorkshire. The Abbot and Community of Ampleforth Abbey sent Fathers Columba, Luke, and Timothy at the request of a group of lay Catholic men and women who sought to provide for their sons a classical and Catholic education of the highest excellence.
As those three monks were driven out to their new home on Mason Road and pulled up the drive, the (then-named) Stannard House was ablaze with light, and many supporters and well-wishers waited to welcome them. Their first act, however, was to go to the small Chapel, which had been set up just off the living room of the house. There, they prayed the Divine Office of the Church for the first time on the campus and inaugurated the practice of monastic life, which has continued in an unbroken cycle of prayer and work until this day.
Those three founding monks, together with the lay men and women who shared their vision, established the monastery and school we know today as Saint Louis Abbey and Saint Louis Priory School. From those humble beginnings, the Abbey has grown to 33 monks, the school has grown to over 400 students, and the facilities on campus have expanded to meet the ever-increasing demands of the students and their families. The monks have also broadened their scope of ministry to include pastoral work in Saint Anselm Parish, as well as activities throughout the Archdiocese.
All of this is the fruit of those Founders' dedication and courage. This 60th anniversary gives us all the opportunity to reflect on their vision, and to celebrate its accomplishment. It also is a moment of challenge as we look to the future and seek the Lord's will for our Abbey, School, and Parish, and as we embark on the next decade of the monastery's life.
Let us keep our founders in our prayers, let us pray for all those many people who have been part of the Abbey, School, and parish over the years, and let us pray that our own dedication to the mission and witness of this monastery may be strengthened.
We thank you for the vision and courage
Which our founders showed in bringing the Benedictine monastic life to Saint Louis.
We ask your abundant blessing on them all, living and deceased.
Help us who have received that great legacy
To be faithful to their vision, to be a presence of God in this world,
And to continue to bring to the lives of the young men and their families,
whom you bring here
The warmth of your love, the wisdom of your Spirit, and the thirst for justice
Which will enable them to be a powerful force for good in our world.
Keep us all in the tender care of your Spirit, and bring us at last to that Kingdom
Where you are LORD, for ever and ever.
LAUS TIBI DOMINE