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Department Overview

Theology at Priory is meant to help students consider some of the most significant questions: Who is God? How has he revealed himself to mankind? What is a human being made for? How do we treat our neighbor in light of these? We offer Theology—which literally means the “study of God”—because seeking understanding regarding these questions is important for everone. As a Benedictine and Catholic school, we believe the full answers are found in Jesus Christ, who is “the way, the truth, and the life,” (John 14:6) and we seek to offer this knowledge drawing on the rich tradition of the Church’s faith and life, and invite our boys to consider that what it has to say is relevant today. We find that our students, whether Christian or of another tradition, enjoy engaging with these questions in class and growing at their own pace in knowledge and love of God.

The curriculum begins with a general introduction to the Scriptures, Salvation History, and Covenant History. We focus on the Old Testament in 7th grade, with an emphasis on God’s intervention to establish Israel as his chosen people through a covenantal bond. We then turn to the New Testament in 8th grade, focusing on the preparation and fulfillment of prophecy in the coming of the Messiah and the fulness of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ and its universal extension.

The Freshman year is focused on the life, doctrine, and practice of the of the Church as it unfolds over time, beginning with the Acts of the Apostles up to today. The Sophomore year is dedicated to a comprehensive exploration of the fundamental Christian doctrines as contained in the Apostles’ Creed, with a view not only to understand what Christians believe, but why and for what purpose.

Although each year considers the lived application of the Christian faith, in Junior year a student will explore this more directly through a comprehensive study of Moral Theology. Courses include an introduction to moral principles, the social teaching of the Gospel, and the study of marriage and life questions. These courses are meant to offer a sound understanding of Christian virtue and character formation, as well as understanding the moral teaching of the Church in individual and community living as a valid means to human flourishing and fulfillment.

The Senior year offers a number of seminar-style electives on focused topics, such as Biblical Themes in Literature, Theological Virtues, the Church and the Poor, Theology in Media, Friendship with God, Comparative Religions, and Virtue Themes in Fiction.

The Theology curriculum works in conjunction with Chaplaincy and other aspects of the program to help Priory boys not only understand the Catholic faith but also how it is concretely lived out in the 21st century. Our goal is to form young men of character and virtue who understand the values of the Gospel and are equipped to live and flourish in this world and the next.


Faculty Members Course Assignments, 2018-19
Father Cassian Koenemann, O.S.B., '99 Scripture II, Friendship with God
Father Dominic Lenk, O.S.B. Church History
Father Aidan McDermott, O.S.B. Scripture I
Abbot Gregory Mohrmann, O.S.B., '76 Biblical Themes in Literature
Mr. Steve Rolwes Fundamentals of Catholic Doctrine, Principles of Moral Theology
Father Augustine Wetta, O.S.B. Scripture I, Catholic Marriage and Ethics, Virtue Fiction
Mr. Steve Zaegel Scripture I, Church History, Theology in Media

“Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.”

Prologue, 1

“This is advice from a father who loves you; welcome it, and faithfully put it into practice.”

Prologue, 1

“First of all, every time you begin a good work, you must pray to him most earnestly to bring it to perfection.”

Prologue, 4

“If you desire true and eternal life, keep your tongue free from vicious talk and your lips from all deceit; turn away from evil and do good; let peace be your quest and aim. (Ps 33[34]:13)”

Prologue, 17

“Clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out on this way, with the Gospel for our guide, that we may deserve to see him who has called us to his kingdom (1 Thess 2:12).”

Prologue, 21

“If we wish to dwell in the tent of this kingdom, we will never arrive unless we run there by doing good deeds.”

Prologue, 22

“What is not possible to us by nature, let us ask the Lord to supply by the help of his grace.”

Prologue, 41

“Therefore, we intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service.”

Prologue, 45

“The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love.”

Prologue, 47

“The reason why we have said all should be called for counsel is that the Lord often reveals what is better to the younger.”

Chapter 3, 3

“Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else.”

Chapter 4, 20-21

“Never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love.” –Chapter 4, 25-26

“Bind yourself to no oath lest it prove false, but speak the truth with heart and tongue.”

Chapter 4, 27-28

“Place your hope in God alone.”

Chapter 4, 41

“Respect the elders and love the young.”

Chapter 4, 70-71

“Pray for your enemies out of love for Christ. “

Chapter 4, 72

“If you have a dispute with someone, make peace with him before the sun goes down.”

Chapter 4, 73

“The first step of humility is unhesitating obedience, which comes naturally to those who cherish Christ above all.”

Chapter 5, 1-2

“Speaking and teaching are the master’s task; the disciple is to be silent and listen.”

Chapter 6, 6

“The first step of humility, then, is that a man keeps the fear of God always before his eyes (PS 35[36]:2) and never forgets it.”

Chapter 7, 10

“Let us consider, then, how we ought to behave in the presence of God and his angels, and let us stand to sing the psalms in such a way that our minds are in harmony with our voices.”

Chapter 19, 6-7

“On arising for the Work of God, they will quietly encourage each other, for the sleepy like to make excuses.”

Chapter 22, 8

“Every age and level of understanding should receive appropriate treatment.”

Chapter 30, 1

“Above all, let him be humble. If goods are not available to meet a request, he will offer a kind word in reply, for it is written: A kind word is better than the best gift (Sir 18:17).”

Chapter 31, 13-14

“Let all the rest serve one another in love.”

Chapter 35, 6

“Indeed, nothing is to be preferred to the Work of God.”

Chapter 43, 3

“Idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore, the brothers should have specified periods for manual labor as well as for prayerful reading.”

Chapter 48, 1

“The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent.”

Chapter 49, 1

“All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matt 25:35).”

Chapter 53, 1

“Proper honor must be shown to all, especially to those who share our faith (Gal 6:10) and to pilgrims.”

Chapter 53, 2

“(B)ecause wherever we may be, we are in the service of the same Lord and doing battle for the same King.”

Chapter 61, 10

They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Rom 12:10).”

Chapter 63, 17

“We wish this rule to be read often in the community, so that none of the brothers can offer the excuse of ignorance.”

Chapter 66, 8

“Trusting in God’s help, he must in love obey.”

Chapter 68, 5

Never to do another what you do not want done to yourself (Tob 4:16).”

Chapter 70, 7

“No one is to pursue what he judges better for himself, but instead, what he judges better for someone else.”

Chapter 72, 7

“Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together to everlasting life.”

Chapter 72, 11-12

“What page, what passage of the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments is not the truest of guides for human life?”

Chapter 73, 3

“What book of the holy catholic Fathers does not resoundingly summon us along the true way to reach the Creator?”

Chapter 73, 4


Saint Louis Abbey

Saint Louis Priory School

500 South Mason Road
St. Louis, MO 63141
P. 314.434.3690    F.314.576.7088
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