“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

Ora et Labora – Prayer and Work

The verse from Matthew and this Latin phrase outlines two of the 12 Hallmarks of a Benedictine School Love of God and Neighbor and Work. These tenets ring true for the Priory alumni who have been on the COVID-19 frontlines. These healthcare heroes have seen firsthand the devastation COVID-19 produced throughout the world.  If you are or know a Priory alumni who has been on the frontlines, please share your/their experience with us.  Email Ann Bender at abender@priory.org.

Thank you for continuing the Hallmarks that were instilled in you at Saint Louis Priory School.

Hello there,

I hope you are well. My name is Jon Tottleben, '02, and I recently read about Abbot Gregory's email about how Priory is handling Coronavirus. I am relieved to know that the school is closed and distance learning is in place. 

I am a cardiologist in Chicago at Cook County Hospital, a safety net facility, and we are caring for some of the city's most vulnerable coronavirus patients. It is reassuring to know that the monastery and school are taking cautious and protective measures. Attached is a recent photo taken of me before rounds. I do not mean to seem vain - I hope to communicate that Priory helped me understand the value and the need for service, which set me on a path that ultimately led to this job. Priory left an indelible mark on me, and I am forever grateful for that.

Laus Tibi Domine,

Jon Tottleben, M.D.

Sean Pinney

Hello Priory Family,

I wanted to send just a quick update from New York City the current epicenter of the COVID pandemic. Our hospital is quickly filling with COVID patients and a mobile hospital is being built in Central Park just outside my window. The Jacob Javits Center is being re-opened as a 1200 bed hospital and the USNS Comfort has just sailed into New York Harbor. These are truly unbelievable times.

In spite of what you might see in the news, our hospital does currently have enough personal protection equipment (PPE). We also have enough ventilators, although I never could have imagined a day when having 200 ventilators may not be enough. I am so proud of my team of doctors, nurses and social workers who have shown courage and steely resolve in spite of feeling nervous and scared. I am also impressed by the communities of providers across the world who have quickly shared best practices, clinical insights and trial results in order to advance knowledge to combat this pandemic. This virtual network of academics and clinicians has succeeded repeatedly where governments have stumbled.

My colleagues and I are witnessing true human suffering, a kind I never thought I would see in my lifetime. The separation of dying patients from their loved ones is particularly hard to bear. Like a man saying good bye over Facetime to his wife perhaps for the last time before being placed on a ventilator. Watching people die behind closed doors without being able to comfort them or their family goes against our nature as caregivers. We feel a strong need to be there for them.

We are also aware that the situation is going to get worse before it gets better. The projection is that cases will peak in mid-April and that thousands will die in New York. Nonetheless, we are reminded daily that this is what we are called to do. To use all of our talents to serve others in need. And, believe it or not, I feel lucky to have this opportunity. In spite of the risks, I have a chance to ease suffering and save lives. There is no higher calling than that.

God bless and please stay safe,

Sean Pinney ‘86

Jim Igoe

Jim Igoe, Priory Class of '03, is an emergency room nurse in the Las Vegas area.  At first, the ER was very crowded with people coming in with every cough and sneeze because they were scared.  Now, they're seeing many more, very sick people.  They do not have enough PPE for the nurses and doctors.  Jim works three 12-hour shifts per week and comes home exhausted after every shift.  He is, by far, not the only one who is doing this.  These selfless and dedicated men and women are today's heroes.  Let's pray for each and every one of them.

Submitted by Sarah Igoe, Jim's mother.