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Form VI Summer Reading

Dear Soon-to-Be Senior and Parents:

To encourage the habit of reading in our students, we will continue required summer reading. But we recognize that, with some students beginning work on their thesis research, service projects, and college applications, Priory seniors often have a busy summer. Therefore, we are changing the requirement for seniors a bit:

Each senior is required to read at least ONE book of fiction. He can choose the book, but it must be something he reads this summer. And he should return to school ready to present some of the salient issues of his book with a group of peers and a faculty member during the first week of classes in August. Each student will also be required to submit to his English teacher a list of the book(s) he read, and parents are asked to sign the list as verification of their son’s reading.

Note: The English Department hopes to retain the positive spirit of the summer reading tradition; please approach the requirement accordingly.

Beyond this requirement, students are urged to read as many books as possible. I’ve enclosed a list of recommended titles from the English department, but students are not restricted to this list. Students should place more emphasis on quality than on quantity and should read a wide variety of literature. Students will be given extra credit in English class for reading books beyond the minimum.

It remains our conviction that reading represents the richest path to a full education and that the educated man continues to read throughout his life. Our hope is that reading becomes a common practice in your home and that you discuss works together. In addition, the reading skills and vocabulary measured by national tests develop most naturally and easily in the person who reads habitually. Summer with its free time provides an opportunity for families to read and to enjoy books. I hope this will be the case in your home.


John F. Mohrmann
English Department Head

Some Books Recommended by the English Department:

  • Austen: Pride and Prejudice
  • Doctorow: Billy Bathgate; Ragtime
  • Dostoevsky: Crime and Punishment; Brothers Karamazov
  • Ellison: Invisible Man
  • Faulkner: Light in August
  • Frazier: Cold Mountain
  • Heller: Catch-22
  • Hurston: Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Huxley: Brave New World
  • McCarthy: All the Pretty Horses
  • Malamud: The Natural
  • Morrison: Beloved; Song of Solomon
  • Salinger: Franny and Zooey; Nine Stories
  • Steinbeck: The Winter of Our Discontent
  • Twain: Life on the Mississippi; Pudd’nhead Wilson
  • Vonnegut: God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater; Slaughterhouse Five

“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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