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News & Notes from the Junior School - 9.11.15

(Click here for an easy-to-read, printable version)

Mrs. Hartnett writes,

Not quite as young…

Today (September 9) is one of those ideal end-of-summer days that all of us love so much: the confluence of blue sky, warm sun, cool breeze, and moderate temperature puts a stamp of “just perfect” on the weather. 

The school year, begun so recently, is no longer a tiny infant but certainly still a toddler, taking baby steps, falling occasionally, looking for balance, reaching and learning and forgetting and trying again until he gets it right. The educational process, a lifelong pursuit, certainly does involve some intellectual bumps and bruises along the way and so it is important to use those stumbling blocks as opportunities to see ourselves as our own personal problem solvers. Each person, young learner or seasoned adult, needs to participate in his own strategy for his own progress and learning. But we are lucky. One of the wonderful aspects of this School is that there exists within our community a network of support such that the journey to discovery, discovery of self, of friends, of life, and of God, is always shared with those that we love and those that love us beyond measure.


Parent/Teacher conferences are approaching. All conferences will be held on Friday, Oct. 2, from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. 

Sign ups for conferences will be online. At 9:00 am on Monday, September 21, the Priory website will open a link to PTC Wizard, the on-line parent conference site. Go into the site and sign up. Knowing the names of your son’s teachers will be necessary in order to sign up for the appropriate conferences. Too, be mindful of the locations (either high school or junior school) and schedule conferences with enough time to travel between buildings, if necessary.

Please remember to sign up for only one time slot. If further time is needed, please make an appointment with the teacher to continue the conversation at a later date.

PTC Wizard will close at noon pm on October 1. May I remind and/or inform everyone that some teachers in the Junior School teach multiple sets of students, with many parents signing up for conferences. 


Congratulations to the following Form II students who were chosen by their classmates to represent them in Student Council: Ian Crossey, Dominic Kraus, Luke Kraemer, and Brennan Spellman.


(l-r): Dominic, Ian, Luke, and Brennan

Form I Student Council elections will be held soon after our return from Camp Ondessonk.


In about three weeks, the Form I students will be making their trip to Camp Ondessonk. (Form II students will go to Camp O in the spring). Please note that we will leave Priory at 8:00 am on Sunday, October 4. Please plan to arrive at the Junior School no later than 7:45 am so that we can load the buses for a timely departure at 8:00 am. We plan to return to Priory between 3:00 and 3:30 pm on Tuesday, October 6. Please plan transportation to pick up Form I students at that time, as they may go home directly upon their return to campus.

An on-line permission form, necessary for participation, will be available on the Priory website beginning Monday, September 14. Please sign this permission form at your first opportunity.

I do ask parents to monitor the following:

  • No snacks or treats on the buses, or in the campsites (the latter because of raccoons)
  • No electronic devices of any type (including ipods, laptop computers, hand-held game players, and CD players) are allowed at Camp O.
  • Cell phones must be left at home. There is no cell phone service at Camp O. The land line to the Camp is 618-695-2489.
  • Should anyone wish to send medicine to Camp, please put it in a plastic zip lock bag with your son's name, dosage, and any other information, and give it to me on the day of departure. I will oversee and distribute medications at Camp.

Parents and boys need to be advised that activities such as the climbing wall are totally optional. 

Attached to this newsletter are three documents concerning Camp O. The first here is a letter from me regarding Camp Ondessonk. The second document here is a packing list which reminds your son of those items that he may wish to bring with him to camp. The third document here is a liability waiver which will need to be printed up, completed, signed, and returned to School no later than Monday, September 21.


Saint Louis Priory School awards the Nussbaum Scholarship each year to a seventh grader who displays exceptional musical talent. The scholarship is $500 per year, renewed annually. Auditions will be held on Wednesday, September 23, before school in the music room (Room 111) in the high school. Interested students should sign up on the music room door for an audition time. Any instrument, or voice, is acceptable. The audition should be about 3 minutes long and does not need to be memorized. Please bring an extra copy of the music for the judges. If you have any questions contact Mark Marting at


On Friday, September 25, the Junior School will hold the first of its three planned mixers for the year (a second occurs at the end of January and a third at the end of April). The mixer begins at 7:00 pm and ends at 9:30 pm. I can assure all Junior School parents that the mixers are well chaperoned by a group of Priory faculty and administration, as well as Form I parents; additionally, we are assisted at the mixer by high school Student Council representatives who operate the soda and candy stand. Tickets cost $10 and are sold before school and at X period here in the Junior School during the two weeks immediately preceding the mixer. Students not from Priory may buy tickets during the week immediately preceding the mixer. I encourage all parents who may be aware of young ladies who are coming to our mixer to let them know that we do have a dress code for our visitors: for young ladies, modest attire would require no inappropriate clothing, no tank tops or spaghetti straps, no excessively short skirts or shorts, and no exposed midriffs. The operative word here is MODESTY. The dress code is strictly enforced, and admission to the mixer is contingent upon proper attire.


For the past two weeks, discussion in advisory has centered upon the Priory Honor Code and Code of Respect. Too, in their seminar on Friday, September 18, there will be a form-wide discussion of the Honor Code and the Code of Respect. Following these discussions, the Form I boys will sign the Honor Code, signifying their willingness to be Priory men of honor. On Wednesday morning, September 23, at 8:15 in the Abbey Church, the Honor Code will be presented to Fr Gregory by a representative from each of the four Form I form rooms. Although the ceremony will last only a few minutes, parents are most welcome to join us as the Class of 2021 becomes an official part of the School.


Please save any "Boxtops for Education" that you come across in your household purchases, and send them in to Priory. We do collect them, and we are reimbursed for them. Money from the boxtops is added to the general fund and is used for items for the boys.


Upcoming Xanadu Gift Gathering Parties For Priory Moms

We hope that you join us for the upcoming Xanadu Gift Gathering Parties this fall. These parties are essential to the success of Xanadu.

What is a Gift Gathering Party? In a nutshell, here is how a gift gathering party works – in exchange for attending a wonderful event, you are asked to bring something for Xanadu, either an item or cash donation (please make checks payable to: Saint Louis Priory School). Everything you donate directly benefits Xanadu and Priory.

Here are the dates and locations for the Gift Gathering Parties:

Chic Boutique Section Gift Gathering Party

Tuesday, Sept. 22, 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Schneithorst’s Rooftop Garden
Hosted by Jean Hively

Please bring new items or a cash donation for Chic Boutique (Fashion Accessories, Home Goods, Jewelry, Garden Items or cash donations)


RSVP online today!


Junior School Gift Gathering Coffee

Friday, October 9, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Hosted by Sharon Spellman
1115 Hampton Park Drive

Please bring a $25 Restaurant Gift Certificate or cash donation. (No fast food restaurants, please).

RSVP online

• • •

Priory SNL Trivia Night

Saturday, Oct. 24
Priory Multi-Purpose Gym
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. -- Trivia begins at 7:30.
$30 per person (tables of eight)

Don your favorite Saturday Night Live costume and compete for fabulous prizes!

Beer, wine and soda provided, but make it a feast and bring your own snacks and drinks for your table.

New this year: VIP Tables ($50 per table) include signature cocktail & dessert tray

Highlight your family or business by being a Round Sponsor for $100!

Register online today. Don't miss out on one of the most enjoyable nights of the school year!



Monday, Sept. 21 9:00 a.m. PTC Wizard opens
Wednesday, Sept. 23 8:15 a.m. Honor Code presentation
Wednesday, Sept. 23 Before school Nussbaum auditions
Friday, Sept. 25 7:00 - 9:30 p.m. Junior School mixer
Friday, Sept. 25   the next News ‘n’ Notes
Monday, Sept. 28   Faculty Professional Day - no classes
Thursday, Oct. 1 Noon PTC Wizard closes
Friday, Oct. 2 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Parent/Teacher conferences
Sunday, Oct. 4 7:45 a.m. Arrive at the Junior School for Camp Ondessonk departure
Tuesday, Oct. 6 3:00 – 3:30 p.m. Return from Camp O – Form I may go home at this time


Listen, my son, to the teachings of the master, and incline the ear of your heart. — St. Benedict, from The Rule of St. Benedict.

The following was delivered by Father Augustine Wetta, O.S.B. to the Saint Louis Priory School, September 12, 2012:

Right around the beginning of the fifth century A.D., a teenager was bored with his classes. He was studying law. His father was wealthy and influential. Since this was a smart, charismatic kid, he seemed to be destined for greatness.

But he hated school.

It wasn’t so much that he had anything against learning per se; it was just that the whole business felt like a waste of time. And the more he learned, the less he liked it. He was training to go into politics, but the world seemed to be going down the tubes. There were gangs of kids in the street armed to the teeth, there were wars going on all over the world that never seemed to end and there was a sudden influx of terrible diseases for which there were no known cures. There were scandals in politics and scandals in the Church. In short, the World (with a capital ‘W’) was a big disappointment.

So he ran away. But he didn’t do what most teenagers do when they run away. He didn’t join the circus or find his fortune in The Big City. Instead, he went to live in a cave on the side of a mountain. The long and short of it is that this he spent three years in more or less total isolation, just praying. Ironically, all this praying made him rather famous. People started coming to him for advice. And the next thing he new, there were hundreds of guys living in the same mountains trying to do the same thing. Folks even invented a name for them: the monakoi—the lonely men—or in modern English, monks. Eventually, he wrote a little book on how to be a monk, which came to be known as The Rule.

The kid, of course, was Saint Benedict, and his Rule became one of the most influential documents in the history of the world. It is full of great advice, from who should apologize after an argument, to how many times a day you should to pray, to what you ought to do with old underwear and whether or not you should sleep while wearing a knife.

And his first piece of advice is to listen.


That first word of the Rule of Saint Benedict is also the most important. For the monk, it represents the focus of the spiritual life: listening to God. Everything a monk does—from the way he eats and sleeps to the way he works and prays—is designed to help him learn how to listen. 

“Are you listening to me?” “Can’t you hear what I’m trying to say?” People use these expressions all the time when they are arguing. Just think how many problems would be solved if they really did just listen to one another. A wise old monk once told me that I should never answer a complaint without repeating it back to the person who made it. Why? Because it assures them that I am listening. You can’t force people to listen to you, but you’d be surprised how open they are once they’re convinced that you are listening to them.

The monk’s life, however, is not so much about listening to other people as it is about listening to God. And that’s even more difficult. Why? Because God is a gentleman. He speaks very, very quietly, and he rarely forces anyone to obey Him. So if we’re not vigilant, we can easily mistake some other voice—or even our own voice—for His. This is why it’s so important to share your spiritual journey with someone older and wiser—a parent, or a priest, or a spiritual mentor who can help you to distinguish the true voice of God from the many imposters who want to take his place.

I’ll leave you with something else that same monk told me: when you meet a wise man, listen to him and you will learn wisdom; when you meet a foolish man, listen to him and you will learn patience; when you are alone, listen to God, and you’ll learn everything else.


My grateful thanks to all of you for your unfailing support of the boys and of the School. We are lucky, and we are blessed.

Diana Hartnett



Diana B. Hartnett
Director of the Junior School
Saint Louis Priory School


“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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