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Alumni in Action: Working in the School

Our alumni know first-hand the value of a Priory education, and many have chosen to make education their career. Some have returned to the heart of the Abbey Family to continue our proud tradition of providing a Benedictine, Catholic, college preparatory education of the highest excellence so as to help talented and motivated young men develop their full potential as children of God. We are pleased to have 12 alumni (half of whom are monks) teaching and coaching at Priory this year.

father gregory
Father Gregory Mohrman, O.S.B. ’76

Headmaster, Theology

Father Gregory was the first Priory alumnus to return to the monastery as a novice. He professed his Solemn Vows on September 4, 1980, and was ordained to the priesthood on June 21, 1986. He has taught English and Theology since 1986, and served as Headmaster from 1995 to 2005, before being reappointed in 2014. In addition to his Headmaster responsibilities, he’s currently teaching a class on Dante’s "Inferno," which he refers to as his “Hell Class.”

gabe santa cruz
F. Gabriel Santa Cruz ’92

Director of Technology, Computer Science

Gabe returned to Priory in 2014 as the Director of Technology, and has been busy improving IT ever since. He has overseen the complete overhaul of our laptop distribution, moving the school to a balanced schedule with regular replacement of faculty machines; the updating of the computer lab in the High School Library and the Alwan Lab in the Junior School; an improvement to our server security; streamlining of printers and copiers to reap the cost benefits of standardized ink and toner cartridges; the purchase, installation, and management of large flat-screen televisions in the High School to convey timely information for athletics, college counseling, admissions, and student events; and more. He’s also now co-teaching a computer science class with Ryan Niemann, and is moderating the Business and Entrepreneurship Club that has garnered outstanding results from student accomplishments from inception last year.

father cassian
Father Cassian Koenemann, O.S.B. ’97

Theology, Form VI Chaplain

Eight years after he graduated from Priory, and with two undergraduate degrees from Vanderbilt, Father Cassian returned to the community as a novitiate. Since then, he completed his theological studies in Rome (where he was when Pope Francis was elected), been ordained as a priest, and has been teaching Theology. He has jumped into multiple aspects of the school, serving as a form chaplain and offering his culinary and hosting skills for a dinner package at the annual Xanadu Auction. He can frequently be found at parent events, or, between classes, hanging out with students in the new common areas throughout the high school.

justin orlando
Justin H. Orlando ’99

Science (Chair)

Justin joined the Priory Science team in 2012, and was promoted to Science Department Chair at the start of the 2015-16 academic year. He has worked tirelessly to update our laboratories, and is constantly looking to incorporate cutting-edge STEM programming into the science curriculum, partnering with Dr. Rebecca Kalhorn and Dr. Andrew Davis in the Mathematics Department.

Father Maximilian
Father Maximilian Toczylowski, O.S.B. ’00

Theology, Social Studies, Athletics

Father Maximilian has had a busy summer and fall. He finished his studies at Blackfriars Studium in Oxford and returned home to be ordained to the priesthood on Saturday, September 24. He’s teaching two sections of 7th grade theology, sophomore theology, 7th grade geography, and, in the spring, a section of 8th grade government. He’s also returning to coaching Ultimate in the spring. Click here to read a recent bio on Father Maximilian.

father john
Father John McCusker, O.S.B. ’01

Assistant Director of Admissions, Theology, Form V Chaplain

When Father John completed his religious studies in Washington, D.C., he returned home to the Abbey and was promptly ordained to the priesthood and put to work. In addition to teaching Theology, he was made Assistant Director of Admissions during a time of intense transition. Father John’s collaborative spirit was invaluable during the 2015 admissions season, when the School was without an Admissions Director. In addition to his admissions and teaching responsibilities, he has now also been tapped to co-chair the steering committee for accreditation.

father cuthbert
Father Cuthbert Elliott, O.S.B. ’02

Classical Languages, Theology, Form I Chaplain

Father Cuthbert rejoined the Priory faculty during the 2015-16 academic year, teaching freshman Church History, freshman Latin, and sophomore Greek and Roman History. He brings a rich collegiate history from his time at Oxford to his students, and a love of the National Parks (he’s visited nearly 20 so far). He recently marked his first year as a priest, having been ordained with Fathers Aidan and John in September 2015.

mike nickolai
Michael J. Nickolai ’03

Director of the High School, English

Mike has enjoyed a variety of roles at Priory after returning to the school in 2010 to teach English. He most recently shifted his Student Council Moderator and Tutoria Moderator roles to other teachers when he was promoted from the Director of Student Life to the Director of the High School. He works closely with Father Gregory and Assistant Headmaster Dr. Jared Rashford to manage the High School, much as Diana Hartnett runs the Junior School.

ryan niemann
Ryan A. Niemann ’03

Computer Science (Chair), Fine Arts/Medieval Arts, Guild Moderator

In addition to his packed schedule at Priory, Ryan finds time to dream up, launch, run, and sometimes sell a variety of start-up software businesses. We’ve put his programming skills to use, and Ryan is now responsible for course and classroom schedules, no small feat at Priory. Even with a full-time teaching job and his personal companies, Ryan still spends a lot of time in the Medieval Arts room as the Guild moderator. Under his guidance, Guild members have worked on projects that range from multi-year windows to small ornaments donated for the Mothers’ Club Christmas Boutique. Several students have tapped his wealth of knowledge on starting companies and setting up websites, fostering a robust spirit of entrepreneurship on campus.

steve oslica
Steven T. Oslica ’05

Communications, Athletics

Steve has been a part of the Priory Communications team since the fall of 2013. He is responsible for the School’s website and social media channels, and designs/co-edits the bi-weekly Rebel News that provides in-depth feature articles and valuable information to the Priory family. He also helps promote the many events and activities of the Mothers’ Club, Fathers’ Club, Alumni Mothers’ Club, and Alumni Board. In the fall, he coaches B-Team Football, and assists with Track and Field in the spring.

brother joseph
Brother Joseph Igoe, O.S.B. ’09

English, Form II Chaplain

Brother Joseph’s run at student teaching last year was so successful, he was given an English class this year even while he continues his own studies. He has a strong Priory tie: he’s the son of an alumnus and three of his brothers also attended Priory. He enjoys running, and he helps Ann Schaefer with the Priory Speech Club.

andrew erker
Andrew J. Erker ’11

Computer Science

Andrew was looking for a change when he visited his alma mater to have lunch with a monk friend. As he visited in the Dining Hall, then-assistant principal Bernie Kilcullen approached him with an offer: come teach Computer Science at Priory. Andrew jumped at the chance, and is now teaching Introduction to Computer Programming to Form I, and Computer Programming to Form II. Given how involved he was with Tutoria as a student (he went to Chile twice), he was thrilled to step into the role of Tutoria moderator.

“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


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Saint Louis Priory School

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