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Meet your new Mothers’ Club President, Geeta Swaminathan

Geeta SeaminathanThe first time you meet Geeta Swaminathan, you can feel her energy. She instantly makes her presence known through her boundless vitality and confidence. Her eyes are expressive and warm, and her smile inviting. She was an excellent choice to lead Priory’s incredible Mothers’ Club this year.

“When Kristina [Hanley] and Denise [Cole] first called me, I thought they wanted to talk about the senior quilt. I don’t even sew, so I was really confused,” she laughs. They weren’t calling to ask about the senior quilt after all. They wanted to know if she would become President-Elect of the Priory Mothers’ Club. “I laughed and said, ‘You guys know I’m not Catholic, right?’” Geeta took some time to process the request, asking questions about the time commitment and considering her other obligations. She had, just that week, also been asked to serve on the board of advisors for Villa Duchesne, her alma mater. She works as a healthcare consultant for skilled nursing facilities, and she was preparing to send her son, Sohaan, ’15, to college. Ultimately, it was her husband, her youngest child Sohil, ’16, and her history with Priory that led her to accept the position. “Raj told me that this was the year to do it, and Sohil was excited. He said, ‘Mom, you’ll be on campus more and I’ll get to see you!’” Geeta thought about how she had practically grown up on Priory’s campus; her two brothers are alums and she has felt a connection to the school for years. “When my kids started school here, Mr. Gleich and Father Gregory both commented on how I had returned, now as a parent, after having spent so much time here when I was younger. I told them they couldn’t talk to my kids about that time!”

These days, Geeta is still spending a lot of time here. “I’m here every day. I live close, so I can pop in and out. We joke about how I’m here so much I should just get my own room. If I could stay here and have Brother Dunstan cook for me, I’d take it!” she said. She explains that at Priory, everyone feels welcome. “When you walk in, there’s no pressure. There’s just a sense that you want to be a part of it.” Her husband, Raj, saw the same thing from the moment he came to campus. Geeta explains, “I’ve always had a soft spot for Priory, and when my husband and I met, my youngest brother was here. We came to a football game and Raj announced, ‘If we have boys, this is the school we’re going to send them to.’ We weren’t even married! He decided that, all those years ago. He saw my brothers and he saw what they got out of their experience at Priory. If you ask him today, he’ll tell you that we’ve gotten exactly what he expected. People are surprised that he saw all that then.”

Things have a way of coming full circle for the Swaminathans. Geeta and Raj met when they were at Saint Louis University together. Geeta was earning her undergraduate degree in health information management with a minor in business, before moving to a master's in healthcare administration. Raj was earning his master's before heading to medical school. She was president of the student activities board and he was in a band. “We booked his band a few times for events, and I saw him at yoga. We hung out in different groups, but we started seeing each other all the time. We began having lunch together, and then one day I just knew there was something more.” Today, Geeta is president once again, and Raj is in the Priory Dad Band, playing at events like the Senior Party.

Geeta has jumped into her role as Mothers’ Club President with a spirit of cooperation and a goal to make the club more technology savvy. She is a huge fan of delegation, and carefully chose her committee chairs based on trust in their ability to get things done. She is reviewing the bylaws, updating positions and committees that no longer exist, and moving paper documentation into digital format for ease in storage and distribution. She was determined to keep the form coffees to an hour, because she likes to keep things moving. “People are busy. No one has a lot of spare time.” She doesn’t shirk from difficult conversations. “When something bad needs to be said, they call me in,” she laughs. “I’m the one who says it and moves on. And I’m a very loud person!” She wants the Priory Mothers’ Club to be seen as a good resource for the faculty and staff. “We’ll make things easier for you,” she says. “We want to build a better relationship between the moms and the faculty, because we’re not separate entities. We are all part of the school.”

She shrugs off the idea that she’s busy. “It all keeps me out of trouble,” she said. What does she do in the little spare time she has? She likes to exercise and spend time with her friends, and she enjoys being by herself and reading a good book, although that rarely happens due to her commitments. She loves to swim laps, having been a big swimmer in high school. She enjoys traveling; she’s been to India, Europe, the Orient, Mexico and the Caribbean. Now, she goes to Chicago a lot to visit daughter Selina, a junior at Loyola. When she travels, she thoroughly enjoys shopping for unique clothing that isn’t available in St. Louis. “I like things that are different,” she said. She and Raj go for regular walks, which is their chance to talk and catch up on their busy days.

And she still feels that connection to Priory. “I’m an open book. People know stuff about me! My parents are still here, my brothers come back to St. Louis and my nephews come back, and we drive them through Priory’s campus and show them where their dads went to school. My brothers have such a fondness for this place. They have this brotherhood, even after so many years, even with people in different classes.”

It’s clear that Geeta shares their fondness for Priory.

“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
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