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Message from the Headmaster, 8/10/18

Father Cuthbert

I’m writing to you from the garden of St. Benet’s Hall, where Father Augustine, Mr. Chris Fisher and I are co-hosting the inaugural Portsmouth Institute Summer Program at Oxford University. As I write, students from Saint Louis Priory School and Portsmouth Abbey School in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, are attending a private lecture given by Dr. Stuart Lee on the medieval roots of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Last night, they had supper with Mr. Walter Hooper, C.S. Lewis’ private secretary and biographer. This afternoon, they will be touring the Bodleian Library and visiting a special exhibit on Tolkien’s life and works. 

This program is just one of many that Priory faculty offer each summer as part of the cultural and intellectual formation of our students. Parents, next summer, I would encourage you to consider sending your Priory student to France, China, England, Chile, Central America or any of the other destinations on offer. These experiences are more than trips; they are guided gateways into new thinking, self-understanding, and cultural awareness. 

Oxford aside, it has been a busy and eventful summer for all of us at Priory. With a new Abbot for Saint Louis Abbey, a new Headmaster, and a new Junior School Director – the gifted Mrs. Mohan, you may see this as a bit of a confusing time, an anxious time, but also an exciting one. You may be asking yourself, “Where will Priory go from here?” 

I want to assure you of three things:

First, that Priory’s Mission – to provide 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 – will remain at the heart of all we do. Abbot Gregory, when he was Headmaster, worked diligently to ensure that Priory lived its Mission. As an alumnus of the school, as a monk and faculty member, and now as Headmaster, I certainly recognize the unique formative role that Priory plays in the lives of our students. It’s a tremendous legacy that we inherit, and a great responsibility for all of us to keep Priory’s Mission at the forefront of our thinking.    

Second, as we live Priory’s Mission, I believe that we should be united in affirming the dignity of every human person. Abbot Gregory fostered this conversation last school year: each one of us – regardless of faith, race, sex or sexuality – has been created in the image and likeness of God; his or her existence is a gift to the entire human family and a beautiful mystery to be encountered with respect and love. It is the duty of parents and educators to protect, nurture and develop the gifts that God has given our students and to help them in recognizing those gifts in themselves and others. Skilling ourselves in new ways to undertake this important work of formation will be a priority for us in the coming year. Together, let us grow in virtue and holiness!

Finally, my third assurance is that I most assuredly welcome your thoughts and perspectives. As Headmaster, I will be teaching and intend to be very present in the halls, at games and around campus. Students and parents are welcome to come and speak with me or email me at I look forward to meeting and talking with you at our many back-to-school gatherings, including Rebel Round-up, our Form Parent Coffees, our fall sporting events, and other occasions.

For now, I want to leave you with my prayers and best wishes for the end of the summer. I’m very much looking forward to welcoming all of you as our new school year begins in just a couple of weeks. It’s going to be a tremendous year.

Father Cuthbert Elliott, O.S.B. '02
Headmaster, 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

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St. Louis, MO 63141
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