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Message from the Headmaster, 9/7/18

Father Cuthbert

Dear Friends,

Today we celebrate the dedication of the Abbey Church, which was built for the Abbey and School in 1962. Many of you have commented over the years about its unusual design, the spirit of prayer that pervades it, and the sense of peace that it conveys.

On this particular feast, I would like to draw your attention not to the architecture of our spiritual home, but to the school community that gathers within it.

From one point of view, we’re a pretty homogenous lot: 400 students (more or less), 100 faculty and staff (some monastic, some lay), and a cohort of current parents. However, if you look closer, you’ll discover that our community is far from the same. Our families come from increasingly further afield — some from as far as India and China — and our students, while mostly Catholic, also worship in Protestant churches, Hindu temples, and Muslim mosques. Our community has also grown in membership from both the African-American and Hispanic-American communities, very much as our founding Abbot and Headmaster intended. More and more, our Priory community resembles the universality of the global Church, which was founded by Christ for men and women of all races, cultures, and places.

Although the broadening of our community is a welcome opportunity for all of us to learn and grow in mutual and self-understanding, it can also be an occasion for anxiety and fear. It raises questions about our identity, our worldview, our upbringing, and our faith. While upsetting, these challenges are all to the good; they force us out of our comfort zones and into a space of real discernment. They give us the opportunity to reconsider our beliefs and to recommit to them — if they are good and true.

Friends, I believe that our school community has entered into a moment where we not only need to embrace these challenges but are also called to do so as leaders in the St. Louis area. To this end, I have decided to hire a Director of Equity and Inclusion, whose primary responsibility will be to design and implement comprehensive programming for racial and cultural competency in our school. I believe that if our school is going to grow into a community that shares a common identity truly rooted in the Gospel and the teachings of the Catholic Church, it will need facilitated leadership from an expert equipped with sufficient knowledge, experience, and time to realize this goal.

The position of Director of Equity and Inclusion has been posted online and will appear soon in local publications. If you know of any qualified candidates who would be interested in promoting the support and inclusion of our students and families, please ask them to submit a cover letter, resume, and 3 to 5 professional references to

I will announce our new Director as soon as possible; in the meantime, I would be grateful for your prayers as the search committee receives applications and interviews candidates.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me by telephone or email with any questions or concerns.

With prayers for each of you,

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

500 South Mason Road
St. Louis, MO 63141
P. 314.434.3690    F.314.576.7088
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