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Welcome from Mr. Justin Orlando '99

Justin OrlandoDear Fellow Alumni,

Coming from St. Louis has always been a source of pride for me. Although I had absolutely no choice in where I was born and raised, it’s hard to grow up in St. Louis and not fall in love with the many mythologies, traditions, opportunities, and oddities that this beautiful city provides. Whether it’s toasted ravioli or Mom’s Deli subs; the abundance of free, quality entertainment in and around Forest Park; the City Museum; the Cathedral Basilica; Vintage Vinyl in the Loop; or the strange-and-bordering-on-creepy need for someone to know where you went to high school; I would challenge anyone to come here and not find something to connect to. Even though I left St. Louis for 7 years while I was in graduate school, and then working in Lincoln, New Hampshire, with my first teaching job, I was heartened to see that upon my return in 2012, the St. Louis I grew up with is still here. I can still find Gus’ Pretzels being sold in places where pretzels normally aren’t sold; I still hear out-of-towners pronouncing “Gravois” and “Choteau” incorrectly; the River Des Peres is still neither a river nor in Des Peres (discuss!); and the Abbey Church still watches over Highway 40 and 141, which is a good thing because both of those roadways need all the prayers they can get.   

In a similar fashion to my beloved city, Priory’s own community is often cited as a source of pride among its alumni and for good reason. All of us ended up on campus under different circumstances and regardless of how vastly different our experiences were, we can all relate to each other on some fundamental level. As a community of brothers from other mothers, we get it. Father Augustine walking down the hallway wearing full battle armor? Of course. Classes end at 2:59 p.m. and not 3 p.m.? Absolutely. Doing calculus homework while waiting to throw a discus? Makes perfect sense. Does any of that sound familiar? Of course it does. We all lived it and my current students are living it. And the geese? Yes...they never left.

Shenanigans aside, our pride comes from more than just an enjoyment of campus oddities. Love is at the center of Priory’s mission, and while those of us who went here know how tough it could be, born from that love were the tireless efforts of the staff, faculty, administration, and monks who worked on our behalf to provide an experience that married an exceptional blend of intellectual fortitude, athletic prowess, and spiritual life. As a department chair, and especially as an alumnus, it’s exciting to see Priory’s programming continue to evolve and flourish. Within the last four years in the Science Department alone, our Form II curriculum has rebooted into a physical science course where students engage in inquiry-based activities in physics and chemistry that focus on proper science practices; we’ve introduced STEM electives to Form V students interested in engineering and 3D printing, advanced computer programming, or materials science; and Form VI students have the option of taking Introduction to Neuroscience and Human Genetics or Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathology as alternatives to the traditional AP Chemistry and AP Biology options. Those of you involved in education understand that developing and expanding curriculum takes more than just a dedicated faculty — it requires curious students, a patient and supportive administration, and parents who encourage their children to explore and try something new. Luckily for Priory, we have all of that, with the added bonus of alumni who come back, frequently, to offer their time, money, expertise, and stories to help make Priory the best it can be. Like my colleague Ryan Niemann '03 said in the last newsletter, I’m always amazed by the willingness of the alumni community to show up and support both the students and our shared mission. Thank you for staying connected and if you find yourself back on campus, I hope you stop by my office to say hello! 

Justin Orlando '99

Science Department Chair

“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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