October 12, 2013
I would like to take this opportunity to share with you a wonderful story about a young man named Edgar. Some five years ago I first met Edgar, about 11 or 12 years old at the time, in the parking lot of a popular restaurant in Guatemala. He was shining shoes to make a little money. He asked me if I wanted my shoes shined. I told him no, but asked him why he wasn’t in school, since it was a weekday during the school year. He told me that he needed to work to help support his family. I encouraged him to go to school and mentioned that perhaps he could become a student at our Guatemala mission seminary. Edgar would later become a student at our seminary. During my recent visit to our Guatemala mission the first week of October, when the school year ended and graduation exercises were held, Edgar successfully completed his first three years of education with us and proudly received an academic award for music. He still has years of education ahead of him, but I believe that Edgar is well on his way to becoming someone who will positively serve his people, his church and his country. He is a candidate for our Guatemala mission Benedictine community.
Edgar’s story is perhaps more dramatic than most, but represents the story of what the monks of Marmion Abbey have worked hard for since 1933. Eighty years ago, on April 25, 1933, the monastic chapter of St. Meinrad Abbey convened and voted to undertake the administration of what was then known as the Fox Valley Catholic High School, Aurora, Illinois, established in 1927 by the Augustinian Order. On July 1, 1933 the St. Meinrad community voted to name the school after Abbot Columba Marmion, a Benedictine abbot and popular spiritual writer from the Abbey of Maredsous, Belgium. The first group of pioneering Benedictine monks from St. Meinrad Abbey opened the new school year on September 12, 1933. The name of the school in that year was Marmion, the Fox Valley Prep Catholic Boarding and Day School for Boys. In 1935, with the addition of a military JROTC program, the name was changed to Marmion Military Academy. For the 1994 – 95 academic year, the JROTC program was made optional and the name of the school became Marmion Academy. On April 28, 1964, the Marmion Abbey chapter voted to establish Marmion’s Guatemala mission priory and seminary of San José.
During these past eighty years Marmion Abbey, Marmion Academy and Marmion’s Guatemala mission have had a rich history filled with God’s blessings. To be sure there have been challenges that have been met and overcome. New programs have been added to Marmion Academy, such as the Leadership, Education and Development program (LEAD), as well as to the Guatemala mission seminary. Nonetheless, throughout all of the years the mission of the Marmion monks has been to pray and to live as a Benedictine monastic community and to provide the best Catholic secondary education possible to generations of young men.
With the beginning of this, our eighty-first year, the monks of Marmion Abbey, working closely with our lay administration, faculties and staffs in our schools, continue with enthusiasm to take up the work of offering to young men our love for Christ, our passion for learning and the best possible Catholic education. Also, with Mr. Anthony Tinerella, ’84, as the new Head of School of Marmion Academy, I am confident that the Academy will continue to build on and to strengthen our Benedictine educational tradition. I ask for your prayers for God’s continued blessings on our Benedictine life here at Marmion Abbey, for an increase of worthy vocations, and for many blessings upon our students.
God’s blessings and peace!
Rt. Rev. John Brahill, O.S.B. ‘67