Saint Louis Priory School

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Saint Louis Priory School
Saint Louis Priory School Crest.png
Laus Tibi Domine
Latin: "Praise to Thee, Lord"
500 South Mason Road
Creve Coeur, Missouri, (St. Louis County), 63141
United States
Coordinates 38°38′39″N 90°28′44″W / 38.644193°N 90.478863°W / 38.644193; -90.478863Coordinates: 38°38′39″N 90°28′44″W / 38.644193°N 90.478863°W / 38.644193; -90.478863
Type Private, All-Boys
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic Church
Established 1955
Principal Dr. Jared Rashford
Headmaster Rev. Gregory Mohrman, OSB '76
Chaplain Fr. Augustine Wetta, OSB
Grades 712
Enrollment 426 (2016)
Campus size 150 acres (0.61 km2)
Color(s) Red and Blue         
Athletics conference Metro
Team name Rebels
Accreditation North Central Association of Colleges and Schools,[1] ISACS[2]
Newspaper The Record
Tuition $19,995 plus additional $750 for lunch[3]

The Saint Louis Priory School, a Roman Catholic secondary day school for boys, is located on a sprawling 150 acres in suburban St. Louis, Missouri, within the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. The school is run by the Benedictine monks of Saint Louis Abbey as part of their religious ministry.


The school was established in 1955, at the invitation of St. Louis Catholics, by monks of the Benedictine Ampleforth Abbey in Yorkshire, England. The corresponding Priory of Saints Louis and Mary (now Saint Louis Abbey), a Benedictine monastery, was established at the same time. The Priory, which is a member of the English Benedictine Congregation, became independent of Ampleforth in 1973, and was elevated to an Abbey in 1989.

The founding Prior (1955–1967) was author, monastic leader and former titular Abbot of Westminster, Reverend Columba Cary-Elwes. The founding headmaster was scholar and author Rev. Timothy Horner, O.S.B., who also founded the school's first athletic team, the Rebel Ruggers.

The history of the monastery and school was chronicled by founding monk and original headmaster Fr. Timothy Horner, O.S.B. in his In Good Soil: The Founding of the Saint Louis Priory School 1954-1973 (2001). In this history, Horner describes the initial contact with the interested St. Louis Catholic laymen, and explains the process of founding a new school in the English Benedictine Congregation.


  1. Rev. Timothy Horner, OSB 1955-1974
  2. Rev. Paul Kidner, OSB 1974-1983
  3. Rev. Finbarr Dowling, OSB 1983-1992
  4. Rev. Thomas Frerking, OSB 1992-1995
  5. Rev. Gregory Mohrman, OSB 1995-2005, first Priory alumnus to join the monastery, class of 1976
  6. Rev. Michael Brunner, OSB 2005-2012
  7. Rev. Linus Dolce, OSB 2012–2014
  8. Rev. Gregory Mohrman, OSB 2014-present


Priory offers an education shaped by the Benedictine order's tradition of Christian humanism, with particular attention to Roman Catholic theology, classical (Latin and Greek) and modern foreign languages (French, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese), English and American literature, mathematics and the natural sciences, history, computer science, and the fine arts (vocal music, studio art, theater arts/communication, photography, stained glass art, and mass media and video production).

Students have the option to take up to 14 advanced placement courses, and honors classes begin in foreign languages in 8th grade, and in other fields beginning in high school. To graduate, students in their senior year must submit one of three types of theses: a research project, a work of creative writing, or a project in the visual or performing arts. Students must also participate in service to the community in order to graduate.

According to a March 2011 issue of Saint Louis Magazine, its ACT average test score of 31 ranked first among St. Louis-area high schools.[4]

Abbey Church[edit]

Priory Chapel at Saint Louis Abbey - July 2013
Abbey Church, also called Priory Chapel.

The Abbey Church was constructed in 1962. It is also known as the Church of St. Mary and St. Louis and the Priory Chapel. It was designed by Gyo Obata of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum.[5] The church's circular facade consists of three tiers of whitewashed, thin-shell concrete parabolic arches, the top one forming a bell-tower. The arches appear to float upward from their grassy base. They are faced with dark insulated-fiberglass polyester window walls which create a meditative translucency when viewed from within.[citation needed]

The church holds a 14th-century sculpture of the Madonna and Christ child, a 17th-century holy font in the Della Robbia style, and modern sacred art by artists from the United States, Great Britain, Spain, and France. The 2007 AIA|CPC Design Committee bestowed its Twenty-five Year Award on the Abbey Church/Priory Chapel.[6][7]

On the grounds outside the church sit life-size sculptures of the abbey's patron saints, Saint Benedict, by Lithuanian-born artist Wiktor Szostalo, and the Holy Blessed Virgin Mother Mary, Our Lady of Grace, by American sculptor Philip Howie. The Abbey Church also serves as the home church for the Saint Louis Archdiocese parish of Saint Anselm.[citation needed]


The Junior Engineering Technical Society[8] (JETS) hosts an annual competition, known as TEAMS, aimed at "challenging high school students in grades 9-12 to work together as a team to apply knowledge learned in the classroom to real-world engineering scenarios".[9] Priory has performed well over the years in this competition, including a national championship in 2000.[10]

There is a Robotics Club, the Roborebels, that often does well in the annual local FIRST Robotics Competition. In 2010, the team took second place at the St. Louis Regional competition and in 2011 the team was again successful placing third. In 2013, the team won the Rockwell Collins Innovation & Control Award for their creative use of an overlay on the robot’s camera to enable the human controller to scope targets more easily. The team won the Excellence in Engineering award in 2015 and placed highly in the Kansas City and St. Louis Regional competition.

Among Priory's extracurricular offerings is the art of calligraphy. The school has a Calligraphy Guild to which students may apply, and after demonstrating a certain level of proficiency, they may earn the title of "Master." Students can also learn the art of working with stained glass during their high school years.

In addition, Priory serves as one of two St. Louis-area sites[11] for AIM High, a program that offers an academic and personal enrichment program for motivated middle school students from high-risk environments. The program involves Priory faculty members, parents and students.


Priory is a member of the suburban Metro League, which was reconstituted out of the former ABC League. Priory students are required to participate in a sport each of the three seasons. In the fall, the school offers cross country, football, and soccer. In the winter, the school offers basketball, ice hockey, and wrestling. Students may choose to participate in the winter musical in order to fill their sports requirement. The ice hockey team is a club team that is not sponsored by the school or state. However, according to a rule change starting in the 2009-2010 school year, it now fulfills the sports requirement for the winter term. In the spring, the school offers golf, track and field, tennis, rugby, baseball, lacrosse, and ultimate frisbee. Although the school has racquetball and squash facilities, it does not field teams in these sports, nor does it have a swimming and diving team, as it once did.

In the winter of 2004, the hockey team received a bid to play in the Wickenheiser Cup, a memorial tournament named for the late St. Louis Blues Center Doug Wickenheiser. Priory won the championship game, played at the Scottrade Center, giving the school its first state sports title since 1973.[12] In 2007, the hockey team won the Wickenheiser Cup for the second time.[13]

In the fall of 2005, the Priory varsity soccer team became the first in this sport in Missouri's high school sports history, and the first since state titles were officially sanctioned by the Missouri State High School Activities Association, to compete for a full season with no losses or ties.[14] The soccer Rebels led by All-American forward Jimmy Holmes ended the season with a perfect 26-0-0 record, winning the state Class 2 title. In November 2011, the soccer Rebels again produced a perfect season, finishing 27-0-0 and winning the Missouri State High School Class 2 championship with a 2-0 victory over Trinity High School. In so doing they became the only school in Missouri high school soccer history to twice post a perfect season, with no losses and no ties. The soccer Rebels' team record included 24 shutouts, and they outscored opponents 107-5.[15]

In the spring of 2007, the Priory golf team won its first state title, winning by 27 shots. The final team score was 583.[16]

The spring of 2006 brought upon another great change to Priory sports; fielding an Ultimate Frisbee team, nicknamed "The Jeromans" after an esteemed Priory classics teacher, Mr. Jerome Miller, Priory went undefeated in the regular season and ultimately, after a tough semifinals game against DeSmet Jesuit High School, went to the State Finals against Rockhurst High School, against whom they lost. In 2008, the team repeated its undefeated season, defeating Rockhurst (this time in the semifinals) before then falling to a very strong DeSmet team. In 2009, the team again went undefeated up until its third consecutive State Final loss, again to a nationally ranked DeSmet squad. 2010 brought on a tough year where the team struggled during the season before pulling off several upsets against St. Louis University High School, Kirkwood High School, and Parkway North High School before falling to DeSmet during the State Finals for the third year in a row.


The school's sports mascot is the Rebels. "The Rebels" comes from the name of the school's first athletic team, the Rebel Ruggers. A version of the Confederate Johnny Rebel figure, then known as General Beauregard, was featured in the school's sports iconography. The school briefly flew a Confederate flag until it was removed due to controversy surrounding the symbolic meaning of the flag. During the U. S. Civil War, Missouri had a pro-Union government, Saint Louis was a predominantly Union city, and most Roman Catholics in Missouri during the Civil War were pro-Union, so school supporters thought the Confederate identification was inappropriate.

The school has always said that the term "rebels" referred to the colonial rebels of the American Revolution. The students replaced the mascot of General Beauregard with a super-hero-style "Rebel Man".

The jersey colors are red, white, and blue.


Missouri State High School Athletic Association (MSHSAA) Titles:

  • 1973 Football
  • 2004 Cross Country
  • 2005 Soccer (The first soccer team in MSHSAA history to go undefeated at 26-0-0), 2011 Soccer (The only school in MSHSAA history to have a perfect season twice, finishing undefeated at 27-0-0)
  • 2007 Golf (2nd lowest 36-hole total (583) for par 71-hole course in MSHSAA history)
  • 2004, 2007 Hockey (Wickenheiser Cup)

Academic State Titles

  • 1999, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 Academic Competition
  • Mock Trial 2007 (the team went on to place fourth in the National Competition)

Notable alumni[edit]

Government and politics
Sports and entertainment
Arts and sciences
  • Eddy L. Harris (1974), author (Mississippi Solo, Native Stranger, South of Haunted Dreams, and Still Life in Harlem)


External links[edit]