St. Bede Academy

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St. Bede Academy
Saint Bede Academy Logo and Crest.png
24 West U.S. Highway 6
Peru, Illinois 61354
United States
Coordinates 41°19′18″N 89°9′58″W / 41.32167°N 89.16611°W / 41.32167; -89.16611Coordinates: 41°19′18″N 89°9′58″W / 41.32167°N 89.16611°W / 41.32167; -89.16611
Type Private, College-preparatory
Day & Boarding
Motto Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus
(That in All Things God May Be Glorified)
Denomination Roman Catholic
Established 1890
Oversight Diocese of Peoria
Superintendent Dr. Ted Struck
Principal Michelle Mershon
Chaplain Fr. Ronald Margherio, O.S.B.
Grades 912
Gender Coeducational
Enrollment 296 (2010)
Campus Rural
Campus size 200-acre (0.81 km2)
Color(s) Green      and      White
Athletics conference Three Rivers Conference
Team name (Lady) Bruins
Rival Hall Red Devils
La Salle-Peru Cavaliers
Accreditation North Central Association of Colleges and Schools[1]
Publication Caedmon (literary magazine)
Newspaper The Bedan Bruin
Yearbook The Bedan Way
Tuition $5,050
Affiliation Benedictine

Saint Bede Academy is a private, four-year, Catholic college-preparatory high school located in Peru, Illinois. The campus buildings and monastery are situated on 200 acres (0.81 km2) of wooded land.[2] The monastery is home to 32 Benedictine monks who have taken a vow of stability, meaning that they remain at Saint Bede Abbey for their lifetimes. The monks take an active role in the affairs and administration of the academy.[3]

The school is accredited by the State of Illinois, the North Central Association, and the Office of Catholic Education of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria.[1]


St. Bede Abbey and Academy were founded in 1890 by six monks tasked with establishing a Benedictine teaching institution where young men could receive a Catholic education.[3] The school was dedicated on October 12, 1891[4] as an all-boys boarding school, remaining as such until 1973, at which time it became a coeducational institution.

In 1981, the boarding program ceased, and the former dormitory rooms were converted into additional class and office space.[5] Prior to the boarding program's ending, it was not uncommon for parents to send their boys hundreds of miles to attend and live at St. Bede. Afterward, the Academy still drew a consistent number of students from the local area, though never enough to challenge the local public schools.

Due to interest from foreign students and alumni, St. Bede resumed its boarding program in a limited capacity in 2007. Currently, St. Bede houses up to sixteen males and sixteen females in separate houses located on-campus. Both houses operate under the care of a married couple who live with and supervise the boarders.[5]

The original school building is still in use, and it plainly shows its age on the inside. It has undergone numerous renovations since it was built over one hundred years ago, however none recently. The school's continued maintenance has always depended heavily on the monetary contributions of its over-7000 alumni and other donors.[6] The school operates several fundraising events such as an annual auction and phone-a-thon to help bridge the difference between tuition and actual operating costs.[7]

Academic Life[edit]

The school operates on a fixed daily schedule of eight periods of forty-three minutes. Students are required to enroll in seven courses per semester. The school year is divided into two 18-week semesters. Additionally, students must garner at least 25 academic credits to graduate, as well as complete 25 hours of service work per academic year.[8]

Student profile[edit]

The student population is made up of approximately 300 students with a student-faculty ratio of 15.1 and an average class size of 21.5. Approximately 98% of graduates go on to attend a post-secondary institution.[6]


St. Bede competes in the Big Rivers Conference for football and the Tri-County Conference for all other sports.[6]

Boys sports[edit]

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • Cross Country
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track
  • Weightlifting
  • Wrestling

Girls sports[edit]

  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • Cheerleading
  • Cross Country
  • Golf
  • Softball
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track
  • Volleyball
  • Weightlifting

Clubs and activities[edit]

  • Abbey Mass Servers
  • Band
  • Caedmon Literary Magazine editors
  • Chorus
  • Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion
  • Fall Theater: Provides opportunities for student actors to explore a variety of acting styles and nurture a love of the dramatic arts.
  • Last Supper Club
  • Pep Club
  • Prom Committee
  • Student Government
  • Scholastic Bowl
  • Spanish Club
  • Spring Musical
    • "Stage Rats" - Stagehands
  • Student Ambassadors: Share knowledge and experiences of St. Bede with grade school students and their parents.
  • Yearbook Club
  • Interact Club: Service club sponsored by local rotaries
  • Venturing Club


The 200-acre (0.81 km2) St. Bede campus includes the school, its attached monastery, a church, a football field with stands, a baseball field with stands, a basketball stadium/theater, the Saint Bede Abbey Press building, the boarding houses, and lots of open space, including an apple orchard.


The school is a five-level brick building with dozens of classrooms and offices. The building can be perceived in halves, with the north half containing most of the classrooms and the south half containing most of the offices.

The main administrative office is located on the first floor. There are computer labs on the first and second floors. The art department takes up most of the third floor. The two main science labs and classrooms are located on the basement level. Lockers are located on the second and basement levels of the building. There is an underground tunnel that connects the main building with the gym, where physical education classes are held.

Saint Bede Abbey[edit]

St. Bede Abbey, attached to the school, is the permanent residence of thirty-two monks who live according to the Rule of Saint Benedict. The monks, many of whom actively participate in the everyday workings of the school, follow the gospel of Christ by serving God, the Church, and the community through daily prayer, both communal and private, serious work, quiet reflection, hospitality, and the renunciation of marriage, possessions, and pleasure.[3]

The Abbey, like the Academy, was founded in 1890 by a group of six monks who were sent from St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania to spread the Benedictine tradition. By 1910, the community of monks had grown large enough to become independent from St. Vincent's and thus elected their first abbot. The population of monks peaked in the middle of the twentieth century, and has since declined to its current population of 32.[9]

The current abbot is Philip Davey, OSB, who succeeded former abbot Claude Peifer, OSB, in June 2011. Abbot Peifer, likewise, succeeded Abbot Roger Corpus, OSB, in 2003.[10]

Abbey Church[edit]

The Abbey Church is a multi-purpose building containing a general assembly area, students' chapel, theater/lecture hall, lounge, kitchenette, and conference rooms. The students use the Abbey Church for Eucharistic liturgies, prayer services, penance services, classes, plays, and meetings.


The St. Bede Academy library is a multilevel facility consisting of two large reading rooms on two levels joined by four levels of stacks. The theology library consists of the upper reading room and the top level of the stacks. The academy library consists of the lower reading room and three levels of stacks. The academy collection totals 20,000 volumes and the monastery collection contains 19,000 volumes.

Student refectory[edit]

The student refectory, located on the main floor of the school building, provides hot lunch and snack items daily to students. Students remain on campus during lunchtime. The refectory was renovated during the summer of 1997 to restore the original tin ceiling which had been covered over for years. Ceiling fan/light fixtures now hang to provide an atmosphere of former days at the Academy.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Catholic Diocese of Peoria. "School Information - St. Bede Academy". Retrieved Nov 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ Dr. Ted Struck. "Letter from the Superintendent". Retrieved Nov 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. ^ a b c "St. Bede Abbey - History". Retrieved Nov 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  4. ^ "Announcements for Wednesday, October 12, 2011" (PDF). Retrieved Nov 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  5. ^ a b "Boarding Information". Retrieved Nov 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  6. ^ a b c "St. Bede Academy Profile - 2010-11" (PDF). Retrieved Nov 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  7. ^ "Annual Fund". Retrieved Nov 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  8. ^ "2011-12 Student Handbook" (PDF). p. 10. Retrieved Nov 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  9. ^ "Mission Statement". Retrieved Nov 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  10. ^ Allison Ryan (June 8, 2011). "Davey named new St. Bede abbot". Retrieved Nov 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

External links[edit]