Behind the Shield: Take Them With You
June 1, 2017
With June upon us, the approaching end of another school year naturally spurs reflective thoughts. As with anything in life, experiences can generally be defined by specific beginnings and ends. The start of something and its end demand attention, but there are also other lessons in between that are worthwhile. The topic of this article, BSM’s heritage, is at center stage.
Benilde-St. Margaret’s is a school that is serious about holistic education. Students have access to a range of college preparatory academic coursework with committed teachers. The number of clubs, activities, and athletic pursuits seems to grow every year in line with the desires of our students. The marriage between faith and service is a very real experience for all. Our school mission commits us “to develop the student’s highest potential in mind, body, and spirit,” but there is more. Layered into the fabric of the school is the influence of three distinct religious traditions – the Sisters of St. Joseph, Christian Brothers, and Benedictines.
Over 100 years ago, the Sisters of St. Joseph founded St. Margaret’s Academy as a school to serve girls in the Minneapolis area. In the 1950s, Benilde High School was built by the Christian Brothers to educate young men. The two schools coexisted within their own mission until enrollment challenges forced a new plan. Committed members of both the Benilde and St. Margaret’s communities forged a new path for a school, Benilde-St. Margaret’s, staffed by the Benedictines.
Each tradition has marked the school in distinct ways. The “profound respect” for one and other, inspired by the Sisters of St. Joseph, is alive and well at BSM even in challenging circumstances. It is on display in the daily interactions between students, educators, and parents. The Lasallian belief that “we are in the holy presence of God” is echoed each morning through school prayer. Everyone at BSM focuses on that very presence every day. Lastly, we embrace the Benedictine idea of community, “establishing stable relationships” built upon respect, even when viewpoints may diverge. These messages, part of our religious traditions, have shaped the identity of our school and influenced those who have walked our halls.
As the year comes to a close, my hope is that we can take these subtle lessons, steeped in our religious traditions, with us as students, graduates, parents, and educators. In the end, they may be just what we need.
In the months ahead, I wish you all a summer filled with family, friends, and your share of blessings.
Adam Ehrmantraut, Ed.D.