In the rush of running a lively boarding school for boys, it is easy to lose sight of the impact that our work brings to individuals and thereby to the world. When one lives every day with singing jugglers, monastic culture, an ongoing conversation about the highest things, and the constant support of friendship and the sacraments, it is easy to take even these blessings for granted. Every once in a while, however, something happens that brings the effect of our efforts dramatically to the fore—and it is always a humbling experience. Every now and again, I am reminded of the wonderful importance of our work, and often suddenly, through a conversation, a phone call, a reaction from people we meet on our adventures, or, in the case I would like to share with you, a letter.
Dear Mr. Fitzpatrick,
I am a retired accountant, educated in the public schools, 70 years old. I was raised in the Episcopal Church, from which I became estranged many years ago. I have not attended any church service in over 30 years.
I have been receiving your great newsletter, The Minstrel, for a couple of years now. I don’t remember how it first came to me, but it doesn’t really matter. You might ask, as I have asked myself, why a fallen-away 70-year old Protestant would contribute to a Catholic school for boys, 3,000 miles away. I read your newsletter carefully. It inspires me. As nothing else has in more than three decades, it makes me feel closer to God. I greatly admire your mission to turn boys into Godly, strong men. Our country very much needs Godly strong men. I read the letter from your founding Headmaster, Alan Hicks with his description of the elements of education at Gregory the Great, including “…Latin, poetry, music, Classical Logic, Rhetoric, the Great Books, rugby, the direct experience of nature…” That is the description of a classical education, something that is non-existent in the public schools, public universities and even many Catholic universities.
God bless you, your staff and your boys. Keep up the great work!
I received this letter recently from a man I do not know, but who knows us, and reminded me of who we are and what we are doing. I am deeply grateful to him for his acknowledgement, for his encouragement, and for his support—but especially because he told me how we have touched his life. It is a gift, perhaps even a grace.