From: "Industries of New Jersey: 1882
St Benedict's College, P. Mellitus, O. S. B., No. 522 High Street. — An excellent institution of learning, conducted by Fathers of the Benedictine Order, is St. Benedict's College, which is located at No. 522 High Street, and was chartered March 25th, 1881. The building is of pressed brick, commodious in very particular, and is surrounded by hand some and well-kept grounds. Every convenience is provided, and scholars are instructed in the classical, commercial, and preparatory departments at $15 per quarter for tuition. Diplomas are given in the commercial course. Father P. Frederic Hoesel. O. S. B., the principal, is a learned and accomplished tutor, and has already done much for the cause of education in instructing the minds of the children and more advanced scholars. A faithful and tireless worker, he is supported in the several departments by competent educators, which has already given St. Benedict's College a deserved pre-eminence.
From Charles McGrath:
In 1841 on the corner of Grand (later renamed Howard Street) and Court Streets a small wooden German catholic church was built. It was called Saint Mary's. In 1846 it was decided to move the old wooden church to the corner of High (formerly Bellevue) and William Streets. The contractor who was responsible for moving the church quit during the move. For three weeks the church sat in the middle of High Street; however, services continued until a new contractor could be hired. The old wooden church can be seen on the map from 1853 (right side). 1853 Map
In 1856 the old wooden church no longer met the growing needs of the parish. A new (the present day church) church was built. This church was dedicated on December 20, 1857. Benedictine monks came from Saint Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, in 1857, to take over the care of the German immigrants who made up the community of Saint Mary's parish.
The Abbey is to the left of the church going down High Street towards Springfield Avenue. Saint Benedicts Prep is to the left of the Abbey. To the right of the church is Saint Mary's School. The parish school was founded in 1863. If one chose to visit Saint Mary's School today they would see the footprints of yesterday. Directly above the entrance to the building its name is carved in stone. Saint Mary's Schule ( which is school in German).
Saint Benedict's College was founded in 1868, with 20 students, a faculty of four. In 1917 it became Saint Benedict's Preparatory School.
The aerial picture to the right shows my beloved Alma Mater, Saint Benedict's Prep. Springfield Avenue is on the top of the picture. Upper left is South Orange Avenue and Kearn's Korner. High Street is in the center of the picture and William Street in the lower portion. Aerial Photo
This is what our students and alumni refer to as the "Bee Hive".
Saint Benedict’s Prep was an exceptional school. In circa 1950 only 100 hundred would be chosen out of 400 plus applicants. It sort of reminded one of that old famous "Green Beret’ song. A thousand men will test today…..
The Monks were true men and leaders, not only of letters but also of respect and discipline. To a boy and not unlike to a man, there is something special about a one gender environment. At times in life there is a tremendous advantage in being alone or at least with one’s own gender. Maybe it equates to going into service and passing through boot camp and on to what you were trained to accomplish.
I’ll never forget in my freshman year, the first time the whole school assembled together. The thing that gave me goose bumps was all the male voices in song. The pride and camaraderie was unbelievable. I was amongst men and trying to secure my place with them.
In my freshman year the school had students from 32 different towns and cities throughout the state. From as far south as Asbury Park as far north as Lake Hopatcong. Everyone commuted there was no boarding at that time.
The school curriculum was very demanding. Everyone received four years of Latin. If you weren’t a scholar you received two years of French to compliment the Latin, if you were a scholar you received two years of German along with, two years of Greek. Everyone received a minimum of six years of a foreign language.
We were part of the monastery with its walls on all sides. No one was allowed outside the walls during school hours. We were an integral part of a very unique higher school of learning called Saint Benedict’s Prep.
From: Essex County, NJ, Illustrated 1897
For fourteen hundred years the Benedictines have figured prominently in the history of the world as missionaries, civilizers and educators. In the chain of Benedictine abbeys and colleges, St. Mary's Abbey and St. BEnedict's College form a not undistinguished link. Here, as it is, and has been in all places and times since the foundation of the order, the school or college is a religious halo, their inmates kept alive the sacred lamp of literature, when outside their walls the world was given up to rapine and civil war.
St. Benedict's College has been before the public for nearly thirty years - 1868 to 1897 - and has conscientiously and unostentatiously striven to carry into effect the intention of its founders.
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