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Founders' Day

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Founders’ Day - 19 May 2017


The St Benedict’s school community gathered together on Friday, 19 May 2017 - before of the Feast of St Eugene de Mazenod which will be celebrated by the Church on Sunday, 21 May - to pay tribute to the school’s founders, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and to commemorate the school’s 59th year of existence. 

Without the initiative and perseverance of the Oblate priests and brothers, St Benedict’s - as we know it today - would not exist. In particular, the school remembers Bishop David O’Leary who called for the establishment of a Catholic School for boys on the East Rand and Fr Philip Erasme, the founding headmaster, who was instrumental in the establishment of St Benedict’s. 

In his address at the closing of the Mass offered in Thanksgiving, Mr Andre Oosthuysen, thanked the Oblate fathers who had joined the school for the morning’s celebrations: Fr Ronnie Cairns (Provincial), Fr Thabo Mothiba (St Benedict’s chaplain), Fr Rodney George and Fr Jonathan Petersen. The school was also delighted to host the novices currently in formation at the Germiston Novitiate. He stated that “St Benedict’s continues to grow and flourish because of the Oblates’ continued presence in and support of the school.”

Mr Oosthuysen also paid tribute to past headmasters: Fr H Dalton O.M.I., Fr J Towell O.M.I., Fr R da Sylva O.M.I., Fr P Hartin O.M.I. and Tony Dobson, the school’s first lay headmaster; he thanked past and present members of the St Benedict’s Trust; past and present members of the school’s Board of Governors, staff, boys and parents.

St Benedict’s strives to inculcate in its boys, the principles held dear by St Eugene de Mazenod: “to live together as brothers” and “to imitate the virtues and examples of our Saviour Jesus Christ”. 

In addition to St Eugene, St Benedict continues to be a role model for us all. St Benedict was the son of a Roman nobleman and like any good Roman he had a flair for organization, a concern for order, a respect for authority. Benedict was founding his monasteries at the time the Roman Empire was breaking apart, weakened by corruption at the centre and barbarian invasion. He wrote what would come to be known as the Rule of St Benedict to hold his monasteries together with a strong and responsible central leadership and patterns of life that were structured and followed a hierarchical chain of command.

In the Rule, St Benedict calls those who wish to follow Christ to “the labour of obedience”. We are to be attentive to others and listen for their needs; we should be ready to respond with a cheerful generosity and should be prepared to lay down our own will out of mutual respect and concern. He writes that “No one is to pursue what they judge better for himself, but instead, what they judge better for someone else”.
St Benedict encourages us to “Let peace be [our] quest and [our] aim”. He encourages us to value silence, to refrain from gossip and to appreciate the purity of prayer.  St Benedict tells us that faith and work always go together and that “idleness is the enemy of the soul”. He stresses that prayer is the “Work of God” and must come before all else. 
St Benedict also encourages us to be continually on our guard against our own destructive tendencies. Humility is what keeps us connected, down to earth and real. It involves a true self-appraisal, not over estimating our strengths, it involves leading with your head bowed down always recognizing that we are always in the presence of God. 
Imagine what a great place the world would be if we could all continually strive to abide by only one of those rules. 


 

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