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Monks Give Insight Into the Re-Opening of Benedict’s


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Freshman reporter Nicholas Belmonte interviewed some of the monks who were here when the school reopened or shortly afterward.   Fr. Augustine Curley, O.S.B.

Q: How long were you here for before the school closed? Where did you go when it closed? How did you feel knowing that it was going to close?

A:I was at St.Benedicts Prep for four years, when it had closed I attended St.Peters. I was also very upset to hear that St.Benedicts was closing being here for four years.

Q:What made you want to come back to St.Benedicts after you had left? A:After going to college I kept in touch with Benedictine monks here, but it was hard to come back to the area because at that time it was a scary neighborhood due to the riots going on. Q :What made you want to become a monk?

A: When I went to college I made many mixed feelings but know that it was the right thing for me to do to become a monk.I felt like it was what I was supposed to do and to also come back.

Q: How was it coming back?

A:At that time the monks then loved to have any help from anybody willing to help or to join them.   Fr. Phillip Waters, O.S.B.

Q:How long after the school closed were you ordained a priest.

A: I was ordained as a priest in the September of the year the school closed.

Q:What did you do to support yourself or others while you didn’t have the school open.

A: I worked on only the weekends for St.Mary’s Parish in Deal N.J. I also taught religion at Sacred Heart in Elizabeth a few days a week. And I drove a truck for a delivery company in Plainfield. Also now that I was a few courses away from my seminary degree I took some classes at the Woodstock Seminary in New York.

Q:How was the entire year for you while it was not opened?

A: All in all to me it was personally an interesting year; I had many jobs and was happy when it re-opened.

Q:While it was first closed for the year, did you ever leave or did you want to or consider doing so?

A: No, while it was closed for the year I did not ever leave. I stayed here for the full time and never left.

Q:What did you do when St. Benedict’s reopened?

A:I was the athletic director and part of the faculty teaching Social Studies, Gym, and some English and was the athletic Director.     

 

Abbot Melvin Valvano, O.S.B.                     

Q:Had you already been ordained a priest when St. Benedict’s closed?

A: Yes, I was ordained in 1965

Q:. What did you do to support yourself or the other monks when the school was closed?

A: For one year I was a chaplain at Veterans’ Hospital in East Orange, NJ

Q:How was the entire year for you while it was not opened? How difficult was it?

A: Lots of concern and questioning what we all would finally decide to do.

Q: When the school first closed, did you ever leave or consider doing so?

A:No Q:What were you here when  St.Benedicts reopened? What did you do? What did you run?

A:I taught Religion and in 1973, September was elected Abbot

Fr. Albert Holtz, O.S.B.

Q:Had you already been ordained a priest when St. Benedict’s closed?

A:Yes, I was ordained at St.Mary’s, Delbarton in 1969 and came to Newark that June. So I was here a couple of years before the school had closed.

Q: What did you do to support yourself or the other monks when the school was closed?

A:I had taught French and religion at St.Vincent’s Academy during the year we closed

Q:How was the entire year for you while it was not opened? How difficult was it?

A:It was very difficult no being with my brother monks  in the good monastery then during the day. A really hard part was not knowing what the future held.

Q:But when the school first closed, did you ever leave or consider doing so?

A: I never had considered leaving. First it was because of the vow all of the monks took which was the vow of stability, also I felt very committed to the city also to its  people.

Q:What did you do here when St.Benedict’s reopened?

A:I was the planner and the organizer. I wrote up the course schedules, I also taught classes all day, definitely was a high-energy position!      

 

 

Fr. Boniface Treanor, O.S.B.

Q:Had you already been ordained a priest when St. Benedict’s closed? A:   Yes, in 1956. Q:What did you do to support yourself or the other monks when the school was closed?

A:We all went outside for work.  I taught at St. Rose of Lima Grammar School here in Newark.

Q:How was the entire year for you while it was not opened? How difficult was it?

A:I did what had to be done – met some nice people while teaching at St. Rose’s.

Q: When the school first closed, did you ever leave or consider doing so? A:  No! Q:What did you do when the school reopened?

A:  I taught Freshman Algebra and was Director of Admissions. Fr. Edwin Leahy, O.S.B.

Q:Had you already been ordained a priest when St. Benedict’s closed?

A: No.  It closed in June of 1972 and I was ordained September 16, 1972.

Q: What did you do to support yourself or the other monks when the school was closed?

A:We all worked different places.  I worked in a drug rehab place in Jersey City.  Father Philip drove a paper product delivery truck.  Father Albert taught at St. Vincent Academy.  The Abbot, who wasn’t the Abbot then, worked as chaplain at Veteran’s Hospital in East Orange.  Several of the monks taught at St. Mary’s.

Q:How was the entire year for you while it was not opened? How difficult was it?

A:Well, remember by November 1972, I already had the job as Headmaster and was working already on how to reopen the school.  So for me it was very exciting because I was already working on putting together what was going to happen.  For others, it might have been more difficult.

Q:When the school first closed, did you ever leave or consider doing so?

A:No, I never considered leaving.

Q: What were you here when  St. Benedicts reopened?

A: I was the Headmaster starting from 1972 so I have always been Headmaster since it reopened.

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Monks Give Insight Into the Re-Opening of Benedict’s