Becoming a St. Benedict’s Man

Exhibit on view from April 1 to June 15, 2018
1st Floor Gallery, Main Library, 5 Washington Street, Newark

Becoming a St. Benedict’s Man shares the story of St. Benedict’s Preparatory School, celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2018, and how the school has served the needs of Newark’s immigrant and African American communities.

St. Benedict’s College was established by Benedictine monks in 1868, to provide a Catholic education for the sons of working-class Irish and German families who had fled religious and political persecution.  Over the years, St. Benedict’s has mirrored the ethnic composition of Newark, and has welcomed successive immigrants, including Italians, Eastern Europeans, Spaniards, Portuguese, Latin Americans, and Islanders from the Caribbean.

As African American families moved from the rural American South to Newark and the industrial North in the Great Migration in the 1920s and 30s, few enrolled their sons in St. Benedict’s. The exhibit tells the story of how the monks of the Newark Abbey saw the changes in Newark in the years following World War II, and how they interpreted their vow of stability by making a conscious choice to remain in Newark.  By the late 1960s the monks and their African American neighbors created an intentional dialogue, which helped shape the school’s commitment to the community, and where today young men of all backgrounds and races graduate as St. Benedict’s men.

The exhibit is curated by Augustine J. Curley, OSB, and Matthew Dellaguzzo.