Since our founding in 1942, the Benedictine monastic community of St. Anselm’s Abbey has been the bedrock of our school’s spiritual
Today, the monks continue to have
a profound influence both on the school’s philosophy and on the everyday lives
of students, playing a central role in the school’s quest to nurture the body,
mind and spirit. Spiritual life at St.
Anselm’s takes many forms both inside and outside the classroom.
St. Anselm’s is a Roman Catholic school within the
Archdiocese of Washington, and we require students in all years to take
religion classes. In the Middle School,
students take classes focused on scripture and Church history, and in the early
Upper School years, they move on to discussion of Catholic philosophy and
doctrine. Juniors and Seniors are able
to choose from a wide range of religion classes; recent electives have included
Christian Ethics; Science and Religion; World Religions in Dialogue; and
Christian Art and Architecture, among many others.
One of the key components of the St. Anselm’s experience is
the class spirit that brings students together. To this end, the retreat program is an important foundation at every
In the fall, Forms A through IV (grades 6-10) each participate
in an overnight or day-long class retreat. While on retreat, the students forge a strong sense of unity not only
within their respective Forms, but also in a larger sense as members of the St.
Anselm’s community. Through prayer,
reflection and teamwork activities such as outdoor challenge courses, our
students construct the framework that will enable them to have a successful
experience throughout the upcoming year.
As students get older, faculty and Form VI students lead
Form V students on an extended three-night retreat. Principally spiritual in nature, this retreat
marks a milestone in each student’s St. Anselm’s experience. Each young man has an opportunity to reflect
upon his spiritual and personal development and how he will approach his
upcoming role as a leader of the student body when he enters his Sixth Form
Respect for the dignity of each person as created by God is central to
the teachings of St. Benedict and serves as the cornerstone of the values that
are fostered throughout our school community. The Junior/Senior weekly service program is uniquely suited to foster
the values of a Benedictine education. As St. Benedict advises in his Rule, “Let all guests who arrive
be received as Christ, because He will say: ‘I was a stranger and you took Me
in’ (Mt 25:35).” Feeding the hungry in
local soup kitchens and visiting children or the aged and infirm at area
hospitals are only a few of the ways in which our students put into practice
the Gospel message of the Beatitutes.