Benedictine Military School
The Benedictine Military school has a rich history that dates back to 1874 when two Benedictine Monks came to Savannah from Europe by way of St. Vincent Monastery in Latrobe, PA. These two monks came at Savannah Bishop William Gross’s request. Bishop Gross sought to educate and convert the recently emancipated blacks in accordance with the directives of the Council at Baltimore and the Catholic Bishops. True to the Bishop’s commitment, the founding of St. Benedict’s parish occurred soon after the monks’ arrival and a school followed in 1875.
Shortly thereafter the Benedictines bought a plot of land on Isle of Hope and Dr. DuPont donated an additional plot. The Benedictines founded the first monastery in the South on these two plots. Although several recruits joined, within a year the new monastery members died of yellow fever.
After this loss Abbot Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B., the founder of the Benedictines in the United States, honored Bishop Gross’s request to help carry out the original Apostolate. The Abbot sent Rev. Oswald Moosmueller, O.S.B. as superior and the Benedictines bought 713 acres on Skidaway Island. At this site (now the 14th hole of The Landings golf course) the Benedictines built a monastery and school.
Unfortunately, after about nine years the project was abandoned as a failure because the Benedictines could not attract or support enough blacks in their enterprise. Upon returning to Savannah, the monks served Sacred Heart Church under the aegis of Belmont Abbey. In 1902, adjacent to the church, Benedictine Military School opened its doors and was an immediate success. In addition to primarily serving the male Catholic students, it attracted the Jewish population and poor Protestants who shared interest in the Judeo-Christian tradition of academic excellence, good moral living, respect for authority, and love of country.
Today the the St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, PA guides the Benedictines. Eight Benedictines now work at the school and hold positions such as: President, Director of Religious Studies, Media Center Director, Director of Maintenance, and staff support. The Benedictine priests are active in many other areas of the school and the community.