NPR featured an excellent piece this morning about the rich history of my undergrad alma mater - St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA. Most people outside of either western Pennsylvania or the catholic scholastic scene haven't heard of the place, but it's special. It's taken me nearly fifteen years to appreciate that.
It was founded by Bavarian Benedictine monks (a team led by Boniface Wimmer) who left Germany in the mid-1800s to set up Benedictine discipline and monastic life in the US. They settled in a nice spot on the western slope of the Allegheny Mountains (I did a lot of snowboarding and fishing in these hills while in school). The monks built a Monastery (now the oldest Benedictine site in the US), a gristmill, a brewery, and a self-sustained way-of-life in western PA that still thrives today. NPRs piece covers a lot of this, plus eludes to some secrets, and new things about 'st vinney's' I'd like to go back and check out someday. Shout outs to all the monks and professors who taught me the Benedictine flavor of critical philosophy and the classics of my post-Jesuit upbringing, and also to Fr. Mark Gruber O.S.B for anthropological life lessons that still resonate today.
UPDATE: After reading this and learning more about the controversy at SVC and unfair treatment of Fr. Mark Gruber, I've come to the conclusion that what I once considered a special place, has now become a toxic environment destroying the people who made it special. Disgraceful.