The history of Catholic Education dates back centuries, posing these deeper questions of Who am I? Who made me? What is my purpose? Saint Agnes plays a vital role in Catholic Education and has done so for generations. Founded on faith and tradition, Saint Agnes continues this extraordinary work of educating students in a liberal arts classical education after 133 years. What started as a small school, 160 students taught by the Sisters of Notre Dame, has grown to nearly 800 students in 2021.
For the 14th consecutive year, increased enrollment indicates that this best kept secret of Saint Agnes is officially out. The sense of life, the sense of fulfillment through knowledge, athletics, and fine arts, all occurs because of the foundation…Catholicism.
Since 1888, God has continued to bless this school, in times of plenty and in times of scarcity. The history of Saint Agnes tells a story of hope and reminds us of the importance of community. Saint Agnes has stood firm amid the changes of the world. It saw Aggie Athletics soar, the first IBM computer, and the construction of a new convent. It saw economic hardship during WWI, the Great Depression, and early in the 21st century. The life of the school at Saint Agnes reflects the truth that the Christian life is not without suffering. But it is precisely this suffering that purifies and strengthens the hearts and minds of God’s sons and daughters.
To those Aggies who have gone before us, past superintendents, pastors, staff and faculty, and especially Aggie families, the school would not be what it is today without their sacrifice and efforts. Fr. Gruden played a vital role in the education of families during the Great Depression, where educational literature was scarce. During his time at Saint Agnes, a new four-year high school opened, the first co-ed high school in the archdiocese. Monsignor Bandas was instrumental in renovating the interior of the church and the school, as well as fighting for the true intentions of the Second Vatican Council. Monsignor Schuler not only directed the Twin Cities Catholic Chorale in performing the works of great composers, but he also fostered many vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Fr. Ubel returned from his studies in Rome to aid in managing the challenges that faced Saint Agnes. It was during a time of uncertainty that he, along with parents and other trusted advisors, rebranded the school and stressed the importance of unity.
This unity is strengthened by the leadership of our teachers. Saint Agnes would not be what it is today without the sacrifice of our teachers. They have answered the call to teach, to form young men and women of God in their journey to discover their role in the world.
This year, Saint Agnes, along with many other Catholic schools across America, have felt the impact of change. This year of change has brought growth, a renewed sense of purpose and the heart of Saint Agnes burns with more fervor.
Saint John Paul the Great reminds us the gift we have in our young people and the immense potential they hold. We have such faith in our young people, and we want to be an instrument that propels and inspires them to do great things.
Forming Catholic hearts and minds, it’s what we do. Let us inspire a culture of saints. May we educate our students in greater knowledge of Christ, so that His example may inspire them to be a source of energy and leadership in our world.
Once an Aggie, always an Aggie.