Saint Mary’s Celebrates 160 Years of Lasallian Education
As we celebrate Saint Mary’s 160th year of Lasallian Education, I am reminded of how our educational ministry began. The De La Salle Christian Brothers were asked to journey from New York to an unknown territory in California to save a failing school called Saint Mary’s. The Brothers accepted the invitation relying on their faith in God’s providence and the educational vision of their founder, John Baptist de La Salle. In a very short time, the Christian Brothers were able to transform the failing school. In 1927, Saint Mary’s College High School moved to Berkeley continuing their spiritual and educational mission of, “…Providing a human and Christian education to the young, especially the poor…”
Over many years, Saint Mary’s has successfully educated thousands of students throughout the Bay Area providing them with the spiritual, educational, and emotional tools to succeed in higher education and life. In our 160 years of Lasallian Education, the school has faced many challenges such as: two world-wide pandemics (1918 & 2020), two World Wars, as well as additional wars, conflicts, social unrest in our country, and tragic and disturbing events that were/are generated by bigotry, fear, anger, and ignorance.
Even with the many challenges and hardships, we continue to teach our students to look at the world with great hope for the future. We forge ahead motivated by our rich Lasallian heritage and God’s presence that inspires our Lasallian Catholic Identity. Our holistic programs and spiritual approach to education emphasizes the Gospel message of “Love one another.”
Our Lasallian Core Principles also challenge all of us to treat ourselves and all people with respect, empathy, and compassion. Our world is filled with people with different thoughts and beliefs than our own; therefore, learning to live in an inclusive community where courageous conversations take place and listening and learning to understand varying points of view are critical. In God’s world, we must unite together as one community, not close our hearts, minds, and souls and divide ourselves into fragmented groups.
The gift of embracing social justice, empathy for the poor, and care for the disfranchised through the action of service and our Lasallian Days and social emotional learning programs are pivotal. We provide time for us to continue conversations regarding how we treat people in our lives, the impact of social media and technology, and in all social and emotional aspects in our lives. All of these values and actions add to our quality college-preparatory academic education that prepares our students to be academically, socially, and spiritually prepared for higher learning and beyond.
This is Lasallian Education. It is spiritual, relational, and requires us to think critically, analytically, and thoughtfully about how we care for all people and the world we live on. Lasallian Education teaches to the mind, heart and soul with a goal for hope, love, understanding, and justice for all people. A Lasallian Education is built on the providence of God’s Holy presence and the joy and comfort that can be found in prayer, reflection, meditation, and spiritual retreat. Saint Mary’s believes that that every student is a child of God and should be treated as such.
We invite you to join Saint Mary’s College High School that many people have referred to as the “hidden jewel of the East Bay.”
Lawrence Puck '78, AFSC