Tuesday, April 29, 2014

St. Bernard monk completes second master’s degree

Br. Linus Klucsarits, a monk at St. Bernard Abbey, recently earned his second master’s degree, graduating from the University of Alabama at Birmingham on April 26, 2014 with a Master of Arts Degree in Education, his area of study being Teaching English as a Second Language.

A product of Catholic elementary and high schools, schools, Br. Linus attended St. Charles Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he earned a B.A. in Philosophy.  He is also obtained his MA in Sign Language Interpreting from Gallaudet University. 

The forty-eight year old monk came to St. Bernard in 2011 and professed his first vows on January 6, 2012.  His days have been filled with his responsibilities teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) to St. Bernard Prep international students, as well as graduate studies and the usual chores in the monastery.

About his accomplishment, earning the M.A. in ESL, Br. Linus said, “It was hard work, well worth it, and I learned a lot.”

Now theological studies in preparation for ordination to the priesthood are next on the horizon.  Looking forward, Br. Linus said, “Abbot Cletus Meagher is in the process of deciding where to send me for studies.  We have narrowed it down to three options; I should know soon and will leave for studies at the end of the summer.”

Br. Linus is expected to make final vows in January of 2015.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

St. Bernard Prep to present Cinderella

St. Bernard Preparatory School will present the timeless classic,  Cinderella, a Rodgers and Hammerstein Production, beginning Thursday, May 1-3, beginning at 6:56 p.m. and a Sunday afternoon performance on May 4 at 2 p.m.

A special Gourmet dessert celebration will be held on opening night, Thursday, May 1 at 6 p.m. to celebrate the first anniversary of the Abbey Byre Center for the Performing Arts.  The cost of the Gourmet Dessert ticket is $15 and is limited to 30 patrons.  Included are a variety of gourmet desserts, drinks limited to coffee, tea, and water, and admission to the opening night performance.

General Admission tickets are $5, Gourmet Dessert Tickets are $15.  General admission tickets are available at Farmers Home Furniture on Highway 31 in Cullman and at the door.
To reserve your tickets for this charming production, contact Mr. Rodney Fike, SBP Actors Guild,  by phoning (256)727-8598.   

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Baillargeon named new Headmaster at St. Bernard

The Board of St. Bernard Preparatory School is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Daniel R. Baillargeon as the Upper School Headmaster of St. Bernard Preparatory School.  St. Bernard Prep President, Fr. Joel Martin, O.S.B., explains that Baillargeon will be replacing John Tekulve who recently announced his retirement at the end of the 2013-14 academic year.

Baillargeon is a dedicated and devoted Catholic school leader with more than 10 years  experience in school leadership, the last 8 years serving as principal of St. Louis School in Alexandria, Virginia.   He has fifteen years of teaching experience in elementary, junior high, and high school classrooms. 

Baillargeon responsibilities in education and leadership have given him expertise  in enrollment management, effective marketing, professional development, and advancing the development needs of schools.   

Fr. Joel said, “We are delighted to welcome to St. Bernard and the Cullman area Mr. Baillargeon, his wife, Megan, and their six children, ages two months to ten years.  They will bring much to our school and larger community.”

A Connecticut native, Baillargeon is a Doctoral Candidate in Catholic Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the Catholic University of America.  In 2001 he earned a B.A. in Music at the University of Connecticut and in 2006 completed his M. ED in School Administration at Sul Ross/Rio Grande College in Alpine, TX.  He currently serves as Treasurer for the Diocese of Arlington Principal’s Association, and has successfully led schools through accreditation efforts in both Alexandria, VA and Eagle Pass, TX.   In the classroom Baillargeon has taught mathematics, Latin and theology; and he serves as instructor/speaker for various purposes, including formation of teachers, and youth and adult retreats.

Abbot Cletus Meagher, Chairman of the St. Bernard Prep Board of Directors, stated, “Bringing to St. Bernard a wealth of knowledge in educational, religious, organizational and fiscal leadership, Dan Baillargeon is eminently qualified to support the intellectual, spiritual, and physical needs of our students.”

Fr. Joel said the new headmaster has some big shoes to fill:  “In 2007 John Tekulve lead St. Bernard in the re-introduction of a middle school program at the school, and since January of 2012 has served as Headmaster of the high school.  His work ethic and unique, positive leadership have been invaluable to St. Bernard; we are a better place because of him.”

 "We look forward to having the Baillargeon family in Cullman to continue the St. Bernard tradition of providing a superior education of the whole person: body, mind and spirit,” continued, Fr. Joel.

The St. Bernard community will have the opportunity to meet the new headmaster at a reception to be held at St. Bernard on Thursday, April 26, at 6:30 p.m. in the Brahma Room of the St. Bernard Dining Hall. 


Friday, April 11, 2014

30th Bloomin’ Festival Held at St. Bernard

Over 140 vendors gathered on the grounds at St. Bernard Abbey and Prep School in celebration of the 30th Annual Bloomin’ Festival Arts and Crafts Fair on April 5-6, 2014.  Thousands of supporters visited St. Bernard to purchase handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces of artwork from artist and craftspeople from across the Southeastern United States.

In addition to the wonderful array of artwork, a large variety of foods were offered to festival goers.  The menu included a crawfish boil, smoked chicken, polish sausages, funnel cakes, strawberry waffles, soft-served ice cream, roasted almonds, kettle corn, fresh squeezed lemonade and Pepsi! 

Because of vigorous sales, vendors as well as the school had a successful weekend.  Over 1,800 loaves of fresh-baked Monks’ bread was sold in six hours on Saturday.  Three hundred t-shirts commemorating the 30th Annual Bloomin’ Festival were also popular, as well as the t-shirts featuring Fr. Joel and the crawfish boil.  Proceeds from the Bloomin’ Festival benefit St. Bernard Prep School. 

Saturday was a record-breaking day for attendance.   Traffic backed up past Hwy 31 in downtown  Cullman, but was ushered through city as quickly as possible.  Festival Director, Joyce Nix, reported that the vendors had a very successful Saturday because of the unusually large crowds.  Sunday, on the other hand, was less so because of the forecast of rain.   Rain, when it did arrive, required the closing of the festival an hour early on Sunday.

Patrons enjoyed watching artist demonstrate their talents.  A blacksmith, miller, broom maker, glass blowers, and artist demonstrated the entire weekend. 

Because the date for the celebration for Easter changes each year, the date for the festival also moves accordingly.  “Vendors commented that St. Bernard was one of the only festivals that can change its date, by moving it two weeks earlier, and still have a successful event,” Nix said. 

Fr. Marcus Voss, Director of Development, said, “In conjunction with the Cullman Police Department, we have already begun working on a plan to resolve the traffic problems that occurred this year.  By 2015 we will have a quicker and easier parking plan for our festival patrons.”   

The sweepstakes winners for the 30th Annual Bloomin’ Festival were: 

First Prize - 2014 Jeep Patriot - James Glaze - Hoover, AL

Second Prize - Nikon Silver S3500 Digital Camera - Carolyn Eck - Florence, AL

Third Prize - Garmin nuvi 40 4.3" Portable GPS- Donald Jackson - Decatur, AL

Fourth Prize - LG BP135 Blu-ray Disc Player - Deborah Hodge - Birmingham, AL

Fifth Prize - iPod Shuffle 2 GB - Steven Febres-Cordero - Birmingham, AL 

Ave Maria Grotto also reported a successful weekend with visitors taking advantage of the reduced admission fee to the gardens.  Ave Maria Grotto is open seven days per week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Vendor applications are being accepted for the 31st Annual Bloomin’ Festival which is scheduled for April 18-19, 2015.  St. Bernard juries each booth to assure quality and diversity.  Anyone interested in applying can do so now.   Applications are online at www.bloominfestival.com!