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St. Anselm's Welcomes Alumnus Father Anthony Giampietro as New President

I am grateful for this opportunity to introduce myself to the St. Anselm’s community. The ninth of eleven children, I grew up in Brookland, just a mile from St. Anselm’s. My father, an Italian immigrant, was a professor of sculpture and ceramics at Catholic University. My mother, raised a Methodist, traces her family back to before the founding of the United States. My three brothers and I all attended St. Anselm’s. My sisters attended Georgetown Visitation, Immaculata, and Stone Ridge. We knew two things growing up: we would go to college, and we would learn to play a musical instrument. I played the violin, the viola, and then the cello. As for college, I became a tenured professor of philosophy at the University of Saint Thomas in Houston, where I taught for eleven years. Along the way, beginning at St. Anselm’s, I developed a great passion for playing basketball.

The only boy in the family who was not an altar server, I am also the only one to be ordained a priest. (My sister Laura entered the Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis, in Bethlehem, Connecticut). It was after a Mathematics degree and a short career in banking that I took vows within the Congregation of Saint Basil (also known as the “The Basilian Fathers''). Founded in France in the early 19th century, the initial focus of the founders was the formation of future priests. Members of the Congregation came to North America in the 1850s, where they established high schools and colleges. Education was the Congregation’s primary apostolate, under the motto “Teach me goodness, discipline and knowledge.” Our religious superior and his counsel now have their offices in Toronto, Canada, although we still have a few men serving in France.

The Basilian Fathers

What drew me to the Congregation of Saint Basil was the witness of a community of men who were well educated, often at the best universities in the world, yet who were humble, accessible, and pastoral. The students and others in the presence of these men participated in a remarkable exchange of ideas that was life-giving on many levels. I felt at home in such an environment, in part because my parents often hosted professors and students from a variety of departments at Catholic University, with lively discussions and delicious food. The joy, the friendship, and the deep satisfaction of being in that familial and educational milieu had a profound influence on my understanding of what a good teacher can foster.

St. Anselm’s

What I see at St. Anselm’s are young men with great potential who are being stretched to actualize that potential. Parents have told me how grateful they are that their sons are energized by “rising to the challenge” of the academics at the school. Yet St. Anselm’s has much more than high academic standards. The house system (Moore, Austin, Alban, and Main) and the emphasis on the Benedictine Hallmarks (love of Christ and neighbor, prayer, stability, conversatio morum, obedience, discipline, and humility) also help to make a young man an “Abbey boy.”

Our school is not itself a monastery, yet those we educate can participate in something like a monastic experience. While their lives are very active (science, literature, theology, music, art, athletics, drama, and more), what I often observe is young men, while they are eating lunch or simply walking by, who are not rushed, but who appear, literally, to be contemplating something important. There is space here, physical space and intellectual “space,” within which these young men can live into their unique gifts, their friendships, and their place in the world.

It is a privilege to be here again, to serve as President, and to engage in the blessed work of St. Anselm’s.

Fr. Anthony Giampietro in his lower-building office
Fr. Anthony Giampietro in his lower-building office