Religion and Spirituality

 “Your faith should be for you a light which guides you in all things, and a shining light for those who you instruct, to lead them on the path to heaven.”

– Saint Jean-Baptiste de la Salle

As a Catholic school in the heart of Teche country, Catholic High has provided a sanctuary for the pious and the curious to grow in their faith for over 100 years under the guidance of the two former schools of Mount Carmel Academy and Saint Peter’s College. In the long and intricate history of the two schools, one element held it as a stark contrast to their secular rivals, faith. Mount Carmel was established as an all-girls school in the late 1800s by a group of French Carmelites who designated Our Lady, Queen of Carmel, as the patroness of the Academy. Half a century later, the Christian Brothers of de la Salle, established Saint Peter’s College as a school for boys to continue the mission of their founder Saint Jean-Baptiste de La Salle. Though the two schools were physically different, their shared connection with the Church of Saint Peter and their mutual devotion to the Virgin Mary created a distinctive foundation for all faith-led initiatives of Catholic High including retreats, masses, and religious organizations. Through this wisdom, Catholic High offers a unique thriving environment centered around the simple phrase of …

“Let Us Remember We Are In The Holy Presence Of God”

-Mount Carmel Academy-

(1870-1988)

 

In the 1950s, Mount Carmel’s yearbooks featured numerous student drawn illustrations centered around their Catholic faith.

 

In this collage from one of the ten editions of Mount Carmel’s yearbooks from the 1950s, the Carmel Shrines are proudly showcased as statues of Saint Therese of Lisieux, the Prince of Peace, Saint Joseph, Our Lady of Lourdes, and the Sacred of Jesus.

 

In the 1950s, Mount Carmel was a proud supporter and sponsor of the Third Order or the Laity of Mount Carmel of New Iberia.

 

In the 1950s and the 1960s, Mount Carmel featured a branch of the pious Jesuit religious organization known as the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Sodality was an organization that encouraged devotion to the Virgin Mary.

 

The Sisters of Mount Carmel pose for a picture with a snowman.

 

This 1950s’ picture is of Mount Carmel’s faculty members.

 

Mount Carmel Academy proudly displays her customs and traditions during the holy seasons of Advent and Christmas in the 1950s.

 

The two pictures are images of the old chapel of Mount Carmel in the 1950s and at the closing of the school in 1988.
In 1977, students pray the rosary as a school.

 

In the 1980s, a choir sings a song during the ceremonial dedication of Mount Carmel’s historic marker as state designated site of education.
This collage, from the 1980s features the students of Mount Carmel actively participating in their faith life.
In this photo from the 1980s, the students of Mount Carmel gather around a visiting sister for an interesting memory.
The state of Our Lady, Queen of Carmel, stands as a reminder to all those who gaze upon her eyes of the glory of Mount Carmel Academy and the legacy of the school on education in the Diocese of Lafayette and Louisiana.

-Saint Peter’s College-

(1918-1957)

This image from the 1930s proudly displays the faculty of Saint Peter’s College.
This photo from the 1930s includes images of Saint Peter’s Altar Boy Society and the announcement of Msgr. John Disch’s ordination as a Catholic priest.
Members of Saint Peter’s student body gather for a retreat during communal prayer time.
This drawing from a 1950s edition of Saint Peter’s yearbook includes the image of the school’s patron and founder of the Christian Brothers, Saint Jean-Baptiste de la Salle.

Similar to its sister school of Mount Carmel, Saint Peter’s College also featured a branch of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The statue of Saint Jean-Baptiste de la Salle, which was donated to Saint Peters College in the 1940s, stands as a memorial to the Christian Brothers and as a symbol of Divine Providence.

The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes located on New Iberia’s Main Street is the only surviving structure from Saint Peter’s College and remain a site for the pious to find solace and refuge amongst the historic district.

Catholic High School

(1957-Present Day)

Members of the community gather for the blessing of the grounds for the new campus of Catholic High in the late 1950s.
Members of Catholic High’s religious faculty gather for a picture in the 1960s.
In the 1960s, students of Catholic High and Mount Carmel gather for an open discussion on religious topics during Catholic Youth Week.
Members of the John Duhe family gather for the annual dedication mass of the Chapel of Saint John (the Brother’s Chapel).

In the 1970s, the large student body of Catholic High began to hold school wide mass in the gym.
In the 1970s, Catholic High’s seniors ventured into a faith-led retreat that revolved around the central aspect of the Saint Jean-Baptiste de la Salle’s mission of “Hold prayer in high esteem. It is the foundation of all the virtues, and the source of all grace needed to sanctify ourselves and to discharge the duties of our employment.”
This photo from the 1970s shows Catholic High’s Coronation of the Virgin Mary in the traditional Marian month of May.
In the 1970s, students of Catholic High and Mount Carmel sing hymns of praise during a joint school mass.
Catholic High receives the honor of having the Bishop of Lafayette present at its graduation, which was held at the Nativity of Our Lady Church in the 1970s.
The statue of Saint Peter the Apostle overlooks bystanders as he stands as a monument to the founders of Saint Peter’s College.
In the 1980s, Catholic High and Mount Carmel gather as a unified family to celebrate the Eucharist at Saint Peter’s Church.
In the 2000s, students of Catholic High attend a mission trip to Nicaragua.

In the 2000s, Catholic High is depicted as a place of communal fellowship and spirituality.
Students offer prayer and intercessions before Catholic High’s Saint Joseph’s Altar. This tradition is in honor of Saint Joseph the Protector of the Family and the Universal Church.
In 2008, fourth graders dress as saints for Catholic High’s All Saints Day mass.
Members of Campus Ministry pose for a picture in 2015.
Members of Catholic High’s faculty and student body reenact the Last Supper for the annual Holy Thursday Prayer Service.
In 2015, members of the Campus Ministry team host a retreat for Middle School.
A central part of freshmen theology is the attendance of Catholic High’s FROSH retreat. This retreat is centered on being rooted in the faith.

The Kairos Retreat, a private retreat for juniors and seniors, focus on the importance of God’s time and the understanding of His divine plan.
After a couple of decades with the absence of religious sisters, in 2015, Catholic High welcomed Sister Mary Magdalene as a teacher of junior theology.

Catholic High and her feeder school, Saint Edward’s, gather to celebrate mass during National Catholic Schools’ Week.

The newly renovated New Chapel includes artifacts from the original Chapel of Saint John, a wooden Tridentine Altar inscribed with the words “Ave Crux Specs Unica” or “Hail To The Cross Our Only Hope”, and new pews from St. Joseph Church in Cecilia, Louisiana.
The mural of Joshua 24:25 was painted by members of Catholic High’s Key Club in the Summer of 2016.
Catholic High’s chaplain Father William Blanda, Sister Mary Magdalene, and members of the student body attend the National March for Life in Washington D.C. in 2015.
This mural found in the Cheryl Courrege Burguieres Memorial Library acknowledges recipients of the Christ-Centered Values honor. This honor is given to those who follow in the example of Christ.
This altar is one of the many devotional altars found throughout Catholic High’s classrooms and halls.
The statue of Our Lady is found in the High School Prayer Garden, a place for those who seek a place of solitude to pray or enjoy the beauty of God’s nature.

References

A collective overview of the yearbooks of Mount Carmel Academy, Saint Peter’s College, and Catholic High

Carmel. Print. Mount Carmel Academy, New Iberia, LA.

The Panther. Print. Saint Peter’s College, New Iberia, LA.

Panther. Print. Catholic HIgh School, New Iberia, LA.