Saint Gertrude, Benedictine establish formal partnership

Saint Gertrude High School announced Friday, Jan. 17, that in 2021, it will move from its current campus in downtown Richmond to a 50-acre campus in Goochland County.

The move comes as Saint Gertrude and Benedictine College Preparatory signed a Memorandum of Understanding that establishes a formal partnership under the umbrella organization of the Benedictine Schools of Richmond. Although the schools will be co-located, they will continue to operate independently with a continued emphasis on single-sex education, maintaining independence in their functions, programs and curricula.

Saint Gertrude will move into a new facility with state-of-the-art amenities, including a cafeteria, communal meeting rooms, labs and dedicated classrooms. The schools will share the gymnasium and athletic fields.

In a joint letter to the community, Benedictine Sister Joanna Burley, prioress of the Benedictine Sisters, and Benedictine Father Jonathan Licari, Benedictine’s canonical administrator, said, “This announcement is about much more than a new home for Saint Gertrude. It is about strengthening the foundation of Catholic education for our young men and women, now and well into the future.”

Both schools’ administrators met with Bishop Barry C. Knestout, who is supportive of the decision, to review plans for the program prior to the official announcement.

“The new model and vison for the Benedictine Schools of Richmond allow for the continued presence of the schools in the diocese and further encourage the values, mission and bonds shared by the schools,” the bishop said in a statement on Jan. 17.

Kelly Lazzara, superintendent of the diocesan Office of Catholic Schools, also expressed support of the new venture in the statement.

“We are supportive of this venture to preserve Catholic education in our diocese. It is admirable and inspiring that these two schools will continue the tradition of working side-by-side, yet, maintain their school’s distinctive educational programs and allow for the continued health of Catholic Schools education in the metro-Richmond area,” she said.

Long united by their origins in the Benedictine Catholic Order, Saint Gertrude and Benedictine were located within a block of each other in Richmond’s Museum District until the latter moved to Goochland in 2013.

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