This is an open solicitation to those at the Villa during the last (1969-1970) school year.
We at the vox site would love to hear any details about the end of the school.
Send your account to firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos gratefully accepted too.
The material below, ripped from two parts of Mr. DiPalma’s villastjean.com site, is the only extent account of the Villa’s last year.
This part, taken from the Villa Talk board, was writen by 1970 graduate Stuart McClintock, now a university professor in Texas.
‘A mysterious event’
The closing of the Villa was a mysterious event for those of us who were there at the time. Of course, being in the last class to graduate, those of us in the clas of ’70 were lucky. My brother wass in the next class and had to scramble, especially since all the college stuff was coming up, and he had no school! I remember when the announcement was made. The school had some kind of parents’ weekend at which, I believe, it was announced to them in “closed session”.
I can’t remember if that was my junior or senior year, but I think it was senior year. We were then told, but no reasons were ever really given. Enrollment had been falling. Classes 7 and 8 had been dropped by then. The dollar was falling fast against the franc.It had gone from about four francs to the dollar to about 2.5 to the dollar.
Those are some of the circumstances I remember, but any more than that, qui sait?
Another acount was written by Jerry Gregg, a Marianist in 1969.
‘Refused to go co-ed’
Religious Orders were losing members in the late 1960’s. The Marianists of the Society of Mary were dedicated to teaching young men. As a result, they stubbornly refused to go co-ed when everyone else did. Hence, Villa’s enrollment in its last year was 55 students–with 12 full-time staff members.
The St. Louis Province, which included VSJ, decided to close a school. Those who made the decision to close VSJ apparently were not in love with VSJ as were some of us were. The decision to close the Villa was made in December 1969. In spring of 1970 the decision to leave the religious order was made by four of the six Marianists stationed at the Villa–Cy Boschert, Werner Dobner, Fred Fuchs, Jerry Gegg. The other two (Bro. Pat Moran and Rev. James Mueller) returned to the States.
The account, with updates (circa 1999) on the Villa Marianists, is here.