The group of Benedictine monks that govern Lisle’s Benet Academy has announced it will cut ties with the school. The news comes several months after the hiring of a lacrosse coach who is in a same-sex marriage.
Benet Academy Chancellor Abbot Austin G. Murphy and School Board of Directors Chairman Dennis Flynn announced the separation in a release Tuesday.
“Events in recent months have been an occasion for the Benedictine monks of St. Procopius Abbey to examine their future relationship with Benet Academy, Murphy and Flynn said. “After much deliberation, the monks as a community have discerned that they no longer have the resources needed for the governance and oversight of the Academy.”
The two said alternatives for Benet Academy’s governance are being studied, and the Abbey will continue in its current governing role in the meantime.
“The goal is that Benet Academy will continue to operate with an emphasis on academic excellence and Catholic identity within the Benedictine tradition,” Murphy and Flynn said.
To that end, Benet Academy Head of School, Stephen Marth, said in a statement, “Contrary to some reports circulating in the media earlier today, know of our steadfast commitment to ensuring that the academy will maintain its Catholic identity, in the Benedictine tradition, for years to come. It is expected that a committee composed of representatives from the Diocese of Joliet, the American Cassinese Congregation of Benedictines, the Benet Board of Directors, and the school administration will collaborate on the successful completion of this important process.”
Benet Academy had faced community backlash for rescinding a lacrosse head coach position offer to Amanda Kammes in September. School leadership acknowledged it had rescinded the offer after learning that Kammes was married to a woman.
The school soon reversed course and offered the position to Kammes again, noting in a Board of Directors statement, “Going forward we will look for opportunities for dialogue in our community and how we remain true to our Catholic mission while meeting people where they are in their personal journey through life.” Kammes accepted the renewed offer.
Murphy later in September cast doubt on the finality of the situation, saying in a letter to the community he was “deeply troubled” by the decision to hire Kammes, and adding that he was “discerning how to proceed.”
St. Procopius Abbey founded Benet Academy and was one of the school’s top donors in its most recent annual report.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Flanagan reports.
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