Monks March In 

Takeover of Benedictine motivated by real estate, sources say.

The monastic takeover at Benedictine High School is motivated by money and a possible sale of the property, sources tell Style Weekly.


Citing financial problems and a need to return the all-boys school to its Catholic roots, the monastic order met on Sunday and voted unanimously to remove longtime headmaster John McGinty and dissolve the school's Board of Trustees.


Father Gregory Gresko, a ranking monk at Mary Mother of the Church Abbey in Goochland County, which operates the school, takes over as headmaster July 1.


Sources say the shakeup was precipitated by the Abbey's recent attempts to sell the property, located in the Fan on Shepphard Street, possibly to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. In response, members of the Board of Trustees attempted to purchase the school property, for approximately $4 million, sources say, but were rebuffed. Shortly thereafter the Abbey decided to take over the school's management.


In the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Gresko says the monastery is attempting to return the school to its more traditional Catholic roots, in part by placing more of its monks in administrative positions at the school.


The recent overhaul has angered many of the school's parents, not to mention alumni. An informal meeting of the recently dissolved board is slated for 5 p.m. Wednesday at Benedictine, in the school's lecture hall, sources say.


“In our opinion they took the gloves off by firing people,” says James McKenna, a Benedictine graduate and a former member of the Board of Trustees. “We are at the beginning of this.”


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