Salesian Heritage

salesian heritage

When Bishop Peter L. Ireton (of the Richmond Diocese) decided to build and open a new all-male Catholic high school in Alexandria, he asked the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales to staff the school. The Oblates agreed and a rich, shared history was created. Oblate priests and brothers lived and worked at BI and their spirituality made a huge impact on students. Over the years, BI became a part of the newly created Arlington Diocese, became co-educational in 1991, and eventually grew to a population of 800 students. By 2008, the sole remaining Oblate – Principal Matthew Hillyard, OSFS – was transferred to another duty and BI became an Oblate Affiliated School.
The first lay principal, Mr. Timothy Hamer, and a group of teachers and staff formed the Salesian Discipleship Team. Made up of administrators, teachers, alumni, parents, and students, the Team forged a new relationship with the Oblates. They also wrote the Live Jesus Charter as a guide to maintaining the charism of the Oblates at BI. 

salesian activities

  • Maintaining an ongoing relationship with the Oblates – inviting them to various events included masses, reconciliation services, alumni events, and graduation
  • Awarding the Salesian Medal to faculty and students
  • Sending students to DeSales Service Works in Camden, New Jersey for service retreats
  • Sending students to Salesian Leadership Camp in Michigan and to Annecy, France in the summer
  • Conducting Salesian retreats, book groups, and writing articles for the BI Word and parent newsletters about Salesian spirituality
  • Celebrating Feast Week
  • Raising money for the Oblates
  • Conducting Salesian orientation program for incoming students and staff
  • Teaching the Salesian Spirituality class to seniors
While the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales are not a daily presence in the school, the spirituality of St. Francis is still lived through the efforts of the Salesian Discipleship Team, the administration, and the faculty who continue to “Live Jesus” every day.

For more information, click to view our pages dedicated to our Campus Ministry Team and the presorvation of Salesain teachings.