Another academic year has begun! Tuesday was the first day of school that started off in usual fashion with the hanging of the senior coat-of-arms. At La Salette, every senior class has a coat-of-arms that is unique to their class. The class spends their Junior year learning about heraldry and designing their coat-of-arms. They draw up and paint a rough draft version and then Mr. Peter Bourbeau paints the final edition over the summer. The finished product is then presented, blessed by Fr. Sick and hung in the atrium of Our Lady of Victory Academic Building to the left of the Academy crest. The senior coat-of-arms from the previous year is then taken down and placed on the wall next to all of the other past senior class crests. 




“Jesus Christ after having given us His adorable Body and Blood to be the food of our souls, willed also to give us the most precious thing He had left, which was His Holy Mother.” This quote from Saint John Vianney describes the two greatest gifts from God: The Most Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady. Depicted on the shield are these two great gifts, the monstrance and the cherry blossom, symbols of the Holy Eucharist and Our Lady respectively. In addition, the monstrance is a symbol of the priesthood of which St. John Vianney is the patron and whose great devotion to the Holy Eucharist was well known.

Bearing one half of the shield stands the black panther. The medieval belief ran that the panther’s sweet smelling breath attracted all animals to it except the dragon. The panther symbolizes the sweet savor of Our Lord’s grace drawing true believers to Himself, while repulsing the dragon, a symbol of Satan and by extension, the wicked. The panther also corresponds with St. John Vianney drawing souls to the Church through the saintly exercise of his priesthood. The opposite side is supported by the leopard, symbol of the valiant warrior who stands with strength and courage in the midst of battle.

Above the shield rests the peregrine falcon about to take flight. The falcon was said to fly higher than any other living creature and is thus a symbol of striving for excellence. In order to attain our ultimate end of being just as the stars, we must relentlessly chase after excellence.

The class quote Quasi Stellae meaning as the stars is taken from the Book of Daniel XII,3. “But they that are learned shall shine as the brightness of the firmament: and they that instruct many to justice, as the stars for all eternity.” Having received our formation at the Academy, it is now our duty to live it daily as well as transmit that knowledge to others and by that means to attain our eternal reward. While it is good to be “learned,” it is not enough to keep the knowledge to ourselves. As confirmed Catholic men duty demands to pass on what we have received through our words, actions and example.

The shield sits on the peak of a mountain with a starry night sky as background. The stars call to mind man’s final goal, heaven, while the mountain symbolizes the trials and tribulations which man must suffer in order to attain that high and ultimate end. As the Latin saying goes: “ad astra per aspera.”  


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