For the first time in its history, Saint Joseph Abbey and Seminary College has been named a Top Workplace by The Times-Picayune. The Abbey and Seminary College was recognized as a top workplace in the small company category for 2016, which include businesses with fewer than 125 employees. Winners were recognized Friday, May 20 at an event at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

“It’s truly an honor for the Abbey and Seminary College to be included as a top workplace. I think I can speak on behalf of the entire monastic community here when I say that it is very well deserved. Although fewer than 70 faculty and staff work here, their dedication during the best as well as the worst of times is unparalleled,” said Abbot Justin Brown, O.S.B.

This spring was the largest class of seminarians ever at the Seminary College. Riding high with a record enrollment of 138 seminarians, leaders at the Seminary College and Abbey were only facing growing pains as they worked to find enough classrooms and living space to accommodate the seminarians. Those concerns soon gave way to something far worse when the Bogue Falaya River inundated the campus with more than two feet of water on March 11. The flood severely damaged 31 buildings, resulting in an estimated $30 million in damage.

“Our students, faculty and the staff responded very quickly. They saw a need and began to do what needed to be done to salvage as much as possible. Because of their tireless efforts, seminarians were able to complete the semester on time,” said Fr. Gregory Boquet, O.S.B, President-Rector of the Seminary College.

The commitment employees feel toward Saint Joseph Abbey and Seminary College extends far beyond flood recovery. They also know that they serve a far greater purpose – preparing men for the Catholic priesthood.

“All the employees here have a sense of that mission. You feel like you are part of something far larger than yourself,” said Daniel Burns, Ph.D., Academic Dean for the Seminary College.

Caroline Bizot, academic assistant, echoes this sentiment.

“I think what I like best about working here is being able to be part of the students’ journey,” Bizot said.

With reconstruction on the horizon and an even larger class expected this fall, faculty like Cory Hayes, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy and Theology, leaves no room for doubt when discussing his love for Saint Ben’s.

“What I get to do here—teach theology, philosophy, form seminarians, serve the church, I’m personally convinced that’s what I’ve been built to do and here I get to do it. I would do it for free if I could,” Hayes said.

The Greater New Orleans Top Workplaces list is based solely on the results of an employee feedback survey administered by WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, a leading research firm that specializes in workplace improvement. To be a Top Workplace, organizations must meet strict standards for organizational health. Their research has proven that what’s most important to employees is a strong belief in where the organization is headed, how it’s going to get there, and the feeling that everyone is in it together.