Design and rationale for a crest: The crest follows an ancient tradition of heraldry. Family crests were often used to quickly identify the position and members of a particular family. Our school established in 1900 is steeped in over a century of academic presence and education to the community. The crest will quickly identify a student of Saint Mary’s School O’Neill, NE, as a member of our school family. The crest consists of a shield divided into three sections, a crown, and a banner. Fr. Francis Nigli, Pastor/ President and Fr. Paul Hoesing, Assistant Pastor conceived the crest design and symbolism. Mr. Justin Podany (SMH alumnus, 2007) rendered the graphic art.
Three Symbols of the Shield: The symbols in the shield of the school crest have been selected to represent the local and religious symbols of our school. Starting in the upper left, we have the universal symbol for the Franciscan order: the Tau cross with the wounded hands. The Franciscan Sisters of Charity and Penance first taught in the Academy upon its founding in 1900. The local symbol is the shamrock in the upper right. A shamrock marks the site of the Irish capital of Nebraska. The bottom portion of the shield is filled with student Bryce Heiser’s design of the new cardinal mascot, to which was added the distinguishing Marion character, a gold holy aura and halo wrapped around it to also read as the capital letter “C” for Cardinals.
Banner: Surrounding the shield is a banner with the motto for the school. The Latin motto echoes the words of Mary at the visitation: Magnificat anima mea Dominum = “My soul magnifies the Lord.” In this case, the words have been adjusted to become a collective saying and goal for all of the students and teachers: Magnificet anima mea Dominum = “May my soul magnify the Lord.” With one letter changed from “a” to “e” in the Latin verb magnificare we express a theological precision that is worth explaining. Because of Mary’s Immaculate Conception and fullness of grace, she can rightly and fully declare in the indicative, present tense form (magnificat), that her soul magnifies the Lord. By changing the verb to the subjunctive, present tense form (magnificet), we understand our need for purification and assistance in magnifying the Lord. All of our efforts are conditioned by our reception of God’s grace; therefore we use the conditional phrase: “May my soul magnify the Lord.”
Crown: The banner is topped with a crown for Mary. The crown is meant to match the style of crown that is found on our icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the patroness of our school and parish.