Photo Collections


saint mary's school crest



I. 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 and Fr. Paul Hoesing, Assistant Pastor conceived the crest design and symbolism. An alumnus of the school, Mr. Justin Podany, rendered the graphic art seen above.

Hoesing, Assistm,,,,


II. 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 symbols include the shamrock in the upper right. A shamrock marks the site of the Irish capital of Nebraska.


A recently designed cardinal mascot, distinguished with a gold holy aura wrapped around it to also read as the capital letter “C” for Cardinals, fills the bottom portion of the shield. A fifth grader, Bryce Heiser, won the Cardinal mascot drawing contest and his work was selected for the crest and all official Saint Marys school endorsements.


III. 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 = “Let 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 right 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: Let my soul magnify the Lord.”


IV. 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.