BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - After a student body mass Tuesday morning, hundreds of people marched quietly around the St. Stanislaus campus in Bay St. Louis. They paused briefly to join in the blessing of four different structures.
"The blessings each really is a symbol of the major constructions that we've had since the storm," said Principal Brother Ronald Hingle.
Their first stop was a bronze statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
"It's just a wonderful symbol for our school," said Brother Hingle.
The old statue was wiped away by Katrina. His hand was the only part that was recovered. Three St. Stanislaus alumni donated money for the new six-foot statue and pedestal. It was custom made by an artist in Italy.
"We wanted to give something back to the school for all the years we've been here," said Judge Edward Dufresne, a 1956 graduate. "I spent four years here in high school, and that statue was something that we've known was part of the school."
"A great feeling and you know what you gave will be enduring for future generations," said another alumnus Alfred Lippman. "Hopefully, every one of my grandsons will come and say, 'That's what my grandpa did.'"
Next, the crowd turned to the rebuilt school pier. The structure features pavilions that were once part of the old pier that Hurricane Camille destroyed.
The procession then moved to the third site, the dormitory. The building is fully renovated now, after Katrina flooded the first floor and damaged the windows on the second and third floors.
The procession ended at the new dining hall, which is considered the crowning jewel of the campus.
"This is the real official beginning, the real official opening of our cafe," said Brother Hingle.
Everyone gave thanks for an enduring school that has been through war, fire and hurricanes.
"We're not fully recovered by any stretch of the imagination, but we are coming back stronger and better than we ever were," said Brother Hingle. "We are so excited about today, because it's just really a celebration of hope that we've been seeing for the last five years."
The dormitory renovations, new pier and dining hall, were funded by FEMA. The library-chapel building, old gym, and the downstairs of the main school building still need to be renovated.