Our Shield & Motto
Abbot Leo Haid began the College at Belmont Abbey, and thus the College’s seal bears a recumbent (couchant) lion. Leo of course means lion. St Joseph is from the tribe of Judah whose symbol is also the lion. This seemed a fortuitous way to connect the two realities. The lion in the St Joseph shield is sejant or seated which is a position of vigilance or guarding. The lion charge as an image of St Joseph looks across to the field of lozenges, diamond shaped patterns. The white lozenge was the charge on the shield of Sir Walter Raleigh and hence found its way onto the shield of the first Diocese of North Carolina, the Diocese of Raleigh. It is a symbol in heraldry of purity.
Those lozenges are as it were planted in a green field. That field of green lozenges, also known as asemi or seed is an image of the seminary, that is to say, seeds are planted in the fertile ground to be nurtured, grow in holy purity, under the watchful eye of St Joseph. The Church specifically describes college seminary as a seed bed from whence comes the name seminary. Similarly, the shield for the monastery has a tree in full bloom with green foliage and the motto crescat, meaning that it may grow. This further informs our own shield with the green and fertile land in which men for over a hundred years have been formed and who are now to be formed for the Diocese of Charlotte.
Finally, our motto is the imperative noli timere. These are the words the angel spoke to St Joseph.: “Do not be afraid Joseph to take Mary as your wife.” We pray that these young men would not be afraid to take the Church to themselves as Her priests, as friends of the Bridegroom Jesus Christ.