Dedication and Blessing of the Motherhouse and Seminary Morgan Memorial Garden, IHM Wellspring Fountain, and the Learning Commons

Sep 08, 2015

The ribbon is cut during the Dedication Ceremony for the Learning Commons on Marywood's Centennial, September 8, 2015

Good morning everyone, and thank you for joining us on this truly historic day. It is a blessing to enter into this portion of our Centennial Celebration.

This ground is sacred ground. Like Marywood University itself, it has been a site of continuous transformation. On September 8, 1902, the IHM Motherhouse and a school that would become Marywood Seminary were dedicated and they stood on this ground for 61 years. On September 8, 1915, the Motherhouse became the birthplace of Marywood College and, until the time of its tragic destruction by fire in 1971, it housed Marywood Seminary, an outstanding girls’ high school. In 1975, the Memorial Commons was installed to commemorate the IHM and Marywood heritage sacred to this site. And now, with the planning, commitment, and support of many, this hallowed ground has once again been transformed into a living memorial of the Motherhouse and Seminary—reflecting all of the cherished memories and the many bold hearts that built Marywood from the ground up. We honor all of them today.

I am pleased to announce that, through the generosity of Charles and Mary Morgan Parente, we are naming the Motherhouse and Seminary Garden in honor of Mary’s mother, Margaret Gallagher Morgan, a 1923 graduate of Marywood Seminary and a 1927 graduate of Marywood College. Going forward, this sacred space will be formally known as the Motherhouse and Seminary Morgan Memorial Garden. I want to extend my deepest thanks to Mary and Charles for this thoughtful gift, which preserves, in a most beautiful setting, the memories of our beginnings as an institution and of Mary Gallagher Morgan, a dedicated alumna from the early years of the Seminary and the College.

I, too, want to thank so many of you who contributed to and supported this garden and all it represents; many of you are graduates of Marywood Seminary or Marywood College—or both. Every gift has helped us to preserve and celebrate our past, as we look toward our future and a second century of excellence.

At the center of the Morgan Memorial Garden is the IHM Wellspring Fountain, built in honor of the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Scranton, who founded and continue to sponsor Marywood. This fountain is etched with significant dates in the life of the Congregation and of Marywood, and was made possible through the generous gifts of sisters, priests, and laity inspired by the IHM Charism.

The fountain occupies the sacred space where the Motherhouse Chapel stood from 1902-1971. Generations of IHM Sisters made their vows here, as did the first Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius and the first Sisters of Saint Casimir including their Foundress, Mother Maria Kaupas. Surrounding the fountain and throughout the garden are pavers, benches, and trees, given in memory and in honor of many of those who dedicated their lives to Marywood and to the education of countless students. I am deeply thankful to all of you, for your generosity and your prayers, as we reflect upon our first 100 years and joyfully enter our second century.

The emanating water of this wellspring fountain represents the abiding faith that has been a life-sustaining resource for Marywood—past, present, and future. Let us now lift our hearts in prayer, as Bishop Timlin blesses the Morgan Memorial Garden and then joins Sister Ellen Maroney IHM, President of the IHM Congregation, along with me, in the sprinkling rite for the IHM Memorial Fountain.

[Blessing of the Garden and Sprinkling Rite for the Fountain took place.]

I want to once again thank Bishop Timlin for commemorating our Centennial and for sharing his spiritual gifts with us, in the form of blessings upon all we celebrate, today and always. While the Motherhouse and Seminary Morgan Memorial Garden reflects our cherished past, the Learning Commons signifies our bold future; both are an integral part of who we are as a University and what we celebrate today at this blessed time in our history.

The Learning Commons is a place of empowerment; a place of active, engaged learning; a place of collaboration and communication; a place where entrepreneurial ideas are formed and launched; a place where both teaching and learning are transformed…in short, a place where skills and potential are developed and dreams come to life.

Among the many distinctive features of the building, I would like to call your attention to the Kane Overlook. A gift of the Kane Family, the Eugene J. and Joan M. Kane Overlook and Veranda signify the connection between our past and our future. Its striking design is directly in line with the center of the Memorial Arch, a visual reminder of this important link. Whether you reflect upon the past 100 years, as you look toward the Morgan Memorial Garden, or you turn to envision the possibilities of our second century, through the ingenuity of the Learning Commons, both are essential components of the University that Marywood has become.

The Learning Commons truly is the social and intellectual heart of this University, made possible by the significant and generous gifts of many. When you tour the facility today, please take note of the renderings of the Centennial Complex Donor Wall, which will be completed at the conclusion of our Bold Heart Campaign.

This wall honors those who have taken the lead and established named gifts through the Bold Heart Campaign, providing tremendous support for the University and most especially for our students.

Let us once again acknowledge with gratitude those who have developed Marywood University into the leading institution of higher education that it is today, and, in particular, all of those who worked so diligently to plan, design, construct, and make possible this remarkable facility and the garden that leads to it. I want to especially recognize and thank all of the construction workers who actually built the facility, the landscapers who created the garden, and all of our Marywood library, technical, housekeeping, maintenance and conferencing staff who labored so tirelessly to prepare for today’s dedication. Because of the enduring contributions of so many, this University and its academic programs have well exceeded the pioneering vision of the IHM Sisters who founded Marywood 100 years ago. We are proud heirs of an outstanding tradition and stewards of an empowering mission.

At this time, it gives me great pleasure to present the key to the building to Mr. David Schappert, Director of the Learning Commons.

[Key to the building was later presented at the ribbon cutting.]

As I mentioned earlier, Marywood is a small University empowered by a mighty vision. It is this unwavering vision that has brought us to this extraordinary moment. It is the power of imagination that will lead us forth. As we proceed to the Kane Overlook to cut the ribbon today for the Learning Commons, let us draw upon the love of learning and the courage that have brought us to this great milestone; let us be inspired and energized by the many opportunities still before us.

Above all, let us continue move forward with confidence, trusting in the providence and great-hearted generosity of our Gracious God, in whom all things are made possible. 

[The Presidential Party for the ribbon cutting moved to the Kane Overlook. The ribbon cutting ceremony was followed by the blessing of the building. All present were then invited to the Centennial Community Picnic.]