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The countless
number of
students, faculty
and staff who
have come to
The Thomas
Merton Center
over the years
found a place
to rebuild
themselves, and
one another,
within that
simple brick
building. They
knew they could
always find the
spirit of welcome
and spiritual
exploration in
the heart of the
bout a year ago, University President
Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., told Br.
Ed Coughlin, O.F.M., then-vice presi-
dent for Franciscan Mission, and me, the exec-
utive director of University Ministries, that the
rebuilding of the Lord's "house" on our cam-
pus was about to take a giant leap forward.
With the dedication, vision and generosity of
John R. "Jack" McGinley Jr., '65, his family,
and the Rita M. McGinley Foundation, the
157-year history of Franciscan presence in the
Southern Tier will be moving into a new
home. Several trustees are joining Jack
McGinley in support of the project.
During my four short years at St. Bonaven-
ture I have heard countless times, "There is
something special about St. Bonaventure."
Parents of prospective students have said it.
Students who are fully ensconced in their aca-
demic careers have said it, and certainly many,
many alumni have shared the same sentiment.
But what is it? What is it that makes our uni-
versity so special?
Of course, I am biased, but it seems obvious
to me that what makes St. Bonaventure so
special is that intuitive Franciscan sense that
everyone is welcome. Everyone is a part of the
After all of these years of brown and white,
the charism permeates the multitude of
bricks, the miles of sidewalks, and certainly
the people who love to call this place
"home." Once a Bonnie, Always a Bonnie.
That Franciscan spirit is found in the class-
room, certainly, but it was most likely sparked
by an experience you had that enlivened your
soul. Perhaps it is the memory of a friar help-
ing you through your freshman year when
you didn't quite fit in yet. Or maybe it was a
dinner and reflection at Mt. Irenaeus, or per-
haps, more recently, joining in the "Blessing of
the Brains" on Reading Day to help calm your
panic the day before finals start.
Whatever the experience was, the founda-
tion of it all was rooted in the Franciscan spirit
of welcome, acceptance and respect that is
embodied in the university's values of Discov-
ery, Community and Individual Worth.
The Thomas Merton Center has been the
locus of ministerial outreach since 1973.
The Ministries team enhances students' faith through liturgical programs, sacraments, worship
experiences and spiritual formation. Pictured is Julianne Wallace, associate director of Faith For-
mation, Worship and Ministry.
This photo of the Merton Center, seen from
Plassmann Hall before the center's conversion
from a garage building, was taken in the
Photo by Danny Bush