This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A centennial--tomorrow

From Saint Joseph's College: A Chronology by Charles J. Robbins, C.PP.S.
The chapel was dedicated on May 17, 1910. At the dedication, Thomas Marshall, Governor of Indiana, gave a stirring speech on the value of Catholic Education. "I like many things about the Catholic Church<" he said, "and I am not coward enough to conceal them in the State of Indiana. I believe no man is educated for the high and responsible duties of American citizenship unless trained to understand that he supports them because of an omnipotent God ... And why should I not be proud to be present upon an occasion such as this, at an institution such as this, where these young men are trained in a liberal education, an education which teaches them their duties to their families, an education which teaches them their duties to their state, an education which teaches them their duties to the God of their fathers?"
For some previous posts on the College Chapel, see here, here, here,  (My last post on the stained glass windows was incomplete. I have updated it so it is now complete.)

The cornerstone is dated 1909 because it was laid May 2, 1909. I think the word oratorium indicates that it is not a parish church (ecclesia) but a chapel. The D.O.M. stands for Deo Optimo Maximo [To God, the Best, the Greatest].
 More information from Fr. Gerlach's Centennial History: the dedication ceremony was a two day affair. On May 16, 1910 the Columbian Literary Society presented a play, Scanderbeg by John B. Diel. On the morning of May 17 the Bishop of Fort Wayne, Herman J Alerding, blessed the new chapel before presiding at a Pontifical Mass. The speech by the governor was in the afternoon in the Old Gym. To finish the day, the baseball team defeated DePaul 6-5.

In 1910 the students attended chapel twice a day, a morning Mass and an evening Benediction. The total cost of the chapel with the convent and the laundry was $100,000.

The columns on either side of the main door are typical of the many little touches that make the building attractive.
In the vestibule are several plaques. This one on the east wall is dedicated to the eight alumni who were killed in World War I. At that time St. Joseph's was more a high school than a college. Fr. Robbins reports that in 1908-09 the were 222 students, but 200 of them would now be classified as high school students and only 22 as college students.
The college will celebrate the centennial a couple of weeks late, on June 5, as part of the ceremony surrounding the Fellows Dinner.

Speaking of centennials, my last remaining aunt will celebrate her 100th birthday this week on Thursday. I am not aware of any other relative that I have who has lived this long, and I really did not expect to be as excited about this as I am. Unfortunately I will miss the celebration because she lives in Montana. Do you have friends or family who have made it to their centennial?

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