Thomas Aquinas College’s new classroom building will be named for St. Gladys, the patron saint of Fritz Burns’ beloved wife, Gladys Carson Burns.
The 5th century daughter of a Welsh king, St. Gladys was married to King Gundleus, whom she helped to convert to Christianity, and who also went on to become a saint. The couple raised at least six children, all of whom are saints, and one of whom — St. Cadoc the Wise — founded a monastery and college in Wales.
“St. Gladys is a beautiful example for our students, so many of whom go on to marry and raise families themselves,” says President Michael F. McLean. “She is a model as both a spouse and a parent, leading her husband and her children to greater holiness, which is the goal of all of us who answer the vocation of marriage. We are delighted that, by naming this new building in her honor, the College may lead more people to learn about her life and to seek her intercession.”
In their later years, Sts. Gladys and Gundleus had a vision directing them to leave political life and establish a hermitage. There they lived out the remainder of their days in celibacy and prayer. “Particularly edifying in the story of St. Gladys is the way in which she integrated an active, political life with the contemplative life,” says Dr. McLean. “In this way, too, she can serve as a model to our students and alumni, who, whether as married people or priests or religious, must also try to balance these different facets of the Christian life.”
Alumni and members of the College’s Board of Governors have expressed great enthusiasm for including St. Gladys among the holy men and women for whom buildings on campus are named. Says Angela (Andersen ’87) Connelly, a member of the Board of Governors and the mother of 10, “I love the uniqueness of this saint as well as the inspiration she will provide for so many graduates!”
“As the owner of many letters before and after my name, I know that what my wife does, and what countless other mothers do, has far greater impact for the greater common good than what I do,” says Lt. Cl. Paul W. White, M.D. (’95), a vascular surgeon for the U.S. Army. “The College can wonderfully advance the Culture of Life by holding up St. Gladys as an example.” Adds member of the Board of Governors Frederick J. Ruopp, “St. Gladys Hall will be a rose in our bouquet of beautiful buildings.”
Stained glass of St. Gladys from Newport Cathedral, Woolos, King & Confessor in South Wales; reproduced by kind permission of Nash Ford Publishing