Archbishop Aquila Blesses New Classroom Building, St. Gladys Hall
With the start of the new academic year, students at Thomas Aquinas College are now, for the first time, attending classes in the College’s newest building, St. Gladys Hall.
On Convocation Day, just after the morning’s Mass of the Holy Spirit, the community gathered on the building’s southern plaza for a blessing ceremony. Presiding was this year’s Matriculation Speaker, the Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila, Archbishop of Denver, joined by the College’s four chaplains. Members of the Board of Governors and the faculty, as well as students and their families, prayed with His Excellency as he asked God to bless the building, the learning that will take place within it, and the students and tutors who will populate its classrooms.
“Today we ask God’s blessing on St. Gladys Hall, this center of seeking, learning, and teaching what is true,” said Archbishop Aquila. “We ask that those entrusted with the education of young people at Thomas Aquinas College may teach their students to join the discoveries of human wisdom with the truth of the Gospel, so that they will be able to keep the true faith and to live up to it in their lives.”
The Archbishop, attended by student acolytes, then walked through St. Gladys Hall, while members of the community remained on the plaza, joyfully singing the Salve Regina. His Excellency sprinkled the building’s, walls, doors, and classrooms with holy water. Upon returning to the plaza, he offered the concluding rite, saying, “May the all-knowing God, who is Lord, show us His ways; may Christ, eternal wisdom, teach us the words of truth; may the Holy Spirit, the blessed light, always enlighten our minds, so that we may learn what is right and good and in our actions carry out what we have learned.” Archbishop Aquila and the altar party then recessed through the building’s southern doors, leading all in attendance down its main corridor, out onto the arcade, and up to St. Joseph Commons for the Matriculation Ceremony.
The construction of St. Gladys Hall — the thirteenth building erected since the College acquired its campus in the 1970s — took place over the course of the past spring and summer. Located on the southwest corner of the academic quadrangle, the building houses eight classrooms designed to facilitate the small, seminar discussions that are at the heart of the College’s unique academic program. It is named for St. Gladys, a mother, a queen, a contemplative, and the patron saint of Fritz Burns’ beloved wife, Gladys Carson Burns.
“St. Gladys Hall will be the site of the growth in intellectual and moral virtue for our faculty and our students,” said President Michael F. McLean. “We are deeply grateful to the Fritz B. Burns Foundation, whose generous donation made its construction possible. And we are deeply grateful as well to Archbishop Aquila for presiding at this ceremony.”
That evening the students and faculty of Thomas Aquinas College made use of St. Gladys Hall for the first time, as five sections of the Junior Seminar met around the classrooms’ large oak tables to discuss Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Dozens more classes have already taken place within the building’s walls this past week, and thousands more are scheduled throughout the new academic year.
St. Gladys, pray for us!
“If you come to the College with any spark of faith at all, it’s fanned into flames. That’s certainly what happened to me.”
– Dr. Jean Rioux (’82)
Chair of the Department of Philosophy, Benedictine College