More than 500 students, alumnae, families, faculty and staff, and friends of Visitation gathered together for Mass in honor of President Emerita, Sister Mary Berchmans Hannan ‘48 & ‘50, VHM and the groundbreaking of Berchmans Hall on Sunday, April 29. Head of School Dan Kerns announced the fundraising total of more than $25 million from the successful four-year campaign, A Cherished Past, A Vibrant Future, which has helped Visitation enhance our campus, develop the St. Jane de Chantal Salesian Center to preserve our charism, and grow our endowment.
Fr. Kevin Nadolski, OSFS (Oblates of St. Francis de Sales), former chaplain at Visitation, returned to preside over the Mass. In his homily, he spoke of Sister Berchmans as a Visitation legend. Before Mass had ended, and following Sister’s Salesian Reflection on the Little Virtue of simplicity, Dan presented Sister Berchmans with a bouquet of flowers and cards from her homeroom students. After a video honoring Sister was played, she received a standing ovation; Sister offered her gifts up to God, thanking Him for His generosity, and thanking her colleagues and students for their influence on her life in service to Visitation.
Attendees headed up the hill to St. Joe’s for the groundbreaking, where Principal Mary Kate Blaine spoke of the vision for Berchmans Hall, which will nurture innovation and learning for students and provide collaborative and flexible working spaces. Campus Minister Fr. Patrick Kifolo, OSFS, and Sister Berchmans offered a blessing before campaign and school leaders took up their shovels to ceremoniously break ground on the building.
Construction will begin this summer on Berchmans Hall and the Saints Connector, a glass-enclosed space that will bridge the gap between St. Bernard Library and St. Joseph’s Hall.