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Adele Center

The University of Dayton will celebrate the beatification of Mother Adele de Batz de Trenquelléon, a co-founder of the Marianist family, by naming a new student residence hall and center on Lowes Street in her honor.

"Honoring Mother Adele in this way is most appropriate," said the Rev. James Fitz, S.M., the University's vice president for mission and rector. “Mother Adele will be beatified in the Roman Catholic Church this coming June; beatification proclaims the person is a worthy model for living our discipleship as Christians. 

"For Mother Adele, community was central to her work in educating people in the faith and caring for others — so this center will be in the heart of our student community. She had a special love for the poor — a worthy challenge to our student community in a world where economic differences are still very prevalent."

President Eric F. Spina said Mother Adele's influence is integral to the identity of the University and its approach to learning and teaching: "Her commitment to living, serving, educating and practicing faith in community is the foundation of the Marianist educational philosophy and the mission of the University." 

The Daughters of Mary Immaculate, also known as the Marianist Sisters, was founded on May 26, 1816, in Agen, France. They currently serve in sixteen nations across five continents. In Dayton, their service through local schools, parishes and nonprofits has enhanced the education, spiritual and social development of thousands of children and adults.

At least one sister has been active on the University campus since 1962, when the University opened the Marycrest residence facility. Some years as many as four or five sisters have been involved in campus ministry, served on the faculty, focused on community outreach and education or worked in the Marian Library.

“Our Marianist founders’ vision for rebuilding society and church through a network of dynamic and engaged faith communities is as applicable today as it was 200 years ago,” said Sister Leanne Jablonski, director of the Marianist Environmental Education Center at Mount St. John and Hanley Sustainability Institute scholar-in-residence for faith and environment.

“Marianist sisters today live Adele’s spirit by collaborating with our other Marianist branches and with other organizations to address justice concerns, including the needs of women, children, the environment, and those in poverty. In Pope Francis’ spirit of hope, mercy and care, we are joyfully building a church and world where no one is left out.”

Adele Center is under construction now on Lowes Street in the University's south student neighborhood. When completed in August, the $11.2 million four-story apartment building will add 96 living spaces and feature ground-floor multipurpose areas for the student services, meetings and worship space formerly offered on the site at the McGinnis Center, which was demolished to make way for the new structure. 

The McGinnis Center was established in 1984 in a former school in the student neighborhood through a gift from Marie-Louise McGinnis, an honorary trustee of the University, in memory of her husband Edward. The McGinnis family will be honored in the new facility as well. The McGinnis Multipurpose Room will provide the flexible space and services so important to the student life experience. 

A wing of Stuart Hall, currently named for Mother Adele, will be renamed in honor of the Rev. Father Paul Marshall, S.M., '69, who died in 2014. A former rector of the University, Marshall spent 47 years as a Marianist, serving as a social worker, teacher, parish pastor and administrator, and helped establish the Marianist Educational Associates. A leader in the black Catholic community in the U.S., Marshall had a great passion for social and racial justice and promoting the gift of the black Catholic community to the entire Church.

Pope Francis signed a decree of beatification in May. Mother Adele's beatification will be formally celebrated June 10, on her birthday. The University expects to dedicate the Adele Center in October, 2018, after it is completed.  

Mother Adele left an aristocratic life to found the first vowed religious branch of the Marianist family in the aftermath of the French revolution.

The Blessed William Joseph Chaminade similarly founded the Society of Mary a year later in Bordeaux, France.

Adele combined the gifts and privileges of an aristocratic French woman with deep spiritual direction and vocation, animated by a sense of urgency and drive, according to the Rev. Joseph Kozar, S.M., assistant rector and associate professor of religious studies.

Although communities of vowed religious women were cloistered at that time, Adele and Chaminade found a way for the sisters to work with and minister to the poor by extending the cloister into the areas surrounding the convent. 

Kozar said Adele's approach exemplifies Marianist spirituality — communities of faith with a devotion to Mary taking action with a deep sense of mission and service to the poor.  

Mother Adele's writings speak to her vocation: “Let us imitate the love of our Blessed Mother. Like her, let us render to all our brothers and sisters the corporal and spiritual services in our power. God considers as done to himself what we do to others. How this should motivate our charity!" 

Beatification is a Roman Catholic Church process that involves a church investigation of whether after the person dies, the person has lived a worthy life as a model and miracles can be attributed to his or her intercession. When the church confirms a first miracle, the person is beatified and titled "Blessed;" when a second miracle is confirmed, the person is canonized and titled "Saint."


News and Communications Staff