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It is, therefore, fitting that the first use made of this building after its dedication should be the offering of the Holy Sacrifice in thanksgiving for the Divine Favor which has fostered the College from its earliest days and has raised up in its behalf friends and benefactors to carry forward God's providential design. For in as much as the grateful acknowledgment of God's goodness is an essential duty of religion, it behooves us as Catholic teachers to express our gratitude through the Clean Oblation which is our only adequate thanksgiving.
It behooves us in a special manner to implore the blessings of heaven upon those who have provided the means of erecting this hall and have thus made a beginning in the execution of the plan which contemplates a noble cluster of academic buildings on these grounds. In my own name and in the name of the trustees, I thank these generous donors. I congratulate them on the wise use they have made of their wealth and on the abundant return which shall come to them from the devoted teachers who will profit by their bounty. I rejoice especially that His children have chosen this manner of perpetuating the memory of a great-hearted man, for I am sure that no monument could more fittingly bear the name of Anthony Nicholas Brady. Henceforth, that name, written in letters of stone above the portal of this hall, is more deeply and enduringly written in the hearts of all who have an interest in Catholic education.
This hall is indeed a memorial-a reminder, for all time and to all generations, of a noble benefaction. But it is also an appeal. It speaks more eloquently than any exhortation in words; for it speaks with the force of example. Already it has been heard, and it has drawn forth response from generous hearts in various sections of our country. To these, likewise, to all who have contributed towards the upbuilding of Sisters College I return heartfelt thanks and I pray that they may have the happiness of seeing an abundant harvest for the welfare of religion and the glory of Almighty God.
I recall now with pleasure the humble beginnings of the College, when it enjoyed the hospitality of St. Benedict's daughters and received the encouragement of the Holy See through the Apostolic Delegate who presided at its opening. Scarcely five years have passed and already we can speak of growth, of expansion, of many-sided improvements. What was once an empty field is rapidly changing into an academic city, or better still, into what Pope Pius X was pleased to call a “Sisters' City." For that Pontiff of blessed memory was quick to discern the real significance of this work. And I doubt not that we are indebted to his blessing and prayers for the success which has rewarded our efforts.
It was his illustrious predecessor, Pope Leo XIII, who exhorted us to affiliate our colleges and seminaries with the Catholic University and thereby pointed out the way to the development of a real system of Catholic education. There can be no system in any genuine sense without a center which shall permeate all the members with its vitality and unite them, both in striving for a common purpose and in using the same means for its attainment. Nor can I conceive of any more effectual means to this important end than the training of those who are to be the teachers in our colleges and schools. No greater service could be rendered by the University to our Catholic people and clergy, for none could bring the work of the University more directly to the assistance of each home, each parent and each child. I have, therefore, great pleasure in the fact that the Sisters College is in such close relations with the Catholic University. In the name of the Trustees of the University, I congratulate the faculty upon this extension of their work into a new field so rich in promise, and in particular I would say to the professors who are engaged in the work of this College, that they are doing a most important service both to Catholic education at large and to the University by helping our devoted Sisters to prepare for their duties as teachers. In truth, I congratulate the professors on the fact that they are thus enabled, even privileged, to assist in realizing the holy vocation which God has given to our teaching Sisters, and I am sure that the blessing of God will reward their zeal.
It is the singular advantage of our Catholic schools that they are conducted by women who devote themselves without reserve to their task, whose hearts and minds and lives are wholly given to developing, in knowledge and in virtue, the souls of our children. And for this very reason it is essential to the success of Catholic education that our Sisters should be prepared, not only as teachers, but also as Catholic teachers. They need all the instruction that university courses can supply, but they must receive that instruction from a Catholic source. Here at the University, while they are trained in the science and art of education, they are also imbued with the true spirit of the teacher, the spirit of Christ himself. They are taught to see and to appreciate all knowledge in the light of God's eternal truth, to understand the facts of nature, the events of history, the vicissitudes of civilization and the institutions established by man, as so many items in the order which is ruled by Divine Providence. And thus seeing God in all things, they are able to keep God ever before the minds of their pupils. They are prepared to make religion not merely a part of their teaching, but the very life and soul of all that they teach. They are trained to unify their teaching, and, what is more important, to make God the source and center of that unification.
In considering the development of our Catholic schools, the sacrifices that our loyal people make to support them and the devotedness of the teachers who conduct them, I have always felt that we had reason to be thankful. But now I am more than ever rejoiced to see in the Sisters College a new source of strength, of courage and of active cooperation. Our educational forces have been growing and multiplying. Each in its own way has endeavored to meet the situation that confronted it, to supply what was wanted in its own environment, to keep up, as best it could, with the general educational progress of the country. All that we needed was a directive influence to marshal our forces, to bring out the full strength of each and make it effective for the good of all. Such an influence is now established in the Sisters College. From this hall it will radiate to every part of our country. The teachers who are trained here will realize more fully that a common bond unites all our efforts; they will feel that understanding and sympathy follow them in their work; they will labor with the conscientiousness and confidence that comes from living here at this center where they see in one sweeping survey the relationships of all our educational institutions, their mutual needs and obligations.
From their studies in this College, our Sisters return to their own schools with a new conception of their duties and opportunities. And I wish now to impress upon them the greatness of those opportunities and the significance of those duties. I would have them remember that in their schools they are laying the foundation on which all the rest depends for strength and security. In proportion as they do their work effectually with the youngest children, they prepare their pupils for academy and college. The instruction imparted in the college and academy is the superstructure, more stately and imposing, yet not a whit more solid or lasting than the foundation on which it rests. And again, upon the walls of the College, the University rises, towering like a splendid dome to the boundless heaven of truth, yet depending for its real grandeur upon the college and the school. Little wonder, then, that the University is concerned to see that each living stone of the foundation is perfectly fitted and that each workman brings to the task the highest attainable skill.
The Catholic University is engaged in the sublime duty of erecting a temple of science to Almighty God in our country. On you, my dear Sisters, devolves the duty of building the foundations of this edifice, of instructing the rising generation, of adjusting and polishing the living stones that will reflect the glory and splendor of the Sun of Justice. It will be the duty of our colleges and academies to erect the superstructure. The Catholic University will construct a majestic dome looking heavenwards, adorning and unifying the entire building, and making it secure and compact.
Nor will you, my dear Sisters, be surprised if I tell you of your responsibility, not only for the success of your schools, but also for the success of our whole Catholic system of education. You appreciate, I am sure, the sacred trust that is placed in you when you are called to the noble work of teaching, whereby you fashion the souls whom God has made and endowed and destined for Himself. What I ask you now is that you also appreciate the power that you have and the responsibility that you bear, in building up from its groundwork the whole system of Catholic education, so that, as the Apostle says of the Church: “It may be built upon the foundations of the Apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: in Whom all the building framed together grows up into a holy temple in the Lord.”
It is a great consolation for us to know that you are to enjoy the facilities which this hall affords. I congratulate you upon being selected by your different communities to represent them in the college during these, its pioneer days, while its ideals are gradually taking shape and its traditions are being established. Each of you will bring to this Collegiate home her own share of experience, her own ideals, inherited from the servant of God whom she reveres as her founder. Each, in a word, will bring, and illustrate in her own life, the beautiful traditions of her order, traditions of love of learning, of