by ALLY HUTZLER, Editor-in-Chief, & DANIEL MOLINA, Editor
Thursday, April 7, members of the Manhattan College community entered Smith Auditorium on a rainy day to celebrate the addition of new stained glass windows in the Chapel of De La Salle and His Brothers.
Following a morning mass, the ceremony began with a welcome address from Thomas Mauriello, vice president for college advancement, an invocation by Brother Dennis Malloy, visitor of the District of Eastern North America (DENA) and opening remarks by President Brennan O’Donnell.
“These beautiful works of art … are not only powerful symbols of our Lasallian heritage; they are also from today forward an important part of our continuing work in fostering the mission of Manhattan College as a Lasallian institution,” O’Donnell said in his address.
The De La Salle windows were created in the early 20th century by French artisans L. Mazuet et fils of Bayeux. They were originally installed at the Christian Brothers’ Novitiate in Pocantico Hills, N.Y. in 1909 and were later moved to their chapel in Barrytown, N.Y. in 1930.
When the Barrytown property was sold in 1974, the windows were sold along with it and were left relatively unseen until their reacquisition by Manhattan College in 2015.
From the start, the process of reclaiming and restoring these works of art was estimated to cost about $1.2 million. The money was raised entirely through combined fundraising efforts from Manhattan College and DENA.
“We showed people the windows and we said that this is what we wanted to do and people just lined up. We finished our part of the fundraising very quickly,” O’Donnell said. “The windows sold themselves.”
The 12-piece collection depicts key moments in the life and work of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, from his childhood to his death and glorification in heaven.
“It is a wonderful opportunity because the faculty can use them in teaching,” Brother Jack Curran said. “We can tell the story, we can see ourselves in them and be reminded and inspired to continue on with the sacred and difficult mission of educating young people for the future.”
James Casey and John Hannaway, co-chairmen of the DENA De La Salle Windows campaign committee, presented the windows as they were unveiled one-by-one to the audience.
“The old windows of the chapel were not much to look at,” O’Donnell said. “This stained glass is the perfect stained glass for that chapel. It makes the space much more of a destination for people who want to experience something beautiful.”
Complementing the celebration of the college’s Lasallian heritage, an honorary degree was conferred to Brother Gustavo Ramirez Barba.
“I feel very satisfied about this award,” Barba said. “But I’m also very conscious that we [those who had received the award] represent something bigger, and that means a lot to a lot of people.”
This honor was given as recognition to a lifelong career serving the Lasallian institution on an international level.
Barba started as a teacher in the classrooms of a school in Guadalajara and passed through all types of jobs. He served as president of Universidad La Salle in Ciudad Obregon, executive secretary for the Lasallian Latin American Region, and is now a delegate in the 45th General Chapter in Rome.
Barba is the first general councilor to have a focus in higher education.
“Brother Gustavo is a very humble man, and a very sweet man. He exudes goodness and greatness,” Brother Dennis Malloy said.
Nich Weyland, student body president, previously met Barba at a conference last summer.
“I think it’s remarkable that someone from the General Chapter in Rome was able to attend,” Weyland said. “It shows how much it means to the Lasallian community that these stained-glass windows are in Manhattan College.”