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Coming Home: Villa's 85th Anniversary Celebration

Thank you to everyone who joined us for Villa's 85th Anniversary Celebration on Sunday, September 10, 2017! We were blessed with a truly beautiful day, and we are grateful to all who 'came home' and made this event so very special. 

 We are most grateful to all of our Picnic Committee members, who worked tirelessly over the past few months to plan every detail. Our student, parent, and Alumnae volunteers truly exemplified Mother Maria's call...
Always more, Always better, Always with love!

  View event photos here.

 Check out our event video here.

 Watch coverage on Fox29's "Kelly's Classroom" segment here.

 Thank you to Liz Lawler '14 for creating our beautiful 85th Anniversary logo!

85 Years Ago...

The new home was named Villa Joseph Marie, and on October 2, 1932, when the buildings were to be blessed, Lithuanians came from many places, by train and chartered bus and car, from Pennsylvania and New York, from New Jersey and Maryland, to see the ceremonies. Dennis Cardinal Dougherty was to bless the buildings.

The day in early October was sunny and warm. On the porch of the remodeled colonial mansion [Maria Hall] had been erected an altar, banked with palms and flowers. There, late in the morning, Mass was said by Father Halaburda, and he had a large congregation, much larger than had been expected. Though the dedication ceremonies were scheduled for afternoon, many of the visitors had come to make a day of it.

At one o’clock, St. Andrew’s parish (from Philadelphia) delegation arrived and marched up the maple-lined drive, led by a thirty-piece band. An hour later, at least five thousand people had gathered on the wide lawns, ready to hear the concert of Lithuanian folk melodies by a choir of two hundred and fifty, the combined choirs of three Lithuanian parishes in Philadelphia – St. Casimir, St. George’s, and St. Andrew’s.

Hardly had they finished when word came that Cardinal Dougherty had arrived and the bank broke into “Hail to Our Cardinal!” Assisted by Father Kaulakis as deacon and Father Ignatius Zimblys as subdeacon, he blessed the buildings, and after a brief sermon in Lithuanian by Father Jakaitis, he gave Solemn benediction at the outdoor altar, around him fifteen priests, forty acolytes, a hundred Sisters, and the thousands of visitors, while the combined choirs sang the benediction hymns.

In his address later, Cardinal Dougherty was very frank in his admiration of the pride which Lithuanians showed for their institutions. “But then I know of no other instance,” he said, “in which a congregation of men or women originating in this country has sent its members to Europe to spread the Faith. This distinction of the Sisters of St. Casimir seems to be unique.”

He congratulated them on this new foundation and said it would perhaps someday become an eastern novitiate for the congregation. He welcomed them into the Archdiocese where they were already teaching: “We welcome the Sisters to us and bespeak for them the co-operation of the clergy and laity and especially of all those in whose veins the blood of the Lithuanian race runs. We are confident that with such aid this latest undertaking of Mother Maria, the foundress, will bear fruit, which will be the pride of our Lithuanian Catholics.”

-- By Katherine Burton, "Lily, Sword, and Crown," pp. 146-147 (submitted by Sr. Margaret Petcavage, SSC)

Villa Joseph Marie High School

1180 Holland Road, Holland, PA 18966


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