Fr. Alexander Pocetto, OSFS, blesses the statues of students, Blessed Louis Brisson, and Sr. Mary de Sales Chappuis. The Very Rev. James Greenfield, OSFS '81, provincial of the Oblates reads the prayer.
On Wednesday, June 18, 2014, DeSales University celebrated the blessing of a new statue group in front of Connelly Chapel on the Center Valley, Pa., campus.
The Very Reverend James Greenfield, OSFS, provincial of the Wilmington-Philadelphia Province of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales and a DeSales graduate, blessed the statues during the annual Oblate Convocation. The Convocation, a spiritual gathering of Oblate priests in the province, is held annually at DeSales. The Oblates are the order of priests that administer the University.
The cast bronze statues depict Blessed Louis Brisson, founder of two religious orders: the Oblates and the Oblate Sisters, and Sr. Mary de Sales Chappuis, co-foundress of the Oblates. The two are shown as teachers surrounded by three students.
The statues are the work of Ben Fortunado Marcune, a local artist known for his en plein air paintings of Historic Bethlehem and Bucks County, as well as his portraits of business and civic leaders, college presidents, and performing artists.
Marcune’s sculptures for DeSales University include the Our Lady of Deliverance statue and the statues of St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal.
The plaques at the statue plaza read:
Blessed Louis Brisson, OSFS (1817-1908)
Born in the Champagne region of France, Louis entered the diocesan seminary of Troyes and was ordained to the priesthood in 1840. He established a ministry to young working women by setting up shelters and schools for them. Along with St. Leionie Aviat, he founded the Oblate Sisters of St. Francis de Sales to administer his various foundations in the spirit of St. Francis de Sales. At the instigation of Mother Mary de Sales Chappuis, superior of the Visitation Monastery in Troyes, France, Fr. Brisson founded the male community of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in 1875. It is this religious community of Oblates who have ministered to De Sales University since its inception in 1961. Fr. Brisson was declared Blessed on September 2, 2012 in the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul in Troyes, France.
Mary de Sales Chappuis ( 1793-1875)
Affectionately known as the Good Mother, this Swiss Visitation nun, as superior, brought the monastery of Troyes back to the true spirit of Sts. Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal. She kept after Fr. Brisson for 30 years to found a congregation of men whose mission would be to live and disseminate the Salesian spirit and charism. So she is considered to be the co-foundress and inspirer of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. She was widely recognized and admired in 19th century France as the foremost interpreter and exemplar of Salesian spirituality.
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