By Seamus Brennan
On Saturday, Sept. 10, the College of the Holy Cross officially opened the Thomas P. Joyce ’59 Contemplative Center, following nearly a year and a half of construction.
Located in the Wachussett Reservoir, the 33,800- square foot compound rests on a 52-acre hilltop site and includes a chapel, dining room, meeting rooms, and living quarters for up to 60 people. Several spaces in the Center are named after the three founding members of the Society of Jesus: St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, and St. Peter Faber.
The Center exists to provide space for reflection and discernment for Holy Cross students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The project was one of the first initiatives of the College’s Become More campaign, which strives to strengthen the Catholic, Jesuit identity of Holy Cross, among other long-term and short-term goals.
“In today’s rapid-response world, where technological change is constant, and the values we consider timeless can be routinely questioned, the mission of Holy Cross has never been more important,” Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., president, stated upon the announcement of the Center. “We are dedicated to educating the whole person: mind, body, and spirit. Just as important is having a place that offers members of our community opportunities to step away from their daily activities to reflect on the ways God is present in our lives, and how we may use our God-given gifts and talents to serve the world.”
Current Holy Cross students are excited about the completion of the Center as well as faculty and staff. Meaghan Body ’17, who attended the Center’s dedication ceremony, reflected, “For current students and for incoming students of future classes, the opening of the Contemplative Center signifies the College’s commitment to providing opportunities for students to be ‘contemplatives in action.’”
Retreats and spiritual discernment programs have been central to the College’s mission since its founding, and many current students take advantage of the retreat options the College offers every year. “As a student [who] has participated in several retreats during my time at Holy Cross, both through the Office of the College Chaplains and other organizations I am involved in, I have found that the chance to step away from campus and reflect upon my actions, my plans for the future, and my relationship with God has allowed me to be more intentional with my work both in and out of the classroom,” recalled Body. “For the College to open its own center expands upon these opportunities for students, as well as other members of the Holy Cross community.”
In the coming weeks and months, the new Center will host the Escape Retreat, the Manresa Retreat, the Alumni Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, and the Silent Weekend Retreat for Alumni, among others. In addition, new programs will be announced.
Fr. Boroughs expressed joy and gratitude during the ceremony for the Center’s opening, during which he cut the purple ribbon placed in front of the doors to represent the official opening of the Center. “As you can imagine, this is a moment of extraordinary happiness. We are thankful for the blessings that God has given us, for the generosity that our donors and alumni have given us, and for this moment in which we celebrate the best of who we are called to be, as contemplatives in action, in this sacred space,” said Fr. Boroughs.
The Center is named after Thomas P. Joyce ’59, a member of the Board of Trustees and father of six Holy Cross graduates. The Joyce family made this gift to honor their late father.
More information regarding the new Thomas P. Joyce ’59 Contemplative Center can be found at http://www.alumni.holycross.edu/retreat. A schedule of upcoming retreats can be accessed by http://www.holycross.edu/faith-and-service-opportunities/retreats.