September 14, 2012
You Are Part of Chaminade’s Future
A new statue of the Marianist founder, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, invites you to explore its symbolism and possibilities.
Standing beneath the new 11-foot bronze statue of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, installed this spring on the campus of the University of Dayton, a visitor is invited to pause and witness the Marianist founder about to step into a world of possibilities. It is an invitation to enter into collaboration with this Marianist visionary — making the piece well suited for its prominent place on campus, says Joe Aspell, the sculptor commissioned to create the statue.
“The statue is a concrete way to remind us of our mission and identity,” says Marianist Father Jim Fitz, vice president for mission and rector at UD. “It’s an apt image for students who want to make an impact on the world.”
The statue was designed to capture an episode in the founder’s life, says Aspell, a UD grad and former Marianist brother. “It was a pivotal moment as Chaminade returned to France from Saragossa. He had nothing to lean on except his vision — and he didn’t know how to make it happen. But it started to take shape as he collaborated with people he met along the way.” The statue reflects the energy and symbolism of that moment.
In April, about 150 students, faculty and staff attended dedication ceremonies for the statue, which was a gift from UD President Daniel Curran and his wife, Claire Renzetti, honoring the contributions of vowed Marianists throughout the university’s 162-year history. Smaller versions of the statue have been installed at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and at the Marianist Provincial office in St. Louis. A fourth bronze rendition will be dedicated at Chaminade University of Honolulu later this year.
This is excerpted from a story in the summer 2012 issue of ALIVE magazine written by John Schroeder.