January 27th is always an important date for Brescia; It is the feast day of St. Angela Merici, foundress of the Ursuline order which created Brescia University College. This year, her feast day was celebrated in outstanding fashion, as it also became the date of Brescia’s centennial opening ceremonies 100 years ago, Brescia began educating young women and building a story that continues to grow today. This year, Brescia celebrates Brescia’s history, and its many stories which have not yet been written.
The most prominent event of the ceremonies was a mass, held to celebrate Brescia’s Catholic life and Ursuline origins. Bishop Ronald Fabbro of the Diocese of London presided, though many Brescia members of the Brescia community played important roles throughout the mass. The Brescia choir led and performed songs, while students and members of the faculty led prayers and did readings for the mass. A procession that brought to the altar various images to symbolize Brescia’s charism was filled with students, faculty, staff, and other members of the Brescia community. Brescia’s community was well represented, but representatives from the other affiliate colleges, Londoners, friends and family, and visitors to the mass via livestream joined in the celebration as well.
Following the Centennial mass, attendees were welcome to refreshments before arriving at the Beryl Ivey Library for another important ceremony. An art exhibit greeted visitors to the library, with pieces selected for the theme, Right Relationship of Peace. The artworks featured all exemplified Ontarian art, but perhaps the most important piece was unveiled in honor of the centennial. A painting of Ursuline Hall by Group of Seven artist A.J. Casson was made early in the building’s history, and has now been donated to Brescia. The painting is gifted by the Pignott family, whose construction company built Ursuline Hall and commissioned the painting in the 1920s. This art exhibition is only the start of a four-part series of exhibitions, which will continue through the year as Brescia celebrates its 100-year anniversary.
The Brescia community looks forward to more celebrations and milestones throughout this centennial year. This was merely the opening ceremony of a full year of festivities, celebrating Brescia’s centennial, as well as its excellence, community, and role as Canada’s only women’s university.