Beautiful morning at Ave Maria University with the temperature in the mid-60’s - and this evening the University holds its annual scholarship dinner and we will have an overflow crowd of 400 of our closest friends in attendance as we celebrate our 10th anniversary as a University.
Today the University is announcing the dedication of the Mother Teresa Project Exhibition Hall. When Mother Teresa died in 1997, you students were in kindergarten or younger. This small museum, and the larger Mother Teresa project, will provide you - and those who follow you at Ave Maria - the opportunity to meet Mother Teresa, to learn from her, and to follow in her footsteps. I hope you can come at 11:30 tomorrow morning and be there for this historic event.
It is nothing less than a miracle that we will be ready for the dedication tomorrow. On Monday, this is what the museum looked like:
This morning, look how different it looks:
When Pope Francis writes of the “joy of the Gospel” and encourages you to participate in the “New Evangelization,” this project must be what he means. Go to our web site and learn more about the project. We expect hundreds of you students each year to volunteer in Immokalee and mentor children, in Naples and visit the lonely, or in Haiti and Mexico and India to work in the missions of the Missionaries of Charity. So many of you are doing this already - and I hope you will bring others with you so that they, too, can experience the joy of “loving until it hurts” as Mother used to say
Ave Maria University wants to produce joyful Catholics who are pro-life and pro-poor. The two are inseparable, and Mother Teresa and her friend, Pope John Paul II, taught us this truth. You students have much to give the poor whom you will encounter through this project, and you have much to learn from them. They are a gift to us. I believe this project, in the words of Mother Teresa herself, will do “something beautiful for God” in the lives of our students and those whom they are privileged to serve.
The museum will be open to the general public on March 19th (if all goes well with county permitting).
In the meantime, we will do the finishing touches, including the construction of a secure display so that you and others can see a first-degree relic of Mother, and the crucifix from her rosary, and other priceless letters, photos, and memorabilia. This exhibition hall will welcome rich and poor alike and make them feel at home - and the displays are in Spanish and English which will make the exhibition accessible to as broad an audience as possible. You can spend an hour or a day there. I hope you do.