September 14, 2010 // Local

Restored Brookside dedicated and blessed by Bishop Rhoades

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades recites a special blessing for the newly restored Brookside Mansion, formerly known as the Bass Mansion, at the University of Saint Francis campus on Sept. 8.

By Kay Cozad

Visit the photo gallery for more images from the blessing.

FORT WAYNE — The dedication and blessing ceremony for the newly restored University of Saint Francis (USF) Brookside Mansion, formerly the Bass Mansion, took place on Sept. 8 with over 250 Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, students, faculty, staff, board members, trustees, benefactors and university supporters, including 11 direct descendants of the Bass family, in attendance. Following a dedication Mass in the Trinity Hall Chapel concelebrated by Bishop Rhoades and USF Chaplain Father John Stecher, and a luncheon in the North Campus building, the supporters gathered on the newly constructed plaza outside the mansion, where Sister M. Elise Kriss, president of the university, addressed the crowd.

“The renovation of Brookside has been a true labor of love,” said Sister Elise. “For all of us, the building is synonymous with the university, and its renovation marks a wonderful milestone in our history.”

Bill Niezer, chairman of the board of the University of Saint Francis, provided an overview of the renovations. The mansion, originally built by John D. Bass and home to the Bass family for many years, has been part of the University of Saint Francis since 1944, when the Sisters of Saint Francis of Perpetual Adoration purchased it as the new home for Saint Francis College. Used as space for classrooms, residences and the campus library until 2006, the yearlong construction done by local artisans brought the mansion back to its former splendor with original stenciling, woodworking and plaster cornices. Air conditioning and electrical reconstruction were also added.

Dr. J. Andrew Prall, interim director of general education and assistant professor of the department of English and foreign languages, then read a poem, “Brookside Crossing,” written in honor of the dedication. Don Schenkel, vice president for university relations, served as the master of ceremonies.

The University Singers, directed by Robert Nance, adjunct professor of music, performed for those in attendance as Bishop Rhoades toured the mansion, blessing each elegantly restored room with holy water. Returning to the plaza Bishop Rhoades offered a closing benediction on all those who will work and study in the historic edifice. The Brookside Mansion now houses administration, development and alumni offices, and is open during business hours for tours and special events.

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