Major endowment will help expand the College’s academic and outreach mission
Vancouver, BC – February 5, 2016. St. Mark’s College at UBC is pleased to announce that the Sisters of Saint Ann have contributed $3 million to the College to establish the Marie Anne Blondin Chair in Theology. The endowment represents the largest in the College’s history, and also one of the largest gifts received by a Catholic theological college in BC.
The Sisters of Saint Ann is a congregation of women religious founded in Vaudreuil, Quebec, in 1850. The Endowed Chair memorializes the Congregation’s founder, Marie Esther Blondin, now Blessed Marie Anne Blondin.
The Congregation was originally formed to educate children in rural Quebec. Starting with just thirty pupils shortly after their arrival in BC in 1858, by 1958 the Congregation’s Sisters counted over six thousand students in thirty-four schools throughout BC, the Yukon and Alaska. The order maintains a commitment to religious education in rural areas to this day.
“This generous gift will help continue the congregation’s 150-year strong legacy of supporting education throughout British Columbia,” said Dr. Peter Meehan, Principal of St. Mark’s College.
“Having an Endowed Chair will enable the College to expand our academic and outreach mission by supporting important areas of teaching and research, including the social teachings of the Catholic Church, pastoral theology, theology and culture, Catholic ethics and morality, and the Second Vatican Council and its legacy,” continued Meehan. “In keeping with Pope Francis’ call for the Church to embrace the need for encounter and dialogue, the gift will benefit students from all walks of life, including those working in education, healthcare, pastoral care, volunteer positions, and countless other endeavours.”
The Chair will provide sustainable funding to support teaching and research activities at the College, made possible by annual gains earned from the endowment. The endowed gift will also provide opportunities for the College to develop outreach and distance education programs accessible to underserved areas of the province.
“Religious education in BC is now mainly the responsibility of Catholic lay people, yet there is a lack of opportunity for continuing theological development in many parts of the province,” said Sister Marie Zarowny, provincial leader of the Sisters of Saint Ann. “With the evolution and promising future of St. Mark’s College, the Sisters desire to support a stable theology department of excellence, one that responds theologically to our evolving times and is at the forefront of the Church’s dialogue with culture and the modern world.“
“St. Mark’s College was founded by the Basilian Fathers, and for many years has been educating leaders to become well versed in the Catholic tradition,” said the Most Reverend J. Michael Miller, CSB, Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver and Chancellor of St. Mark’s College. “Along with expanding its programs in theology, the College recently launched an undergraduate program to prepare future teachers. With a St. Mark’s education, these women and men will be capable of strengthening the ever-growing role and mission of the laity in their service as a leaven to the world. Thank you to the Sisters, whose gift will enable the College to continue to fulfil, and ultimately expand, its important mission.”
About St. Mark’s
St. Mark's College, as the affiliated Catholic theological college of the University of British Columbia (UBC), offers a variety of programs for the formation of Catholic clergy and lay professionals and continuing education opportunities for adults. Together with Corpus Christi College, St. Mark's College aims to become the centre of excellence for undergraduate and graduate Catholic education in British Columbia.
About the Sisters of Saint Ann
The Sisters of Saint Ann is a congregation of women religious founded in Vaudreuil, Quebec, in 1850 by Marie Esther Blondin, now Blessed Marie Anne Blondin. The Congregation was originally formed to educate children in rural Quebec. Since their arrival in Victoria in 1858, the Sisters of Saint Ann established 34 schools and 10 hospitals throughout the province of BC Alaska and the Yukon. As the Sisters bring their active ministry in the Pacific Northwest to completion, they continue their mission by ensuring others have the educational opportunity needed to provide faith formation.
Communications, St. Mark’s College 604-649-1434 [email protected]