Gratitude and Humility Mark Dedication Ceremony for Fairfield's Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality

Gratitude and Humility Mark Dedication Ceremony for Fairfield's Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality

Words of gratitude and humility set the tone for the dedication of the newly renamed Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality on Thursday, September 27, as a wall plaque was blessed and a specially commissioned oil portrait was unveiled. The painting bears the likenesses of the parents of University Trustee Robert J. Murphy Jr. ’71, Robert J. and Elizabeth K. Murphy, for whom the Center has been named.

I firmly believe that in the success of continuing to make Ignatian spiritual development synonymous with what it means to be Fairfield, we will endow a long and solid future for this institution.

— Robert J. Murphy Jr. '71, University Trustee

As the final rays of sun warmed the late-September evening, Bob Murphy addressed those gathered in front of the picturesque stone façade of Dolan House on the northeast corner of Fairfield’s campus, “It’s an honor to be joined by family, lifelong college friends, professional colleagues, and Jesuit mentors who have gently lived and taught by powerful example what the spiritual message of St Ignatius really means.”

Murphy recently pledged $3 million to the Center, as well as a gift of $500,000 to support its ongoing operating expenses, ensuring that for generations to come, Fairfield University will continue to offer the transformational experience of Ignatian discernment to all Fairfield community members and those from the Diocese of Bridgeport who seek to deepen their relationship with God.

“In grateful recognition of these foundational and sustaining gifts, and in gratitude to Bob for his profound personal commitment to the mission of the Center, Fairfield University respectfully dedicates this Center to the enduring memory of Bob’s parents,” announced Rev. Gerald Blaszczak, S.J., director of the Center and vice president for Mission and Identity. “May the Murphy Center serve as an enduring tribute to them, and be for this University, our Diocese, and the surrounding community a lasting resource for our growth as women and men of faith, and as collaborators in bringing God's Kingdom of reconciliation and hope, of justice and of peace.”

While Murphy said that his parents never formally took part in the Exercises or actively practiced Ignatian spirituality, he reflected that the lives his parents lived and the lessons they taught their eight children were an early introduction to the Ignatian way, which has been a part of their family dating back to at least the mid-nineteenth century.

“Fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers, uncles, cousins and in-laws across three different centuries have attended Jesuit institutions and passed on the unique lessons of that common experience,” Murphy noted.

Describing his own journey through the full 19th annotation of the Ignatian spiritual exercises as “the most profound experience in my adult life,” Murphy expressed hope that his gift will grant succeeding generations of Fairfield students early and ongoing access to this life-changing opportunity. He stressed the necessity of equipping graduates with the strength of character and firmness of faith to navigate the increasingly complex world in which we find ourselves.

Murphy also pointed out that the dwindling number of Jesuits combined with other contemporary challenges faced by all private institutions of higher learning creates a responsibility to maintain and grow a sustainable model for the University. “I firmly believe that in the success of continuing to make Ignatian spiritual development synonymous with what it means to be Fairfield, we will endow a long and solid future for this institution.”

President Nemec agreed, offering his personal heartfelt thanks to Fr Gerry Blaszczak for his leadership of the Center and Bob Murphy for his extraordinary generosity noting, “The Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality embodies all our commitments as a modern, Jesuit Catholic university and reflects our pursuit of truth grounded in faith and reason.”

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Last modified: 09-28-18 3:24 PM

20180928

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