• Archbishop John Ireland Statue Returned to its Home on the Lower Quad

    The statue of Archbishop John Ireland, founder of the University of St. Thomas, returned to its home on the lower quadrangle yesterday afternoon.

    A fixture on the quadrangle since 1986, it was removed during construction of the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex and placed in storage. It is located now along the north-south sidewalk, just south of its former site.

    The statue of Ireland was created by the late St. Paul sculptor Michael Price using senior class gift funds raised by the class of 1986.

    Below is the text inscribed on a brass plaque on the base of the statue:

    ARCHBISHOP JOHN IRELAND

    1838-1918

    CHURCHMAN, EDUCATOR, STATESMAN

    Unsettled forest until William Finn chose it for his farmstead in 1849,
    this site became the home of the St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, founded
    in 1885 by Archbishop John Ireland. From this institution, which began
    with a single building with 62 lay and clerical students, evolved
    The Saint Paul Seminary, St. Thomas Academy, Nazareth Hall, Saint John
    Vianney College Seminary and the College (now University) of St. Thomas.

    Central to Ireland’s vision and since realized through thousands of alumni
    was his desire to provide for the spiritual, intellectual, cultural and
    vocational needs of European immigrants, many of whom he helped to
    settle along the rapidly growing railroad lines developed by James J. Hill.

    Today’s emphasis on a values-centered and career-oriented education was
    born in Ireland’s comprehensive mission for St. Thomas: a program of
    classical studies; preparation for careers in ministry, law, medicine
    and other professions; and an environment that would foster lifelong
    learning, a critical habit of mind and a pattern of virtuous living
    for all educated here.

    One of the most influential American churchmen of his day, Ireland was
    known for his energy, optimism and warmth, and for the mutual love he
    strongly encouraged between church and country.

    The College of St. Thomas, in observance of its 1985 centennial,
    commissioned St. Paul sculptor Michael Price to create this bronze
    statue of Archbishop John Ireland.

    Strength of character and determination are reflected in his face and
    posture. His crisp frock coat was typical dress for gentlemen and
    clerics of his era; his crumpled trousers and muddied boots are symbols
    of his ceaseless efforts on behalf of his community.

    “I seek no backward voyage across the sea of time; I will ever press
    forward. I believe that God intends the present to be better than the past,
    and the future to be better than the present.” – Archbishop John Ireland

    Virginia Donahoe donated this marker in memory of her father, Dr. Will
    Donahoe, a devoted St. Thomas alumnus.

    Archbishop John Ireland statue rolls in

    It wasn't a grand entrance, perhaps, for such a notable figure, but after being gone for what seems like forever "across the sea of time," Archbishop John Ireland made his way across campus yesterday to his new home on the lower quad. / Photo by Tom Whisenand.

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