May 7, 2021

May 14, 1961


Sixty years ago, on May 14, 1961, some 20,000 people attended the blessing of the cornerstone for the Manor College building in Fox Chase, Pa.

Bishop Joseph Shmondiuk that afternoon blessed the cornerstone, in a ceremony attended by representatives of the Government of Pennsylvania, Ukrainian organizations, as well as pilgrims and members of religious orders. Founded by the Sisters of St. Basil the Great, the educational facilities included a high school for girls (Saint Basil Academy), the junior college, as well as residence for the students and a monastery for the Sisters.

That year’s annual Mother’s Day pilgrimage to the Basilian Spirituality Center (Sisters of St. Basil the Great) in Fox Chase attracted people from cities across the eastern United States. The morning was filled with divine liturgies celebrated by the Redemptorist and Franciscan Fathers, punctuated by a divine liturgy celebrated by the Rev. Dmytro Bybliv with responses sung by a 120-voice student choir from St. John the Baptist School in Newark, N.J.

The Junior College building was constructed under the supervision of the Building Fund Committee, with its honorary chairman, Gov. David L. Lawrence. An estimated 8,000 people walked the Stations of the Cross and paid homage at the grotto of the Blessed Virgin Mary located on the grounds of Manor College. Also in attendance was the Very Rev. Mother M. Zenobia, Superior General of the Sisters of St. Basil the Great, who was instrumental in starting the building of Manor College. She arrived from Rome to attend the event.

Saint Basil Academy is scheduled to close at the end of the current academic year, and the Sisters of St. Basil the Great and the Toll Brothers sponsored an online community meeting on May 3 to discuss future development plans for the property.

Source: “Thousands witness blessing of Manor College cornerstone,” The Ukrainian Weekly, May 20, 1961.