It is with great sorrow that we come together today with the departure of our president and dear friend, Fr. Julio Giulietti, S.J. We have all come here to seek the truth, and to know and understand what has happened within the university walls and what has become of the reputation of WJU. In this light, please invite anyone to read the blog and feel free to comment as you wish.

Any posts with profanity are not welcome, otherwise, please speak your mind. You are a part of this university and we want to hear your voice!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Mount is Gone!

Last month I found myself in two places far appart one from the other: Wheeling, WV and Zurich, Switzerland.  There are surprising connections between them.

First Wheeling. The Mount is gone!  The wrecking ball and tractors were driven onto the former property of the Sisters of the Visitation.  Under great security, information silence and noise, they knock down all the building except the gymnasium.  I saw it for myself.  Someone shucked into the property to take pictures which later appeared publically.  Other than that, silence.  I wonder why?  Evidently the ownership of Wheeling Hospital wanted its actions and plans kept secret.  As if in contemporary America that could ever happen!

The sadness and anger is not only for the city of Wheeling and the Mount's graduates. The sadness and anger is alive for the college.  The entire city knows that the former president, Fr. Giulietti, had negotiated transparently with the Sisters a just and satisfactory agreement that Wheeling College would to purchase the property in a payment that would stretch out over an agreed upon time.  The Sisters would remain in their community house for as long as they wanted.  Their cemetery, resting place for almost 80 Sisters, would be maintained.  Their more than 150 years of educational excellence would continue next door.  Father won the agreement of a highly polarized board that allowed him to continue forward in discussions with the Sisters. Contacts in Washington, who want to remain anonymous, tell me that it was the ownership of Wheeling Hospital that pulled some archaic-ecclesiastical-slight-of-hand to pressure the dysfunctional Jesuit Trustees to stop the conversation leading to a legal, just and educationally viable negotiation.  

Another proof that Fr. Giulietti's plan to integrate the Mount into Wheeling College, with the agreement of the Sisters of the Visitation, ran foul to the desires of the ownership of Wheeling Hospital.  Father is exonerated from a false accusation once again.
Now Zurich. My business trip coincided with a well publicized conference held at a Benedictine monastery in Switzerland. The conference was organized so that media specialists, who cover Church affairs, could dialogue with Church leaders from Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany and other West European nations about how journalists encounter the Church.  Swiss news media reported the top Abbot of the Benedictines, Abbot Notkre Wolf, as saying about the Church: "There is not point in hushing thinks up.  We need openness and transparency, and a clarification of facts."  

Would that American Church officials be honest enough to offer clarification of facts about three points: why the silence over the Mount's destruction?  What plans are in the works to use the property?  And what about the common perception that Fr. Julio's transparent, just and successful negotiations with the Sisters were a threat to others.  

Maybe the ownership of Wheeling Hospital could benefit from a trip to Zurich.

Larry Catraro