The Roman Catholic World

A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”  G.K. Chesterton–  The Everlasting Man, 1925

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ave-maria-all-rights-reserved-by-marielena-montesino-de-stuart8May 6, 2009

by Marielena Montesino de Stuart

The end of the academic year will soon be here and the silence of the summer in Ave Maria will also quickly be upon us.  Ah yes, remember the silence of the summer of 2007, after which the communion rails disappeared and the“healing masses” arrived, along with the resistance to Summorum Pontificum?

The questions brought before the administration of Ave Maria University remain unanswered (please refer to THE CHRONICLES OF AVE MARIA: Open Letter to the Board of Trustees ©).  In the meantime, the administration has continued its campaign to recruit more students, while ignoring a memo that has been in the public domain now for over two months. This memo questions the administration’s ability to commit to these students, based on the financial difficulties that AMU faces (please refer to THE CHRONICLES OF AVE MARIA: News and Unanswered Questions ©).

Those of us who came here and made tremendous sacrifices to support the future of the advertised “orthodox Catholic university” sit and watch this defiant indifference of the AMU administration when it comes to these matters– which are being openly discussed by the media, and are affecting the future of the Town of Ave Maria (not to mention the staff, faculty, as well as current and future students and parents).  Where is the Catholic love of neighbor?

It is embarrassing to read newspaper articles detailing the Ave Maria University administration’s recent approach to fundraising, by sending an unsigned letter to donors, including a “Petition of Protest and Outrage” regarding an unnamed Catholic university and an unnamed “prominent pro-abortion U.S. politician.”  (Read Naples Daily News article http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2009/apr/15/ave-maria-letter-criticizes-obamas-commencement-vi/Nick Healy, President of Ave Maria University, commented, “I would think that outfits like the American Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities would be concerned whether its institutions are in compliance with the precepts of Ex Corde Ecclesiae.”

Now, Mr. Healy, are you trying to tell us that the administration of AMU has complied with the requirements of Ex Corde Ecclesiae?  Is AMU now officially a Catholic university?  When exactly did this take place?  Also, why can’t the administration simply come out and name the unnamed “prominent pro-abortion U.S. politician” and the “unnamed Catholic university”?   If the administration is going to resort to such a sad fundraising approach, why doesn’t it go all the way and call everyone by their names?   Frankly, this fundraising letter did not serve the sacred pro-life cause with the decorum that it deserves.

Alongside of the university, we have the issues affecting the Town of Ave Maria.  On Tuesday,  a public meeting was held by the Ave Maria Stewardship Community District, the entity that in 2008 began to charge the property owners in Ave Maria a non-ad valorem assessment (read Naples Daily News expose http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2009/may/09/town-without-vote-now-and-forever/).  Mr. Thomas Sansbury, Vice President of Barron Collier Cos. , (a  developer of the Town of Ave Maria) was present at this meeting.  He announced the opening, later this summer, of the building which Publix supermarket will be leasing.   Concerned about the fact that it is a leased location, after almost two years of driving 20 to 30 miles to buy the most basic necessities, and after so many postponements since 2007 of this long-awaited opening, I decided to approach Mr. Sansbury immediately after the meeting had ended.   I respectfully asked him what kind of lease terms Publix has agreed to, as an indication of Publix’s confidence in the future of this town.   Mr. Sansbury insisted that he is not part of Ave Maria Development (which is assumed to be the lessor) then, he  proceeded to answer rudely in front of my husband, my children, and others that were present at the meeting, that the Publix lease period “is private information” and that as a resident of this town “you do not have a right to know this” and that “our conversation had ended.”   I immediately told Mr. Sansbury that I would quote him publicly.   He said that would be fine.

One wonders around here who are the bright stars running the public relations departments at Barron Collier Cos., and at Ave Maria University, and how one institution can possibly expect to attract more residents– and the other, more students.

Should one consider this kind of behavior arrogant and uncaring?   Is this what happens when the very rich and powerful see their big investments go south– and the little people that are supporting them financially, suddenly become a nuisance?

It’s going to be a long, hot summer in Ave Maria.

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Marielena Montesino de Stuart

Marielena Montesino de Stuart is an observer of the Roman Catholic world.  She expresses her views as a journalist for The Wanderer and for

www.TheRomanCatholicWorld.com .  You may write to her at ContactTRCW@aol.com

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NOTICE TO READERS:

 Marielena Montesino de Stuart and  www.TheRomanCatholicWorld.com do not disparage anyone’s motives at Ave Maria, Ave Maria University, including the administrators, Ave Maria entities, Ave Maria Town, and Barron Collier Co.  Nothing contained in The Chronicles of Ave Maria© or Divine Comedy©, or anywhere on this blog/website questions the commitment of all involved to what they genuinely see as the best interests of Ave Maria, Ave Maria University, Ave Maria entities, Ave Maria Town and Barron Collier Co.  Marielena Montesino de Stuart and www.TheRomanCatholicWorld.com concede this.