Walking Tour of Shrines & Statues at St. Bonaventure

The following information was already compiled and presented in brochure form and on the St. Bonaventure Archives website - Archives.sbu.edu/buildings/statue_mobile. On the Archives website, you can explore the history of even more sites on campus or look for an additional walking tour of the buildings of St. Bonaventure and the plantings. There is also great information on the people, the athletics, the folklore and the collections of The University on the Archives website. They can be reached by calling 716-375-2322. The info presented was used with permission from the Archives Department.


Site 1: University Entrance.

The entrance tower is a combination of stainless steel and brown colored “weathering” steel set off by a v-shaped brick wall across the main entrance. It is flanked by two brick walls donated by the Class of 1953, in memory of Br. Ferdinand Woerle, O.F.M. groundskeeper at St. Bonaventure for 60 years. The brick tower on the left bears the seal of the Province of the Holy Name of Jesus, and the right tower bears the seal of the Province of the Immaculate Conception.

Site 2: Statue of St. Bonaventure

Built in memory of three students who died in 1939. Clayton Tong and Charles Collins died in an automobile accident; John Korkak died from injuries sustained in a football game. The statue was ordered in 1940, but did not arrive until 1946 when it was blessed by Fr. Thomas Plassmann, OFM. The statue recognizes St. Bonaventure for his scholarship and his place in the Church. These are the elements which brought Fr. Pamfilo da Magliano, the first president, to choose him as the patron of the college. Funds for the statue were donated by students and faculty.

Site 3: St. Francis Statue

The Statue of St. Francis was used to memorialize some of the donors for the St. Bonaventure statue and others who had passed away recently.

Site 4: Campus Clock

Bought after lightning struck the De La Roche Hall clock on April 18, 1933. The inscriptions on the clock were written by Fr. Plassmann, O.F.M., and translate to "Time God’s Gift" on the east side, “Time Heals All Wounds” on the south side, “Time Dispenses Gifts” on the north side, and “Time Hates Laziness” on the west side.

Site 5: St. Joseph’s Oratory

Built in 1927, in the style of the Bramante Tempiett o at St. Pietro in Montorio, Italy where Pamfi lo da Magliano, founding President of St. Bonaventure, died. It is said to be the place where St. Peter was martyred. The oratory was built as a gift of the late Thomas Flynn who dedicated money for the chapel in memory of his wife Catherine.

Site 6: Blessed Mother Mary Statue

To the right of the Hickey Dining Hall. On August 6, 1886 at the feast of Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ the statue was placed above the entrance of the original church on campus. After the church was destroyed by fire in 1930, the statue was moved to where it stands today, near its original location.

Site 7: Statue of Fr. Joseph Butler

The statue is of Father Joseph with a student on either side of him. Father Joe was President of the College and Seminary from 1887 to 1911. The statue was unveiled on commencement day June 15, 1921. The seminarian is holding a book of moral theology, and the other fi gure, a barefoot collegian, has a baseball cap, bat, and ball.  Together they signify the two facets of college life - intellectual and physical.

Site 8: Shrine of St. Therese of Lisieux. Known as the shrine of the “Little Flower.” The shrine was erected in 1925. The previous year a seminarian became critically ill. His doctors expected an early death. His seminary classmates petitioned to God to spare his life through an all night vigil and held a sacrament to honor St. Therese, the Little Flower. When he survived they had the shrine built as a tribute and thanksgiving for answering their prayers.

Site 9: Statue of St. Francis

The statue uses the symbolism of St. Francis’ love for animals. A dove is placed at his feet, another on his shoulder. Inscribed on the surface of the pedestal is a lamb and a wolf, between them is a sketch of Portiuncula. The lamb is symbolic of the Lamb of God. The wolf reminds us of the story the Wolf of Gubbio, and the Portiuncula is the mother of the Franciscan Order.

Site 10: Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes

In 1925, seminarians at St. Bonaventure decided to drain the swamp which was on the site of the Grotto. Rocks were collected from all over campus and the Grotto was built piece by piece. Rev. Walter Hammon, O.F.M. is largely responsible for the construction.

Site 11: Merton’s Heart

A barren patch on the hillside across the Allegheny River, is named for Thomas Merton, a Cistercian monk. Before entering the order, he taught at St. Bonaventure and was known for his walks in the hills.

Site 12: Veteran’s Memorial

Site 13: St. Francis

This statue is located behind Francis hall. It is relatively small and is made from white marble. It shows St. Francis as a friend to all life through his love for animals. Depicted in the statue is St. Francis of Assisi being interrupted in his scripture readings by animals of the forest, and Francis is taking the opportunity to show these animals some compassion.

Site 14: New Shrine of St. Joseph

Located in the woods behind Francis past the Glen of St. Clare. It was built on the bottom of an abandoned oil tank storage lot, part of a large oil tank farm. The shrine was a result of the Seminary students’ eff orts. They built it entirely out of materials rejected from the construction of new seminary. The statue has been removed to storage.

Site 15: Shrine of Our Lady of Wisdom

Located at the end of a blacktop path behind Francis Hall. Designed by Rev. Columban Duff y O.F.M., Professor of Dogmatic Theology, and created by sculptor Frederick C. Shrady. The eight foot tall sculpture was carved in Italy from white carrara marble found near the outskirts of Rome.

Site 16: Doyle Bells

Built in 1961, The Doyle Hall bells are a part of the Chapel complex. The bells are dedicated to Mary, Queen of the Order of Friars Minors. The bells begin ringing at 9am and ring every 15 minutes until 9pm.

Site 17: Francis Statue by Doyle

In 1957, Betti Richard of New York City was commissioned by the Friars of St. Francis Church of NYC to create the life size bronze statue of St. Francis. The statue located in front of Doyle is a copyrighted reproduction produced by Alva Museum Replicas, Inc. of NYC.

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