The Holy Brick

To inaugurate the Holy Year of 1950, the twenty-fifth to be celebrated by the Church, Pope Pius XII, on Christmas Eve struck the Holy Door of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome three times with a silver hammer. At the first and second strokes, he intoned, “Open the doors of Justice to me. I shall enter Thy House, O Lord.” At the third stroke, he intoned, Open the doors because God is with us.” As a part of this ceremony, 650 years old, the brick used to seal the door at the close of the previous Holy Year is removed, and presented as a gift to anyone of the Pope’s choice.
When the door was opened for the Holy Year of 1950, the brick that sealed the close of the Holy Year 1933, the anniversary of our Redemption, was removed. Later, it was presented by the Holy Father to Mrs. William E. Cotter (Evarista Brady) president of the Saint Mary’s Alumnae Association. Mrs. Cotter, a schoolmate of Sister Madeleva, graduated from Saint Mary’s College in 1911. Upon confirmation of Sister M. Madeleva’s Woman of Achievement Award in the autumn of 1950, Mrs. Cotter gave Sister Madeleva and Saint Mary’s College this treasure. It was used in the cornerstone of the Fine Arts Building that we know as O’Laughlin. It is inscribed with the date of the Holy Year of Our Redemption, April 1, 1933. Today, many students do not notice this brick in the wall by the side entrance of O’Laughlin, yet it is a very important aspect of Saint Mary’s College.