Augustinians Dedicate New Sculpture

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Contact:Michael Dolan Director of Communications Augustinian Friars, Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova P.O. Box 340 Villanova, PA 19085-0340

Phone: 610-527-3330 ext. 248 Fax: 610-520-0618 E-mail: [email protected]:


Augustinians Dedicate New Sculpture


September 8, 2005

Villanova, PA – The Augustinians of the Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova held a formal dedication ceremony at Villanova University on September 8 for a new sculpture by renowned artist Anthony Visco.

The sculpture, which depicts Saint Thomas of Villanova, a 16th-century Augustinian saint, was commissioned by the Augustinians thanks to benefactors Bradley and Shirley MacDonald of Owings Mills, MD. Mr. MacDonald is C.E.O. of Medifast, Inc., and a graduate of both Monsignor Bonner High School and Villanova University. The statue was dedicated in memory of Mr. and Mrs. MacDonald’s mothers: Florence Southcott MacDonald and Margaret Kelly Malaby.

The new sculpture sits outside the new chapel of the recently renovated Saint Thomas of Villanova Monastery on the Villanova University campus. It depicts Saint Thomas caring for the poor.

Known as the “Beggar Bishop” and the “Father of the Poor,” Thomas of Villanova was known for the care he provided others. Born in 1486 in Toledo, Spain, Thomas was an outstanding student and academician. In his late twenties he decided to join the religious life and entered the Order of Saint Augustine in 1517. He went on to become the Archbishop of Valencia and his life was dedicated to the impoverished. He fed the hungry, clothed the naked, invited those without shelter into his home; he truly followed the footsteps of Christ.

Anthony Visco’s sculpture, entitled “Saint Thomas of Villanova, Father of the Poor,” captures the saint’s life in astonishing beauty. Thomas holds an infant and his arm is extended to two children, signifying Thomas’ life of welcoming those that came to him for help, for food, for clothing, and for shelter. Mr. Visco is one of Philadelphia’s finest artists, and his work can be seen throughout the region, including at the National Shrine of Saint Rita of Cascia in Philadelphia.

The Very Rev. Donald F. Reilly, O.S.A., Prior Provincial of the Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova, presided over the dedication and blessing ceremony, which kicked off Villanova University’s annual “Saint Thomas of Villanova Day” celebration.

“The life of Saint Thomas of Villanova is a wonderful example for all of us,” said Fr. Reilly. “His work on behalf of the poor is a reminder of our obligation to see the face of God in one another. Thanks to Brad and Shirley MacDonald, this statue will now serve as a continual reminder to the entire Villanova community of that obligation.” The statue dedication is another highlight to the Augustinians’ current $25 million “Embracing the Future” campaign. For more information, visit

[For digital images, contact Michael Dolan at 610.527.3330, ext. 248 or [email protected].]

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