A mysterious affair: The haunting of St. Mary’s

Julie Torres

Like Alumni Hall, which many believe served as a hospital during the Civil War, St. Mary’s Hall is rumored to be haunted. However, the story behind the haunting of St. Mary’s is a less historical one. In fact, it is a tale of love.

He was a priest and she was a nun. Their love was doomed long before it had begun. Both had willingly taken the vow of celibacy, but their passion could not be contained.

Sadly, the affair was short-lived. Overcome by the shame of her sin, the nun took her own life. They say she hanged herself somewhere in St. Mary’s Hall – exactly where, no one is sure.

Some say she killed herself in the basement, while others insist it was in the chapel. What remains constant is that her soul does not rest.

So, is the rumor true? Is St. Mary’s Hall really haunted by the nun’s spirit?

The gothic façade of St. Mary’s Hall is enough to spook anyone at the right time of night.

Its interior is even less comforting. It is a labyrinth of endless halls and multiple staircases.

Inside, it is dark during the day and darker still at night. “They keep all the lights with 20-watt bulbs,” freshman resident Katie Baranek said.

What many people do not know is that St. Mary’s is not as old as it appears. The construction of St. Mary’s Hall was actually completed in 1964.

It then served as a seminary for the Augustinians until 1972. According to Rev. John Stack, O.S.A., vice president for Student Life, the decline in men and women entering the convent and the increase in the University’s enrollment resulted in the conversion of St. Mary’s into a residence hall. St. Mary’s Hall is now home to 218 freshmen male and female students.

Present day residents in St. Mary’s Hall report no ghastly occurrences. Theresa Gourash lives in the basement of St. Mary’s, also referred to as the dungeon. There are only four rooms in this secluded area of the residence hall. “Despite the fact that everyone hates their roommate,” Gourash said, “nothing is out of the ordinary.”

Former St. Mary’s residents, however, tell a different story. Lola Adeoye, now a sophomore, also lived in the dugeon of St. Mary’s. “I heard noises, like a whistling sound, but no one was whistling,” Adeoye said. “It was really freaky. It was a stormy night and my roommates weren’t there.”

Marshalette Gillings, also a former resident of St. Mary’s Hall, lived on the third floor during her freshman year. “I stayed up late one night, between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.,” Gillings said, “I heard people running. It sounded like they were slamming doors. The girl who lived in front of me was awake too. She looked outside her door to check. She saw the doors slamming and she heard this howl, but no one was there.”

Want to know for yourself if St. Mary’s Hall is haunted or not? It is a question only a resident can answer.

So, spend the night with a friend. Observe. Listen. Take a walk around the hall in the dead of night. But do not sleep. If you do, you might just miss something.