By Paul Whiteside
Director of Development
Recently, the Chairman of our Foundation, Dr. Stephen Butler, organized a very interesting and enjoyable fundraising event in Tampa, Florida. On Sunday, November 8th a group of friends of Dr. Butler and Dr. Martin Girling were invited to attend a Wine Tasting event at West Palm Wines, a lovely place specializing in the finest wines of France, Italy and Spain.
The evening began with a beautiful celebration of the Eucharist with Father Paul Taylor, O.S.B., as the main celebrant. Over 30 guests arrived for the wine tasting that began with a lovely champagne social, followed by a formal (yet very entertaining) tasting of six different French wines from the Bordeaux region, vintage 1995. Our host, Mr. James Sirna, President of West Palm Wines, provided a wealth of information about the Bordeaux region, the making of the wines, the laws governing the advertising and sales, and the cultural differences between the United States and France relative to wine making.
After several hours of tasting the wines in combination with some excellent hors d’oeuvres, Dr. Butler, Father Paul and I spent some time talking about the works of our Foundation and the use of the funds that were raised that evening. We also spoke about a new concept to our Foundation, namely the formation of support chapters throughout the country entitled “The Patrons of Sant’ Anselmo.” Several of the guests were very interested in the concept of ‘the patrons’, hence it would appear that our first chapter may be formed in the Tampa area. The Patrons organization is designed to help interested people learn more about the Benedictine University in Rome that we support, but also to form a social network to join others with similar interests and participate in a variety of social and cultural activities.
We anticipate that each state will have a chapter (or two if required), comprised of a set of officers and approximately 20 to 30 members. Each member will contribute an annual fee to the organization that will be used to offset the costs of events and to support special projects at the university, including the assistance of needy students there.
The activities could range from attending lectures to learn more about the Benedictine way of life, visits to Benedictine sites, dinners, musical events, and other activities that may be germane to the location of the given chapter.
Each year the members will have the opportunity to choose a unique project that will, in some way, benefit the students of Sant’ Anselmo in Rome. Projects could include scholarship assistance for a given student, a repair or restoration of a part of the campus, or assistance for a faculty member. In order to bring these projects to “life” the members will be invited to regular visits to Sant’ Anselmo in Rome at which time they will have the opportunity to meet their respective students, faculty members and/or to tour the facility. The Foundation will work to ensure a meeting with the Abbot Primate, the leader of the Benedictine Order and Sant’ Anselmo itself. In addition, unique and interesting tours will be arranged to make the visit to Rome as fulfilling and stimulating as possible.
If you are interested in starting a chapter in your state, please contact us. We would love to hear from you. Please contact me at your earaliest convenience: Mr. Paul R. Whiteside, Director of Development at (724) 532-6740 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yours in Christ and Saint Benedict,