Members of the Seton Hill University (SHU) community filled St. Joseph Chapel on Monday to, as Sr. Maureen O’Brien said, “celebrate the life and legacy” of their former president who passed away on Friday. The Memorial Mass was presided over by Msgr. David Rubino for President Emerita JoAnne Boyle.
“We celebrate a woman who has taught us much. We begin this celebration in her memory,” said Msgr. Rubino.
The service opened with the hymn “We Will Rise Again,” which quotes a biblical passage from Isaiah 40 saying “we will fly like the eagle, we will rise again.” Freshman Bridget Malley read from Proverbs 31, a description of “The Wife of Noble Character.”
Christin Casavant, a sophomore music major lead, the responsorial psalm singing “Shepherd me, O God, beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life.”
Msgr. Rubino opened by questioning why Boyle was “ripped from us.” He continued by saying that that we should learn from her death and connect it to the gospel reading from John. Like Mary was involved at the death of Jesus in the reading, “JoAnne was involved in the very life and blood of Seton Hill,” he said.
“She tells us, she teaches us, we must participate fully in life in order to learn to love life, and one another, in life. Don’t be a spectator; jump right in. Live your life to the fullest. Hazard, if you will, yet forward,” said Msgr. Rubino.
Rubino, who previously worked at SHU, shared his personal memories of Boyle’s “little obsessions” with editing issues of the Forward and deciding on colors for construction projects. He emphasized her dedication to the everyday running of the school.
“What she did was spent thousands of days with us. Listening, teaching, learning and loving each and every one of us. JoAnne thank you. Thank you,” said Msgr. Rubino.
Intercessory prayers were lead by Corey Rogers, praying for JoAnne Boyle’s family, friends and the SHU community. Carol Zola, administrative assistant at the President’s Office, and Mary Ann Gawalek, provost and dean of faculty and Shaquille Burt, senior French and Spanish major, brought up the Eucharistic elements.
“JoAnne was a teacher. JoAnne was a lover. JoAnne was a visionary. JoAnne was a risk taker. She demonstrated each of these with elegance, with wit, with charm and with a disarming persistence, always with that endgame in mind,” said Interim President Bibiana Boerio, in tears.
“Seton Hill University and each of us has been blessed by this woman whose life was a role model of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, a liberal arts education and our motto ‘Hazard Yet Forward,’” said Boerio.
An official funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. in Saint Joseph Chapel.