Nicole DeOrzio ’24, Staff Writer

On Friday, November 12, Immaculata University celebrated its Centennial Charter Day. Students, faculty, and staff gathered in the rotunda to mark 100 (+1) years since Immaculata became an accredited higher education institution. Due to COVID-19 precautions in 2020, the festivities marking this milestone were postponed to this year.

The celebration began with a prayer led by Sister Mary Henrich, IHM. Then, junior Tanis McDonnell explained the history of Immaculata’s charter, recounting how Mother Camilla Maloney had a passion for education. To prepare IHM sisters for admission to The Catholic University of America, Mother Camilla brought together professors from St. Charles Seminary, The University of Pennsylvania, and West Chester Normal School (now West Chester University) to educate the sisters. She then wanted to expand this educational mission by creating a Catholic college for women. In 1920, Mother Mary Loyola took the first step in obtaining a charter for Immaculata (then called Villa Maria) by filing a certificate of incorporation in Chester County. Upon inspection by the Superintendent of Pennsylvania, the state granted the school a charter to officially open under the name “Villa Maria College of Immaculata.” This made Immaculata the first Catholic college for women in the Philadelphia area. After this overview of Immaculata’s journey to obtaining a charter, sophomore Marchello Barile played a trumpet fanfare, which symbolized the bells that were ringing as Mother Loyola received news of the charter’s approval. Then, President Barbara Lettiere read an abridged version of Immaculata’s original charter document.

Centennial Time Capsule

Photo taken by Nicole DeOrzio

To commemorate 100 years since its charter was granted, Immaculata created a time capsule with memorabilia from the past and present. Junior Oriana Weatherington explained the meaning of this time capsule and its contents. She noted that a map depicting the growth of Immaculata’s campus from 1920 to the present was included to show the progress made during the last 100 years. In addition, a copy of the Centennial Program Journal from last month’s Centennial celebration was included with letters from President Lettiere and the senior class president. Of course, a copy of the charter, Centennial pin, and November 12th front cover of the Daily Local News were included in the time capsule. An alumna ring and pin belonging to Sister Marie Hubert’s mother, Catherine Mary Houston (class of 1930), were also placed in the time capsule. To celebrate The Mighty Macs movie about Immaculata’s 1972 women’s basketball team, a crucifix and chain used in the film were included as well.  Finally, Father Carl blessed the time capsule.

To conclude the ceremony, the attendees joined junior Breanna Kratz in singing the Alma Mater as Sister Kathleen Doutt, IHM, played the piano. Everyone was then invited to the dining hall for cake to celebrate the occasion.

After 100 years of providing quality education, Immaculata University has produced tens of thousands of graduates who are making their mark on the world. Surely, Mother Camilla would be proud of the higher education institution she created, as Immaculata is continuing to provide its students with a Catholic education grounded in IHM tradition and charism.