Blessed Mother has a peaceful presence at Stonehill College

By Kim Lawrence
Special to The Anchor

EASTON, Mass. — Past the grotto on the Stonehill College campus, the tranquility of Rhododendron Drive, through Holy Cross Cemetery, over the Father Feeley Bridge and the long brick walk from the Martin Institute to the foot of the Donahue Hall are a few favorite walking routes of  Father Wilfred Raymond, C.S.C.

A member of Stonehill’s Class of 1967, Father Willy, as he is known, is an early riser, most often walking to campus at 5 a.m. from his Holy Cross residence, referred to as the Barn.  

Alive and Refreshed

“My walks make me feel more alive and refreshed. This campus is one of the most charming and naturally inspiring places,” says Father Willy, who serves as president of Holy Cross Family Ministries, which is nearby.

Even in the winter, whenever possible, he navigates the black ice, snow drifts and cold temperatures to get in his walk. And when the conditions are too dangerous, he’ll head over to the W.B. Mason Stadium and walk or jog on the track. 

While Father Willy walks for exercise, wearing a Fitbit to keep track of his steps, he has also picked up another habit from his days here as a seminarian at Holy Cross Center.

Focusing Mind and Heart

“All the priests and Brothers used to pray the Rosary every day, often walking the property. Now I always carry my Rosary beads with me, and it helps to focus my mind and heart,” he says. 

This isn’t the only way that Father Willy honors the Blessed Mother through his walks. He has a route that he calls the Walk of Mary — passing by the many statues of her located throughout campus.

“Walk in from Route 138 and a stunningly beautiful statue of Mary graces the front of Holy Cross Cemetery. Continue to the grotto; there she is again, with St. Bernadette. Go up to Donahue Hall; she’s the Queen of the Summit. Head towards the Chapel of Mary, and a dynamic bronze Mary greets you. March over to Notre Dame du Lac; there is a striking Madonna and Child presiding over the parking lot,” he says.  

“Walk to the other side of campus, and Mary greets you at the gate to the Holy Cross Center. Finally, go to the Peyton Center, and the largest Mary in the area dominates the circle, welcoming visitors. Just to her right is the Rosary Walk with Servant of God Patrick Peyton’s statue bidding you pause to pray the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”

Prayer and Reflection

His daily walks allow for prayer and reflection that keep the most important relationship at the center of his life, Father Willy notes: “The friendship with the Risen Lord and His Mother Mary.” 

Father Willy’s outings also remind him of what a blessing this campus is in his life, noting the sounds and sights of nature as he walks through all seasons. “I am delighted to call Stonehill my home,” he said.

Kim Wallace is an alumna of Stonehill College.


© 2017 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing  †  Fall River, Massachusetts