Please remember in your prayers Faye Sitzmann, a benefactor of the Center for Catholic Studies at St. Thomas, who died March 1. Sitzmann Hall is named after her and her husband, Eugene, a 1944 alumnus.

The Sitzmanns began their support of Catholic Studies in 1998 when they provided a gift that allowed St. Thomas to purchase the Christopher Dawson Collection of books and essays. Dawson (1889-1970) wrote about the religious sources of culture and taught at Harvard.

A subsequent Sitzmann gift led to the 2003 renovation of Chiuminatto Hall, which had housed music programs for decades, for use by Catholic Studies. The building was renamed after the Sitzmanns at the time.

St. Thomas later decided to expand Sitzmann Hall. Benefactors, including the Sitzmanns, paid for the $4.2 million, 4,700-square-foot addition, which provided more office and classroom space, a chapel and an elevator. Sitzmann Hall reopened in 2009, and the expansion won a “New Addition to a Historic Building” award from the St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission

In a 2006 Q&A interview in Perspectives magazine, the Sitzmanns said they decided to support Catholic Studies at St. Thomas because of the program’s role in helping students live their faith in everyday life.

“A foundation of faith becomes an integral part of their personality and their character,” Faye Sitzmann said. “It is the source of hope and courage, and if they possess it, they cannot only respond to any adversaries but also support others who are more wobbly in faith or who know little but are curious about it.”

Earlier gifts from the Sitzmanns to St. Thomas assisted in the restoration of the grotto on the south campus and the 1991 expansion of O’Shaughnessy Library to create the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center. They also supported the St. Paul Seminary’s “I Will Give You Shepherds” capital campaign.

In addition to her husband, Sitzmann is survived by five children, 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 7, at Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church, 324 Prior Ave., St. Paul. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at O’Halloran & Murphy Funeral Home, 575 S. Snelling Ave., St. Paul, and at the church for an hour before the funeral. You can read the obituary here.

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