Founders Week celebrates over 150 years of Spiritan tradition

Courtesy of Gumberg Library Archives | An 1885 engraving shows the Spiritans' original Duquesne University, when it was still Holy Ghost College.

Andrew Cummings | Staff Writer

Jan. 26, 2023

Duquesne University will celebrate Founders Week from Monday, Jan. 30 through Friday, Feb. 3.

Founders Week commemorates the feast day of Rev. Fr. Francis Liberman, a founder of the Spiritans, according to Luci-Jo DiMaggio, the director of Mission Animation at Duquesne. The annual week of events takes place around Liberman’s feast day, Feb. 2.

Founders Week “serves to celebrate our Catholic Spiritan roots as a university and to highlight ways in which we live out the Spiritan mission and in our campus community and beyond,” she said.

Libermann is known as the “second founder” of the Spiritans and is an influential figure in the Spiritan organization, DiMaggio said.

The theme of Founders Week in 2023 is “Sharing our Light in the Spirit of Belonging.”

The week will include events such as a carnival in the Student Union with games, prizes and snacks.

“I’m…hype for the service fair event they’re doing,” said Tony Carbino, fifth-year biomedical engineering student. With a busy schedule himself, Carbino is excited to lead some of the Founders Week activities.

“I think it’s cool that Duquesne is giving us opportunities to explore our interests outside the traditional school-average working job dynamic,” he said.

There will be a series of lunches throughout the week such as a Spiritan pedagogy lunch that will teach participants how to “contribute to an expanding sense of interconnectedness with students, campus, community, and world,” according to the official list of Founders Week activities on Duquesne’s website.

Discussants will include Jess Mann, Nicole Vilkoner and Rev. Fr. Bill Christy.

The Spiritan Friends Lunch aims to explore Spiritan spirituality through storytelling, and will be led by Rev. Fr. John Fogarty. In addition, the Founders Week luncheon will feature Kathleen Roberts as she “shares her stories of her personal experiences and on the importance of creating light in the darkness.”

Other events include Agape Latte which seeks to facilitate student conversations about the intersection between faith and real life, a craft night where participants will create mason jar lights in accordance with the “sharing our light” theme; a University Reception that seeks to “celebrate the amazing work done on campus” with “beer, wine, heavy appetizers and music;” a “Candlemas Celebration” where participants will “offer our intentions for 2023 on how we will each be a light in the darkness and place candles on Academic walk,” a concert featuring Duquesne music students and staff and Vespers, or evening prayer service, to end the week.

“I’m most looking forward to the Vespers ceremony on Friday,” Carbino said. “It’s been my favorite tradition at Duquesne because it makes me feel connected to our university community in a way I don’t often experience on the average day.”

According to DiMaggio, “This year the events highlight ways in which we can share the light we each have within us so that we can build a supportive and thriving community at Duquesne.”