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The Bergamo Center - “Bee Marianist” Benches

Updated: Sep 21

Brent Devitt, Executive Director, Bergamo Center for Lifelong Learning, Dayton, OH, sends us this update.

The benches created recently for the Bergamo Center courtyard and Br. John Soehnel Meditation Grove at Mount Saint John have the five Marianist Charisms printed on each to remind guests and retreatants of the Marianist mission at Bergamo. A small stenciled silhouette of a bee prefaces each of the charisms to gently encourage visitors to Be Community, Be Like Mary, Be Inclusive, Be Faithful, and Be Missionary.

The benches in the courtyard of the Bergamo Center were sustainably crafted with wood salvaged from the pallets that carried the 100 solar panels installed at Mount Saint John this past spring. The benches are styled after the Leopold bench.

A Leopold bench is named after the renowned wildlife professor, conservationist, and author of A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold. The bench style lends itself well to meditation, bird watching, and photography. The backrest provides sturdy support for the elbows while using binoculars or cameras to observe nature. The Aldo Leopold bench is simple yet classic for any yard, park, deck, or patio. It is simple to build and uses a small amount of material.

With the recent popularity of “Buddy Benches” and “Kindness Benches” that are often found in playgrounds and at bus stops, these benches at Bergamo are likewise a place for folks to sit comfortably in pairs for prayer, dialogue, and friendly companionship. The benches help Mount Saint John continue to be a reflective and comfortable place to enjoy the beauty of God's creation.

Pictured above: Students of Chaminade Julienne High School sitting at the Bergamo benches.

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Bro. Dennis Bautista, SM, Community and Novice Director of the Marianist Novitiate at Mount Saint John, sends us this update. Fr. Oscar Vasquez, SM Provincial Superior of the Marianist Province of the

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