Statue, wall to adorn the ‘X’

The Queens campus will see another new improvement this semester with the relocation of a statue of St. Vincent de Paul to a spot near the “X” of crossing walkways between St. John, Council and Newman Halls.

The statue, which is made of cast bronze, has special significance at St. John’s because St. Vincent founded the Congregation of the Mission, or Vincentian order, and the Daughters of Charity. St. John’s was founded by the Vincentian Fathers and the University’s mission statement is dedicated to St. Vincent’s message of seeking out opportunities to make the world more responsive to the needs of the poor.

The statue was originally located in the rose garden at the front of Newman Hall. When that area was turned into a patio, the statue was moved to a location near St. Vincent Hall. Administrators feel that the new, more prominent location will be ideal for the statue.

“What better a place for St. Vincent’s statue to stand than in the middle of a student gathering place where, hopefully, he will inspire [students] to take his message of service to the poor out into the world,” said Joanne Novarro, director for Internal and External Communications.

Along with the move of the statue, a fieldstone wall approximately two feet high will run along the perimeter of the circle surrounding the “X” and is currently under construction. According to Novarro, “[The fieldstone wall] will provide additional outdoor seating for students who wish to relax between classes, meetings and events.”

The statue is scheduled to be placed at a later date, after the wall is finished.

Overall, administrators want students to be more comfortable on campus as well as have a greater understanding of the University’s Vincentian legacy, said Dominic Scianna, director of Media Relations.

“We have several reminders of St. Vincent de Paul and his teachings all across the Queens campus,” Scianna said. “[It] provides a tranquil place to study and socialize, which adds to the overall college experience at St. John’s.”

The University recently conducted a survey with a group of students of various majors and academic standings asking how much they knew about St. Vincent de Paul. Although most students were able to identify St. Vincent, fewer knew of his importance to the St. John’s community.

“St. John’s University sponsors several student life activities that relate to the work of St. Vincent de Paul throughout the course of the year,” Scianna said. Of the students who still do not know who St. Vincent was, he predicted that “the statue will bring significant awareness to those that are unfamiliar with his teachings and work for the poor.”