Please use GoodSearch for your internet searches and select a charity (such as Dominican Sisters of Houston). Thank you.

OLLU fire

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I was very sad to see on the news last night the image of huge flames bursting from a building at Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) in San Antonio, Texas.

See their website if you wish to make a donation towards rebuilding.
The main building is what burnt.

I thought for sure all was lost of the old buildings there. Minutes later when I learned that the fire was prevented from spreading to the convent side, I was soooo relieved. I am glad the Sisters of Divine Providence (and everyone) are ok, and glad indeed that their Sacred Heart Conventual Chapel is not affected. It is the most beautiful chapel ever. If you come to San Antonio, this chapel is a must-see.

Still, it is sad. Though the Sisters don't own the University anymore, OLLU is their heritage, they still freely access OLLU and several of the Sisters teach and work at the university. There is so much history in the building that burned. It was such a tribute to the goodness and providence of God working through the Sisters through the ages.

Yes, I would agree that it needs to be rebuilt. But not a replica. Those who knew what it was would tire of telling people that it's not the original. Those who didn't know the original would feel cheated -- it looks like the original but isn't the real thing. Aside from the architecture and workmanship, what made that building spectacular was that it was the original and that it had stood since 1895.

So to rebuild is not to replicate the building, but to re-born the same spirit that produced that building: to build the best that architecture, engineering, and materials could offer at the time and make a building that would be a marvel to behold and which would last for ages. The facade of the original building is still standing. I would preserve that facade and incorporate it into the new building. I would need a great architect to elegantly meld the past (the facade) to the best of modern architecture. In that way, a great piece of the past could be preserved. And of course, the new building would need to be energy-efficient and eco-friendly.

That's my two cents.


Anonymous said...

I am saddened by the fire and the caos that has ensued at OLLU. The SAFD, SAPD, and other providers such as Rackspace (inernet provider), Dell nd especially those who are prvising veryday needs anonymously. I find studnets are donating to others on campus- what a sign of humanity!!

I find that the ciy of San Antonio has poured out its sympathy but it is diffcult to see the current leader extraicate the univerity out of this disaster. There were no contingencies and the relief effort has depended on outside agencies to alarge degree. Even the president has been consistently late and absent from meetings with the top administrators in the first two days of the crisis. In fact, I see opportunism by posting her name under the iconic image of the virgin on OLLU's website. She is trying to survive a vote of no-confidence by associaing herslf with OLLU's salvation. I am saddened.

By "Somebody in the know"

seeking_something said...

oy. May God guide the ship!