A Veritable Thing of Beauty, Even of Grandeur

Photo essay by Nicolo Sertorio

At the dedication of Saint Mary's campus in Moraga in 1928, Brother Z. Joseph Fenlon asserted that the Church "realized fully that a material object may impart an inspiring lesson," which led the Brothers to select a location for their College that was "a veritable thing of beauty, even of grandeur, for the students destined to their care." Saint Mary's has changed since that August day more than 80 years ago, but its beauty has only grown as new buildings were erected and the grounds were transformed by generations of Brothers and gardeners.

The graceful California Mission-style buildings, with their white walls and red-tile roofs, frame the wide lawns and manicured plazas. The hills surrounding the campus represent a classic California landscape with rolling flanks and groves of oaks. There's a sense of separation from the bustle of urban life in the Bay Area, of timelessness, of perfection.

"I'd say the view of the College I most appreciate is from the top of the hill coming down from Rheem," the late Brother Sixtus Robert Smith once reflected. "You see the beautiful Chapel and surrounding buildings gleaming white in a valley tucked under a series of ascending hills: first the hill with the cross and new observatory, and then behind that another hill, and yet others behind that."

And that's just one view.