Villa Maria held a blessing ceremony for a special new space on campus: the Lynch Family Prayer Garden. This beautiful new spot for prayer and quiet reflection, located between the tennis courts and the Marian Center, honors the memories of alumnae Eileen Agnes Lynch ’48 and her daughter Mary Eileen Lynch ’73. Eileen Lynch’s sons Mickey and Jim, and her grandson Colin, attended the blessing, which included a prayer service led by Sr. Marie Claire and Sr. Regina.
The garden was created thanks to a donation from alumna Eileen Agnes Lynch ’48, who dedicated the garden to the memory of her daughter, Mary Eileen Lynch ’73.
Kathy McCartney, Villa’s Director of Advancement, said she first received a call from Eileen Lynch in November of 2016. Mrs. Lynch told her she was donating money for Villa Maria to build a meditation garden in memory of her daughter, Mary Eileen. They talked about Villa Maria and her fondness for her time here. Eileen shared that she was concerned about the pressures that young people felt today, so she wanted this to be a spot where the students and faculty could go as a refuge from the hustle and stresses of daily life. She said that she had found great peace through meditation.
“She was a warm, engaging woman, and I enjoyed our conversations very much,” Kathy said. “I actually felt more peaceful just talking with her.” Sadly, Eileen passed away in February, before completion of the garden.
The garden has an additional alumnae connection. The landscaping surrounding it was designed and installed by Villa grad Olivia Fow ’13. Olivia graduated last year from the University of Rhode Island as a landscape architecture major, and is currently completing an internship at Longwood Gardens.
For more than seven decades, Eileen A. Lynch has had a profound impact on Villa Maria Academy. She was an accomplished student, she sent her own daughter to Villa, and then at the end of her life chose to make a donation to improve the lives of the current students and faculty. The entire Villa Maria community is grateful for her, and for her generous gift.