Ave Maria gets $50,000 for chapelAve Maria Village came one step closer to its goal of raising $1.35 million for a new chapel on Wednesday thanks to a $50,000 donation. The check was presented to Ave Maria Village Administrator Tim Burchill by Sister Suzanne Stahl, corporate board secretary for Sisters of Mary of the Presentation Health System.
By: Brian Willhide, The Jamestown Sun
Ave Maria Village came one step closer to its goal of raising $1.35 million for a new chapel on Wednesday thanks to a $50,000 donation.
The check was presented to Ave Maria Village Administrator Tim Burchill by Sister Suzanne Stahl, corporate board secretary for Sisters of Mary of the Presentation Health System.
“A while back, we made a decision that we would do what we ask of other people to do, which is provide a sizeable donation to help provide the very best care and environment for the residents here at Ave Maria,” Stahl said.
The donation brings Ave Maria Village’s fundraising amount so far to more than $500,000 — nearly 40 percent of its total goal for constructing a new 2,500-square-foot ecumenical chapel.
“This contribution shows not only the health system’s commitment, but the fact that this contribution is in honor of the sisters makes it a very special thing for us,” Burchill said. “We’ve grown tremendously in the past five years and we’re always looking to make Ave Maria Village better and better.”
That growth is ultimately what gives the SMPHS satisfaction in seeing these types of facilities progress.
“It really is all about the residents and making sure we have the structures that support them. This enlarged chapel area will certainly help to be a center of that,” Stahl said.
Currently, Ave Maria Village utilizes the Barthel Room at its facility — which doubles as a chapel and activity center, but according to Burchill, it has created many scheduling conflicts over the years.
He said this new chapel would serve three long-standing needs for the 158 total residents at Ave Maria and the adjacent Heritage Centre.
“The need for a new chapel, family suite and enclosed transportation are three of the biggest needs we have identified here,” Burchill said.
The new chapel would provide a family suite for residents reaching the end of their lives in addition to a transport center for all-weather access to the facility, which Burchill said would solve the problem of picking up and dropping off residents during inclement weather.
“It breaks my heart to have to see an 85-year-old woman bundled up in a blanket during the winter waiting to get picked up outside in order to go to a doctor’s appointment,” he said. “This will go a long way toward helping solve those kinds of issues.”
There is currently no set date for when construction would begin, as Ave Maria Village will continue to bring in donations until it meets its $1.35 million goal.
For more information about the fundraising campaign or the new chapel, call 701-252-5660 or visit www.avemariavillage.org.
Sun reporter Brian Willhide can be reached at
701-952-8454 or by email at