She was there in the beginning, so her words are an important part of the historical chronicle of the town of Ave Maria. Architect Elisabeth Perreault, Vice President at Cannon Design, delivered a detailed presentation about Town Planning and the Oratory at Ave Maria, Florida, at Judson University’s James Didier Symposium on Christ & Architecture.
This video is a great piece of history, and is “must see TV” for anyone who has more than a passing interest in the town. Ms. Perrault, who was integral in the master plan of the town, recounts what her clients hired her firm to create.
In the video she reveals that in fact her job was to design a “Catholic town” – meaning the very design of the town was intended to evoke, represent and encourage the Catholic culture of the town. That is NOT to say that it was ever intended to be a town just for Catholics, of course. However, Ms. Perrault’s words underscore the faith-based historical inspiration and genesis of the town, which remain the key reason so many people choose to live in Ave Maria.
Some interesting highlights:
- Client Barron Collier Companies thought there was a market for a Catholic community;
- Her firm understood they were being asked to design an ideal Catholic community;
- There was a Catholic faith-based foundation for the community;
- To come up with the plan, she and her colleagues looked back to a time in Italy when church and state weren’t divorced;
- The Oratory church was intentionally designed as the center and cultural heart of the town;
- They were designing a town whose identity was to be Catholic;
- The Church was front and center as a landmark and symbolic heart of the community;
- The church was placed and designed so that it would literally shout to everyone, day and night: “this is what we are all about as a community”;
- The church was designed so a person approaching the town sees the towering oratory from miles away and immediately discovers the faith based origin of the community.
After watching this video, we can be even more confident when we describe Ave Maria, Florida, as “the town with a Catholic heart.”™©. And the town where all persons of good will are welcome.