|Victory Noll Center HistoryOn September 1, 2001, Sister Francesca McGarry began her ministry as director ofthe Victory Noll Ministry Center. Sister Lucy Marie Vega was named assistant director and Sister Grace Golenberke, a core staff member. During the prior year, the Ministry Center task force submitted its recommendations to the Congregation of Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters, and began a year of experimentation to test the interest and and response of the Hispanic community. Three programs were offered during this time and were very well received. But very soon it was recognized that programs would also have to be offered to the wider community in response to the many requests for workshops and retreats. During the Fall of 2001 a retreat was held for Hispanic couples but most of the efforts during the Fall season were focused on organization and planning, establishing an advisory board and networking with resources in Fort Wayne and surrounding communities.
In January 2002, the first of a series of workshops entitled "Women Empowering Women" was held at the Ministry Center. This was followed by a multicultural workshop entitled "Celebrating Diversity" which presented the rich cultural traditions of the Miami, Black, Burmese and Mexican peoples. A multicultural workshop would become an annual event, adding different cultures each year with the purpose of building understanding and appreciation of the diverse peoples who make up the family of God.
In June 2002, the new site for the Ministry Center was completed with the renovation of the old kitchen in Sacred Heart Building offering a place apart with private drive and entrance for program participants. The entire renovation was planned and implemented by our own maintenance department. The Blessing and open house on June 6, 2002, was a joyous event for all the Victory Noll Sisters, Associates, friends and the work crew who attended. OLVM Chaplain Father Thomas Fahey blessed the rooms as the assembly processed into the building singing "Enter, Rejoice and Come In." The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was enthroned at the entrance and was to signify the primary thrust of our ministry with the Hispanic people and our commitment to multiculturalism. Our new location would now provide a place apart in an environment of peace and beauty so conducive to quiet prayer and reflection.
During that first year in the new Center, more than 1,000 people participated in one or more of the program held there. Although the majority of participants come from Fort Wayne, many neighboring communities were also well represented. Bishop John D' Arcy, then bishop of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese, was pleased to learn about the Center and predicted that it would become a "Spiritual Oasis" for the diocese. His words have proven to be true and the Victory Noll Sisters are grateful to be able to sponsor a ministry that helps to satisfy the growing hunger for spirituality in our world today.
Since that formal opening of Victory Noll Center (it was decided in 2008 to remove the word 'Ministry') there has been a full and busy schedule of programs each year including retreats, workshops, days of prayer and reflection and a variety of support groups that meet on a regular basis. The Center embraces a stance of multiculturalism and ecumenism and provides a warm and welcoming place for all who come searching for personal and spiritual enrichment and a deeper relationship with God.