Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Wellspring Centre celebrates 25 years as place of welcome

October 4th, 2019

To understand the warmth that the Sisters of St. Martha have shared with the campus community for a quarter of a century through Wellspring Centre—celebrating its 25th anniversary this year—is as simple as stepping into Wellspring’s space on the second floor of Morrison Hall, filled with plants, soft lights, tables and seating, and members of the campus community quietly reading, making toast or a cup of tea. 

For 25 years now, Wellspring has been an oasis in the middle of campus, where students, staff and faculty can stop in for a cookie, some fresh fruit and a bit of peace. 

On Oct. 4, the Marthas celebrated the anniversary during StFX Homecoming weekend with an afternoon open house and cake cutting. 

As well, to mark the milestone, 16 stories from students now hang in the University Chapel, sharing the importance of the gift of the Marthas in creating Wellspring. Several Marthas also provided stories, sharing the history of Wellspring. 

Sr. Catherine Arsenault and Sr. Ivy Maccan are the Marthas who currently staff the centre, located in the former St. Martha’s Convent. 

Wellspring opened in September 1994 as a means for the Marthas, a congregation founded in Antigonish in 1900, to maintain a StFX presence when the convent closed in August of that year. Students, staff and faculty have since enjoyed a warm spacious gathering room; kitchenette facilities including complimentary tea and coffee; a seminar room where up to 10 can gather, a comfortable quiet room for reflection, prayer and meditation, and friendly, helpful staff.

“We’re not about programming. We’re really about presence,” the Sisters have said over the years. 

“Our main goal is to serve the university community.”

Wellspring, they say, really found its niche on campus as a place of welcome, with many people calling it a sacred space. “Students come here to study because of the peace it offers. There’s something really special about the place. I think it’s about hospitality, and what that can do for people, being welcomed.”

Wellspring’s mission has been to offer a welcoming Martha presence on the StFX campus, one that is conducive to the development of persons and one that enhances the life of the university community. The centre is a comfortable, peaceful place for all members of the university community to spend time in the midst of a bustling, hectic campus. The facilities provide a place for quiet reflection, for study, or to relax with friends over a cup of tea. As one student remarked “everyone benefits in their own way.”

Start Your Journey