Lessons in Living from Beloved Fr. Dave Duffy, O.S.A. (1931-2006)
This week, we celebrated the life of Fr. Dave Duffy by participating in acts of kindness and making members of our community feel special. Faculty member, Mr. John Ostick P’99’07’13 shares his fond memories of Fr. Duffy in the excerpt below.
I love watching movies. It’s always interesting when the screenwriter delivers the story in alternate fashions. Sometimes the story unfolds in reverse. In this reflection on a great leader, Fr. Dave Duffy has died suddenly and Malvern Prep community is mourning.
It’s June 2006 and the Fr. Duffy Center for the Arts won’t open until a few months in September. The building is up but still unfinished. At the conclusion of the final faculty meeting of the school year, we are all summoned to the stage of the Center for an impromptu “curtain call.”
On the stage, Jim Stewart, Head of School and the artist commissioned to deliver the official
Fr. David Duffy portrait met the entire faculty and lowered the blue drapery with goldenrod piping to unveil his image. Everyone had an audible gasp. The likeness was so profound, the eyes so kind and captivating, that Fr. Duffy was “physically” with us in that moment.
This leader formulated the meaning of our school’s current prayerful motto, “A Place at the Table.” He was an incredible connector. He baptized our kids into the Malvern family. He showed up, even in Hershey, PA to honor an awarded teacher. He welcomed every child to the Malvern altar on Christmas Eve.
Fr. Harry Erdlen, a classmate of Fr. Duffy in the Augustinian Seminary was devastated by the loss of his brother. He satirically commented at that June Faculty meeting, “Malvern Prep is living a lie. They are naming that building the Father Duffy Arts Center. Dave Duffy did not know the difference between a ballet or an opera.” The namesake was a perfect Malvern community memorial to this man who loved this school and dedicated his gifts to its growth.
Fr. Dave Duffy brought community together. If a project needed to happen, someone out of the woodwork stepped forward to deliver. If financial assistance was necessary, the money made its way to Malvern just because people heard the call from him.
A suggestion to the entire Malvern community-----
The next time you visit the Duffy Center on campus, take a hard right turn through the entrance and take one minute to view that wonderful portrait of Fr. Duffy. Look at his smiling face and reflective eyes and be moved to embrace his goodness and take the feeling away in your pocket.
Malvern Preparatory School is an Augustinian School, Catholic and Independent for boys in grades 6 through 12, located in the Greater Philadelphia suburb of Malvern, Pa. We are committed to the Augustinian values of Veritas, Unitas, and Caritas, meaning Truth, Unity, and Love.