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James Hall highlights cross-section of old, new Holy Cross traditions

| Monday, December 3, 2018

James Hall, named after Fr. Jacques-François Dujarié, was one of the first buildings open on the Holy Cross campus upon its completion in 1966.

When students first started attending classes at the College, the residence halls James, Basil and Anselm all served as homes to the Brothers of Holy Cross. The brothers in formation used James Hall as their home-base, where they sought refuge at night after long days of work spent going out into the community and giving charity, praying and reflecting.

Postulates were placed on one side of the hall and novices were placed adjacent to them in an arrangement that made the older brothers seem like father figures to the younger ones. They regularly attended Mass together in the chapel located on the main floor of the building, and ate their meals immediately after in the dining hall, just across the hallway.

After about 30 years in lulls in registration for religious vocations, Holy Cross decided fewer brothers in formation meant they needed to open their doors to undergraduates. Although it was only a two-year college at the time, minor renovations were needed to better accommodate the life of an undergraduate student as opposed to a brother in formation. As new students started coming in, the social aspect of life on the campus evolved.

Since it first opened its doors to students, James Hall has always been a female dormitory. Senior James Hall resident assistant Karen Eckrich described the environment of James as a close-knit community.

Director of Campus Ministry Andrew Polaniecki noted door decorations for Christmas as a signature tradition of the hall.

“Door decorations for Christmas have always been a nice little tradition,” Polaniecki said. “I think they have had them since I first started here in 2009.”

Polaniecki also recounted a time during which it was a tradition for girls to go apple-picking, but this tradition has been discontinued. 

The logos for all of the Holy Cross residence halls were created in 2010. The creation of James Hall’s logo aimed to involve the entire residence hall community.

“The ladies of James Hall have only had their name and logo for about eight years — students and hall directors were the ones who got to design those logos that went up onto banners,” Polaniecki said.

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