Friday, January 10, 2020 marked the last day of work at Saint Vincent Seminary for Liz Morris, who marked 28 years of service prior to her retirement. Liz began her employment in the office of the academic dean, working for two academic deans, and then moved to the rector’s office, serving with five rectors during her tenure at the seminary.
A campus-wide farewell was held Wednesday, January 8. Co-workers throughout the college, Benedictines from Saint Vincent Archabbey, and faculty members and co-workers at the seminary stood in what was, at times, a very long line to wish Liz well.
The harbinger of Liz’s imminent arrival at one’s door would be her spoken “knock, knock,” or, depending on the season, a “gobble, gobble,” or a “ho, ho, ho.”
Some of the words used to describe Liz were energetic, welcoming, high energy, always available, meticulous, organized, helpful, generous, knowledgeable, easy to work with and “extraordinarily positive.”
There was some disbelief, one monk noting that “I thought Liz would be there forever.”
Her memories run the gamut, from interacting with some of the Pittsburgh Steelers during training camp—Troy Polamalu sometimes joined the monks for morning prayer—to the time a seminarian’s pet canary escaped and needed to be recaptured, to the time her car’s emergency brake let loose while unoccupied and careened into the monastery parking lot. Her only concern was whether it had flattened a monk who had been outside weeding earlier in the day. Fortunately, it had not.
Liz was known throughout the campus for her love of birthdays. Occasionally, a sparkle of glitter can be found in an office, long past a glorious birthday celebration for its occupant. Liz would stay late or come in early to decorate for an unsuspecting associate’s observance, and woe to those who attempted to hide their birth dates from her.
One person successfully hid her date of birth for five years; however, Liz found out upon the woman’s 40th birthday, presenting her with a gift-wrapped top hat adorned with candles, and made to look like a birthday cake. Following completion of that celebration, the hat was donated to the seminary under the watchful eyes of Liz, and worn on many heads during her colleagues’ special days.
No matter the occasion, Liz did (and still does) everything with her full attention and energy.
Assigned the role of “teacher” in an emergency response training drill, she made an attempt to “teach” the room full of people she was sequestered with. After all, she couldn’t just stand there. Later in that same training, she risked herself to warn others, “saving” several of her “students,” then pursued the “villain” of the training down the hall, and was “wounded.” It wouldn’t be any other way in real life as well.
Liz and her husband Roy, who is retired, plan to spend time visiting family in Colorado and New Mexico, traveling, and enjoying their Ligonier residence. She said perhaps master gardening is in her future, as is taking down her Christmas tree at her leisure, and maybe, “slowing down.”
Best wishes, Liz! And thank you for your service.