Saying thanks, a million times over

John Picciano has fond memories of his years at Saint Leo University, and a deep appreciation for the influence that the Benedictine Sisters of Florida had on his life.

That’s what motivated the CEO of Ogelthorpe Inc., to donate $1 million to the Benedictine Sisters’ The Future is Now Campaign.

“The sisters, at that time, were very instrumental in bringing out my potential as a student,” Picciano said. “They emphasized Christian values.

John Picciano expresses his gratitude for the influence the Benedictine Sisters of Florida have had on his life through a $1 million donation to the sisters’ fundraising efforts. He is shown here, presenting an oversized copy of the check to Sister Roberta Bailey. (Courtesy of Benedictine Sisters of Florida)

John Picciano expresses his gratitude for the influence the Benedictine Sisters of Florida have had on his life through a $1 million donation to the sisters’ fundraising efforts. He is shown here, presenting an oversized copy of the check to Sister Roberta Bailey.
(Courtesy of Benedictine Sisters of Florida)

“They made me feel at home, and also were very good to help develop my self-esteem,” said Picciano, who went on to become a priest in the Diocese of Orlando, before stepping away from that vocation into a corporate role.

The Future is Now Campaign seeks to raise $1,650,000 to build an additional wing onto Holy Name Monastery, off State Road 52, across from Saint Leo University, near Dade City.

The additional wing was always part of the plan, but just not this soon.

“We knew the new facility would garner renewed interest in our community over a period of five or six years, but did not imagine it would happen so quickly,” Prioress Sister Roberta Bailey, said in a news release.

Requests have been flowing into the monastery from large groups wanting more than just a day retreat, Bailey explained. There also are women who are interested in discerning a vocation. Those needs require more space, Bailey said.

Besides donating $1 million, Picciano is chairing the fundraising campaign.

When Holy Name Monastery opened its doors in 2014, plans had already been drawn to expand the building at a future date. But, the need for larger quarters came sooner than expected. (File Photo)

When Holy Name Monastery opened its doors in 2014, plans had already been drawn to expand the building at a future date. But, the need for larger quarters came sooner than expected.
(File Photo)

A graduate of the class of 1969 at Saint Leo University, Picciano is the CEO of

an inpatient multihospital system dedicated to substance abuse care and counselling.

“I’m in the health care business. I work with drug addiction and psychiatric hospitals. We manage those facilities, and as a result of many things, we’re able to give back,” Picciano said. Last year, he gave $1 million to Saint Leo University.

Ogelthorpe, which has its corporate headquarters in downtown Tampa, has hospitals in Ohio, Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

Picciano’s contribution, combined with proceeds from a fundraiser and gifts from other donors, has brought the total raised to date to $1,334,896. Efforts continue to raise the remaining $315,104.

The additional space at the monastery is needed, said Picciano, noting he believes Pope Francis is inspiring more people to consider a religious life.

In addition to providing space for women who are considering vocations, the wing will provide more room for retreats, he added.

“I think the rooms will be well-used for their mission. The Benedictines are to work and pray, that’s what they do,” Picciano said.

For more information, visit BenedictineSistersOfFl.org.

Published March 30, 2016

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