A Franciscan Christmas

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Sister Jacinta Krecek, assistant professor of theology for Saint Francis University, greets guests during Christmas at the Castle Dec. 2. GWEN CLAYTON

FORT WAYNE — Local florists and designers decorated the Brookside mansion of the University of Saint Francis for Christmas at the Castle Nov. 30-Dec. 4. The event allowed visitors to take self-guided tours of the Richardsonian estate. At the end of the tour, guests were asked to vote for which room they thought had the best decorations.

USF students, staff and volunteers welcomed more than 3,500 guests over the weekend, according the event’s Facebook page.

“We broke new records this year, with 3,625 tickets counted and recorded,” the post said.

The school is not offering private tours this Christmas season.

“The ‘castle’ is beautiful and special but it cannot take the place of our fantastic university students,” the page explained. “The castle contains vital offices and meeting rooms for student success. We want our students to take top spot on our list!”

Brookside is the former summer home of industrialist John Henry Bass and his family. Since 1944, the historic structure has served as an administrative building for the university.

USF is located at 2701 Spring St., Fort Wayne.