HARRISBURG, Pa. – Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Lewisburg is honored and humbled to be the recipient of the assets of the Fetherston Trust, including the Packwood House Museum. An important historical museum in Union County, Packwood House experienced decreased attendance for more than a decade and was also negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These factors caused the museum to cease operations permanently in October 2020. According to the terms of the Fetherston Trust and the last will and testament of Edith Fetherston, all assets are to be transferred to Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish.
“Edith Fetherston was a faithful parishioner, and she is remembered by many at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Lewisburg. Edith and her husband John were remarkable citizens of our town and county, and desired to leave a foundation that would educate and delight the people of Lewisburg. While we are thankful to be the ultimate beneficiary of the Fetherston estate, we are sad that the Packwood House Museum was not a sustainable enterprise. Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, its people and clergy are grateful to the Trustees and Executors of the Fetherston estate for their faithfulness to the wishes of Edith Fetherston,” said Rev. Matthew Larlick, pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish. “The gift of the Fetherston estate will become part of our patrimony, to ensure that Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Lewisburg, will continue as a beacon of Christian Faith and Practice in Union County for generations to come.”
The Trust and subsequent Packwood House Museum was established in accord to the wills of John and Edith Fetherston. After living in various locations along the East Coast, the Fetherstons’ purchased the 27-room building as a retirement home in 1936. Edith Fetherston, who was born in Lewisburg, was a parishioner of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish. Upon John and Edith’s deaths in 1962 and 1972, respectively, the home was turned into a museum and opened to the public in 1976. The museum is filled with the Fetherstons’ treasures of glass, ceramics, textiles, furniture, paintings and Pennsylvania German and Oriental arts.
The process of transitioning the Trust assets was approved by the Court, however, the value of the museum assets are unknown at this time. As Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish is a separately incorporated entity from the Diocese of Harrisburg, none of the Packwood House Museum assets will be transferred to the Diocese nor can they be used for the Diocese’s Chapter 11 reorganization.
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The Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg was established on March 3, 1868. It covers 15 counties in south and central Pennsylvania, is home to 89 parishes and 35 Catholic schools, and has nearly 230,000 Catholics.