Cabrini celebrates and honors Mother Ursula Infante

By Colby Evans
March 31, 2023

 (from left to right) Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, Angela N. Campbell, and Kerry Alys Robinson reminisce Mother Ursula Infante. Photo by Colby Evans.
(from left to right) Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, Angela N. Campbell, and Kerry Alys Robinson reminisce Mother Ursula Infante. Photo by Colby Evans.

The Mother Ursula Lecture held on Wednesday, March 8 inside the Mansion, addressed the difficulties and opportunities facing Catholic higher education in America while commemorating the birthdate of Cabrini’s founder, Sister Ursula Infante. Cabrini students, teachers, staff, and the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, MSCs, engaged in a panel discussion on the progression of Catholic higher education and its trials and tribulations.

Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, and Kerry Alys Robinson, executive partner for global and national initiatives at Leadership Roundtable, were welcomed by Cabrini to explore and discuss a range of insightful topics, including the long history of Catholic intellectual life, the cognitive dissonance of money in the Catholic church, and more.

The panel then discussed ways to maintain financial stability while retaining the principles and essence of Catholic Social Teaching at the center of academic life as well as values and morality. Dr. Angela N. Campbell, vice president of Cabrini’s Office of Diversity, Equality, Inclusion, and Belonging, and chief mission officer, moderated the discussion.

Both panelists agreed during the discussion that Catholic higher education is essential for developing moral reasoning, decision-making skills, and a feeling of community and belonging. Catholic institutions provide students with the valuable opportunity to grow in their knowledge, pursue their passions, build community, develop a stronger sense of self, and learn about God all in one setting. Robinson and Dennis discussed how Catholic education instills in its students a commitment to service that is built in an unshakable hope and is guided in faith because the core of church doctrine is charity.

The importance of Catholic higher education

As Robinson said, “People yearn to know that they belong and one thing that I’ve noticed that Catholic colleges and universities can do when they do it with intention is care not just about the young mind and the intellectual edification but the whole person.”

When asked what Catholic higher education will look like in the future, Robinson responded by saying that Catholic education illuminates the moral role models people need and are searching for. “I think young adults are hungry for examples of moral heroism, for generosity, for lives of service, for solutions to the challenges that are affecting us as a whole, and Catholic higher education can help lead that way, preparing students to take on these challenges,” Robinson said.

(from left to right) Media Relations coordinator and writer, Matt Nestor, Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, and Interim President, Helen Drinan.Photo by Colby Evans.

The dialogue also honored Mother Ursula, a prominent member of the Catholic community who significantly impacted the church and paved the way for others. Helen Drinan, the interim president of Cabrini University said, “She is the foundress. That is the person who cleared all the barriers and moved all the brick walls, talked to the archbishop who said no, talked to all the college presidents in the area who said ‘Okay, we’ll support you.’ Did all the work to make it happen. There is usually one person and if that’s the foundress, that person should be really memorialized.”

Mother Ursula was a valiant leader who accomplished so much during a time when women’s voices were silenced and suppressed. “When you have somebody like Mother Ursula in your community life it is important to keep her memory alive because that is how people take inspiration and how they look at other people who have been role models for them and that is why this is important for the community,” Drinan said.

Closing of the event

A collage of photos showing the life of Mother Ursula. Photo by Colby Evans.

The Cor Jesu Prize is given as part of the event to a scholar and who best represents the Cabrinian tradition of rendering God present through social justice advocacy and action.  The Wolfington Institute for Civic Engagement’s Dr. Ray Ward presented Robinson and Holtschneider with the 2023 award. With a piece of cake and a beer to top it off (Mother Ursula’s legendary nighttime indulgence) the evening came to a close. Following this, Campus Ministry Associate Sister Christine Baltas made a toast to her sister, honoring her life and legacy.

Colby Evans

Meet the author behind the article, Colby Evans. Colby, a junior at Cabrini University, is 20 years old and a communications major with a minor in psychology. She enjoys writing and collaborating and connecting with her peers, teachers, and outside sources. Colby is a hardworking individual with strong communication skills and leadership qualities. The Cabrini COM department has facilitated Colby in broadening her knowledge and skills and applying them outside the classroom. She is enthusiastic about developing and producing digital and social media content across all platforms. Colby intends to return to school after college to earn her master's degree while pursuing a career in digital media marketing.

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