State courts were battling whether women should be allowed to vote. William McKinley was president and Academy Award-winning director and filmmaker Frank Capra was born. Mark Twain wrote “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it,” and K.F. Braun invented the television’s earliest ancestor, the cathode-ray tube. It was 15 years before Titanic plunged to the bottom of the Atlantic and the year the college’s foundress, Sister Ursula Infante, MSC, was born.
It was 1897.
Sunday marked the 104th birthday of the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s oldest religious servant. The college has also deemed Feb. 18 Founder’s Day in honor of Sister Infante.
The community of sisters, friends and employees of the Cabrini Sisters’ Nursing Home, West Philadelphia, gathered with the post-centurion to celebrate her life and another year at a little past noon. A full-course lunch was served, followed by cake and gifts. Nine floral arrangements of red and white roses, tulips and lilies towered over the petite and surprised nun.
Sister Infante finds strength in such celebrations. Her fellow sisters know she loves a good party.
At first sight, Sister Infante made sure the most beautiful arrangement of flowers was taken to the chapel to be displayed for daily Mass. A woman of impeccable faith and dedication to Christ, the Blessed Virgin and St. Frances Cabrini, her spirits have been upbeat and her senses have continued to be sharp.
Earlier in the day, a Mass was offered in her honor. Fr. John Dellacarpini, chaplain, thanked her for her dignity and presence and “the pride that she exemplifies in her faith. She’s really been a real woman of faith.” Each night, Sister Infante thanks God for her life. “She’s on her knees at 104 praying and thanking God.” The other sisters can hear her repeating the words “thank you, God.”