The final Cabrini Day: celebrating our legacy

By Jedidah Antwi and Emily Shultz
December 7, 2023

Yeredith Cruz stands next to her undergraduate poster presentation. Photo by Emily Shultz.
Yeredith Cruz stands next to her undergraduate poster presentation. Photo by Emily Shultz.

On Tuesday, November 13, 2023, Cabrini University held its last Cabrini Day. An annual celebration of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini’s legacy, classes are canceled and students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to participate in the day’s activities. 

A Tuesday morning gathering

This year’s Cabrini Day theme was “Reflection and Our Journey Forward.” The day started at 9 a.m. with morning Mass at Bruckmann Memorial Chapel of Saint Joseph. Father Fidelis Olokunboro led Mass, reading from the Book of Wisdom and the Book of Luke.

When Olokunboro prepared the sermon, he considered that this would be the last Cabrini Day. “Even though that should be a celebratory event, it’s also the final one. It comes with two sentiments of a joyful celebration because for us Cabrini Day is joyful, but it also comes with another not so joyful concern,” he said. What do you do? How do you choose the kind of sentiments that you dispose yourself to, in that kind of situation? So that was what the reflection was all about.” 

Olokunboro believes the readings of the day help us as a community to make a choice between these two sentiments. He said, “The sentiment that would eventually triumph is a sentiment of looking back and thanking God for the opportunities.” 

Olokunboro hopes what people take from his message is a sense of gratitude. “Sentiment of gratitude is always a sentiment that is joyful, for the opportunity that we’ve had to be part of this environment, to be part of the university,” he said.

Emily Lichius at the piano during Mass. Photo by Jedidah Antwi.

Frances Brooks, an adjunct faculty member of the business management and 1982 Cabrini alumna, talked about her experience in the Mass. “Cabrini’s been a part of my life for 40 years. Saying goodbye at the end of the school year is going to be difficult,” she said. “Mother Cabrini’s legacy is every single one of us and so, as we continue to go out into the world and do what we’re meant to do, we’re honoring her and her memory.”

Emily Lichius, a sophomore writing major and pianist for campus ministry, said “It was enjoyable. It’s good to see a large turnout, particularly over the holidays. I liked that there were more alumni and students present than there usually are at Sunday service.” 

Undergraduate present their research

Undergraduate presentations were held in the Grace Hall Atrium at 10 a.m. This year, undergraduate students presented research on various topics including Alzheimer’s awareness, social justice, gun violence, child labor, improving senior mobility, and organ donation.

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini relics were displayed in the conference room, turning the space into a mini-museum exhibit. Attendees had the opportunity to learn more about the saint’s life through vintage pieces of writing and photographs.  

Yeredith Cruz, a senior health science major, won the best student presentation award for her poster presentation on disparity in health research for women. Some of her findings were that women were not required to be included in clinical research until 1993. Men make up the majority of the STEM field, which impacts the way women’s health is researched.  

Student presenters majoring in education designed curriculums for elementary school children focused on diversity, inclusion, expanding vocabulary, friendship, and working together to overcome obstacles.  

At 11:30 a.m., students, faculty, family, and friends gathered at the cafeteria for a special luncheon. The lunch provided grilled salmon with potatoes, rice, veggies, and more including chicken nuggets, wraps, and sandwiches. All of the food service counters were run by faculty and staff volunteers. There was also a dessert table decorated with red velvet and vanilla cupcakes, Cabrini logo cookies, and blue candies. The table deliciously honored Cabrini’s blue and white color scheme. 

The luncheon dessert table. Photo by Emily Shultz.

The luncheon ice cream bar proved to be a fan favorite during the event. Francine Baker, area coordinator for East Campus, and Monica Carson, Director of Resident Life, were two of the many volunteers. Baker said the day was running beautifully. 

Carson added, “I haven’t seen as much of a presence in Founder’s the entire semester, so to have it on Cabrini Day is absolutely beautiful. I would encourage students to show up and enjoy the campus while we have it,” she said. “Don’t just show up on Cabrini Day but continue to show up and be present on campus as we navigate through the end of the semester and the academic year.”

Our highly anticipated film

At 1:30 p.m., a private screening of the movie “Cabrini” was shown at the Widener Auditorium. The movie is about Mother Cabrini’s journey to America and the challenges she faced. The movie shows the many glass ceilings she broke through and the impact she left. It was followed by a Q&A with some of the film’s producers. Hillary Graham, a licensed professional counselor and senior clinicians at CaPS, said, “I thought the movie was absolutely extraordinary and Mother Cabrini is an inspiration to us all.” 

Zachary DeCarlo, a producer of “Cabrini,” attended the private screening. “The purpose of this movie is to make her known, this amazing, impactful, audacious, tenacious, entrepreneurial, loving caring woman,” he said. DeCarlo hopes that through this movie many people will learn more about Mother Cabrini’s life and legacy and hopes everyone gets a chance to learn more when it comes out in March 2024. 

Katlynn Razler, a senior early education major and peer minister, with campus ministries, said “Even though we’re not a physical campus anymore, the people here in spirit will carry it through their daily lives and the people they meet.”

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Jedidah Antwi and Emily Shultz

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