Sister’s uncertain post-Cabrini future


By Paige Bowman
September 26, 2023

Sister Christine Marie (center) at her vow renewal ceremony that took place in the summer of 2023. Photo courtesy of Cabrini University Instagram.
Sister Christine Marie (center) at her vow renewal ceremony that took place in the summer of 2023. Photo courtesy of Cabrini University Instagram.
Sister Christine Marie Baltas. Photo courtesy of Cabrini University.

Sister Christine Marie Baltas has been a nun with Mother Cabrini’s own Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for 64 years. She lived, worked, and volunteered at Cabrini University for the last 16. She was also dean of students from 1982-86. Currently, she lives at the Gate House and is the only nun to live and work at Cabrini.  

And yet, after all her years of service, her future is now uncertain.  

Baltas requested to return to Cabrini 16 years ago because of how much she enjoyed the Cabrini culture. “I had a great time. I love being here. I love the campus. Love the people. Love being with the kids. So, I asked to come back,” she said. 

She returned as a volunteer and is currently an associate of campus ministry. Her duties on campus include teaching classes, giving prayer, and being involved with the community whenever she can.  

Baltas has worked with countless students throughout the years and shared many words of wisdom with them.  

“Sister Christine Marie has inspired me a lot with her words, ‘Take it easy.’ Ever since I was a freshman, whenever I shared with her how overwhelmed I was with my assignments, she would advise me to ‘Take it easy,’ and that’s what I have been doing,” said 2021 Cabrini graduate Evarlyne Ndeti. 

Initial shock 

Baltas found out about Cabrini’s closure like many of us: through an article on the website D3 Sports.  

She said, “I was informed enough to know that we were going through a difficult time, financially strapped, and that there will be concerns. I had no clue about that it was going to be solved. In fact, I was on vacation. Somebody on the faculty sent me the link … So, that’s how I found out.”  

Later that day, Baltas was called by the Provincial, who is in charge of all the nuns in the Missionary Sisters of The Sacred Heart. “She called me and asked me if I knew. I said, ‘Oh, yes. I was on vacation.’ And I told her how I found out. She apologized and told me that the Cabrini University Board of Trustees, who were involved in this decision, signed a statement of non-disclosure, meaning they signed a paper saying that they would not talk about this. You know, there was, I guess, a set date to be announced. Somebody leaked it. And it just caused a big mess and a lot of upset and confusion.” 

Future plans  

Baltas doesn’t know yet how the closure will impact her future. She doesn’t know what this means, or even where she will be next year at this time. She has some ideas of what she might want to do but isn’t ready to share them.  

“I have some ideas. I’m not ready to retire. I’m not ready to say ‘That’s it.’ I’m not doing it,” she said.  

Leaving behind a legacy  

Baltas would like to see Cabrini’s legacy live on, even after its doors close.  

“I would hope that, whether it’s students, faculty, or staff, that people who were here will take away with them something positive that they gained from being here,” she said. “Whether it’s a desire to be of service for other people, to help people to make the world a better place, and know that they will have gotten something special, or that they can take wherever they go. That’s what I would hope.”

Baltas also connected Cabrini’s closure to a tradition celebrated in Sant’Angelo Lodigiano, Italy, on Mother Cabrini’s birthday. In the town where Cabrini was born, every year on her birthday, July 15, residents perform a reenactment during which a flock of white doves is released around her house. 

“During the reenactment, they release these doves, and they fly off. I kind of think that’s what we’re being asked to do: go off in different directions. But bringing something that we’ve gained from this experience, to wherever we go in our lives, helps us to become better people and maybe help the world become like that,” she said.  

Baltas wishes the best for both Cabrini students and faculty during this uncertain time.   

“I’m praying for everybody, that students will find happiness and, in the future, that wherever they go, whether they’re alums going on to grad school or going out to the world to start with a job, or whether they’re faculty or staff, if people are looking for jobs, and they will find good jobs and they can be happy,” she said. 

“I’m saying, ‘Lord, you got to help these people.’ I’m praying because there are so many good people, and I’m going to miss them terribly. Over the years, people come and they go, but then there’s a core group of people … and they’re still here.” 

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Paige Bowman

My name is Paige Bowman. I am a junior digital communication major, minoring in marketing. I’m from Watsontown, located in rural central Pennsylvania. At Cabrini, I have played on the women’s soccer team for all three of my years. I have been playing soccer since I was four years old and can’t remember a time before it. In my free time, I am an avid hiker, runner, and kayaker. I take my dog, Clementine, with me on all my adventures. She is a rescue from South Carolina who shares the same interests as me. Some of my other passions include painting and art of any kind. I help create graphics and game day edits for my soccer team. During the school year, I live off campus in the nearby town of Conshohocken. When I’m not at school, I love to visit my grandma Rita and play card games with her. To this day she has yet to beat me in a game of Rummy.

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