Sister Patricia Spillane, MSC is the newly appointed Superior General of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Cabrini College’s religious sponsors.
Spillane graced Cabrini with her presence on Tuesday, Oct. 28, in the mansion.
Dr. Marie Angelella George, president of Cabrini College, hosted the reception in honor of Spillane’s appointed position in Rome. The position was officially chosen on July 20, in Codogno, Italy.
“It’s a special time for us. All of us at Cabrini College look forward to our partnership in the years ahead,” George said. “Through our sponsorship we are confident about achieving our vision of providing a Catholic Cabrini education represented of excellence social justice and transformational learning.”
Spillane, who served as Cabrini’s dean of students from 1968 to 1970, will be the seventh elected superior general. Spillane follows directly behind St. Frances Xavier
“With her faith filled energy, [Spillane] is a very fitting and worthy successor,” Nancy Costello,Web site director for Stella Maris Province, said.
Throughout the course of Spillane’s six year term, she plans to spread the love of God while promoting social justice and reducing hunger. Her position will require her to work with the sisters and various institutions throughout the world.
“We have a six-year plan for the congregation,” Spillane said. “We are called, in Cabrini College terms, to do something extraordinary.”
Spillane’s reference of Cabrini’s slogan is not only significant because she was a former dean. Spillane also earned a bachelor of science degree from Cabrini in 1964.
Dr. Joseph Romano, professor of philosophy, taught Spillane and thinks her to be a likeable and qualified person for the position.
“I remember her as a tremendous, gregarious person. Smart, bright, fun to be with,” Romano said. “No question about it, we all would light up when we’d talk to Sister Pat.”
On Oct. 28, Romano’s face lit up as Spillane, while speaking to the crowd gathered in her honor, shouted, “Is that Joseph Romano!”
Costello and Romano were not the only attendees impressed with Spillane. Brother Dominic Matthew O. Dem, freshman education
major, attended the reception.
“She’s going to be a good leader,” Dem said. “She is a very friendly and outward person.”
Spillane was elected her new position at the general chapter, a meeting involving discernment of spirits. Spillane was elected in an environment of prayer where it is decided which sister will fulfill
the role adequately, while being the best leader towards God.
“Spillane was selected for her qualities. She’s energetic, smart, understanding of the global reality of the sisters, a leader and a true missionary,” Costello said.
“She’s a teacher because she has the ability to explain things to people in a way in which they can readily understand. Primarily,though, she’s faith-filled; she really does trust in the Lord.”
On Thursday, Oct. 23 and Friday, Oct. 24, the General Council of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus met at Desmond Hotel in Malvern, Pa. During this gathering Sister Pietrina Raccuglia, MSC, was elected as the new Provincial of the Stella Maris Province.
Spillane acknowledged that the role of the Catholic college is to teach people to look at things differently. Cabrini students have a chance to practice this and to reach out through the new social justice curriculum.
However, in order to do this, the students must keep their eyes wide open. It is also important to acknowledge different cultures and ways of life.
“It’s a great opportunity not only to help but for people who could learn to become world citizens, instead of just American citizens,” Spillane said. “[People need] to have their heart and their mind stretched.”
Spillane practices teaching the need to stretch hearts and minds to others through God’s love. She believes that this is God’s plan for her and she is not at all disappointed.
“God has a purpose for each one of us; I’ve been used by God,” Spillane said. “I am so happy; I’ve got passion, purpose, interest and zest. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything.”