Wolfington Center: service learning, spirituality

By Abigail Keefe
February 28, 2002

photo by Tara Taylor

Service learning and civic engagement, community outreach and partnership, spirituality of service and an institute on Catholic social teaching make up the four main goals of the newly dedicated Wolfington Center, located on the bottom floor of the Widener Center.

On Thursday, Feb. 21, the goals along with plans to achieve these goals were unveiled to the campus community. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and members of the community filled the Widener Center Lecture Hall for the dedication of The Wolfington Center.

Thomas Nearny, class of ’77 and a member of the Board of Trustees gave the opening and closing remarks and introduced the various speakers.

Dr. Myrna Grandgenett, special assistant to the President for Mission and Ministry Director, was one of the speakers. Grandgenett told a story about a women named Anna who came across another woman nicknamed “The Jonquil Queen.” Anna was mesmerized by the beautiful daisies the woman had planted and sought to meet her. When Anna finally met “The Jonquil Queen,” she was surprised that such an ordinary looking woman could do such great things.

When Anna asked “The Jonquil Queen” how she managed her garden, she replied, “Every day for the past 15 years, I went out and planted as many bulbs as I could. When people came to visits, I asked them to join me in planting bulbs. In God’s time, with all of us working together, the hillsides all around were filled with flowers. So we went to the next field. It was really just going out and planting every day. Pretty simple.”

Grandgenett then compared The Wolfington Center to the fields of daisies. “We all joined in bringing it the seed of life,” Grandgenett said. “Like ‘The Jonquil Lady,’ we will go forth in The Wolfington Center every day and plant seeds for the future, joining with others in the work and continuing to believe that we will see hillsides of flowers in the days to come and far into the future.”

J. Eustace Wolfington, the benefactor of the new center, also spoke. He gave a brief speech detailing that his admiration for Mother Cabrini’s dynamics and respect for Mother Ursula Infante convinced him to fund the new center for service and learning. He said that he modeled his career in business after Mother Cabrini.

“I always believed that the most important part of a person’s life is spirituality,” Wolfington said. “When I heard about this program, I realized the most important idealistic time of a person’s life is when you are in college. It’s when you are searching for the truth and your intentions are most pure.”

Senior Carolyn Ashton, president of student government association, spoke about how the blooming of campus ministry into The Wolfington Center promoting service and leadership has influenced her life.

“Due to my experiences here, I have decided to pursue my masters in religious studies and become a campus minister,” Ashton said.

Sister Mary Louise Sullivan, former President of Cabrini College and Dr. Antoinette Iadarola, President of Cabrini College, also spoke. Both ladies delivered brief backgrounds of Cabrini’s success in community outreach.

Sister Sullivan talked about “Project Outreach” that Dr. Joseph Romano, philosophy professor, helped set up in the ’70s.

“It was an opportunity for students to spend a semester in a Cabrini mission,” Sister Sullivan said. Sister Sullivan also recognized alum Linda Panetta who participated in Project Outreach while at Cabrini. Sullivan boasted that Panetta is currently fighting for social justice to close the school of Americas.

Iadarola talked about how greatful she was to have inherited a legacy of service with roots deep in the Catholic faith from Sister Sullivan. She commended Dr. Jerry Zurek, English/communications chair and Dr. Sharon Schwarze, philosophy chair, for brainstorming and structuring the core curriculum at Cabrini. Iadorola recognized Dr. Seth Frechie’s Sem 300 class that was unable to attend the dedication because the class tutors at Julio de Borgious middle school in Philadelphia as part of the core.

“This year alone, over 1000 Cabrini students are attacking critical social problems through over 100 service projects,” Iadarola said.

Over spring break, many students are traveling to West Virginia to serve the economically depressed community.

Additionally, Mary Laver, coordinator of service and learning and community outreach is currently piloting a seminar entitled, “Leadership of the Heart.” She plans “outreach Saturdays” where students involved in the seminar spend their Saturdays dedicating their time to service projects.

Jessica Morgan and Father Steve Albero, campus ministers, prayed for the future of The Wolfington Center.

Following the dedication, faculty and staff dined in the Mansion with the Wolfington Family. Student athletes scattered around campus to direct all who attended where to go.

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Abigail Keefe

Abigail Keefe is a Cabrini College student studying communications, enjoying her time in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Abbie loves working for the school newspaper, the Loquitur, and is also passionate about everything that the communication field has to offer.

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