Reflecting on an Education of the Heart: Diane Devanney

When asked to describe what the phrase “Education of the Heart” means to her, Diane Devanney, Adjunct Math Faculty, said: “I enjoy my work at Cabrini because I get to share my talents with students in a warm environment. To me, an Education of the Heart means creating a positive learning environment for students that envelops me with a spirit of joy. I feel good when I can change students’ lives even in a small way—especially if they can help them feel more confident about their studies.”

Submitted by Lisa Ratmansky, Director, Center for Teaching & Learning

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Cabrini Immigrant Services: Make Someone Smile this Winter

Cabrini Immigrant Services, 139 Henry St., New York, NY is holding a coat drive.  The theme is Make Someone Smile this Winter.  Immigrant Services has received multiple requests from the community.    New and gently used coats for children or adults are welcome.  Coats can be dropped off at the site Mondays-Fridays from 9am-4pm.   See the link for more information.

Submitted by:  A. Schwelm, Assistant Library Director

Posted in Together on the Journey: News from the Missionary Sisters | Leave a comment

Address of Cardinal Parolin on Social Doctrine

The conference was cosponsored by CAPP-USA and Fordham University Graduate Program in International Political Economy and Development (IPED). It was called Poverty and Developemt: a Catholic Perspective, and held Sept. 26 – 27.

* * *

Father McShane, President of Fordham University, Professor Schwalbenberg, Director of the “Graduate Program in International Political Economy and Development”, Distinguished Faculty Members, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am deeply grateful to the administration of Fordham University and the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontefice Foundation, for inviting me here and for providing this opportunity to address you at this “Dinner Event”, in the course of your conference entitled “Poverty and Development: A Catholic Perspective”, as you seek to deepen your understanding of the Social Doctrine of the Church in light of the recent teachings of His Holiness Pope Francis.
The themes of this conference – peace and the protection of peoples, on the one hand, and human and economic development, on the other – are two very important issues. They form a significant part of recent Papal Magisterium, as well as of the Holy See’s international activity, and are particularly important to Pope Francis. This evening, I would like to propose some considerations, looking first at the issues of peace, legitimate defense and the international juridical institute known as “the responsibility to protect”, and then turning to the question of development, revisiting the latest teachings of the Holy Father.
Not so long ago, Pope Francis recalled that if “there is a right to stop an unjust aggressor”, the means by which this is done must be properly evaluated. For such a reason, “after the Second World War, there was the idea of the United Nations”. The words of the Holy Father encapsulate the Church’s teaching on legitimate defense, including her position on the “responsibility to protect”. Today, the preservation of peace and the international responsibility to protect populations from war and from all types of aggression is a duty that has shifted from individual states and has been entrusted to the international Community. The developing phenomenon of international terrorism, utterly new in some of its expressions, methods of action and objectives, must become the occasion for a deeper study of the international juridical framework and serve as an opportunity to strengthen multilateralism.

I would like, therefore, to share my reflections with you in the context of ethics and fundamental law. The first question that we are faced with, viewed in the light of international law, is whether the phenomenon of the terrorism carried out by the IS (Islamic State), as well as other similar cases, reveal lacunae in the norms of the United Nations, which could be used to justify unilateral military action and which could give rise to supplementary norms authorizing, ex post facto, these very unilateral measures. It needs to be said, however, that norms regulating “legitimate defense” and possible humanitarian intervention have long existed and that the mechanisms of the United Nations for preventing war, stopping aggressors, protecting populations and providing help to victims, are an integral part of such norms. What is needed here is to identify a way to apply these norms effectively.

Furthermore, one must not forget that the attacks of 11 September 2001 accelerated the process, which was already underway, of defining and developing the legal instruments needed to combat and prevent international terrorism, by updating various conventions and concluding new international instruments. The principal international conventions against terrorism, trafficking of arms and drugs, money laundering and organized crime, were ratified by almost all of the United Nations member states. As a result of this process, the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Secretary General and the Security Council developed a new corpus of norms which have produced many positive results in the fight against terrorism in accordance with international law.

Today all necessary juridical elements for fighting terrorism and for protecting populations are established. The conditions required for legitimate defense are outlined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the norms of the United Nations Charter for the prevention and resolution of conflicts. In addition, they are contained in the articulated regulations against terrorism developed in recent decades, the Geneva Conventions for the protection of victims of war as well as the United Nations’ developments on the “responsibility to protect”; the latter express the consequences of natural law even though they have not yet been formulated into a positive norm. Prescinding a priori from this corpus iuris would mean combating illegality with illegal means.

The Holy See thus maintains that only by respecting the international legal framework the international community will be able to confront this new set of circumstances. In fact, the present world order is formed by a group of sovereign states, juridically organized in a solemn alliance, which was created, above all, to avoid war and to sustain a mechanism for collective security. One of the foundational pillars of this alliance is adherence to the principle that every act of war not sanctioned by the United Nations is illegitimate.

The general principle, therefore, is that the use of force is sanctioned for states within their own jurisdictions, and always governed by the rule of law, the respect for human rights and for the humanitarian law contained in the Geneva Conventions. The only exception for using force beyond one’s frontiers is the natural right of self-defense, as outlined in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. On the other hand, we observe that the new forms of terrorism exceed the operational capacity of the security forces of any single state and require the combined force of many countries in order to guarantee the defense of unarmed peoples. Since, however, no juridical norm justifies a unilateral policing action outside one’s frontiers, every action against terrorism which takes place beyond a country’s borders requires not only the free consent of the state concerned in which that force will be used, but also the authorization of the Security Council. This is because there exists at least the potential risk of not respecting the sovereignty of the state concerned. The present situation, therefore, for all its gravity, is an occasion for the member states of the United Nations to actualize the spirit of the UN Charter, reforming, with the consensus of all, the norms and pertinent mechanisms, where necessary.

Turning now to the question of development, which you will be discussing more in-depth tomorrow, I would like to refer to two recent statements of Pope Francis, which offer some fundamental considerations concerning economic activity and reflect the continuity of the Social Teaching of the Church. I am referring to his Message to the World Economic Forum of 17 January 2014, and his Address to the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination of 9 May 2014.

In the first of these, primarily addressed to heads of multinational corporations, the Holy Father recognized the important role that modern entrepreneurship plays in the technical and scientific progress of humanity by “stimulating and developing the immense resources of human intelligence”. Expressing his confidence in the abilities of the business world, the Holy Father also reiterated the importance of economic activity, conducted by “men and women of great personal honesty and integrity, whose work is inspired and guided by high ideals of fairness, generosity and concern for the authentic development of the human family”. He stated that economic activity, understood in this way, should contribute to integral human development for everyone so that “humanity is served by wealth and not ruled by it”. In other words, while acknowledging the legitimacy of a strong private sector and the advantages which derive from it, there must also be the firm commitment to ensure that private enterprise strives for the common good. Thus, in every business activity, the personal and social virtues of honesty, integrity, fair-mindedness, generosity and concern for others should prevail over the maximization of profits.

The second discourse which I wish to refer to is the Holy Father’s address to the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination. In it, His Holiness recalled that “the gaze, often silent, of that part of the human family which is cast off, left behind, ought to awaken the conscience of political and economic agents and lead them to generous and courageous decisions […] at the service of men and women”. In continuity with the teachings of Benedict XVI in Caritas in Veritate (Nos. 6, 24-40, et al.) and in keeping with the teachings of Saint John Paul II in Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (Nos. 42-43) and Centesimus Annus (43), Pope Francis affirms the necessity of harmonious collaboration among all social forces (business men and women, governments, civil society), with each one committed, according to their area of expertise and responsibility, to the pursuit of the common good. To this end, everyone should “work together in promoting a true, worldwide ethical mobilization which, beyond all differences of religious or political convictions, will spread and put into practice a shared ideal of fraternity and solidarity, especially with regard to the poorest and those most excluded”.

We see, moreover, that the subsidiary function of the state and of international organizations is also indispensable in achieving the common good. It must, however, be harmonized with the combined efforts of society so that public and private actors may be supported in living out the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance, and foster a worldwide mobilization of resources in favor of the poorest and marginalized. The moral value and effectiveness of economic systems are not products of a priori ideological definitions. They are, rather, the result of the lifestyles of different economic actors, such as simple workers, politicians, business men and women, and civic personnel, who reveal true dedication and responsibility.

I encourage you, therefore to continue deepening your understanding of the Church’s Social Doctrine, so that you may define the new challenges of today in its light, with the knowledge that your study and research, rooted in the Magisterium and Tradition, will offer a new and significant contribution not only to the life of the Church, but also to all of humanity.

I thank you once again for your kind welcome and hospitality, and I assure you of my prayers for your work.

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Mother Cabrini the Eccentric?

Saints are not normal people. Being notable is how saints get noticed for sainthood in the first place. The few exceptions to this rule proves the rule.

Normalcy has never been a Catholic virtue. The Church does not call people to be torchbearers of social convention, heartedly backslapped by an accepting world. Why would it, when the world’s social dimension is so hostile to faith, negligent of the poor, and so convinced eschatology is delusion.

Christ Himself—the man—was prickly, often chastising his twelve companions for some perceived shortcoming and riddling them with parables that alluded them till His death. Equally, if the famed Saint Francis of Assisi was preaching to the birds wearing sackcloth in 2014, he’d know Brother Judicial Remand and be forced Brother Thorazin. Saint is often synonymous with eccentric.

In her biography of our Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Mary Louise Sullivan, Ph.D., ’63, says, “Mother Cabrini also became a canonized saint. History points out the saints are not always the easiest people with whom to live because of their constant pursuit of perfection.”  She goes on to point out that Mother Cabrini understood human nature and was capable of “gently and on occasion not so gently calling forth individuals without violating their personalities.” I.e., Mother Cabrini could be nice and she could be tough. Her Missionary Sister today could be called the same, which is how they (like Cabrini) continue to accomplish so much.

Was Mother Cabrini eccentric? Sullivan doesn’t say and her biography doesn’t imply as much.  Instead, Sullivan focuses instead on the Saint’s charisma. While eccentricity and charisma are often siblings, they are not always related.  “Complex personality factors combined to make Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini an outstanding woman of her era,” Sullivan said. That sounds like code, but Sullivan is honest enough throughout the biography to accept that she is being literal. She goes on: “Without a doubt she [Mother Cabrini] possessed the intangible element known as charisma. Only a charismatic personality could have attracted so many followers and captivated the attention of both the powerful and lowly of this world.”

Her next paragraph’s opening lines are codeless. “Cabrini was a modern woman,” Sullivan writes, going on to explain that, “She certainly did not adapt readily to the role expected of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century women religious.” She next says that Cabrini “was an entrepreneur” who “…foresaw the twentieth century as one of revolution” though a revolution of “intrinsic value and dignity of each human being.”

To return to the original question: Was Mother Cabrini eccentric like Saint Francis and the majority of other Saints? A young Missionary Sister novice named Anna Lawrence Infante—who became Sister Ursula—perhaps summed-up Mother Cabrini best, writing:

Hers was a life for God alone… No task was too great, no labor was too hard, no journey too long and fatiguing, no sufferings were unbearable when the saving souls and succoring of suffering humanity were in question.”

In imitation of Christ, she was “a noble heroine of charity,” as she was described at her death in the simple death notice issued by the Missionary Sisters.  Eccentric? Indeed, in all the best Christian ways.

By Christopher Grosso, Senior Writer, Cabrini College

Posted in Mother Cabrini's Philosophy of Living

Inauguration Mass Homily – October 25, 2014 – Father Carl Janicki

In a 1999 Easter Sunday Letter to Artists, St. John Paul II highlights one of the gifts the artist brings for us: “Beauty is a key to the mystery and a call to transcendence.”

Dr. Taylor has a passion for Modern Art. His passion and the inspiration of this inauguration day served as the foundation for this homily.

“Beauty is a key to the mystery and a call to transcendence.” In Genesis, God is first revealed as creator, the Divine Artist separating light and dark with the highpoint of His creative love being the formation of man and woman in His image and likeness. The love and respect we extend to one another and our contemplation of the beauty in nature are an acknowledgement of the self-reflection placed within by the Divine Artist.

Today’s readings truly highlight for us that which is at the core of our Cabrini legacy: the value of each person, a respect for nature lived in charity and justice – which we can say function as the two feet of the Christian life journey during which we strive to recognize and acknowledge the beauty of God in the other and nature.

The first reading clearly articulates the Divine expectation of how we are called to treat one another. The author of Exodus inspired by the God who loves us first uses that reality to remind us: we are each called to treat others as God has, does, and will treat us – as valuable – as beautiful because we are created in God’s image and likeness.

The human artist, reflecting God the Divine Artist invites us to grow in our awareness of beauty through reflection and contemplation. Great Art invites us to heightened awareness, rather than just a passing glance of admiration.

Edda Livingston in her Letter to a Modern Artist quotes the great Russian thinker Peter D. Ouspensky: “The artist must be a clairvoyant; he must see that which others do not see; he must be a magician: must possess the power to make others see that which they do not see themselves, but which he does see.” Today, I can hear a connection between Ouspensky’s words about the artist applying to a leader, applying to Dr. Taylor. The leader is called to be a clairvoyant, a magician, called to put vision at the service of the community.

Dr. Taylor, has been called to use his gifts, talents, and passion – given by God – to bring us to a heightened awareness of the beauty in this community… To help the Cabrini Community see itself as you see us … and lead us forward in accord with God’s plan.

“Beauty is a key to the mystery and a call to transcendence.” Jesus articulates for us the beauty of God’s loving plan of salvation in His summary statement worded so succinctly in today’s Gospel: love of God – love of neighbor. Fidelity to this Gospel command becomes the foundation for the many Holy men and women of faith who serve as sources of inspiration for us – Mother Cabrini included.

She lived a life of action, clearly motivated by these Gospel words. We are called to advance her legacy by discovering the beauty in these words of our Savior and allowing them to become our foundation for a life of Gospel action.

“Beauty is a key to the mystery and a call to transcendence.” … And the highest moment of beauty is the discovery of God’s image and likeness inside us and the other … which propels us to fulfill the Gospel virtues we hear today … to be people who love God and love our neighbor.

Dr. Taylor, may God shower His blessings upon you and all who serve with you to advance the legacy of Mother Cabrini as followers of Christ.

Readings for Sunday, October 26, 2014

Submitted by: Sharon Shipley Zubricky ‘76

Posted in Our Catholic Faith | Leave a comment

Reflecting on an Education of the Heart: Theathers (Dawn) Oliver

When asked to describe what the phrase “Education of the Heart” means to her, Theathers (Dawn) Oliver, Administrative Assistant for the Center for Teaching & Learning, said: “ An Education of the Heart is an education of transformation. An Education of the Heart teaches students how to tap into all of the resources around them to uncover the purity of their own humanity. Through this education minds are opened, passions are mentored, beliefs are strengthened, and students are transformed. An Education of the Heart paired with real life engagement prepares students to do something extraordinary to advocate for change and build stronger communities.

Submitted by Lisa Ratmansky, Director, Center for Teaching & Learning

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The Provincial Assembly 2014

The Stella Maris Province  of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is, this week,  in the midst of its Provincial Assembly. The Provincial Assembly is held annually, usually in the fall.   Missionary Sisters and their lay collaborators travel from all points of the Stella Maris Province to meet, pray, and discern the province direction for the coming years.   The Assembly opens with prayer and liturgy.  Delegates and observers participate in this ‘day of retreat’ putting themselves in the heart of Christ, asking to be guided by the Holy Spirit, always mindful of the great responsibility they have in sharing the charism of St. Frances Cabrini.  At the Assembly, the Missionary Sisters and their lay collaborators renew their commitment to carry on the charism of St. Frances Cabrini, ‘to be bearers of the love of Christ in the world.’

At the conclusion of an Assembly, a Theological Reflection is composed. “Theological Reflection” (TR) means bringing a faith perspective to the realities that the MSCs and their lay collaborators experience as they work for social justice. The purpose of the TR is to serve as a point of reference.  Those in the Cabrinian Community who were not in attendance at the Assembly can use the TR to glean the hopes and aspirations of the Assembly participants.  All in the Cabrinian Community are called to participate in these aspirations through prayer and action.   Please pray for all of those gathered at the Assembly.


The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (MSC) is an international congregation  present on six continents and in sixteen countries.  The congregation is divided into four provinces and two regions.  According to canon law, the number of sisters living in a particular geographic location determines whether that entity is a province or a region.  Sisters in the United States, Swaziland, and Australia,  make up the Stella Maris Province.  The three other MSC Provinces are: Brazil, Italy, and Western Europe.  The Italian Province includes two missions far from Europe, one in Wolayta Soddo, Ethiopia and the other in  Altaiski–Krai, Russia.  The two regions of the MSC congregation are the Argentine region, which includes missions in Argentina and Paraguay, and the Central America region which includes missions in Guatemala and Nicaragua.


Submitted by:  A. Schwelm, Assistant Library Director

Posted in Together on the Journey: News from the Missionary Sisters | Leave a comment