On April 6 through 8, many members of the Cabrini family gathered at the University of Notre Dame for the conference “Too Small a World”: Catholic Sisters as Global Missionaries. With over 20 Missionary Sisters and lay collaborators in attendance, the spirit of Mother Cabrini, already woven through the theme, was alive throughout the sessions.
The program was held in honor of the centenary of Mother Cabrini’s death. The study of missionary sisters embraces Cabrini’s boundless ambition as well as the practical and cultural constraints that shaped the outcomes of her and others’ journeys. An international group of scholars gathered to investigate the transnational work and shifting identities of Catholic sisters as global missionaries, asking how the study of these border-crossing women, organized into multinational structures, can help all historians enter into the global history of Catholicism. The presentations and conversations kept alive the history while also ensuring we focused on the future of religious vocations, missionary spirit, and our faith. The conference ended with a trip for all participants to the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini in Chicago.
An exhibit of Mother Cabrini’s artifacts, including her traveling cutlery, several items of clothing, and checks she signed, was on loan from the Cabriniana Room at Cabrini University’s Holy Spirit Library to the Hesburgh Libraries at Notre Dame to be displayed throughout the conference. The response was so positive, the exhibit will continue to be displayed through their commencement.
Anne Schwelm of Cabrini University co-curated the exhibit.
Sr. Barbara Staley, MSC General Superior of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who gave the opening comments, with a focus on the Cabrinian charism today.
Yvonne Hrapmann, Principal, Cabrini High School “From Student to Principal: Stories of Cabrinian Mission in High School Curriculum and Hiring”
Jeff Gingerich, PhD, Provost, Cabrini University, “Education of the Heart: Lay Leadership and Mission Integration in Cabrinian Higher Ed”
Ray Ward, PhD, Associate Director, Peace and Justice, Cabrini University “Theological Resources for Lay Participation in Cabrinian Institutional Identity”
Maria Williams, University College London, Institute of Education,“Too Small a World: The Transnational Mobilization of Mother Cabrini’s Catholic Educational Practice 1889-1917”
Tom Southard, JD, Executive Director, Wolfington Center, Cabrini University “‘She Was No Saint:’ Leadership Styles of 19th Century Foundresses”
Maggie McGuinness, PhD, La Salle University “How Far Do You Have to Go to Be a Missionary? The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in Philadelphia”