If one universal piece of knowledge is shared by Cabrini College graduates, it is knowing that the College’s Mission to provide an Education of the Heart was inspired by our namesake, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini.
Mother Cabrini began as a humble schoolteacher from Lombardo, Italy, who went on to travel the globe while establishing a religious order of Missionary Sisters that are today in six continents and 16 countries. Cabrini College is their only college, worldwide.
From Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini’s legacy of global engagement, our mission to provide an Education of the Heart includes preparing students to become “engaged citizens of the world.”
Engaged citizen of the world? “Wow,” you might say, “that’s an ambitious mission,” and possibly when reminded of that last phrase of our mission, you just shrug, applaud the College for its lofty aspirations, but don’t see any relevance in your busy life.
Maybe one day, when you are not so busy, you can engage the world. But today, you simply cannot tackle global challenges. It is just impossible.
You have too many things going on right here, right now. You have a class to teach, a local business to lead, a family that depends on you and commitments to your church and your community. The world is just too big.
The world’s problems are just too complex. How can you be an engaged citizen of the world when your own world of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or New Castle, Delaware, or Maple Shade, New Jersey, demands so much attention.
True enough. As educators and leaders, your commitments are considerable and for many, locally based. Now, as women and men equipped with your graduate degrees in education and leadership, you are prepared to take on more prominent roles with even greater responsibility within your own sphere of the world.
However, all of that is true only if we have a limited definition of engaging the world. Cabrini College’s Mission to prepare students to become engaged citizens of the world does not only mean preparing students to go overseas to tackle international challenges or only to prepare men and women to work for international corporations or for global NGOs.
While some of our graduates do exactly that and do it very well, preparing our students to become engaged citizens of the world means much more than working internationally.
Being an engaged citizen of the world is both bigger than that and smaller than that, and in the spirit and legacy of Mother Cabrini, you have received an Education of the Heart!
The reality is that wherever you live, work, worship, and raise a family is not something other than, or separate from, the world, but is the very world itself.
If we want to affect change in the world and be a citizen of the world, we only have to look around at where we live, where we lead and where we educate. These places that we engage everyday are ripe vineyards just waiting for us to affect change and champion justice.
In fact, the challenges of the world are most often addressed in these very settings that we call home, work, and community. On the local level, in our everyday lives and interactions, we have a responsibility to be engaged citizens of the very world that is before us here and now.
What makes us engaged citizens of the world is by making conscious decisions each and every day to make-better the world we inhabit. We can do this by leading businesses that are honest and ethical, and offer safe working conditions with a fair and equitable wage.
We can do this by remembering to teach our children not just reading, writing, and arithmetic, but compassion, justice and responsibility. We can do this by being good stewards of our environment, informed voters, community volunteers, and loving spouses and parents.
Through these conscious, thoughtful choices, we are engaged citizen of the world in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Castle, Delaware and Maple Shade, New Jersey. By being engaged where you live and lead and educate, you are affecting change throughout the world.
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
As leaders and educators, you have the chance to cast many stones and create many ripples that will travel outward to places you have never visited and will benefit people you have never met. By so doing, you will have affected the world and will have engaged the world in ways that you may never fully realize or quantify.
Each of you Master degree recipients here today has been transformed by an Education of the Heart. Through this mission, inspired by Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, your hearts and minds are ready to engage a world that needs you.
The world next door is asking for you to become an engaged citizens, and graduates, you are ready to answer.
On this Pentecost Sunday, may the Holy Spirit spark faith, hope and love into your action each day and ignite your lives with wonder and awe.
Congratulations and thank you.