Caroline MacLaren ’19 was selected as the 2019 Cor Unum Award Recipient by the Ursuline Alumnae Association. The award is given to one senior each year. Candidates are judged solely on their love for Ursuline Academy and their honest expression of what the Academy means to them.
What does it mean to you to be in the 292nd graduating class of Ursuline Academy of New Orleans?
Ursuline to dear old Ursuline…the words sound familiar, but only to a few. The fingers that strike the piano keys signal a song innate to a select number of people - those who have looped the brown strings of their oversized shoes, those who have buttoned up their stark white oxford blouse, those who have trekked up three flights of stairs - heavy bag fastened to their back, those who have strolled the long halls of this castle-like building. Cheers, we pledge our endless love today, bounce off the stone walls of the arching Chapel. The sound that you hear - you, an Ursuline girl - resembles something so unique: a legacy. The faces that surround you, joyful and exuberant, are merely a small amount of a large body of women that make up the astonishing community of Ursuline. Ursuline, forever Ursuline.
292 years. The number is remarkable. Of course, I have understood that my school is the oldest Catholic girls school in America, established in 1727. That information has been born into me since my first day at Ursuline ten years ago. Yet, that number - 292 - is almost inconceivable. 291 classes of women that have come before me. Women who have become the leaders of our city, our state, our nation, our world. Lab researchers, doctors, lawyers, photographers, biologists, teachers, judges, congresswomen, state officials, pharmacists…women who are peacemakers. Women who live the spirit of Ursuline despite graduating - Though life may lead us far away. These are women who have created a legacy - Lamp that lights the flame of all our hopes and dreams - A legacy that I get to be a part of. Beacon bright that guides us onward with its beams. All of which has been produced from the very school I am graduating from. 292 years of women who lived happy hours within your sacred halls. Women who had laughs and learning just as I have. Women living with the cherished memories that I live with.
Ursuline, to dear old Ursuline. It is more than just New Orleans. It is the network of women across the country, across the world - New Rochelle, Dallas, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Paris, Dublin, Wimbledon, Budapest, Athens, Bangkok, Kellyville… All of these women making a change in our world. The song grows louder, We pledge our endless love today. Love. It is all a legacy rooted in love - the courtesy, loyalty, and courage instilled in us. It is cor unum - one heart, one legacy.
Ursuline, forever Ursuline. It is more than just a school. It is the tangible representation of growth and discovery. Though life may lead us far away, we are all still a part of Ursuline by the actions we take. We are still a part of that legacy, no matter how far life may lead us. It is a legacy that draws alumnae back. A legacy that defines who we, collectively and individually, are. A legacy that produces pride in our alma mater. The song you hear is not just the echo of the school, it is the echo of 292 years. Alma Mater beautiful, Starlike ever shine, On our paths To guide our faltering steps, Home at last, Dear Ursuline.