On Friday evening, approximately 400 guests enjoyed a beautiful evening at La Fete. Special thanks to all our parents, alumnae, and friends for joining us and for contributing to such a special night. A special thank you goes to Micah Allen and Stephanie Davi, whose tireless work made the evening possible.
On Sunday, we welcomed our alumnae home with our 117th homecoming mass followed by a jazz brunch. We honored the Honorable Nancy Amato Konrad, Skip of ’59 as our 2017 Distinguished Alumna. The following is part of my address to our alumnae:
“This morning, we celebrate our heritage; we draw upon our past. Our foundress, St. Angela, was a woman of deep faith, patience, gratitude, compassion, and vision. She believed women could lead others, both men and women, in a time women were voiceless. Her life was one of impact, changing the world around her. She changed the world through her presence and influence.
St. Angela demonstrated care and respect of others, mediated and negotiated disputes, and developed a deep faith life through prayer. She made her own decisions after prayer contemplation. Daring to see the role of women in a new light, she walked into unknown territory to establish her company who lived among the community serving others. She was a woman who lived in her time, changing society.
Our rich heritage does not stop with St. Angela; it continues with the Ursuline Sisters who answered a call to come to the new world, New Orleans to be exact. The Sisters opened a school for girls, all girls, no matter their race or socio-economic status. They set out to educate women knowing a female’s influence is great. The Sister’s mission was to change society through each student. The Ursuline’s presence in New Orleans changed our community and the lives of women from the moment they set foot in the new world.
When you think about the Sisters’ influence, it may be easy to understand their impact if we go back and ask, “What if?” “What if the Sisters had not come to New Orleans?”
My favorite movie during the Christmas season is It’s a Wonderful Life. If you recall, George was given a gift. With the help of an angel, he could see the difference his life and choices made to others and his community.
Think of how different New Orleans would be without our Ursuline sisters. Would women’s education in the United States, Louisiana, or New Orleans be the same? Would the Battle of New Orleans still have had the same outcome? Would our alumnae embrace Serviam as they do? What about each of our alumni? Who would she be without her Ursuline education?
The Ursuline Sisters’ presence changed New Orleans forever.
We honor our Distinguished Alumna who has embraced her Ursuline education and has changed society. Honorable Nancy Amato Konrad led the way for women to serve in Jefferson Parish. She was the first woman elected to a Jefferson parish-wide office. She served others, especially the children of the state of Louisiana, by implementing the Louisiana Children’s Code. Nancy lives her life and her faith through Serviam. She is a shining example of our Distinguished Alumnae who have been honored over the years. She is an example of the influence of a woman who has changed our society.
If we stopped today and watched an hour of news, we would see a different message: a world of division, anger, hate, and self-absorption. A world that, at times, degrades women and sends a message that females have little influence.
Here at Ursuline, we know the truth. Our news is one of a world that celebrates diversity, seeks compassion, and works together as we serve others. That world takes a lot of work and sometimes involves conflict, but is worth the effort to make the world a better place.
St. Angela told us we have more need to serve than to be served. Serviam lives through each of you. The gift of an Ursuline education helps make even difficult times 'a wonderful life.'
I believe each of you have and do change the world. We may not see the influence you have each day. We do not have a movie like It’s a Wonderful Life to show us how different the world would be without your presence. However, you make an impact.
Today, our world needs an Ursuline education and women who live our charism more than ever. We are called to influence all those we touch, following in the footsteps of St. Angela. Today, we celebrate the 'wonderful life' or 'legacy' of an Ursuline education because our women make the world a better place."