An independent Catholic school for young women in grades 7-12

Ursuline Academy Celebrates the Feast of St. Ursula with Cardinal Seán O’Malley
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Caroline Killilea '23, Communications Intern

On Friday, October 21, the Ursuline community was abuzz with excitement and chatter. We eagerly awaited the arrival of our celebrant for the Mass of the Feast of St. Ursula, Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley. Before Mass began, Head of School Ms. Kate Levesque ’77 welcomed students, faculty and staff, alumnae, and parents and spoke on the legacy of St. Ursula: “She was a courageous and legendary 4th-century martyr, much admired by St. Angela Merici. It is in her spirit of bravery and strength that St. Angela named the Ursuline order when she founded it in 1535.” 

Cardinal Seán congratulated Ursuline on 75 years of educating young women. During his homily, he encouraged us to see the world through God’s eyes. He mentioned that the New Testament refers to two groups of people as “brothers and sisters”: one group is the disciples, and the other is “those who are poor, those who are hungry, those who are homeless, those who are sick, those who are imprisoned, those who are strangers and refugees. Today’s Gospel reminds us that these brothers and sisters who are suffering have a special claim on our love.”

Ursuline’s Choral Group provided the music for this special Mass, and as always, they sounded amazing. They performed “Be Thou My Vision,” “One Lord,” and “For the Beauty of the Earth.” During the early years of his priesthood, Cardinal Seán ministered to the Latinx community in Washington, D.C., and subsequently founded the first Spanish language newspaper in the D.C. area. He also says his daily prayers in Spanish. Inspired by Cardinal Seán’s connection to the Spanish language, and in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the Choral Group concluded Mass with “Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo,” which is “We are the Body of Christ.” The performance was complete with maracas and other musical instruments, and it became clear that the song was a school-wide favorite when the community clapped and sang along enthusiastically. 

Cardinal Seán also gifted us a day off from school, something we are very much looking forward to! Following the Mass, faculty, parents, and student council members were invited to join Cardinal Seán for a luncheon, and many had the opportunity to speak with him directly and take photos. The Mass of the Feast of St. Ursula was a reminder of the light of hope and spirit of optimism reflected by the Ursuline community. As Ms. Levesque mentioned, “St. Angela Merici asked that we build community wherever we go, and here today, we have shining evidence of that.” The Ursuline community is honored by and grateful for Cardinal Seán’s visit to Ursuline, and we were both inspired and blessed by his presence among us.