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The Villanovan

Letter to the Editors

To the Editors of the Villanovan:

Earlier this week, I took a pleasant autumn walk on Cabrini’s campus. I stopped in Holy Spirit Library and was greeted by Dr. Bobbi Jacquet, former library director. It seemed like yesterday that I completed my graduate work. We chatted for a few minutes, and she expressed her disappointment about the sale of the campus to Villanova. The wheels of my mind started turning, trying to say something positive. I read how it was such a surprise to the entire campus. Here’s the view of a graduate of both Villanova and Cabrini. 

Let’s start with the mottos of the two institutions. Villanova’s is “Caritas, Veritas, Unitas” or “Love, Truth and Unity.” Cabrini’s is “Service Beyond One’s Self.” Certainly, there’s some overlap there, as service requires love and preferably truth and unity. Both universities strive to fulfill a Christian call to community, to people working together to achieve a goal greater than themselves. Both universities have strong athletics and academics.   

However, Cabrini only became a university several years ago, while Villanova has been a university for decades, so how could Villanova just steal this dream of Cabrini’s to reach out to the larger world as a university? Here’s where collaboration has to come into play. We have to believe that Divine Providence is a part of the solution.  

You might ask: What’s Divine Providence, anyhow? I once read Jean Pierre de Caussade’s book Abandonment to Divine Providence, which explains it best, but in a nutshell it’s the belief that we all need to believe in a good and merciful Creator. Surrender to God’s will in our lives, and trust that He will make all things well.

Afterall, catholic with a small “c” means “universal,” and these two Catholic universities are both part of one larger Church located in the Vatican and with offices all over the world. The two religious orders that sponsor the universities, the Order of St. Augustine and the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart have some commonalities, too, because their leaders, St. Augustine and St. Frances Cabrini were both passionate about the Catholic faith, and Nov. 13 is not only Mother Cabrini’s feast day, but the birthday of St. Augustine. 

So, some good has to come from the deal! We just don’t know all of the details yet. I imagine the beautiful small campus could be a retreat center, as Villanova once tried to buy Malvern Retreat House. Hopefully, Holy Spirit Library can continue to keep its doors open, and I hope the athletic center will still continue to serve the community, as well as current students. Pray that the spark of creativity, which is the Holy Spirit, burns brightly as this work in progress continues.    

Nicole B. Baker, VU CLAS ‘86  Cabrini M.Ed. ‘98 

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