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Happy Birthday Cornelia!

Members of the American Province Staff of the Society of the Holy Child JesusToday is a very special day for the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. On January 15, 1809, Cornelia Connelly, the Foundress of the Society, was born in Philadelphia, Pa. Today, Cornelia would be 201 years old!

Last year, we honored Cornelia’s amazing legacy and her Bicentennial year of birth with a yearlong celebration. Cornelia’s legacy continues to inspire the lives of many. Here are quotes from Sisters of the Holy Child, the Society’s American Province staff, Holy Child Alums, and SHCJ Associates, reflecting on the life of Cornelia Connelly and how it impacts them today:

“Cornelia is inspiring because she dealt with terrible adversity and never gave up! She trusted God to get her through hard times.” –Sue Kapusta, Rosemont College ’02; American Province Treasurer, Society of the Holy Child Jesus, American Province

“As a Holy Child student, I learned about Cornelia's life story and it amazed me. I could not understand how someone who endured so much could maintain her faith. Cornelia's words: ‘To do anything well we must do it with our heart, with our mind and with our strength for the love of God, of ourselves and of our neighbor’ inspire me. Cornelia inspires me in my work for Restorative Justice. I work to offer second chances to juveniles so that one bad decision does not become their life story.” -Caitlin Turner Robertson, Mayfield Senior School ’98 and SHCJ Associate

“Cornelia had an inner peace that enabled her to accept and deal with many difficulties in her life. I pray frequently for inner peace like hers. We are all unique, marvelous, and talented creations of God and we learn to do things in our own way.” -Immaculata Di Blasi, SHCJ (M. Maria Immaculata)

“When I reflect on the richness of Cornelia Connelly's legacy, I am reminded of a quote attributed to Helen Keller: 'Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.' Cornelia's response, specifically her ability to accept and integrate her lived experiences of profound joy, suffering, misunderstanding, and grief, inspires me. Cornelia's life continually challenges me to act out of love as a mother, wife, colleague, and friend.” –Kathy Gibbons, Rosemont College ’77; Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child ’73; SHCJ Associate; Director of International Projects, Society of the Holy Child Jesus, African Province

“I read Cornelia's quotes and I try to understand how to apply her words to my daily life. Her philosophy of teaching makes me want to be more accepting and encouraging to everyone.” –Cathy Dougherty, Administrative Assistant, Holy Child Network of Schools

“Cornelia's life story inspires me because she was a teacher and a woman of faith who lived and loved fully. Training volunteer teachers with Response-Ability, I am inspired by the way so many educators and students have benefited by Cornelia's approach to education. I find much joy in my life and appreciate the way Cornelia remained joyful and trusting through the many challenges of her life." –Elizabeth Eager, Executive Director of Response-Ability; SHCJ Associate

“When I consider all of the challenges Cornelia faced, the grace with which she lived her life fascinates me. Moreover, I see the Sisters of the Holy Child model her spirit of compassion, forgiveness, and understanding. Day-after-day, I watch the Sisters change lives. They don’t do it for fame or fortune or even a little recognition. They do it because of their faith—which leaves me inspired.” –Kim Cavallero, Director of Communications, Society of the Holy Child Jesus, American Province

“Cornelia lived her words, ‘be yourself and make that self all that our Lord wants you to be.’ I echo these words especially with young people today. There is a freedom in them that invites reflection. Cornelia's life reflected these words...and they inspire me to do the same.” -Carmen Torres, SHCJ, Director of Vocations, Society of the Holy Child Jesus, American Province

“Cornelia truly lived a life full of action! I am inspired by her unyielding desire to follow God’s call and her unshakable faith in God’s plan. As I grow older, I hope to be as immovable as she was in regard to her faith in God.” -Dennis Maurice Dumpson, Communications Coordinator, Society of the Holy Child Jesus, American Province

“The life of Cornelia Connelly is an inspiration to all who know that the path of life is never certain. When we trust our future to God, we can accomplish extraordinary, unimagined, and seemingly impossible goals. Cornelia’s acceptance of life outside of the traditional role of a woman in the 1800s has inspired me to believe that when we open our hearts and minds, we will be directed to the purpose that we are born to fulfill.” –Diane Bricker, Holy Child Academy, Sharon ’63; Holy Child Academy, Drexel Hill ’59; Chair, Mission Advancement Advisory Board, Society of the Holy Child Jesus, American Province

"Cornelia Connelly's life inspires me to view service to God as an honor; not as an obligation, and that joy can be found in the midst of life's trials.” –Dian Taylor-Pringle, Director of Human Resources, Society of the Holy Child Jesus, American Province

"Having visited Grand Coteau, Natchez, and Mayfield (England) in 2009, I feel even more deeply connected to Cornelia's life journey - the joys and the struggles. She inspires me to move toward a focus on God alone while being actively and joyfully involved in the everyday moments and events of my life. Joy & compassion!" -Cathi Duffy, Holy Child Academy, Sharon Hill, PA ’72, Director of SHCJ Associates, Society of the Holy Child Jesus, American Province


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