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Cabrini High School in New Orleans and the MSC Sisters Reach Out to Fontbonne Hall Academy

On November 19, the Feast Day of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, the first United States citizen to be canonized, Sister Dolores Crepeau, CSJ, Principal of Fontbonne Hall Academy, received a call from Sister Pietrina Raccuglia, MSC, Provincial of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, reporting that Cabrini High School in Louisiana had raised money to assist the families of Fontbonne who were displaced by Hurricane Sandy. Furthermore, the Missionary Sisters (Cabrini Sisters), founded by Mother Cabrini in 1880, sent a donation from the Province and offered to help design a partnership between Fontbonne students and the students at Cabrini High School in New Orleans, Louisiana, a 125-year-old school for young women which lives the charism of Mother Cabrini herself, who said that, “the greatest heritage to a girl is a good education”.

Perhaps the young women of Cabrini High School in New Orleans understand more than most students the importance of student-to-student support in the face of a natural disaster. Students from Mother Cabrini High School in New York partnered with their New Orleans sisters for several years after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Although the current students of both Cabrini schools were too young for high school, they saw first-hand the devastation caused by nature, including the loss of homes and communities, and have the example of their sisters as a model. Sister Pietrina included in her note of support a quote from the writings of St. Cabrini, who said,  “With God, I shall do great things, Have faith; pray with faith and it will be given to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken and overflowing.”

Hurricane Sandy directly impacted the lives of almost one-quarter of Fontbonne’s families, displacing many, and resulting in the destruction of houses and possessions. Uncertainties about the restoration of sections of the Rockaways and Breezy Point, coupled with the unprecedented level of need throughout the damaged areas of New York City and Long Island will continue to change the lives of all those affected.

Fontbonne’s Student Activities Council, which has taken a leadership role in local relief efforts since the storm leveled homes, interrupted public transportation and caused a gasoline shortage unknown for 40 years, is looking forward to this partnership. It has been a practice of both Cabrini and Fontbonne students to leave home during the summer to perform service, many in other countries. Ironically, many of the Fontbonne students involved in these programs come from the areas which have been most affected by Hurricane Sandy. It will now be Cabrini’s turn to lend support and assistance to their peers at FHA.

Mother Cabrini’s mission has truly been carried out  through the works of the MSC’s, Mother Cabrini High School in NYC and Cabrini High School in New Orleans during this time of need. Mother Cabrini’s charity was not ethereal; rather it was practical, down-to-earth, concrete. It is the kind of charity we offer in compromise to the heartache and devastation this storm has caused.

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