Posted: Friday Apr 27, 2012
April 27, 2012
Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.B., S.T.D., third from left, a native of Pittsburgh who is the president of St. Bonaventure University, was the main speaker at the annual spring honors convocation of Saint Vincent College on April 25 in the Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica. She was also honored with the conferral of an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. Participating in the program were, from left, Fr. Killian Loch, O.S.B., director of campus ministry; Dr. Christopher Oldenburg, president of the faculty council; Alice Kaylor, dean of studies; Very Rev. Earl J. Henry, O.S.B., prior; Br. Norman W. Hipps, O.S.B., president; Dr. John Smetanka, vice president for academic affairs; and Thomas Cocchi, president of the Student Government Association executive board.
The citation that accompanied the presentation of the degree was read by Br. Norman as follows:
Our honoree is the 20th president of St. Bonaventure University. A native of Pittsburgh, she has served as a teacher in such far off places as the Philippines, Italy, Ireland, England, Japan, and even Canada. Closer to home, she was the first woman religious appointed to the position of Vicar for Religious in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and she served as the Executive Director of Pennsylvanians for Human Life. She also understands the joys and challenges from serving as a major superior in her religious community.
She was the first woman to receive a doctoral degree in Theology from the Franciscan University in Rome. Her leadership has been recognized by both male and female extensions of the Franciscan Order around the world, on both the scholarly and pastoral levels.
A world-renowned Franciscan scholar, she served on an international committee charged with writing the Rule of Life for the Brothers and Sisters of the Third Order Regular Franciscans, approved by Pope John Paul II in 1983.
While she is well-known as a major architect in strategic planning at her university and has been recognized also as a primary influence in The Franciscan Intellectual Tradition, it may be hard to believe that she brings with her valuable first-hand experience as a teacher at the primary and secondary levels. Some experts would say that no one person can cover such a wide swath in education, but she has.
She has established the Damietta Center, a multicultural center that celebrates the diversity of the campus community and provides cultural, intellectual and spiritual enrichment. Diversity enrollment has climbed steadily for the last three years at St. Bonaventure.
Our honoree brings to the contemporary educational field a model for engaging with the world as it is. Saint Francis of Assisi demonstrated the value of “the dialogue of religious experience, where persons, rooted in their own religious traditions, share their spiritual riches, for instance with regard to prayer and contemplation, faith and ways of searching for God.” (Dialogue and Proclamation § 42.)
Saint Vincent has been honored to know her from her first years as a Franciscan Sister, and it has been almost a familial delight for her Benedictine brothers in Latrobe to say they are friends with such a stellar example of what one person can do in one lifetime, all the while serving both the People of God and the common good, and to do it so well.
Saint Vincent College is among the 200+ Catholic colleges and universities in the United States, and so it came as a special privilege to say that we have a personal relationship with the newly-appointed Board Chair of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, a position she now holds with distinction. In addition, she serves as the Chair of the Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities, and acts as a consultant to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Catholic Education.
For her lifelong pursuit of seeing God in all times and circumstances, for building sturdy bridges between the People of God and our pluralistic culture, for inspiring us from her Franciscan tradition to live up to the charisms that have been bestowed on each of us, for her merciful-hearted concern for the least, and for inspiring people to be their best, Saint Vincent College “holds in honor” and proudly confers upon SISTER MARGARET CARNEY of the Order of Saint Francis, The Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, this twenty-fifth day of April 2012.
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