Church Curator Pens Reflection on Cornelia Connelly

27 May, 2020

Suzanne Glover Lindsay, historian and curator at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Philadelphia where Society of the Holy Child Jesus founder Cornelia Connelly was baptized in 1831, has written a reflection on Cornelia.

“She … accomplished enormously, teaching 20,000 in her first 2 decades, including new teachers who spread her program. Cornelia also reformed women’s education with a unique vision. She shaped a nurturing and stimulating learning world modeled on a loving home. She rejected narrow job skill training for workers and “polished” accomplishments for the privileged to instead provide for all a solid, multi-faceted education, adapting myriad sources (including Jesuit teaching) through her experience as a mother and teacher. She combined the liberal and creative arts and physical, occupational, and religious education for all social classes, customizing for practical needs and individual potential …

A form of incarnational spirituality that adapted Ignatius of Loyola’s “contemplation in action,” her vision fused the secular and sacred, body and soul, the contemplative and the active. She taught that a loving God lives and acts in us, in our world. Action, then, is prayer. The Society’s motto: Actions Not Words. Service of conscience, with respect, hope, and joy.”

Read the entire Friday Reflection: Women of Action here.

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