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Founders’ Day celebrates service, liberal arts at Saint Xavier University

Festivities feature guest theologian Sr. Mary Aquin O’Neill, R.S.M., Ph.D.

Chicago (Nov. 26, 2007)--Saint Xavier University will celebrate its founders, the Sisters of Mercy, during its annual Founders’ Day ceremonies on Monday, Dec. 3, 2007. A special feature of this year’s observance will be a presentation by Sister Mary Aquin O’Neill, R.S.M., Ph.D. on “Mercy: The Fifth Cardinal Virtue.” Her lecture will take place at 3 p.m. in McDonough Chapel. 

“Founders’ Day is a three-part celebration that highlights Mother Frances Xavier Warde, R.S.M., for whom the University is named. It spotlights service by outstanding members of our University community and the University’s commitment to the liberal arts and sciences,” said Sister Susan Sanders, R.S.M., Ph.D., vice president for University Mission and Heritage, which coordinates the celebration. “Sister Aquin’s broad experience in Catholic higher education will certainly enrich this year’s festivities.” 

Sister O’Neill’s address is theologically focused and part of the University’s 2007-2008 Catholic Colloquium Lecture Series and will be part of the day’s celebration of the liberal arts and sciences. Other presentations will feature Saint Xavier faculty, staff and students and will celebrate the arts of poetry and music and the science of biology.  The 3 p.m. ceremony in McDonough Chapel is free and open to the public.

Specializing in theological anthropology, feminist theory, and interreligious dialogue, Sister O’Neill has published articles in scholarly journals and books, and frequently presents at academic institutions across the country. She is the founding director of the Mount Saint Agnes Theological Center for Women in Baltimore. She has held faculty positions at Vanderbilt University, Salve Regina University, and the University of Notre Dame, where she was also the undergraduate program director for the Notre Dame Jerusalem Program at Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.

Sister O’Neill serves on the board of the Conference for Mercy Higher Education, the organization through which the Sisters of Mercy sponsor 16 colleges and universities in the United States. Saint Xavier University is the oldest and one of the largest of the Mercy-founded higher education institutions.

O’Neill earned her bachelor of arts, summa cum laude from Mount Saint Agnes College, studied sacred scripture and dogmatics at the University of San Francisco, and earned her doctorate in religion from Vanderbilt University.  

Other events on the Founders’ Day roster include celebration of the Eucharist in McDonough Chapel at 11:30 a.m. and an awards ceremony in the Warde Academic Center at 2 p.m. Chosen for their outstanding service to the University and the community, this year’s awardees are student Joanna Beituni, a senior from Oak Lawn; staff member Margaret Lepore, of Crestwood; and faculty member Michael Flahive, Ph.D., of Valparaiso, Ind.   

Contact Joe Moore
773-298-3937 or jmoore@sxu.edu



Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1846, Saint Xavier University was the first Mercy college in the United States and is Chicago’s oldest Catholic university. Serving approximately 5,700 students at its campuses in Chicago, Orland Park and its Loop location, the University offers 35 undergraduate majors; more than 40 graduate program options in arts and sciences, business, education and nursing; and a variety of program options in continuing and professional studies. Recognizing Saint Xavier’s excellence in education, U.S. News and World Report has ranked SXU consistently among the Best Colleges in the Midwest.


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