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Valerian accepts Ursuline’s Amadeus Rappe award with gratitude

July 11, 2016

At the Alumnae Reunion Dinner on June 25, Ursuline grad Dorothy Valerian accepted the College’s Amadeus Rappe Award. Established by the Alumnae Association in 1971, the Amadeus Rappe Award is presented to an outstanding graduate of Ursuline or St. John College who has made significant contributions to their religion, profession, home and community. Below is the text of Valerian’s heartfelt acceptance speech.

My heart is full of gratitude this evening. I want to thank everyone who is here to celebrate this honor with me – President Sr. Chris De Vinne, my classmates from the 1966 reunion, alumnae, my husband Bob, my family and dear friends.

While I first entered Ursuline College more than 50 years ago, much began to change quickly in our culture – Vietnam, the space race, student activism for civil rights, the women’s movement and the transformation of the Church by Vatican II. Our Ursuline teachers – Sisters Michael Francis, Ann Gertrude, Killian, Ann Kelly, and many others – taught us the Classics but also helped us explore new ideas and discover how to use our voices intelligently to speak out against racism and injustice and to speak up for those who needed advocacy. Tonight, I think especially of Sr. Rose Angela, who died just a week ago today – a wise and grace-filled woman who taught us especially how to listen, with compassion and acceptance. A model of humility and holiness. Soli Deo Gloria!

Over the years, when I have written with logic, clarity and persuasion; when I’ve had courage to be outspoken, to speak truth to power; when I minister to hospice patients at the end of their journey; when I preach the Word – it is because that’s what I learned from my Ursuline teachers.

We stand here on a foundation that goes back to the 16th Century Italian woman, Angela Merici – a teacher, counselor, reconciler and comforter – who had a vision that her small Company of Women could help heal and transform individuals and society. Her vision was bold, radical and prophetic. And it is still being fulfilled in our time and place through the ministries of the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland.

A friend of the Ursuline foundress described Angela as burning with a “fire that sets others alight.” May that energy continue to radiate from Ursuline College. May we alumnae – and all who come here in the future to find learning – leave empowered to bring justice, hope and healing to our world.

I am grateful for this honor and all that Ursuline College has meant in my life. Thank you.

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