by MOLLY GRUBER
Though our lunches, tests, laughs, and days at Saint Ursula are numbered, our Ursuline identity is the unbreakable bond that connects us all for the rest of our lives. It is the foundation of our school and as women of Saint Ursula we are expected to acknowledge these core values throughout our lives. Saint Ursula recognized the undeniable importance of carrying on the legacy of Saint Angela Merici this past year when Mrs. Andrea Brunsman was hired as our vice president of Ursuline Identity. I had the chance to sit down with her and talk about the purpose of her job and the integration of this mission into our everyday lives.
Though we are constantly reminded to live out or Ursuline core values, how many of us really understand what that means? To understand our identity we must take a step back in time and remember why St. Angela founded her company.
Mrs. Brunsman says, “Her founding ideas focused on strong education, young women empowerment, and most importantly action. Action on their call from God to carry out their mission in the world. So that is what is encouraged here at Saint Ursula Academy.” Mrs. Brunsman values these ideas and says that her goal in this position is to “share the mission and vision of the Ursuline nuns and Saint Angela Merici with everyone in our community.”
Mrs. Brunsman loves everything about Saint Ursula so was elated when she was asked to return to work here as an alum of the class of 1990. She cherished everything about her high school years, but most fondly recalls her relationships with the nuns and their role in the community. During her four years the nuns taught and lived in the nunnery of Saint Ursula where they constantly interacted with the students and even had lunch with them! The lessons they taught Mrs. Brunsman and so many others are unmatchable. Mrs. Brunsman was eager to come back and return the spirit of the Ursuline nuns to East McMillan.
Additionally, we have all seen the advertisements for communion services, rosaries, and many other meaningful activities carefully planned by Mrs. Brunsman. She is working tirelessly to incorporate the faith and ursuline characteristics into our school day. She recognizes that the pandemic has made this year slightly more challenging but has worked to embed these principle values into some zero bells, all of our classes, and the new spiritual opportunities around campus.
When asked about her ideas for the coming years Mrs Brunsman promises, “We are bringing back advisory and gold bells and I am working right now to plan some new initiatives.” Mrs. Brunsman wants to continue with the communion services and rosaries but is also hopeful that some more faith based opportunities like meditations will be planned.
So as we walk the halls during these final weeks of the school year and beyond we should remember that incorporating our Catholic identity at Saint Ursula is what makes our school special and unique from other education environments.
Mrs. Brunsman solidifies this stating, “Our Catholic identity is who we are as a school, it's part of our mission and it's always important to live your mission.” Remembering and thanking St. Angela for her life’s work, Mrs. Brunsman asks us all to remember that “Saint Angela wants us to be united and to work together and so following our Catholic identity and being close to Christ unites us and brings us together.”