Philadelphia Story

When I lived in Philadelphia in my early 20s, I was always impressed by the way Philly did things its own way. The following story from NBC’s Philadelphia affiliate is a reminder of that tradition: "Nun named head of Philadelphia-area chamber of commerce." The sister in question, Francesca Onley, CSFN, has been president of Holy Family University in Northeast Philadelphia since 1981, raising the student population from 500 students to 3,500 and instituting masters’ programs that raised the school’s status from a college to a university. Al Taubenberger, the president of the local chamber of commerce, was quoted in the story that "I like working with someone who’s closer to God than I am." Colorful anecdotes abound in the Philly press about Onley, including an incident where the school’s neighbors complained about a noise disturbance; expecting a security guard to handle the situation, neighbors were surprised when Onley herself showed up. The Philadelphia Inquirer also reported in 2006 that Onley drives herself to all meetings and events, pumps her own gas, and has a favorite cure for insomnia: "a touch of Jack Daniel’s." Jim Keane, SJ
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Father James Martin, S.J. and Ross Douthat at the Civility in America Part 1: Religion event held at The Sheen Center on Dec. 13th. (America/Antonio DeLoera-Brust).
Is there a duty for Christians to represent a certain kind of voice in the public discourse?
Angelo Jesus CantaDecember 14, 2017
A spokesman for the archdiocese described the meeting as “personal” in nature and aimed at “renewing a friendship that goes back 15 years or so.”
Michael J. O’LoughlinDecember 14, 2017
Black women cannot be expected to continue to save white people from the poor choices they make.
Anthea ButlerDecember 14, 2017
After a visit to Christ in the Desert, I knew it was not the monks whose lifestyle I should question.
Michael DauschDecember 14, 2017