Sister Susan Durkin, OSU, President of the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland, addresses VASJ

VASJ was fortunate to have Sr. Susan Durkin, OSU, the President of the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland, visit the school on May 9 to speak to the students. In her address to an all-school assembly, Sr. Susan brought to life the Ursuline charisms that our students learn about all year long.

Sr. Joan Petersen, OSU, led the school in prayer before introducing Sr. Susan Durkin, who was elected President of the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland in 2012. “Sr. Susan has been blessed with a unique gift,” Sr. Joan said. “Her ability to relate to people of all ages and all backgrounds is outstanding.”

Those in attendance were able to experience this first hand as Sr. Susan made her presentation about the history of the Ursulines and their role at VASJ.

She compared the Ursuline and Marianist sponsorship of VASJ to the Kentucky Derby, which had taken place just a few days prior to her visit. The Kentucky Derby is focused on making champions.

“You are our legacy,” Sr. Susan said. “You are our champions as Ursulines and Marianists.”

Just as the breeders and owners of Orb, the 2013 Kentucky Derby champion, are beaming with pride, so are the Ursuline Sisters when they found out recently that for the second year, 100 percent of the graduating class at VASJ have been accepted and plan to attend college.


After her presentation, Sr. Susan ended her visit to VASJ with Q&A from the students.

Found on the walls of the hallways and in the classrooms are the Ursuline Core Values and Marianist Charisms which students learn about in class and put into practice during service work and class projects.

But Sr. Susan doesn’t want it to stop there. “I want them to mean something to you,” she told the students. “I want them to remind you that you’re special.” As the only school in the world sponsored by both the Ursulines and Marianists, she added, VASJ and the students who fill its classrooms are part of something truly special.

“Being a part of our Ursuline family means you have 171 sisters who pray for you always. You are never alone,” she said. “We pray for your success in all that you do and we’re really excited about your futures.”

Click here to view the Ursuline Core Values and Marianist Charisms.