Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University received a $100,000 gift from the Edward L. Rispone Family Foundation to create The School Sisters of Notre Dame Endowed Scholarship in Theology, which will provide scholarship support for theology majors, especially those interested in teaching theology in Catholic schools.
The Edward L. Rispone Family Foundation created the endowment to honor the School Sisters of Notre Dame, who educated Eddie Rispone and thousands of other students at St. Gerard Majella and Redemptorist High School from 1945-1985 (pictured left Sister Carla Marie Candella). Describing the motivation for this gift, Rispone explained, “Just as the School Sisters of Notre Dame educated and formed Catholic students from across Baton Rouge, graduates of the Theology program at FranU will go on to teach the Catholic faith to the next generation of students in our diocese and our community. Scholarships for a student in the Theology program at FranU are vitally important to assuring we remove financial obstacles that will allow them to complete their degree and continue the mission and legacy of the School Sisters.”
Sr. Gloria Cain of the School Sisters of Notre Dame shared her appreciation to The Edward L Rispone Family Foundation that established an endowed scholarship at FranU to honor their legacy.
“The School Sisters of Notre Dame have a long history of service and ministry in the Baton Rouge community and the surrounding area. For us, education means enabling persons to reach the fullness of their potential as individuals created in God’s image and assisting them to direct their gifts toward building the earth. We educate with the conviction that the world can be changed through the transformation of persons. By doing so, the Edward L. Rispone Family Foundation exemplifies the mission and charism of our Congregation and extends the educational vision and legacy of the School Sisters of Notre Dame into the future for all who are served by his generosity,” she said.
The yearly gift will support students in the theology program and will be awarded to a student or students in the FranU theology program meeting specified criteria. Individual awards will be determined by student need and circumstances, but the scholarship will primarily support students who desire to teach religion in a Catholic school.
Catherine Blanchard ‘21, first recipient of the scholarship said, “I am so humbled and honored to have been the very first recipient of the School Sisters of Notre Dame scholarship. Helping others encounter the person of Jesus Christ through grounded Catholic education is something that is very close to my heart. I began my Theology degree at FranU in hopes of graduating to teach Theology in high schools. Because of this scholarship, I am one step closer to pursuing this dream.”
Professor of Theology David Whidden concluded, “The School Sisters of Notre Dame have left an enduring legacy in the lives of the many students who they that taught about the Catholic faith. Through this generous gift, the Edward L. Rispone Family Foundation honors that legacy by helping train the next generation of teachers who will pass along the faith in our Catholic schools. Scholarship support for these students allows them to choose lives of service to others, just as the School Sisters did for decades in Baton Rouge.”