Brescia celebrates, continues to dream

Last week, our chamber and the Owensboro community celebrated two days in a row with our friends from Brescia University. On Thursday, Brescia was the sponsor of our signature Rooster Booster event. We heard from Brescia alumni Pat Yates, an entrepreneur who has been featured on Shark Tank and now has a contract with DreamWorks Studios. The next day, several hundred-people gathered together to cut a ribbon celebrating Brescia’s Moore Center, a jewel on Frederica Street and Phase I of Brescia’s building renaissance on our community’s major thoroughfare.

Both days were opportunities to remember how our community has been enriched by our faith-based, four-year higher educational institutions. We truly have a niche here that needs to be encouraged and nurtured. One only had to look around the room to see the number of Brescia graduates who are key contributors and leaders in Greater Owensboro. Many are in service and helping professions, others are leaders in business.

The stars in the room were the Ursuline Sisters that were the descendants by vocation of Saint Angela Merici, the founder of the order who hailed from Brescia, Italy; and centuries later of the Ursuline pioneers who arrived here on a flat boat to establish a school for girls which later became Mount Saint Joseph.

The story of those brave sisters who journeyed here in the 1870s on the Ohio River is remarkable. Think of the courage and purpose it must have taken for those five women. If you have had the opportunity to see an Ursuline in action, that courage and purpose comes as no surprise.

The video recounting their journey down the river opens with a line that personifies what the Ursulines have meant to me throughout my life. “All adventures begin with a dream and willingness to step out into the unknown.” That very statement contains such optimism and faith. Those sisters who were my teachers, principals, professors and mentors instilled that credo in me during my 18 years under their wings. Now, many of those sisters have left us, but many others are right here in Owensboro teaching, serving, leading and inspiring. They do it quietly with grace and humility.

Brescia University, a living example of that idea, continues to dream, to step out into the unknown and Owensboro is better because of it.

By Candance Brake President and CEO Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce