By Christine Bordelon
At the University of the Holy Cross Spes Unica Awards Dinner on April 21, Sister Ann Lacour, leader of the Marianites of Holy Cross Congregation, will receive the university’s highest honor for her unwavering support of university and her faithful calling as a Marianite nun. .
“She is most deserving of this award, just in the magnitude of the energy, enthusiasm and zeal she has used in her service to and for the university during her tenure on the board of trustees of the University of Holy Cross (UHC) and as a congregational leader. said fellow Marianite sister Marjorie Hebert, president and CEO of the Archdiocese of Catholic Charities of New Orleans.
“There is no limit to his use of his God-given gifts and talents. In this case, it’s a good use for college, but she brings that energy and enthusiasm to anything she says “yes” to. She is very generous in her “yes” to the people she serves and whatever cause she serves.
Spes Unica, the university’s motto, means “One Hope”. (That “one hope” is the cross of Christ.) UHC’s core values are respect, excellence, inclusion, integrity, and compassionate service.
The award has been presented since 1988, with past recipients including U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Corrine “Lindy” Boggs, Blaine S. Kern and Father of the Holy Cross Thomas E. Chambers.
“It is an honor to serve and an honor to receive the award,” Sister Ann said recently from Le Mans, France, the birthplace of the Marianite nuns, founded in 1841 by Blessed Father Basile-Antoine-Marie Moreau. The Marianite sisters joined the priests and brothers as the Congregation of the Holy Cross.
“For me, Spes Unica means hope for the whole Holy Cross and our church,” she said. “I receive it this year with the hope that one day our world will know peace. This is what our founder wanted for the world when he created the order of priests, brothers and sisters.
Became a Marianite in 1967
Sister Ann said she was heavily influenced by the Marianites who taught her when she attended St. Mary of the Angels Elementary School and Holy Angels Academy, entering the Marianite Order after graduating. of his degree. Later, she earned a degree from Our Lady of Holy Cross College (now Holy Cross University) and a master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. She also has an honorary doctorate.
She said with a laugh that she won the award for being a jack-of-all-trades as a Marianite.
Most of his ministries were concentrated in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. She taught at Christ the King School and Archbishop Blenk High School, both in the West Bank, and was principal of the Resurrection of Our Lord School in New Orleans East. She also served in the Diocese of Alexandria, as Director of Religious Education and as Director of Maryhill Retreat House for seven years, where she “grew and saw changed lives”.
In 1992, she returned to New Orleans to become the Director of Development for the Marianites, where she remained until 2001. During this time, she oversaw the total renovation of the former Holy Angels Academy and Convent of 100 000 square feet in Saint-Claude. Street.
She was director of development for Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans from 2001 to 2005, and when Hurricane Katrina hit, evacuated with the children living at Padua House to Alexandria.
“It was tough, but it was a wonderful learning lesson,” she said. “I kept telling Gordon Wadge and Jim Kelly (head of Catholic Charities at the time) that I’m a teacher, not a nurse. But I realized how much those teaching skills helped me to do what I had to do.
From 2005 to 2012, as her parents aged, she said she “lived in an extraordinary congregation with her family,” while serving the Diocese of Alexandria in special projects and as Superintendent of Schools.
In 2012, she was elected leader of the congregation, and “it literally took me to Canada and France”. During this time, she oversaw the sale of the three-acre Holy Angels site in Bywater in 2015, when the congregation downsized and moved in 2016 to a 5.2-acre site in Covington.
The Holy Angels move, she said, made it clear in life “that there are times when you have to let go. It was a step in giving up the buildings, so that we could dedicate ourselves to the ministry. We invested a lot of time and energy in buildings rather than people.
She also oversaw the sale by the congregation of Our Lady of Holy Cross College to its board of trustees.
“The Marianites knew it was time for the college to expand in ways we thought were impossible,” she said. “We’ve put together a sale to the board, we’re staying in the sponsorship. There are five members of the Holy Cross Marianites Board of Directors. Over the past 10 years, there have been so many positive changes at the university.
Kyle France, current chairman of the Superdome Commission and business consultant, was a member of the board of directors of Holy Cross University and worked closely with Sister Ann when the Marianites sold the college to the council to create the University of Holy Cross.
“Spes Unica means a hope, a cross, and there is no one who embodies ‘a cross’ better than Ann Lacour,” he said. “She gave her whole life to work for Christ and the Marianites. They couldn’t have picked a better person to receive it. … Being able to develop a plan to ensure that the Marianite legacy would endure was incredibly meaningful. Ann Lacour was front and center to see this happen.
Because there are only 89 Marianites left in the world – their median age is 85 – Sister Ann says the congregation is heavily involved in the pastoral care of sisters in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, but continues to support education, especially the college they founded.
“As head of the Marianite congregation and as administrator of the university, she has – through leadership, through service, through determined humility – led the university through transitions (such as the pandemic and Hurricane Ida) so that we are faithful to our Marianite mission and that of the Holy Cross and to adapt to the changing times in which we live,” said Stanton F. McNeely III, Ed.D., president of the UHC. “She is true to the Marianite statement in many ways, especially now, being a prophetic presence in our ever-changing world.”
“For me, Sainte-Croix is a family issue,” she said. “I think that’s what college is all about. A family that says we want to educate those who live in a smaller, more family atmosphere that meets today’s needs. This is our founder’s goal: to meet today’s needs as a family.