The following is Sister Francine's letter of invitation from Reverend E. William Beauchamp, C.S.C., President of the University.
December 14, 2010
Dear Mother Francine,
It is with heartfelt personal pleasure, as well as with professional affection and respect for a fellow Catholic educator ( and awe for someone who founded a school, what a powerful phrase that is!), that I write to invite you to the University of Portland to accept an honorary doctorate at our commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 8, 2011.
Your presence among us, at the pinnacle of our academic year, gives us a chance to publicly thank and honor you for a remarkable career in service to education, to Catholicism, and most of all to the thousands of children who have been graced and elevated by their rich and holy hours under your care at the Earth School and St. Francis Academy. We have long admired your courage and grace, your relentless creative energy, and your absolute dedication and commitment to the holiness and wonder of children, and I believe the time has come for Oregon's Catholic university to publicly and proudly applaud you as alumna, cousin in education of the heart and mind, and exemplary and brave citizen of Oregon. Your work there, Mother, will never be forgotten - you have stamped thousands of hearts with joy and epiphany, with love and reverence, and the world is better for the countless hours you poured yourself into elevating those children. What stunning work. God bless you for it.
Commencement Weekend for us this year is May 7 and 8. We will have a Baccalaureate Mass on Saturday afternoon followed by a reception for our graduates, their families, and our honorees. We will then proceed to a dinner hosted by me for the honorees with the officers and the University and selected members of the University's Board of Regents as guests. Sunday's activities include a brunch followed by the Commencement ceremony at which we will honor you with a doctoral degree.
I do hope you will be able to join us, Mother. Your presence would be an honor to us all, and I would be merely one among very many people here on the Bluff who would be thrilled and delighted as our thousand graduates and their families see such a smiling example of very hard work, remarkable creativity, endless patience, utter conviction in the Risen Lord and His message of light and hope, and absolute assurance that this world, this earth, this wondrous gift of creation, is holy beyond measurement. We agree wholly.
Please let me know at your earliest convenience if you can come. Bill Reed, of our Events Office, will be coordinating all aspects of your visit, and he will be able to answer any questions you might have regarding the weekend (503-943-7191). And please feel free to call me or my assistant Sharon Hill (at 503-943-7101) if I can be of any assistance to you.
Please know that you are in my prayers.
(Rev.) E. William Beauchamp, C.S.C.
University of Portland