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Maria College Debuts Dorothy A. Connolly Annual Lecture as Part of Mercy Week Celebration

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 22, 2021) – The Offices of Mission and Institutional Advancement at Maria College have announced the establishment of the endowed Dorothy A. Connolly Annual Lecture as part of Mercy Week, Sept. 24 to Oct 1. The inaugural event’s speaker this year will be Mary-Paula Cancienne, RSM, Ph.D. giving the lecture titled, The Mystery of God Encountered through Symbols, Images, and Stories in Our Own Day.

This year’s lecture will take place on Monday, Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Maria College campus in Marian Hall, Room 105. Light refreshments will follow in Marian Hall’s Fitzgerald Court and all are welcome to attend.

This endowed lecture is made possible by Kay A. Connolly in honor of her late sister, Dorothy A. Connolly. Connolly was a Trustee of the College for 27 years, serving from 1976 to 2003. She was granted the title Trustee Emeritus for her long-standing commitment. The annual lecture will honor Dorothy’s legacy which, rooted in the Mercy Charism, will benefit the Maria College Community for years to come.

“Dorothy inspired those around her. She believed in the mission of Maria College and knew the importance of an education and wanted that for others,” said Kay A. Connolly, sister of Dorothy A. Connolly.

Lecture speaker Mary-Paula Cancienne, RSM, Ph.D. is a theologian who presently serves as Associate Director for Mission Integration for the Conference for Mercy Higher Education. Cancienne’s lecture will discuss the importance of stories, symbols, and images in understanding “the big picture” and how individuals are all connected through experiences and faith.

“We are overjoyed to honor Dorothy with the establishment of this lecture as part of Maria’s annual Mercy Week celebration. The lectures are intended to align with and amplify the message of the Sisters of Mercy, with speakers who can educate and inspire others through the Mercy mission. We feel that Mary-Paula Cancienne is the best choice to kickoff this new tradition for the Maria community and beyond to benefit from,” said Victoria Battell, Senior Vice President of Maria College.

Cancienne is a trained spiritual director and supervisor, and she writes contemporary icons. Her background includes a doctorate in Systematic Theology and master’s degrees in Theology, Spirituality, Psychology, and Fine. She co-developed and continues to teach in a five-course program, Mercy Spirituality Online, at Georgian Court University.

This year’s Mercy Week begins on Mercy Day, Friday, Sept. 24. Mercy Day honors the anniversary of the opening of the first “House of Mercy” in 1827 in Dublin, Ireland by Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy.

To RSVP for the Inaugural Dorothy A. Connolly Annual Lecture, email

For the full schedule of Mercy Week events, visit


About Maria College. Founded in 1958, Maria College is one of 17 colleges and universities in the United States sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. The private, co-educational, Catholic college in Albany serves approximately 800 students in a variety of bachelor degree, associate degree, a master’s degree, and certificate programs including liberal arts, healthcare management, nursing, psychology, occupational therapy, and health and occupational sciences.