By Lou Baldwin
Special to the CS&T

You don’t have to be a Missionary Sister of the Sacred Heart to be a true daughter of St. Frances Cabrini.

Take Danielle Alio, a senior at Cabrini College in Radnor, which was founded by the Sacred Heart Sisters, a congregation established by Mother Cabrini, the United States’ first saint.

Alio, a communications major, is one of two winners (along with Joseph Houde of Franciscan University in Steubenville) of a two-week trip to the missions in Taiwan and South Korea. She won the trip for a short video she produced for the annual Explore My Mission contest sponsored by the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, the overseas mission outreach society of the Catholic Church in America. {{more}}

Mother Cabrini must be proud, because after all, she is a patroness for missionaries.

A graduate of St. Rose of Lima School in North Wales, and the daughter of Frank and Denise Alio with a younger sister Courtney, Danielle Alio has been on the dean’s list every semester.

“My major is communication with a minor in graphic design,” said Alio, who is managing editor of the college newspaper the Loquitur, with video as her passion.

Cabrini College, like Mother Cabrini herself, is very much into the common good and social justice, Alio said.

Between her newspaper writing and her videos, she has covered a wide range of social justice issues. Her favorite written piece was on Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, which featured members of Philadelphia’s Haitian community who were reaching out to assist their stricken countrymen. Among those she interviewed was a man who was an eyewitness to the disaster, but she also discovered there was much more to tell about Haiti than the earthquake.

She covered a human trafficking event for the school, and “I did a video about a ‘Lost Boy’ from Sudan who left home when he was nine,” she said. “I jumped at the chance to tell his story.”

Her favorite video was about two people she met from Swaziland who, she explains in her Maryknoll video, teach in a Cabrini school for children whose lives have been affected by the AIDS pandemic.

Although she has never left the United States to visit foreign missions, she said, “I believe that my work as a college student and a young video producer carries on the work of St. Frances Cabrini. I use my video skills to shed light on the most vulnerable people.”

Her two-week visit to the Far East will give her an opportunity to see the missions firsthand.

After the news broke, one of the Sacred Heart sisters e-mailed her to congratulate her and told her Mother Cabrini had always wanted to go to Asia but never had the opportunity.

“I’m living her dream,” Alio said. “I’m learning a lot about her. She was very brave but not in good health. That didn’t stop her. She was a strong person and a very good role model. Spiritually I pray to her because of this trip coming up. Writing about these issues is one thing; actually traveling to them is completely different.”

As for her own future, Alio thinks she would like to write and produce documentary videos.

“I want to educate people on these types of issues,” she said. “It would be beneficial to me and beneficial to others who don’t know about them.”

Danielle Alio’s short video for Maryknoll can be viewed at

Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.