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Blessing ceremony celebrates the healing work of nursing students’ hands


Caldwell, N.J., Feb. 7, 2019 –

For nursing student Evelyn Eugene the Blessing of the Hands ceremony was a special way to connect her faith with her work as a future nurse.   Eugene and the other third year Caldwell University nursing students gathered on Feb. 6 at the Motherhouse for the blessing, that a milestone for those embarking on their clinical work in hospitals and health care facilities. “It was the best way to go into practicing in my field,” said Eugene of the ceremony where students were reminded how nurses are God’s instruments and that their hands are sacred in the work of serving the sick and the dying.

Dr. Brenda Petersen, assistant professor and associate dean of the School of Nursing and Public Health, gave the opening remarks to the students, family members, faculty, staff and administration.

Sister Kathleen Tuite, O.P., vice president of student life, said it was a time to celebrate the work of healers and bless the healing work of their hands.“Each of us brings unique gifts and a unique self to our various tasks. Today we come to celebrate our call and gifts and to remember how much we need one another. No one person has all the gifts. We rely on one another and work together in this community to bring healing to people who come to us.”

The university president, Dr. Nancy Blattner, quoted Isaiah 49:16 saying, “I can never forget you. I have written your name on the palm of my hand.”  The scripture verse, she said, “calls to mind how close each of us is to our Creator because he fashioned us in his image and remembers us by name.  She continued,” Dear nursing students, you are known and remembered by God. You are created in His divine image and carry His Divine Spark.”   She asked them to remember that even when they may encounter patients who are in pain, frustrated, or angry, that the patients are also created in God’s divine image. “Then you will see God in each one of them as you minister to their needs, and you will be bringing the care and healing that is more than physical but also reaches to each person’s inner being.”

Scripture and prayers were read by nursing faculty members, Dr. Donna Naturale, Professor Phygenia Nimoh, Dr. Aneesha Jean, and ProfessorAngelica Delacruz.

Student Michelle Citron, who went up to receive her blessing with her 16-month- old son, said it was special for the students to receive the blessings from their professors. “They are the ones we look up to.”

Student Jasmine Bejar said the blessing was empowering and gave her more confidence as she goes to her clinical site, reaffirming why it is she wants to be a nurse.

Dr. Kathleen Kelley, associate professor and assistant director of the School of Nursing and Public Health, told the audience that the blessings of hands is something done at weddings as well as in nursing, because it “ celebrates the symbolism of hands as extensions of our love and passion to embrace our patients, their families and our community.”

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University Celebrates Launch of “A Year with the Saint John’s Bible”

The Saint John’s Bible
Dr. Blattner at The Saint John’s Bible Presentation
The Saint John’s Bible Presentation

Caldwell, N.J., Jan. 29, 2019– It is not often that one gets to view an illuminated, handwritten Bible created by the Queen’s calligrapher, yet more than 200 people at Caldwell University had that opportunity on Jan. 28 when they came out for the launch of the school’s “Year with The Saint John’s Bible”.

Caldwell University President Nancy Blattner said the year with the Bible is an invitation “to reflect upon our own journey to God, an invitation to seek God in all aspects of our life, an invitation to be drawn deeper into the mystery of our faith.”

The evening featured prayer, music and a presentation by Tim Ternes, director of The Saint John’s Bible at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota.

Ternes explained how the timeless gift of sacred art is the first illuminated, handwritten Bible of monumental size to be created in more than 500 years.  It was commissioned by Benedictine Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and the creative director was Donald Jackson, senior scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Crown Office.

Jackson worked with a team of scribes, artists, theologians and scholars. Ternes described the creative process that took 15 years with Jackson leading artists who used traditional materials such as vellum, (calfskin), ancient inks, gold and silver leaf and platinum and was written with quill pens fashioned from goose, turkey and swan feathers. Although traditional materials were used, The Saint John’s Bible, Ternes said, “was inspired by our times and can inspire our times.”

The Bible is monumental in size because it is meant to be shared with others. “It is communal…the artworks are there to cause you to have discussions,” said Ternes. The legacy of the Bible, he said, is “what you choose to do with it…share it, enjoy it, use it.”  The Bible is the New Revised Standard version.   The text, translation and imagery in The Saint John’s Bible reflect Saint John’s Abbey and University’s dedication to ecumenism.

Interactive discussions made the opening night celebration very enjoyable for the audience members. Christine Millien, a recent graduate, was happy she attended. Ternes, she said, “opened your mind and joined the community together.”

Brooke McPherson, a Caldwell student, who is working on the docent team, said the “entire school is excited,” and she is “excited to be in the middle of it.”

University Music Department faculty members performed a new piece, “Calming of the Storm,” composed by faculty member Rob Middleton, inspired by an image in the Bible of the same title by artist Suzanne Moore. Middleton played the clarinet and he was joined by Music Department chair and pianist Nan Childress-Orchard and flutist Rebecca Vega.

For one year, Caldwell is hosting the Heritage Edition of the Gospels and Acts volume of the Bible.  The Heritage Edition is the only full-size limited signed and numbered fine art edition that will ever be produced. Each volume includes Jackson’s signature as its certificate of authenticity.

The community is invited to take advantage of the various programs and lectures at Caldwell in theology, art, history, science, music and more as they relate to the Bible.  Groups are invited to contact the university to schedule visits.

Other lectures during the year will include:

Wednesday, March 20, 2019, 4:30 p.m. – Dr. Marie Mullaney, Caldwell University professor of history, will present on “A Woman’s Bible for the 21st Century.”

Monday, April 8, 2019, 4:30 p.m. – Stephanie Pietros, Ph.D., assistant professor of English, College of Mount St. Vincent, and Robert Miller, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy and religious studies, Mount St. Mary College, will present on “Oh Happy Fault, Errors in the Saint John’s Bible” as part of the Caldwell Department of Theology and Philosophy’s Sister Maura Campbell series.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019, Noon– Dr. Anton M. Koekemoer, research astrophysicist with the Hubble Space Telescope at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, will speak at Caldwell’s third annual Research and Creative Arts Day.

More lectures will be added.

If you would like to book a group visit, contact thesaintjohnsbible@caldwell.edu or call Julie Kajouras at 973-618-3922.  To find out more visit www.caldwell.edu/thesaintjohnsbible

Watch News 12 New Jersey’s feature 

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Building a Heart for Service in Belize

Caldwell University Graduate Joe with Local Students in Belize
Caldwell Students Interacting with Local Students in Belize
Caldwell Students Volunteering in Belize
All the Caldwell Students in Belize

Caldwell, NJ. , Jan. 29, 2019 – For several years, Caldwell University students and staff have been volunteering in villages in Belize during winter break. They do the important work of rebuilding in a part of the Central American country where people have very few modern conveniences.   This January, a group of nine students and two staff members did service in the village of San Miguel for one week.  They built a partition to make a one room building into two, which now allows for two classrooms to accommodate the growing school enrollment.

The manual labor is helpful to the community, but as Colleen O’Brien, director of Caldwell’s Campus Ministry Office, tells the Caldwell students, there is something more important to the experience than the actual construction work.  “It has to be about relationship building,” she explains. It is about the people and the bonds they form—bonds with the villagers and bonds with each other, she says.  And it is about seeing that human goodness is universal no matter where you live on God’s earth.

The experience teaches, “that humanity requires us to be humble and to do good,” said Jenelle McLeod, a graduate student from New Brunswick, New Jersey, who took part in the mission trip.  “Everyone has a purpose…and every person and every experience we encounter contributes to each of our purposes,” said McLeod, who is majoring in mental health counseling with a school counseling concentration. It was the little things, that were really big things, that had an impact on the volunteers—like when the mothers of the parent teacher group would bring empanadas and corn cakes to the work site each day.

Daniela Diaz, a junior and business administration major from West New York, New Jersey, appreciated learning about a new culture and the people, which helped her reflect on her own life.  “Life is simple. It is us humans that make it complicated,” said Diaz.    Playing with the children at the school was what she enjoyed most.

Amber Raines, a junior and psychology major from Millville, New Jersey, was on the mission trip for her second time.  The strong sense of family that she witnessed in Belize had an effect on her, “…being there makes me value and appreciate the family that I have more.”

Cutting down on digital device usage took some adjustment but the students found that it helped them cherish the excursion even more.  “It was an amazing opportunity to be able to let go and take advantage of the trip and the experience,” said Diaz. McLeod said it allowed her to delve deeper and focus more closely on what she wants for her life.  “My commitments to what truly matter to me were further developed during our time without internet or phones.”  They were able to build “a closeness like a family” and simplify their living by spending quality time without distractions, she said.   Raines said that without social media “you can be more in touch with your surroundings and live more in the moment.”

The students have carried the memories home with them.  They are memories of “the beautiful villages with the vibrant children, the beautiful culture, and the bonds I’ve made with my new friends that I traveled with and have come to love,” McLeod.

She recommends that other students who have “a heart to serve” consider taking part in the mission trip in the future. There are friendships to be made.  “Even if you go in alone, you won’t come out alone,” said Diaz.

Watch News 12 New Jersey’s Feature

English News

Caldwell University English Department Colloquium


November 28th, 2018

Founded by Dr. Patricia Verrone in 2010, the annual fall Colloquium is a chance for the department to come together and share written works, and occasionally performances, from faculty-selected students with strong literary skills. During this event, students deliver a brief presentation of their essays by reading short excerpts of their writing, and summarizing the central arguments of their assignments. The annual Colloquium enables English majors and minors to articulate their thoughts and research in the presence of their fellow students and faculty members.

Kate Bielitz
Great Drama in Performance
Short Monologue from David Ives’ Adaptation of The Liar

John Sembrot
Modern Drama
“The Limits of Toleration: Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull  and Nilo Cruz’s Anna in the Tropics”

Colleen Brennan
American Novel
“American Literary Nationalism and Indian Extinction”

Kathryn Plummer
Masterpieces of Western Literature
“Hero or Human”

Bianca Caruso
English Literature
“Marlowe and Donne’s Take on Love”

Sabrina Micciche
Masterpieces of Western Literature
“The Willfulness of Medea in a Patriarchal Society: From Oppressive Betrayal to Reprehensible Justice”

Samantha Ashton
Contemporary Fiction
“Oppression in Never Let Me Go”

Lauren Facher
American Novel
“The Seduction Novel: Instructive or Subversive?”

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MA in Counseling Recognized as One of the Most Affordable CACREP- Accredited Programs in Country

Mental Health Counseling Affordable Badge

Caldwell, N.J., Jan. 24, 2019 – Caldwell University’s Masters in Counseling has been recognized as one of the most affordable CACREP- accredited programs in the country for 2019-20 by HumanServicesEDU.org. CACREP is the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs.

The editorial staff at HumanServicesEDU.org performed an exhaustive analysis of tuition rates for every CACREP-accredited counseling master’s program in the United States and had just one goal in mind—to identify programs that represent the best value in the education marketplace through a combination of uncompromising quality and of affordability.

At more than $17,000 below the average cost of similar programs offered at private institutions in New Jersey, Caldwell’s program also earned a place among the most affordable counseling master’s programs in the country for 2019-20.

Thomson J. Ling, Ph.D., professor and associate dean in Caldwell University’s School of Psychology and Counseling, says the school is delighted to receive this recognition. “Through integrating science and practice, we prepare students to be ethical and competent professionals in counseling, and we are excited to provide a high-quality program at an affordable cost.”

Dr. Barbara Chesler, vice president of academic affairs, says she is very proud of the program and faculty. “Having the art therapy specialization provides a unique perspective on how to help individuals with their struggles in life.” The counseling program also reflects the university’s mission and is interwoven in the core of the program, she explains. “Students graduate with a compassion and desire to assist others who find life hard to handle.”

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Caldwell Student Climbs Mount Kilimanjaro

Caldwell University student Jessica Arebalo at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania over her winter break.

Caldwell, N. J., Jan. 22, 2019 – For Caldwell University student Jessica Arebalo it was a “true lifetime achievement and once in a lifetime experience” when she reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania over her winter break.

“It is a complete joy to say I have summited Mount Kilimanjaro at 19,341 feet…it is the closest I’ll ever be to being on the top of the world,” said Arebalo,  a senior majoring in social studies and minoring in criminal justice.  “After seven days and putting my body through extreme exhaustion, pushing myself past the mental and physical breaking point, I was able to stand above the clouds.”  Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the seven highest summits in the world, 9,688 feet shy of the tallest, Mount Everest.

While maintaining A’s in her grades for the past year, Arebalo, of Hoboken, New Jersey, knew she needed time to reset during the winter break. “Now I am ready to take the last six classes I need to graduate while working full time as an EMT and a 911 operator overnights.”

“As promised, a moment that’s literally frozen in time,” she said of the photo in which she proudly stands at the top of the mountain with a Caldwell University pennant. She hopes her feat inspires other students “to dream and achieve” and mostly to know that they can manage it all—“travel, school, work and family.”

Watch News 12 New Jersey’s story
“Balancing it all: First responder, mom, college student finds time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro”

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Grad and Student Combating Human Trafficking

Christine Millien and Avilasha Joshi intern of New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking showing their certificate.

Christine Millien and Avilasha Joshi interned with the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking.

Recent Caldwell University graduate Christine Millien  and current student Avilasha Joshi presented at the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking program “Breaking Free: Students Against Trafficking” Friday, Jan. 11 as part of their internships with the coalition.

Millien, of Montclair, N.J., who received her bachelor’s in business administration, and Joshi, who is in the bachelor’s in sociology program, were chosen for the very selective winter internship program.

They handled a number of duties including creating content, contacting speakers, designing the set and promoting and presenting at the conference.

Joshi, an international student from Nepal, was happy to be a part of “a noble cause,” to meet inspiring personalities, and to experience the diverse group dynamics. “This internship is surely a start to something much bigger,” she said.

Millien said joining the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking was the “single greatest decision” she has ever made.  Having the opportunity to motivate others through the media and the live conference showed her that “when united, the doors of possibilities are unlimited.”

Millien will be remaining with the coalition to speak at events and she plans to attend an advocacy day in Trenton. “I am here to change the world, starting by ending modern day slavery.”

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Caldwell Receives Grant to Become Smoke and Tobacco Free Campus

Caldwell, N.J., – Jan. 14, 2019  Caldwell University will become a smoke and tobacco free campus in 2020 thanks to a grant from the State of New Jersey.

Cindy Striano, Caldwell University’s executive director of health services, said the university is delighted to receive the grant to promote a healthier environment for students, faculty, and staff to learn, work and live. “We want to ensure clean air for all while encouraging healthier nonsmoking and tobacco-free lifestyle choices.” According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 500,000 people die annually from the negative effects of smoking which includes heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Striano says the monies from the grant will be used for education and awareness as well as smoking cessation programs.

Michelle Stauss, director of human resources, will work to provide education and initiatives to employees. “This initiative aligns perfectly with our CALDWELLNESS@WORK PROGRAM which encourages employees to explore healthy lifestyle options available on campus and through our benefit service providers. On February 6 we will be partnering with our employee assistance program to host a lunch and learn in an effort to educate employees on a variety of wellness topics including smoking cessation.”

In the fall of 2018, Striano conducted focus groups with students, faculty and staff to allow them the opportunity to voice their concerns and provide them with education.

Caldwell joins nearly 2,100 schools in the country that are smoke and tobacco free.

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Sister Maura Campbell Spring Semester Lecture Series

The Department of Theology and Philosophy at Caldwell University has announced its speakers for spring semester for the Sister Maura Campbell lecture series.

All lectures take place in the Alumni Theater at 4:30 p.m.and are free and open to the public.

Thursday, January 31 – “Papal Policies on Clerical Sexual Abuse: God Weeps,” with Jo-Renee Formicola, Ph.D., professor of political science at Seton Hall University.

Monday, February 4 – “Educating Desire:  Augustine and Dante on the Weight of Love,” with Paul Camacho, Ph.D., Arthur J. Ennis Post-Doctoral Fellow, Augustine and Culture Seminar Program, Villanova University.

Thursday, March 21 – “Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) on the Eucharist,” Lauren Pristas, Ph.D.  emeritus professor, theology, Caldwell University.

Monday, April 8 – “Oh Happy Fault: The Human Element in the Creation of the St. John’s Bible,” with Robert Miller, Ph.D, associate professor of religious studies, Mount Saint Mary’s College, and Stephanie Pietros, Ph.D., assistant professor of English, Mount Saint Vincent’s College.

The lectures are being presented by the Department of Theology and Philosophy as part of its Sister Maura Campbell lecture series.  Sister Maura was a Sister of St. Dominic of Caldwell, a theologian, philosopher, professor, researcher and national leader in education whose scholarship and teaching spanned 50 years.

For further information, call 973-618-3931.

About Caldwell University

Caldwell University is a private, Catholic coed four-year university with a strong liberal arts core curriculum that enhances critical thinking and analytical reasoning. Caldwell offers 29 undergraduate and 30 graduate programs, including doctoral, master’s, certificate and certification programs, as well as online and distance learning options that prepare students for today’s global marketplace. The university has 15 NCAA Division II intercollegiate sports programs and a football program that is a member of the Collegiate Sprint Football League.

Caldwell offers numerous clubs, fraternities, sororities and activities. It is located on a beautiful 70-acre campus in suburban Caldwell, New Jersey. Caldwell was founded by the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Caldwell. Its core values of respect, integrity, community and excellence influence academic and campus life. For more information about Caldwell University, visit caldwell.edu.