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Caldwell University Welcomes Largest Freshman Class Ever

Undergraduate Enrollments Reach All-Time High


Caldwell, N.J., Aug. 29, 2016 – Caldwell University welcomed its largest freshman class ever at the start of the 2016-17 academic year with 406 students. Undergraduate enrollment is also at an all-time high.

Incoming students took part in Welcome Weekend activities Aug. 27-29 including a barbecue with President Nancy Blattner, Music under the Stars on the lawn, a trip to a Mets game, Mass and the new-student convocation ceremony.

Blattner formally welcomed the Class of 2020 at the convocation, saying, “Today begins a momentous period in your life because you are beginning your college experience.” She encouraged the incoming students to learn about the rich Catholic Dominican history and heritage and to reflect on the university’s commitment to the four foundational pillars of prayer, study, community and mission or service.

Commenting on the Dominican pillar of mission or service, she said that one of the most exciting opportunities awaiting the students was to volunteer. “Whether you choose to participate on a Midnight Run into New York City to feed and clothe the homeless, sign up for a weeklong experience in Appalachia over spring or winter break or decide to accompany the group traveling to Central America to work in jungle villages, your life will forever be transformed by participating in service projects at Caldwell.”

Shyam Sharma’ 17, president of the Student Government Association, welcomed the new students to the Caldwell University community.  “Over the next few years, you’ll see yourself and your peers grow personally and professionally in ways you never thought possible.  The first step is to go through this journey with an open mind.  Use this opportunity to try new things, whether that comes in the form of a global service trip, trying a new class or even the fusion entrees in the dining hall.”

Melissa Brown, a freshman from Brick, New Jersey, majoring in education and history, was looking forward to her college career. She said that the orientation leaders were fantastic and that she appreciated “how diverse the community is.” She enjoyed the Welcome Weekend activities because “they kept everybody involved and busy the whole time.”

The four largest freshman classes in the history of the university, and of the college, have enrolled in four of the last five years. This year’s class is almost 30 percent higher than last year’s, which was the second-largest class in history and is now bumped down to third.

“We are not sacrificing quality; the average SAT score for our regular admits is exactly the same as the prior year, and we have many more of them this year,” said Vice President for Enrollment Management and Communications Joseph Posillico.

With such a large freshman class, undergraduate enrollment is approaching nearly 1,400 students this fall for the first time in school history. The school hit other first-time milestones, reaching 1,100 students in 2011, 1,200 students in 2013 and 1,400 students this fall. From 2009 to fall 2016 the university has experienced a 44 percent increase in traditional students, a tremendous accomplishment at a time when there are fewer high school graduates and many other colleges and universities are experiencing enrollment declines.

The university is also welcoming its largest class of international students this fall with students from all over the world including Asia, South America, the Caribbean and Europe.


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Accounting Student Receives Hispanic Business Scholarship


Caldwell, N.J., Aug. 11, 2016 – Caldwell University student Karla Barzola was awarded a scholarship from the National Hispanic Business Group at its annual gala on Wall Street in Manhattan July 21.

Barzola, a senior and an accounting major with a minor in finance and mathematics, says receiving the scholarship was amazing and attending the gala provided a wonderful opportunity to network with other professionals, given the many businesses that support the organization. “I’m very grateful to the NHBG for the scholarship which is helping me finance my education so I can graduate.” She enjoyed meeting the other students who received the scholarships. “We set up a group chat afterwards.”

Barzola, a senior and a native of Jersey City, is the first generation in her family (along with her sister) to attend college. She spent the summer interning with Concepts Office Furnishings Inc. in Saddle Brook, New Jersey. With an aptitude for math and working with numbers, she has particularly enjoyed seeing how the accounting department operates and wants to work with budgets in the future, perhaps as a budget analyst. “This is very valuable. You need to have experience when you are first applying for jobs. This is a good start for my career.”

Aida DeSoto, president of Concepts Office Furnishings, has been delighted to have Barzola on staff this summer. DeSoto was a co-founder of the National Hispanic Business Group, which is made up of prominent Hispanic entrepreneurs looking to develop opportunities for Hispanic businesses. In the early ’90s they decided to start a scholarship program to help high-achieving Hispanic students complete their college educations. DeSoto says they saw that students were dropping out after two years due to financial circumstances. Instead of finishing their educations they began to work. “We wanted to help them finish their studies with this scholarship.”

Barzola has had a positive experience studying in the Business Division and is grateful to the faculty and other Caldwell University staff for their support and direction. Professor Ann Marie Callahan is “an amazing advisor to consult with and talk to about the business world. She has helped me a lot in my major and the business world as well,” said Barzola. She is also thankful to Assistant to the President for Special Projects Dr. Nancy Becker and University Registrar and Director of Institutional Research Ian White for helping her with the scholarship process and to DeSoto for giving her the internship opportunity.

Most of all Barzola has found it rewarding to show her parents what she can achieve. “I’m glad that they are able to say they are proud of me.”

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Enhance your university learning experience at the Academic Success Center

Students share the benefits of a wide range of services at Caldwell University’s Academic Success Center.

The Center offers academic support services through which students of all abilities can address their long and short-term learning needs in a supportive and relaxed environment. Individual and group tutoring in most academic subjects is available on a scheduled basis. Many drop-in sessions are also offered. Skill-specific workshops are presented regularly to help students develop and improve their study habits and writing techniques.

The Writing Center, staffed by professional and peer tutors, has regular hours for drop-in assistance. Students may be referred to the Academic Success Center by their professors for skill reinforcement, or they may arrange for their own tutoring by completing the registration form available in the Academic Success Center. Students who excel in a particular course and who have been recommended by their professor, may be invited to work as Academic Success Center tutors.

The Office of Disability Services (ODS) is also located in the Academic Success Center. The mission of the ODS is to provide a full range of reasonable and appropriate accommodations and support services to students with disabilities in order to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990).

The Office of Disability Services seeks to foster independence and to develop the self-advocacy of students with disabilities. In addition, the ODS serves as a liaison and resource to members of the Caldwell University community.

Location: Student Center, First Floor
Contact: Nancee Roth, Coordinator of Tutoring Services
Coordinator of Disability Services
973 – 618-3645

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Caldwell Athletics Hires Daryle Weiss to Lead New Sprint Football Program



CALDWELL, N.J.- Caldwell University Assistant Vice President/Director of Athletics Mark A. Corino has announced the hiring of Daryle Weiss to lead the new sprint football program in its inaugural season in the Collegiate Sprint Football League in Fall 2017. In addition to his coaching duties, Weiss will serve as an athletics administrator overseeing the department’s recruiting efforts. He will be the primary recruiting contact in the athletics department and assist with the overall organization and management of the athletic recruiting process.

“After an extensive hiring process, we are very pleased and excited to have hired Daryle Weiss as our first head coach to lead our sprint football program,” said Corino. “With his extensive recruiting background and outstanding collegiate coaching record, we believe we have found the proper educator and coach to lead this new and exciting initiative. I am looking forward to working closely with Daryle in developing the foundation for this program and establish a level of success in the coming years. Daryle will exhibit a work ethic and approach that will meet with our expected goals. We believe that we are fortunate to have Daryle on board our staff.”

Weiss brings over 20 years of teaching and coaching experience on the collegiate and high school levels. His experience ranges from Montclair Immaculate Conception as the freshman head coach to offensive/defensive line coordinator at Pope John XXIII. Weiss coached in his hometown at James Caldwell High School as the offensive and defensive line coach before taking the head football coach position at Rockland High School in Maine and Westbrook High School in 2007. Weiss moved to the college level with Bates College and most recently with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

“I want to thank President Blattner, Mr. Corino and the entire interview committee for giving me the opportunity to lead the Caldwell University Sprint Football Program,” said Weiss. “This is a dream come true for me and my family. To return home to build a football program at Caldwell University is amazing. I am humbled, honored and excited by the support everyone associated with CU has shown for our football program. I can’t wait to see our student-athletes represent our university in the classroom, community and on the field in 2017.”

The Caldwell native most recently worked at as the Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach for the football program at RPI for the past two seasons. In his first season, he transformed the offense to increase their offensive totals from the previous season. The Engineers were second in the Liberty League in scoring with 28.2 points per game. The rushing offense ranked third in the conference at 235.5 yards per game, while the total offense was second with 378.5 yards per game. This past season, Weiss’ scoring offense again ranked third in the conference while the Engineers’ total offense posted a league-leading 375.5 yards per contest. The rushing offense again ranked third, while the passing offense improved to second with 212 yards per game.

Prior to RPI, Weiss coached at Bates College for six seasons. He was the Offensive Line Coach, Recruiting Coordinator and Video Coordinator for three seasons. In 2010, Weiss was promoted to Offensive Coordinator, while retaining Offensive Line and Recruiting Coordinator duties.

During his time with the Bobcats, he coached numerous All-NESCAC (New England Small School Athletic Conference) student-athletes at a variety of positions, including tight end, offensive line, wide receiver and quarterback including the first signal caller in school history to be recognized. The team set 11 school records on offense in 2011, led the league in numerous offensive categories in 2012 and led the NCAA Division III in turnover margin in 2013 while setting the program record for rushing yards in a season.

Weiss began coaching high school football in his native New Jersey, where he was on the staffs at Montclair Immaculate Conception, Pope John XXIII and James Caldwell High School. He also coached track & field at Caldwell, as well as at Rockland. Additionally, he has experience coaching high school wrestling and as a strength & conditioning coach.

Weiss graduated from New Jersey City University with a degree in special education and served as a special education teacher from 1999 to 2008. He was a professional actor for five years, and trained at the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute in New York City as well as at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, where he was a theater major. Weiss has been married for 18 years to his wife Kelly and they have two children, Marshall and Abigail.

“We are excited to have Daryle on board, the hiring of a head coach brings sprint football one step closer to reality,” said Vice President for Enrollment Management and Communications Joe Posillico.

The Cougars will join as the ninth member of the CSFL that includes Army West Point, Chestnut Hill College, Cornell University, Franklin Pierce University, Mansfield University, the U.S. Naval Academy, Post University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Sprint football is a full-contact, intercollegiate, varsity sport and has the same rules as regular college football, except that all players must weigh 172 pounds or less. The league has existed since before World War II.

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High School Students Explore Spirituality and Leadership at Summer Seminar


Caldwell, N.J., July 27, 2016 – Seventeen high school students had the chance to look deeply at how their spirituality could underpin their leadership skills and help them make a difference in the world as they explored options for their college and career paths. The Spirituality and Society Summer Seminar was held July 16-23 on the Caldwell University campus.

Dr. Kyle Bennett, director of the Spirituality and Leadership Institute at Caldwell and a philosophy faculty member, said the aim of the program is to introduce high school students to spirituality disciplines and leadership practices to help them grow as young citizens who promote public justice and seek the common good.

The students had a taste of college life, living in the dorms, taking workshops and socializing together.

Three key areas of study were spiritual formation, theological reflection and vocational discernment.

Speakers included Michael Oliver, a Caldwell University theology faculty member, on spirituality and the environment; Bennett on spirituality and consumption; cartoonist Drew Dernavich on spirituality and expression; actor Matt Lowe on spirituality and entertainment, and Alissa Wilkinson, a film critic and English and humanities professor at King’s College, on spirituality and the media. They also took part in a journaling workshop with author and adjunct professor in the Caldwell Business Division, Barbara Davey.

“We really wanted the students to begin reflecting on how their everyday activities have implications for the kind of person and professional they become,” said Bennett. “I think we succeeded.”

There was plenty of time for recreation, ranging from mini golf to kickball to volleyball and a nature walk.

The students were introduced to the Catholic-Dominican tradition and enjoyed time with the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell at an ice cream social.
Liz Serviss, of Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, was moved by Wilkinson’s talk on spirituality and the media since she wants to pursue journalism. She was inspired to hear that communications professionals can be “really contributive to the world and still be living out their faith.”

Gary Striggles Jr., from St. Mary’s of the Assumption High School in Elizabeth, said the week was more than he expected, and he was especially enthused about Oliver’s talk on spirituality and the environment. Oliver encouraged the students to “dial down on some things” like air conditioning to conserve electricity, “only using the amount you need,” said Striggles.

Alizè Stevenson, also from St. Mary’s of the Assumption, said the best part was Bennett’s talk on food and spirituality and how he probed the students on several points. “I like to answer questions,” she said, and the talk made her think that “we do take for granted what we have.”

One of the best aspects of the week was group discussions. “The leaders made sure everyone was connecting,” said Stevenson. “We all came from different places, with different thoughts on different topics,” and through the discussions, students were able to peak into each other’s lives, she said. “It was a life-changing experience … everyone was different, but now our plates are full.”

Serviss said it was wonderful to be in a healthy environment with other people who want to live in the world while maintaining their faith in Jesus Christ.

Janiece Montas, a senior at Caldwell University, worked at the seminar, taking pictures throughout the week. Since she had been involved in programs in high school she could relate to the younger students. “I was in their shoes … growing with the group … making friendships, learning from each other.”

Striggles said he ended the week with more confidence and that he was grateful to all the leaders and staff especially Bennett.

The other students who attended are:

Anjelika Catral of Academy of Holy Angels in Demarest.

Samantha Docteur of Holy Spirit High School in Absecon.

Kassandra Pardo and Sophia Feijoo of St. Dominic Academy in Jersey City.

Sheydline Moise, Asia Brooks, Nasyr St. Fleur, Jakub Klimkowski, Anthony Maldonado, Richard Franklin, Oluwatoyin Ogunbiyi, Jennifer Lawson, and Sarei Mosquera of St. Mary of the Assumption High School in Elizabeth.

Corrin Mahoney of St. John Villa Academy in Staten Island.

For the rest of the year (and beyond), students will be placed in online cohorts to continue conversations and to maintain personal and professional friendships.

The institute was made possible by a grant the university received from the Lilly Endowment Inc. The program is part of the endowment’s High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative.

To find about more about the Institute visit, caldwell.edu/SLI, on Twitter follow @SpiritualityLI

and on Facebook at /www.facebook.com/spiritualityleadershipinstitute/.

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Drummer for hit musical ‘Hamilton’ gives student workshop at Caldwell University percussion camp


Caldwell, N.J., July 18, 2016 – Middle and high school students at Caldwell University’s summer percussion camp had a little taste of Broadway July 14 when Andres Forero, the drummer for the hit musical “Hamilton, “came to campus to give a workshop, performing and offering words of wisdom.

Forero, who has won Tony, Grammy and Emmy awards, told the young musicians, “Anything you do should have emotion. Put your heart into it.” He encouraged them to expand their horizons. “Explore many instruments…commit and put your whole heart into what you are doing…learn everything about the style you choose.”

“Andres embodies the phrase ‘Play every note like it’s the only note and the last note you’ll ever play,’” said Alexander Bocchino, a member of the Caldwell music faculty, who runs the weeklong camp, now in its fifth year. “As a teacher it is just wonderful to bring musicians like Andres Forero to the Caldwell summer intensive percussion camp and have students experience up close and personal someone of his caliber.”

John Piepoli, assistant director of the camp and a Caldwell music alumnae, said it was a wonderful experience “heavy hitting…in addition to helping, I am learning myself.”

Over a span of three hours Forero played selections from “Hamilton” and “In the Heights,” for which he was also a drummer, and works from Chaka Khan and Kenny Loggins. Louis Del Virginia, a Caldwell University music student working as an intern for the camp, appreciated that Forero dedicated so much time to performance. “Good for the kids…it was a different level of connection.”

Also in attendance was Joe Bergamini who is working as a substitute for Forero. Bergamini who has performed in “Rock of Ages” and “Jersey Boys,” also gave a workshop. In recent years performers such as Chuck Burgi (Billy Joel) and Glen Fittin (Lion King/Bernie Worrell), Mark Guiliana (David Bowie), Rolando Morales-Matos (Lion King) and Tommy Igoe (Birdland Big Band) have participated in the camp.

The camp provides students with immersion in drumset, world drumming, classical percussion and percussion ensemble, master classes, ensemble rehearsals and technique classes. It also includes a trip to the well-known jazz club Birdland in New York City to hear music faculty member Rob Middleton, a member of the Birdland Big Band. A Saturday afternoon student performance concluded the week.

NJ.Com article and photos – Broadway beats: ‘Hamilton’ drummer schools N.J. kids

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Alumna receives papal honor for work in communications, journalism

The below article from The Catholic Spirit newspaper of the Metuchen Diocese is a feature on Caldwell University alumna Joanne Ward ‘69 .

Medal recipient honored for work in communications, journalism

Joanne-Ward1Joanne Ward, associate publisher and editor-in-chief of The Catholic Spirit, received the Benemerenti medal for her “exceptional leadership in the area of diocesan communications, especially her guidance of our award-winning newspaper, which I believe has been one of our most effective tools in the cause of the New Evangelization,” said Bishop Emeritus Paul G. Bootkoski.

“Ms. Ward will soon be retiring and the Holy Father’s bestowal of this honor is a fitting tribute to her dedicated service to the Church,” he added at solemn vespers in the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi, Metuchen, June 13.

Ward served as director of the Office of Communications from 2001 to December 2012 when the office was restructured and she assumed her current role. “I welcomed the change to concentrate on my first love – journalism – and be in a position to more directly have a positive impact on the faithful in the diocese through The Catholic Spirit,” she said.

That positive impact was evident recently after the newspaper published a story about the prison ministry of Immaculate Conception Church, Annandale. Ward said one of the deacons, Mike Meyer, emailed her to express his thanks for the article. “He said the article was already bearing fruit because another parish in the diocese had offered to help provide the ladies with Catholic reading materials,” Ward said. “He thanked us for our evangelization.”

As director of communications Ward said she was involved in helping to create videos for the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, coordinating Masses to honor the men and women law enforcement officers and firefighters, and redesigning the diocesan website. “What I liked most about the position was the challenge of never knowing what situations or problems the day would bring,” she said. “You had to be ready for anything. I was never bored and my days always flew by.”

During this time Ward was project director for the 2006 publication of a “coffee table book” to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Diocese of Metuchen. “It took months to produce and it was very well-received,” she said. “I still consider it one of my top accomplishments at the diocese.”

As editor-in-chief of The Catholic Spirit Ward said her primary responsibility was developing story ideas and obtaining photos for the paper and deciding what would be covered and how it would be presented.

Ward also wrote “many, many stories” herself, two of which earned her individual awards from the Catholic Press Association. In 2015, a story on the Pope Francis Garden, a joint project between Holy Family Parish, New Brunswick and St. Peter and Paul Byzantine Parish, Somerset, captured first place for news reporting on a local issue.

In 2014, an article on the Deacons’ Table, a ministry of The Church of the Good Shepherd in the Hopelawn section of Woodbridge Township that brings food and fellowship to attendees, earned Ward third place for news writing.

One of her top accomplishments as editor was to have The Catholic Spirit distributed in all parishes. “It took a year to get that done and we were blessed to have Bishop Paul approve such a bold move,” Ward said. She also was instrumental in establishing El Manantial, the Hispanic language newspaper of the diocese.

The special supplement recently published when Pope Francis visited Philadelphia is a memorable one for Ward. “All the stories were written by clergy, religious and laity of our diocese,” she said. Ward said it was their hope that the supplement would make readers feel proud to be Catholic and proud to be part of the Diocese of Metuchen. “From the reaction it received, I think it did,” she said.

Prior to working for the diocese Ward held various public relations positions and also worked as a legislative aide where she was responsible for speeches, press releases, newsletters and public briefings. When her husband died in 1999 Ward said she felt she needed a position that was not dependent on elections.

Applying for director of communications “was the best decision I ever made and I feel it was God’s way of taking care of me and my children,” she said. “Without a doubt, my faith has grown immeasurably and in many ways since I started working at the diocese.”

Ward received a bachelor’s degree in English from Caldwell College, Caldwell, N.J. and a master’s degree in journalism from The Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pa. She also was the recipient of the Regina Nostra medal for outstanding service to the church and diocese in 2006.

“I was very surprised when the bishop told me I was to receive a papal honor,” Ward said, “and feel it honors not only me, but also the staff of The Catholic Spirit and our freelancers whose work makes the newspaper possible.”
Tracy Liston

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‘The Shaping of America’ – History professor examines great impact religious sisters have had on American life

Dr. Marie MullaneyThis article appeared in The Beacon, the newspaper of the Paterson Diocese

‘The Shaping of America’

Professor examines great impact that religious sisters have had on American life

MADISON Religious sisters, who work tirelessly in a variety of Catholic ministries throughout the U.S. today, carry on the legacy of their courageous forebears — religious communities whose members often acted like CEOs, blessed with the vision and perseverance to found major institutions in the early history of the country, including women’s colleges, parochial schools and hospitals.

Even before the founding of the U.S., religious sisters also acted as pioneers, braving the dangers of bringing the Church and God’s love to settlers during expansion in the West. They also blazed trails in the nation’s cities, bringing God’s mercy through their varied outreaches to the poor and forgotten, said Marie Mullaney, Ph.D., a professor at Caldwell University, during her presentation, “Catholic Sisters and the Shaping of America,” on June 22 at St. Paul Inside the Walls: the Diocesan Center for Evangelization at Bayley-Ellard here.

“Religious sisters are the largest and oldest group of women to contribute to American life. By 1920, they built more than 500 hospitals, 50 women’s colleges and 6,000 parochial schools,” said Mullaney, who teaches women’s history and the history of Catholicism in America at Caldwell University. During her talk, she examined the history and impact of religious sisters on the U.S. It was attended by religious sisters from many communities that serve in the Paterson Diocese and beyond. “Because they have been so humble and so busy serving others, these sisters did not create archives or collect materials to document all of their accomplishments. Their story hasn’t been told,” she said.

So that night at St. Paul’s, Mullaney started telling the story of religious sisters in the U.S. from the beginning: the establishment of the New World, which took place from the 1500s to the 1600s. They traveled from Europe to the overwhelmingly Protestant 13 colonies, where Catholics comprised only 1 percent of the population. The first community was the Ursuline Sisters of France, who accepted the local bishop’s invitation in 1727 to care for the sick during a cholera epidemic in New Orleans, she said.

“The sisters found that the European model of living in a cloistered community did not work in the U.S. They did hard physical labor, had to learn English and had to endure harsh conditions traveling by mule, horse-drawn buggy or boat. A journey out West could take weeks or months,” Mullaney said.

Early on, religious sisters braved the dangers of serving on the undeveloped expanse of land, known as the frontier. The sisters also performed manual work: taking care of animals, farming, making their own clothes and raising funds by begging, Mullaney said.

Since the early history of the U.S., religious sisters have ministered to. During the height of Catholic migration in the 19th century, the Sisters of Mercy, founded in Dublin, arrived in 1827 to serve Irish communities in so many areas, Mullaney said.

“Often, the sisters became more familiar and visible to the faithful than the priests, because they served everyday in schools, parishes, orphanages and hospitals,” Mullaney said.

Religious communities also ministered to many marginalized populations, including African-Americans during the years prior to the abolition of slavery and continuing through more than a century after the end of the Civil War. Orders of mixed-race sisters were established. The Oblate Sisters of Providence founded the first school for African-Americans in Baltimore in1828. St. Katherine Drexel established a religious community in Philadelphia to serve American Indians and African Americans. Mother Murphy arrived in Texas to found schools and orphanages to minister to Mexican immigrants, Mullaney said.

One of the religious sisters’ most significant ministries has been education, having established women’s colleges and parochial high schools and elementary schools throughout the U.S. In 1727, the Ursulines founded a girl’s school in New Orleans — still considered the oldest in the country. In 1860, the Sisters of Charity opened the Academy of St. Elizabeth, Convent Station, in the Diocese — the oldest high school for girls in the state. Dominican Sisters founded Caldwell College [now a university]— where Mullaney has taught for 36 years — in 1939. The Sisters of Christian Charity continue to operate the only college remaining in the U.S. for the religious formation of religious sisters: Assumption College for Sisters in Denville, said the speaker, a product of Catholic education.

Another critical outreach for religious sisters was medical care. They cared for sick people and orphans, established the first Catholic hospitals and the first Catholic nursing school and helped professionalize the field of nursing, which was not considered a proper career for women in the 19th century. About 600 sisters cared for wounded Union and Confederate soldiers on the battlefield and in hospitals during the Civil War, which helped reduce anti-Catholic bias in the nation. Later in the century, religious sisters helped St. Damien of Molokai care for lepers in Hawaii, Mullaney said.

“This presentation was a good story told well. It was a beautifully researched, organized and visual program,” said Father Paul Manning, St. Paul’s executive director and diocesan vicar for evangelization, after the talk, which was highlighted by many historical photographs. “Thanks for all of you, who said ‘yes’ [to a religious vocation]. You have blessed this country with your loving service. We thank God for you,” he said.

Mullaney developed her presentation about how religious sisters have helped shape the U.S. after training and advising Caldwell students who conducted and recorded interviews with six Dominican sisters, who have played significant roles in the history of the university. This undertaking, which the students completed in an independent study course, was part of “Sister Story,” a much larger project, funded by the Hilton Foundation, which has been collecting the oral histories of women religious. The archives of these materials have been housed at St. Catherine University in St. Paul/Minneapolis, said Mullaney, whose husband, Kenneth F. Mullaney Jr., serves as diocesan counsel.

“Dr. Mullaney’s presentation left us [religious sisters] with renewed pride for all communities in the U.S. She pointed out the many accomplishments of early sisters, serving where there was a need — as religious sisters still do today,” said Sister of Christian Charity Joan Daniel, diocesan vice chancellor and delegate for religious, who attended the talk.

Listen to Dr. Marie Mullaney on the podcast Caldwell University conversations on the impact of Catholic Sisters on the history of the United States.

Listen to the podcast here.


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Summer Study in Fanjeaux: Discovering St. Dominic’s vision on a medieval French hilltop


Caldwell, N.J., – June 29, 2016 – Members of the Caldwell University community traveled to the medieval hilltop village of Fanjeaux, France, to take part in an annual international study experience from May 30 to June 16. They joined students, faculty and staff from other Dominican schools to learn the history of St. Dominic’s vision for an order devoted to seeking and sharing the truth.

Students Marisa Juliano and Emma Nicholas, staff member John Della Penna and graduate counseling faculty member Dr. Emma Kendrick studied in the mornings and visited historic sites in the afternoon. The students had the chance to earn three credits. They shared meals with the larger group and reflected on the ways St. Dominic’s inspiration could influence their lives.

John Della Penna, director of media services at the university, said he went on the trip with “no expectations” and with an openness to a new discovery. He found the richness of a Catholic Dominican tradition that lives on in contemporary life and was struck by the “antiquity” of the experience and the fact that he was “sleeping in the convent where St. Dominic stayed,” a section of which is some 800 years old. Clearly the Holy Spirit was at work, as Della Penna realized that “we are the continuation of the Bible as a reflection of the Word of God.” He also found that contemplation and prayer are important in today’s world.

Kendrick was inspired by many aspects of the Dominican tradition. “The most impactful moments were from my conversations with the sisters during our dinner and social time.”

Nicholas, a Caldwell senior and nursing major, made good friends and was pleasantly surprised by that fact that “so many personalities could get along at once.” Juliano, a senior, enjoyed the communal meals and the “every-night hangouts after long days of classes and excursions” when students and faculty would share life stories and experiences. Della Penna was moved by the “generosity of spirit and dynamic interactions.” Juliano experienced a “better understanding of that Dominican sense of community and sharing with others.”
Kendrick particularly enjoyed the outdoor excursions when they would climb or hike to places like Montsegur or the Chateau de Puilaurens. “Collioure was also a nice day where everyone got to enjoy a boat ride and relax in the Mediterranean Sea,” she said.

Della Penna was grateful to be able to borrow a guitar so he could use his musical talents at impromptu sing-alongs that “created a greater sense of community and fellowship.”

Nicholas and two friends rode bicycles down the Seine River one night after missing their boat tour. “Paris was definitely a highlight, as we had so much freedom to explore and learn about how the city works.”

They came away from the excursion happy to encourage others to attend the annual trip and ready for their next adventure. “Fanjeaux gave me a lot that I will never see again in my life and the inspiration to go back and see more,” said Juliano.
Della Penna shares his experiences in this poem “With Joy”:

With joy

I sit here filled with wonder
On how the time passed by
And try to capture moments
On how your lives touched mine
You showed me love and faith
and hope in the Divine
As we tried to solve the riddle
Of our roles within our time
We spoke of justice, peace and truth
And human dignity
The fruits of contemplation
And Dominican spirituality
Meeting people where they are
Inclusiveness, diversity and change
Feelings, thoughts and actions
Were the bread of our exchange
How bitter sweet the wine we drank
And shared a laugh or two
But it’s a heavy heart to carry
As I say Au Revoir to you
But with me lives the message
And the memory of Fanjeaux

-by John Della Penna

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Students Attend Dominican “Preaching in Action” Conference

Preaching conference1

Caldwell, N.J., June, 28, 2016 – Four Caldwell University students joined students from Dominican universities and colleges to learn about preaching at a conference at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan, during the week of May 24.

Students Katlyn Houtz, Joe Severino, Louis Del Virginia, and Sean Puzzo attended the 14th annual Preaching in Action conference, which gave young people the chance to come together to learn about the Dominican charism of preaching and how that charism can be incorporated into their lives. Puzzo had also attended in 2015.

Houtz, an elementary education and psychology major, said her favorite part of the conference was meeting students from around the country and learning how they share the Dominican traditions on their campus.

The conference began with a brief history of Dominic and the Order of Preachers complete with an array of Dominican songs. A presentation on “Dominicans through the Ages” featured depictions of the lives of Mary of Magdala, Dominic and Catherine of Siena and their calls to preach in the early years of the order. Joe Kilikevice, O.P., highlighted the interfaith mission of the order by introducing the students to dance and song from a variety of faiths. Michael Petro showed the young people how the four pillars of Dominican life can help transform their everyday lives so they can be free for mission.

Houtz said she appreciated having the chance to reflect on the four pillars of community, prayer, study and service, principles she has been able to incorporate into her everyday life. “I learned that you do not need to be in front of a large group to preach.”

Alandra Scott and Francesca Pisano, Dominican volunteers, introduced the young preachers to their ministries. Scott ministers at the United Nations and Pisano at an organization that assists victims of domestic violence. Attracta Kelly, O.P., presented on immigration, and Judy Morris, O.P., spoke on human trafficking.

The students put their preaching into action when they spent the day in immersion sites ministering to the poor at the soup kitchen Our Daily Bread, to the earth at the Permaculture Center on the grounds of the Adrian Motherhouse, to the elderly at the Gerontology Center and to people working to obtain housing for the needy at Habitat for Humanity. They also engaged physically and mentally challenged adults at the Hope Center.

There was time for theological reflection before and after the service. Many students were so moved by their experiences that they made commitments to get more involved with their communities back home.

They enjoyed an ice cream social with the sisters at the Adrian Motherhouse. They learned about other aspects of the Dominican family when they visited tables, gathered information and spoke to members of the Dominican Young Adults USA, Dominican volunteers, associate members, lay Dominicans and religious sisters and friars.

Barbara Schwarz, O.P., concluded the week’s presentations by awakening participants to “the art of preaching.” Her interactive and hands-on presentation was an introduction to the “Preaching through the Arts” day. Aneesah McNamee, O.P.; Nancy Murray, O.P.; Mary Jones, O.P.; Maria Goretti Brown, O.P.; Jessica Abejar, a former youth preacher, and Sister Barbara presented breakout sessions for the students to use their creative energies.

The morning and evening prayer services were prepared and led by students, who used their creativity, musical talents and vocal gifts.

At the closing liturgy, students presented their action plans for incorporating what they learned at the conference into their lives and their campuses. Each student received the Dominican cross and was commissioned to go forth and preach the Good News to fellow students.