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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

By MICHAEL WOJCIK
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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Library Hours 4th of July Weekend

The library will be closed Saturday July 2 – Monday July 4 for the 4th of July holiday weekend. The library will reopen Tuesday July 5 at 8 a.m.

Remember you always have access to the library’s e-books, online databases, and streaming videos even when we are closed. Just use your Net ID and password when prompted.

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

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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

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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.

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Library Online Tutorials

online tutorialsDid you know the library has online tutorial videos? These online tutorials cover how to navigate some of our frequently used databases.

Not sure how to use Academic Search Premier, ProQuest, or Summon? Don’t know how to find a journal with the Journal Locator Link? Watch an online tutorial! You can view these tutorials 24/7.

Check out the link below for the tutorials mentioned above and more:

http://libguides.caldwell.edu/tutorials

News

Dr. Mullaney to present on Catholic Sisters and the Shaping of America, June 22

From the Paterson Diocese website at the top

By MICHAEL WOJCIK, News Editor

Dr. Marie MullaneyMADISON Marie Mullaney, Ph.D., a professor of women’s history and the history of Catholicism in America at Caldwell University, will speak about the history and impact of religious sisters on the U.S., in her presentation, “Catholic Sisters and the Shaping of America,” on Wednesday, June 22 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul Inside the Walls: the Diocesan Center for Evangelization at Bayley-Ellard here.

“When we think about women’s history, we think of women in the U.S. who have helped win the right to vote or have broken gender barriers in different professions, like becoming the first woman doctor or lawyer. But colleges and universities do not teach about the contributions of women religious,” said Mullaney, also an author, who has been teaching at Caldwell University for 36 years. “Women religious were the CEOs, creating schools and hospitals. They helped to build America,” she said.

Mullaney developed her presentation about how nuns have helped shaped 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 studies course, was part of “Sister Stories,” 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.

“Because they have been so humble, religious sisters in the U.S. did not create archives or collect materials to document their accomplishments,” said Mullaney, who earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Seton Hall University, South Orange, and a master’s degree in history and a doctorate in history, both from Rutgers University, New Brunswick.

While conducting research for “Sister Stories,” Mullaney learned more about the Dominicans and other religious orders that made contributions in education, healthcare and the missions, and about significant women religious, such as St. Katherine Drexel and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Over time, she gained a deeper interest in the subject, which led to her develop her presentation that she previously delivered at Caldwell University.

“I’m interested to hear Dr. Mullaney’s perspective on how religious sisters have shaped our country,” said Allan Wright, St. Paul’s academic dean. “For anyone who works for the Church, and in particular the Paterson Diocese, we know firsthand the tremendous positive impact that religious sisters have had and continue to have right here. It will be interesting to learn about the influence these various religious communities have had in shaping our country,” he said.

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New Online Master’s in Higher Education

Caldwell, N.J., June 20, 2016 – Caldwell University is launching a fully online master’s degree program in higher education which will prepare students for leadership and administrative roles in areas of higher education such as student affairs, enrollment management, resource management, and human resources at public, private and Catholic institutions.

A strong benefit is the innovative experiential and internship opportunity requirement for students. These online classes are accelerated with courses running every seven weeks. Students who choose to attend fulltime will be able to complete their degree in just one year. The seven-week course rotation allows students to enter the program at the beginning of any seven-week session, maximizing the flexibility and appeal of the program.

Dr. Nancy Becker, coordinator of the program says the program has been carefully designed to give students the theoretical background they need, complemented by experiential learning opportunities individualized to meet their interests. “We are excited to be able to offer students this innovative program and the chance to advance in a higher education career and work in a dynamic setting day in and day out.”

Applications are now being accepted for the fall semester. To find out more, http://onlineinfo.caldwell.edu/ma-in-higher-education/ and contact is onlineadmissions@caldwell.edu.

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Business Professor Ann Marie Callahan is honored as NJ Society of CPAs Woman of Note

Caldwell, N.J., June 17, 2016 – Caldwell University Professor of Business Ann Marie Callahan, CPA has been selected as a New Jersey Society of CPAs Woman of Note in recognition of her NJCPA participation, accounting profession involvement, and community service dedication.

Before joining higher education, Callahan worked as an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers and a Vice President of Management Reporting at Deutsche Bank.

Callahan, of Roseland, says one of the most fulfilling duties of her work at the university is being able to guide students in making their career decisions. “It is rewarding to share my knowledge and personal experience with students as they learn about careers in accounting.”

The recipients were announced on June 16 at the NJCPA Convention & Expo.

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Free coffee and tea this summer!

Need some caffeine while studying in the library this summer? We’ve got you covered.

Stop by the coffee machine near the Library’s Information Desk for a free cup of coffee or tea. Hurry – the free coffee and tea is only available during the summer.