Pulling an Oprah on an NCSW book club

When I heard that Molly Hazelton had not only granted Kelly Litt’s request for a NCSW mini-grant to support a book club about a Jo Piazza book but that she was flying Jo to the book club, I sent her a text.

“You pulled on Oprah!” I teased.

Molly didn’t miss a beat, texting back: “You get Jo Piazza, you get Jo Piazza, you get Jo Piazza!”

Jo Piazza has been a friend of Molly’s – and an unofficial ambassador of National Catholic Sisters Week – ever since she spoke at the discern conference here last year. Jo is a wildly successful journalist, the managing editor of Yahoo Travel and, it just so happens, a big fan of women religious. Her book “If Nuns Ruled The World” profiles 10 remarkable Catholic sisters.

It struck Kelly Litt as the perfect subject of a NCSW-related book club. Kelly, 24, is a graduate of Ohio Dominican University and the development associate for a Columbus non-profit. As a college student, Kelly was drawn to the Dominican values she saw up close. “They just really spoke to me,” she told me.

“The sisters add so much to campus life. They are movers and shakers. They get these ideas and they’re able to implement them and you can see they have a love for all people – and that translates to their vocation and their ministry and their day-to-day life. That is really inspiring to me, how they’re able to bring their faith and their love for others into everything they do.”

Kelly is a member of Panthers for Peace, an organization that connects young adults with Dominican Sisters of Peace in Columbus to help spread their values, promoting the study and practice of peace. “Young people are really drawn to their authentic lifestyle,” Kelly explained.

She wanted to plan a book club for the organization to reflect on social justice in action, and she kept coming back to Jo’s book, “If Nuns Ruled The World.”

“It’s been on my reading list for a while,” Kelly said. “I know a lot of sisters who read it and had really positive things to say about it.”

Kicking off the book club on March 14, as part of National Catholic Sisters Week, seemed perfect. So Kelly applied for a NCSW mini-grant to make it all possible.

She was stunned when Molly offered to fly Jo to their inaugural book-club meeting at the Dominicans’ motherhouse in Columbus.

“I’m still in shock,” she said. “I had no idea that there was this connection and that that would be a possibility at all.”

Jo’s presence will make an already wonderful event even more memorable, Kelly added. “We were already very excited about the book club, and this just makes it even better.”  



Editor's note: You can join the discussion of "If Nuns Ruled The World." Participate in our live Twitter chat on March 10!  

About Christina Capecchi

Christina Capecchi is an award-winning journalist from Inver Grove Heights, Minn. She is the author of the nationally syndicated column “Twenty Something,” which appears in more than 50 Catholic newspapers across the country. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, America, The Chicago Tribune, The Star Tribune and The Pioneer Press. She also provides contracted editing and writing services. She holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a bachelor’s from Mount Mercy University.