In this episode, Rocky Pierson shares her conversation with #NCSW2017 mini-grant recipients Martha Malinski and Sr Joan Cassidy. Martha and Sr Joan talk about social justice, social justice programs, and connecting with students during the Association of Colleges of Sisters of St. Joseph event, A Way Out: Stopping Modern Day Slavery.
Phone dialing out
I’m Martha Malinski. I’m the Executive Director of the Association of Colleges of Sisters of St. Joseph.
The Association of Colleges of the Sisters of St Joseph is nine member colleges and universities, spread out across the country from California all the way to Boston. And, these nine institutions are all planning National Catholic Sisters Week Events. And so, on each of our campuses, we have one to maybe ten events that are all around the Sisters of St Joseph and celebrating their charism, their work, their ministries. And so, at each of our campuses, the campuses are planning events that highlight the Sisters of St Joseph. And, at each of those campuses, the events look a little bit different. I think a lot of the events are really focused on the social justice work of the sisters and really highlighting what current work they're doing in their ministries and in the advocacy work. As well as bringing students and sisters together on campus to really create more of a dialogue and conversations that may or may not be happening already.
Phone dialing out
Sr Joan Cassidy:
I’m the Director of Campus Ministry, and my name is Sr Joan Cassidy, a part of the program here at Chestnut Hill College. And, working with Martha Malinski through the ACSSJ Program for National Catholic Sisters Week. It was really to look at one of the ways in which our sisters in the area are responding to those who are marginalized those who are in need. And so, we decided this year that we would do human trafficking. So, we focused on that at different points throughout the year. And, we included the piece during National Catholic Sisters Week to invite Sr Kathleen Coll, who is the Executive Director of Dawn’s Place.
It went really well. This year we really collaborated with many of our professors and staff members as well as students on campus. So, we included the Global Studies professor, and we worked with the Criminal Justice Department, as well as Religious Studies. And so, we worked with those professors from those different areas and departments on campus. And so, part of it was that we included it as part of their curriculum, whether it be as a PDE, which is a reflection requirement, or whether they had it as an assignment. And so, we had over 130 people there. So, students as well as some professors as well as some staff members. And then also just those who are interested in supporting this rescue and restore movement and place that takes in men and women, particularly women, who have been trafficked. And so, we had not only Sr Kathleen Coll, but she also brought with her, from Dawn’s Place, Anne Marie Jones who was human trafficked and had gone through the program at Dawn’s Place and now is employed there as a peer mentor. So, Kathleen gave the background, how it came to be, its history, and statistics about human trafficking, and particularly in this area because she is the Executive Director. And then, more specifics about how many, where they come from, what countries, nationally and internationally. And then, Anne Marie Jones told her story, which was very powerful. You could hear a pin drop. There wasn’t a dry eye. She had gone through so much and how she now, in this place of health and wholeness, is now an employee there, helping others who have gone through what she went through. So, the students were able to ask questions, from a Criminal Justice standpoint, and a larger awareness from a Global Studies perspective, from the Religious Studies, from the ethical situations to justice. Really the interfacing of all of those students and the kind of questions that they asked Anne Marie or Kathleen were a wonderful exchange back and forth.
Is there a moment from the event, whether it was surprising or inspiring, that really stands out to you?
[pause] I think when Anne Marie Jones started to tell (us about) when she reunited with her children. I think there was a moment of conciliation with her family and with her children that would never have happened in this long progression without the help of Dawn’s Place and places like it to rescue and restore for wholeness and healing. And, I think that was really a poignant part for me, listening to Anne Marie’s story, but also seeing how everyone who was hearing it held her story. And, knowing the impact that these places and the staff have is far-reaching. So, I would say that was the moment for me.