In this episode, Rocky Pierson shares her conversation with #NCSW2017 mini-grant recipient Sister Debbie Bomeman, SSCM. Sr Debbie talks about promoting and celebrating National Catholic Sisters Week during #NCSW2017 and into the future, during the National Religious Vocation Conference's event, NCSW Publicity Blitz and Glitz.
What’s going on here?
We are asking people to write down the name of a Catholic sister who inspires them. Would you like to write one?
Sure. [marker noises in back] I’m inspired by Sister Josefina.
Have a lot of people participated in this so far?
Oh, yes. Lots of people have. Look at all of these! [paper shuffle] I’m inspired by Sister Patricia Pak Poy, Sister Sangeeta, SCR, Sister Teresita, OP, I’m inspired by too many to count!, Sister Margaret Brennan, IHM, Sister Sr Ruth Marie H, Sister Marion Simmer, SSJ, Sister Carol Rice, CSJ and too many Mercy Sisters to name, Sister Rose Anne, PHJC, Sister Joanna, Sister Estela, CSJ, Sister Mary Elizabeth Clark, SSJ, Sister Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Sister Emmanuel Collins, OSF- Rochester, Sister Deborah, Sisters Judith and Catherine, Sisters Elvira and Nancy, Sister Geraldo Barry, QP, Sister Kathleen Bryant, RSC, Sister Maureen George, RSM, Sister Rosie Dowd, RSC J.
Sr Debbie Borneman:
So the exciting news about our event for National Catholic Sisters Week is this is the first time ever five organizations on the CTU campus are coming together to celebrate National Catholic Sisters Week. So, it's exciting, to begin with to have NRVC (the National Religious Vocation Conference) involved, but collaborating along with us is the Religious Formation Conference, Giving Voice Organization, the Communicators For Women Religious, and also the Center for the Study of Consecrated Life. And, the idea is that, what would it look like if all five of these organizations would pull their resources, and enthusiasm and their skills together to plan an event on the CTU campus.
Sr Debbie Borneman:
My name is Sister Deborah Murray. And, I work for the National Religious Vocation Conference, and I’m the organizer for our National Catholic Sisters Week Publicity Blitz and Glitz. So, we wanted to do something that would have a lasting impact. We didn't want it just to be an event. We recognize that relationships are built year round. So, what can we do to have people recognize National Catholic Sisters Week (because they've never celebrated it here on our campus) as well as beyond the one day? And so, we called it the NCSW Publicity Blitz and Glitz, simply because we want to promote the program not just as a one-day event but also for the week and then for people to recognize it year round. So, what we decided to do, and certainly the grounding of all of this will be, a communal prayer service held at noon in our atrium, that is open to the public. And so, all of the organizations are gathering together to plan that prayer service, and in particular, the sisters involved with Giving Voice are taking the lead. And, Sr Patsy Crowley, she's a Benedictine from Chicago, she will give a reflection along with some other sisters.
And, at this event, the organizations will be wearing Polo shirts funded through the grant. And, we're very excited about that. Simply using the colors of National Catholic sisters. So, they're going to be that steel, metal grey with a bright green and orange and blue on the logo. And then, we have extra polo shirts to give away as door prizes. So, as people come in, they're going to sign their name on a ticket. And then, after the prayer service, we're going to be pulling those tickets out for people to receive one of the shirts. And, the idea is that each person is a walking commercial for National Catholic Sisters Week. So, they always have that shirt to wear. And, people [who see that] will say like, “hey, what's that shirt all about?” Like, “what is National Catholic Sisters Week?” And, “how do I do something for National Catholic Sisters Week, or do something for sisters in general?”
So, Polo shirts are one part of the program, but the other give away is that we want to make sure that everyone walks away with something to promote National Catholic Sisters Week. So, originally we had thought about window clings to put on the windows because, with the way the campus is designed, there is a lot of windows facing streetside from all the different tenants and residents and offices. But, the committee realized that, depending on where the sun shines that day, the window clings might not be visible. So, we quickly changed over to make posters. So, the posters are going to be given away to every single one of the participants. So, they're walking away with the good news to spread the news about National Catholic Sisters Week. They're going to be encouraged to put those posters up streetside, so all the windows have them on there as well as wherever they are. So, whether it's where they're ministering, in parishes, in communities, wherever they are... And then, we're encouraging everyone to take selfies with the posters, to take pictures of where the posters are, and share them using the hashtag #NCSW2017. This way we can kind of see where did the posters end up, who has them, where are they at and what are they doing? So all this combined together is the efforts that we're trying to do for National Catholic sisters week this year.
Sr Deborah and her team had a promotional strategy that would promote NCSW this year and into the future with polo shirts and posters. As the event was about promoting other events, it took place on the day before NCSW, March 7. After the event was held, we contacted her again to talk to her about the event and asked her . . .
*vinyl record begins to play indicating a different recording*
Is there a moment from the event that really stood out to you?
Sr Debbie Borneman:
I think, for me, it happened when it was spontaneous. You set us buttons, and one of the buttons that you had sent said: “Be inspired.” And so, I just went and put a piece of paper together, and it said, “I'm inspired by sister,” and there was a blank. And, we printed this on really nice paper. And so, as people were gathering, we asked them to put in the name of a sister who inspires them. And then, we took photos of people holding their papers about who inspires them. And, that idea just took off. People were excited about putting the name of someone, and they weren't stumped either. Like if anything they were saying, “can I just like … do I have to just put one?” So, it was the ideas that we can create new ideas even from that. That was exciting. And, people were saying, “so, what are you going to do with these?” I mean, because we used them as ambiance on the tables, and we recognized that there was a definite desire and interest in saying, “what are you going to do with them now?” And so, we ended up posting them all up in the lobby area, and there again, a lot of enthusiasm and people reading them and praying for those sisters.