#NCSW2017 Mini-Grant Recipients

The proposals have been read and recipients decided upon. In this episode Director Molly Hazelton and Staff Writer Christina Capecchi discuss some of their favorite grant submissions and highlight what to look forward to in 2017.

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Transcript:
Rocky:
Today is the day! Today we announce the 2017 National Catholic Sisters Week mini-grant recipients.

Pa Ying:
We've received a lot of proposals. All of them are unique.

Molly:
Cause look some of them, I swear there is one for under hundred dollars and then there’s some for two hundred dollars. Some of them are $500 and $600. And then I have some for like $1400 and so…

Pa Ying:
This is tape from our meeting to review all of the applications.

Christina:
I have a little list flash mob at the Mall of America was obviously a standout. That the… Nuns who are meeting some preschool students to do like an art music.

Molly:
I thought that was cute.

Christina:
A couple of other favorites, Avila University was doing... there were like multiple groups on that grant application. But Avila was going to be doing something about life after prison. I thought that was interesting.

Kjerstin:
Yeah, I like those ones a lot.

Christina:
The Benedictines, there was a Benedictine group doing a knit; knitting and donating their handiwork. I thought that was kind of cute.

Garrett:
I like the memory makers thing from the Sacred Hearts schools where they were going to actually have classes that will lead to a performance.

Kjerstin:
Those that involve like younger kids is always pretty fun.

Molly:
Anybody else see anything that they particularly like?

Rocky:
We are so excited by all the various events that are going happen. So I sat down with Molly Hazelton director of National Catholic sisters week and Christina Capeci, staff writer, to talk about just some of the things that we are excited for.

Christina:
I did like review my… I got my stack of like favorites here. Let me look up one thing if you guys don't mind.

Molly:
You know what I thought it was really nice to see a lot of I would say the word familiar faces but it's not faces its name. A lot of familiar names, you know who had done it last year and really liked what they did and want to go a little bit deeper or further. You know there were a lot of people who said we did this last year it set the stage for our next event. Even folks who are doing repeat, repeat events that's kind of cool too like the Little Sisters of Orange?

Christina:
Yes, I love them. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, California.

Molly:
They’re doing a Little Free Library.

Christina:
Yes!

Molly:
Yeah, and so they did they did one and now they're going to do a second. Yeah. I mean I think that's kind of cool.

Christina:
Yeah, I love that too!

Molly:
Yeah. The thing that I always appreciate is I give a shout out to universities because they are offering you a suite of events which I think is really cool. You know so they're taking, and again I feel like as educators you probably do, this you're taking your thousand dollars and you're planning on a whole suite of events. You know, really getting the most value for your money there.

Christina:
That is really neat. One of them, gosh, there were such a wide range... here it is Avila University in Kansas City, well these are all actually colleges through the Sisters of St. Joseph, their association. But Avila is doing… they're going to highlight this ministry they have called Journey to New Life, which serves men and women who are recently released from prison. That just sounds fascinating! And I mean that's just one of half a dozen colleges in this in this association, but I think that would be really interesting to learn about life after prison and how Sisters of St. Joseph like walk with those people and help them re-acclimate. I mean again one of many programs but very cool!

Molly:
Yep. And that's true. That's Martha Molinsky is the director, I think her name is.

Christina:
Oh okay.

Molly:
And she said you know I did this last year so it's the Association of Colleges sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph. “You know I have more people who want to participate, you know is that OK if I expand?” and I was like “go for it!”

Christina:
Nice!

Molly:
What a great idea! You know so that other colleges in that association said how successful last year's was and now they've expanded it to cover all nine of their campuses.

Christina:
That's great. That's definitely what we're going for is that kind of building or momentum. And I think in general what we love about seeing these is, you know, too is just they just exceed our own ideas and expectations that you just... we just like hopefully to create this ripple effect to where we couldn’t have come up with some of these on her own. It just, just need to see the wide range. I mean there are some... there's kind of ones that you would hope or expect to see like service projects, as you said, lots of college campuses, a couple of discernment retreats on a need like come and see weekends and Vespers or prayer. And then one has a new scholarship they're creating I mean there's certainly a great range and then as you said there's some surprising ones or novel ones. One of our favorites of course we have to bring this up is Sewing with the Sisters.

Molly:
Yes, I love that one!

Christina:
That one is going to be neat. That's going to be down in New Ulm, perhaps I can go yeah. Okay, so it’s the Council of Catholic Women hosting this and they're calling it Sewing with the Sisters where “we'll just get a group together” and actually so new habits for the sisters at their parish.

Molly:
I thought that was interesting. And I guess for me, I think you don’t think about, is like how do you get a habit?

Christina:
You don’t think about that do you.

Molly:
But this community of sisters, they sew theirs. And how like how cool is that?! You know kind of have the community come together to help out the sisters by selling them new habits.

Christina:
It is. It’s a really neat way.

Molly:
And you know what I think is also, what I like to see, is I really like to see cross-generational connections. So anything, especially preschooler's, anything that has preschoolers hanging out with Sisters I think is so much fun as well as high schoolers and middle school to be able to make that connection. Although we know that preschoolers are probably the cutest.

Christina:
It’s hard to beat that. You're right, like bringing teens into a mother house. We have a couple of those that neat things happen. Like, you know, you just can't go wrong when just you make a simple introduction like it doesn't have to be fancier than that just connect them.

Molly:
You know chances for young children, of really any age, to hang out with sisters I think is a really valuable experience. Especially if you consider how much the sisterhood has changed over time and how less likely you are, unless you're working with a community that's like really vibrant like the Visitation Sisters who also have a mini-grant proposal.

Those of you who know me know that I like all the ones about ice cream socials because I like ice cream and also sprinkles.

Christina:
Yes. Oh, I pulled one for you, the one where they want to match like the charism to their fudge toppings.

[chuckles]

Molly:
Oh, I love this one. This one was one of my favorite!

Christina:
Of course you would like this Molly. Sisters of the Holy Redeemer in Pennsylvania.

Molly:
Yeah and they’re VP. We worked with them last year.

Christina:
Okay, thanks for reminding me. Yeah. So they want to... here’s their description. So they want to construct…

Molly:
... desserts from fudge and other confections that symbolize their charism. I think they... Yeah I think they equate it to like chopped.

Christina:
Molly’s like sign me up.

Molly:
So they say “at the end of the dinner the students will do a fun and creative activity with the sisters to illustrate the beautiful qualities of the sisters charism. Inspired by the TV show Chopped, in which the contestants are given a basket of ingredients to ask to prepare a meal. The Sisters of the Holy Redeemer and the students will be divided up into teams and be instructed to create a dessert using the assigned ingredients on a foundation base of fudge.

Christina:
That is a beautiful premise! You can't go wrong where...

Molly:
Right! You can’t go wrong when you're building off a foundation of fudge.

Each group will be given a slip of paper with one charism of the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer. When will need to convey that charism using their basket ingredients on the slab with fudge.

Christina:
But you’ll remember which, you know, which virtue you get or which part of the charism, like that sticks in your mind.

Molly:
So really sort of tangential way to take something and I think I think charisms are often kind of difficult to conceptualize.

Christina:
I do too!

Molly:
And so you know I especially charism that are not as straightforward. Some of them are very straightforward, but some of them are not. So to be able to kind of can contextualize that into something that you build out of fudge. I think, I don’t know, I would remember.

Christina:
Exactly.

Molly:
Should we talk about our favorite one?

Christina:
Well yeah that's what I… That one.. This one really peaked our interest.

Molly:
So as you know, our headquarters are here in St. Paul Minnesota and Minnesota is home to the wonderful Mall of America.

Christina:
Or as my husband likes to say, “Mall of the Americas.”

[chuckles]

Molly:
Mall of the Americas right! All four floors!

Christina:
Yes.

Molly:
All spectacular.

Christina:
It’s always being expanded too.

Molly:
It has its own amusement park in the center.

So the School Sisters of Notre Dame out of St. Louis, Missouri are going to do a flashmob at the Mall of America and they're going to call it, I the like the title, Religious Rock the Mall. I think it's amazing!

Christina:
It’s that great?!

Molly:
Yeah I love it.

Christina:
I know! They've already contacted people at the mall. How great! You know hundreds of people expected. A sister flashmob…I… that was…

Molly:
It’s such a good idea.

Christina:
We got to say School Sisters Notre Dame props to you! Like we did not see this one coming. You thought outside the box.

Molly:
I think being located in Minnesota, I was like Missouri? They’re coming here. I think that's such a great idea.

Christina:
It’s that great!

Molly:
So they're going to distribute flyers everywhere and kind of collaborate with radio and TV stations. You should help them.

Christina:
Definitely! That is a great...they’re newsworthy!

Molly:
And they're going to where they gather in the rotunda at the Mall of America. It's so great and they're going to sing! I love it!

Christina:
Oh I missed that part right. That will be perfect!

Molly:
Religious Rock the Mall is an opportunity for the broader community to come and see and share with sisters of different congregations in the local area of St. Paul-Minneapolis. We are planning on having many sisters on different levels of the mall, who will be saying a common song. As they move through the different levels they will merge with each other to create larger communities and eventually congregate at the rotunda for a vocation fair event.

I mean how fun is that?!

Christina:
See I missed some of the details that a super fun. And it’s super fun and there’s going to be a vocation faire kind of at its heart and a great visual of this like universal church.

Molly:
I hope they use that big TV in the rotunda.

Christina:
Oh yeah! That would be great. Hopefully. This is going to be great!

Molly:
I mean I think, this is from my perspective, you know, sisters have really made a lot of contributions to the history of this country that we wouldn't necessarily know if we think about education if we think about health care. You know, if we think about the sisters who founded the Mayo Clinic you know, there's been a lot of a lot of and often sisters of the unsung heroes of these pieces. You know, the sister who marched with Martin Luther King, you know, all of those all of those different things and I think it often kind of is sort of pushed down by other more interesting or more relevant. But you know sisters really did contribute to this country.

So I think almost every one of us you know could do something for National Catholic sisters Week to thank them. Right, and I mean National Catholic Sisters Week provides a lot of different touch points. So if you’re a community of sisters, we encourage you to kind of open your doors and bring people in.

I'll never forget the first year of National Catholic sisters Week, before the many grant program came along. There was and I'm not going to remember where they're from and I apologize. There was a community that had all of these stained glass windows. Did you talk to this woman or was it just me? And so what they did is they decided that for National Catholic sisters Week they were going to let people come in and the woman was like you don't really expect maybe 20 people. They have 200 people come through there. And so all they had to do was open up the doors and say come in you know we want to engage with you. And this woman I remember her telling me she was just blown away by the number of people who came that she wouldn't have expected. Right. And so…

Christina:
I'm sure just like their genuine appreciation for kindness reverence. That’s so neat.

Molly:
But for the rest of us if you're not a sister, there's probably a sister who has had an impact on your life an impact on your community. You know, some of the... a lot of the health care organizations that apply for mini-grants often are celebrating sisters who have worked with them or historically in that community.

Although, we are trying for public events, even if you are just a single person and there was a sister who had an impact on your life you could write a letter or you could take her to lunch. You could do something on your own to celebrate National Catholic sisters Week. You know kind of connecting with a sister. You don't… every single person could probably find a sister somewhere out there that they might be able to connect with.

Christina:
That's such a good point because I don't want... we don't want people to be daunted by the scale some of these projects it can't get too big but I also can't get too small or seemingly simple or mundane. Those are great examples, just a simple letter, chatting with your grandma about her experience, I mean there's so many small ways to live it out.

Molly:
And if you don't know a sister. So if you're like well I don't know a Sister to take to lunch. Go find one. They're everywhere. And you know I think it's a good message. I think we all can attest. And I'm going to put Rocky on the spot as she was an oral historian. But you know getting thrust into a friendship with her sister was probably a really good thing that you probably wouldn't have kind of thought about before being encouraged to go. You know I don't know if you would have sought Sister Kathy out if we hadn't paired you two. Right. And I don't think that you would have kind of had that connection with her without that introduction.

Rocky:
Right. Oh yeah. No I definitely could attest to that.

Molly:
So if you don't know a sister go find one. They're everywhere. They're literally everywhere just because they don't wear habit doesn't mean that... you're... just because you can't see a habit doesn't mean there isn't a sister somewhere in your community and chances are there probably are.

Christina:
Exactly. And sisters they just have a love of people it's like part of the job description that they are interested generally in every when they me. So many of our oral historians talked about just loving to be in conversation because they're amazing listeners. That's something that's an art I think many of us could stand to improve on in this era where we're just like kind of like putting our own thoughts like up in this you know and this constant chatter online and sisters listen so well and there's something healing when you know you're going to sit down with someone and they're going to listen. She's going to listen and she's going to care and you know I think they really embody generosity in the broadest sense that they live vows of poverty. But like generous with their time. That's a that's such a virtue I think about. I don't think I am nearly as generous as I should be in those ways. I want to be more generous in every way, but especially when we're still or saving up her own you know have mortgages and whatnot, but you to be generous with your time is I think a really special gift. And sisters just embody that and so to your point Molly if you if you were brave enough to reach out and just connect with the sister. Look when out get connected somehow you're going to have that you're going to find this listening and open heart that it's just like it's a free therapy it's a healing.

Molly:
It's wonderful. I can't tell you how many Every time I meet with ask do they like to tell me about you. Nobody ever asks me that. You know people aren't like. It's not like something that you would say to just someone else and they really are. And you know even with the oral history, every sister who's been part of that project has been like chomping at the bit to get to know their student.

Christina:
Yeah and they were very true.

Molly:
I think especially if you're younger, if you're in college or graduate school or you get to high school and you're listening to this you know the sisters are excited to talk to young people. They really think that young people are kind of that view into a different world.

Christina:
Yes. And you sense that you can tell they care about you and they credit you for being the intelligent young person you are and they know that yeah you do have this key to the future and they you know it's just it's hard not to like someone who likes you and who gives you that credit of seeing you as someone you know intelligent and young with interesting ideas.

Molly:
If the first one doesn't work, keep trying cause they are out there all the time. You just don't know that they're there.

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