New SisterStory website launches

ST. PAUL, MINN. -- SisterStory.org has been remade into a dynamic new website that better showcases its stunning breadth of content and, ultimately, better tells the once-untold stories of women religious.

The rebuild was done by a small team headquartered at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn. – Digital Media Strategist Garrett D. Tiedemann and Web Developer Stephanie Rosso – working closely with its partners at Lipman Hearne in Chicago. It launched in April. Now, say the site developers, SisterStory can more vibrantly function as a digital media hub for the National Catholic Sisters Project, housing extensive media on Catholic sisters, including an oral-history project, blog posts, podcasts and videos. The content is all tagged and easily searched.

“It empowers and inspires a sort of Alice-In-Wonderland deep dive into how the content is interconnected,” Tiedemann said. “You can see much more effectively how someone’s story has been covered and you can see the diversity of voices much more clearly.”

Built on CMS Drupal, the new site is more visual than its original version, Tiedemann said, and allows for more collaboration among partners and allies of the National Catholic Sisters Project, an ever-expanding group.

For Molly Hazelton, the site director of National Catholic Sisters Week and visionary leader of the SisterStory team, the renovated website shows off her team’s hard work. “The new site is beautiful and simple,” she said. “We wanted to create a way in which to display all of our content without it being too fussy or difficult to navigate. What we ended up with is an engaging way to display all of the fantastic content that our teams produce.”

The site’s “image-focused” format will attract young adults, she said. “It grabs your attention in the right way!”

Gina Giambruno, a 20-something who worked with NCSW as an oral historian and then project researcher, recognizes the new site’s appeal. “It functions sort of like a Pinterest feed where you can just scroll and explore and get lost in all the amazing media SisterStory has to offer,” she said. “It’s fresh, interesting and vast! And I love how user friendly it is.”

Giambruno was quick to credit Tiedemann for the labor-intensive task of transferring every piece of content – each podcast, each blog post, every creative video.

All the effort was well worth the end game, Tiedemann said. “Ultimately, this better represents our content, which better honors these women’s lives."

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.