Students develop program to befriend Sisters

What connects Wii bowling, the Sisters of Charity and Seton Hill University (SHU) students? The Sister Friendship Program, hosted by a group of students from assistant professor of communications John Ciak’s class “Organizational Communications,” allowed SHU students to interact with Sisters from Caritas Christi during the last three Fridays in April.

“The idea for the project was to bring together the two groups who share Seton Hill but rarely interact. We thought the nuns would enjoy the company, and that we all could learn something from them,” said junior David Berkowitz, one of the planners.

During the Sister Friendship events, the planners and other students from SHU went to Caritas Christi and did activities with a small group of Sisters. According to participants, Wii Bowling was one of the Sisters’ favorite games.

“I think that projects like this are so important because it it gets people involved in the community and helps not only the people there helping but it helps themselves. One of the students that came up with us actually said that they didn’t even know that Caritas Christi was on Seton Hill’s campus, and I thought that it was sad because without the Sisters of Charity, there would be no Seton Hill,” said junior Jared Kallmann, another planner.

According to Kallman, there were a variety of students who attended the events including students from the elementary education, special education, business and physician assistant programs. Staff from the Alumni Office and Admissions Office also participated.

“They seemed so happy to have visitors, especially ones from Seton Hill, where many of them are alums. They’re just very inspiring. Some people, I think, assume that because they’re older and live in that home that they just sit in bed all day, but here they were playing games, showing us around the facility, and then they’re off to pray at 4:30 sharp,” said Berkowitz.

The Sisters didn’t just play, however, they also told stories about their lives and offered advice.

“I think that I was also surprised how much they actually helped me change a little by showing me that even though I could be very stressed about a final or paper, I just need to breath and everything will work out. One of the sisters told me that. She said ‘How do you think I have lived so long?’ ‘(I said) I take lots of deep breathes,’” said Kallmann.

Kallmann and Berkowitz worked with Cheyanna Hoak to coordinate this event with Apryl McKinzie, programs supervisor, from Caritas Christi.

“The Sisters love it when people come,” said McKinzie.

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