Catholic Sisters Week Celebrated at HNU

To celebrate National Catholic Sisters Week, Holy Names’ Sisters presented an excerpt of the film Band of Sisters, which chronicles the lives of Catholic nuns after the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II). At each of the three film presentations that took place this month, in conjunction with Women’s History Month, two Holy Names’ Sisters described their own experiences after Vatican II.

The film focused on changes within the Catholic community after Vatican II took place in the early 1960s. In response to Pope John XXIII’s call to engage with the world and devote oneself to the needs of the poor, Sisters broadened their commitment to service, focusing on issues that had not been addressed by the Catholic Church previously. Sisters had long played a role in nursing and teaching, but in the 1960s many Sisters became involved in grass roots activism that focused on unions, housing rights, and a more expansive view of human rights.

“We’re the risk takers in the church. We are down there with the people. We know what the needs are,” said Sister Lillian Murphy in Band of Sisters. Sr. Lillian, a member of the Sisters of Mercy order, is the chief executive officer of Mercy Housing, which provides affordable housing for low income families, seniors, and people with special needs.

Sisters Maureen Hester and Carol Sellman talked about how Vatican II affected them at the March 21 presentation of the film.

Sr. Maureen Hester said that Vatican II was not planned when she entered the order in 1954, but it created a “great, rich environment” for her. She talked about the significant changes that took place on the Holy Names campus after Vatican II—becoming coeducational and increasingly diverse—and her own role as a faculty member and head of the psychology department. “It opened up a new way of thinking,” Sr. Maureen said.

Sister Carol Sellman, who entered the SNJM community in 1965, said at the time they were “just beginning . . . to understand what the changes in religious life might be.” She said that some Sisters found these changes—from wearing a full habit to a modified version, to dropping the habit’s headpiece all together, to returning to their given names rather than their religious names—to be difficult, while other Sisters welcomed the changes. Sr. Carol emphasized that the work of Vatican II took place during a period of great social activism that provided a fresh “opportunity for women who felt called to social service,” so that Sisters who had real skills for justice and peace work were able to use their gifts in new ways.

Sisters Donna Maynard and Sophia Park also discussed their experiences at a presentation of the film on March 17, and Sister Chris Patrinos presented with Sr. Carol on March 19.

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Cipriani Featured in Video for Guide Dogs for the Blind

HNU Writer-in-Residence Belo Cipriani is featured in Harnessing the Power of Partnership, a new video released by Guide Dogs for the Blind. See the video here:

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Alumnus Profile: Ryan DeCoud ’06, MBA ’08

Ryan DeCoud ’06, MBA ’08

Ryan DeCoud ’06, MBA ’08

Ryan DeCoud earned a bachelor’s degree in business marketing and a Master of Business Administration concentrating in management and leadership from Holy Names University. DeCoud now works as a contracts specialist in the Purchasing Department of the Alameda County General Services Agency. The department is responsible for procuring goods and services for all county agencies and departments—from preparing purchase orders and drafting contracts to conducting competitive bid solicitations.

How do you feel your HNU education has changed your life? Your point of view and perspectives?
The education I received at HNU has changed my life by instilling certain values and confidence within me. From the education and experience I gained while attending HNU, I feel as if I can be a solid contributor on any task given to me. My education has also taught me, and provided me with the tools, to step outside my comfort zone and take chances. I have gained knowledge that has allowed me to think strategically through different processes in both my professional and personal life.

Did HNU influence your decision to work in local government?
My choice to work in local government was definitely influenced by attending HNU—an institution that is very involved in community activities.

What made you decide to attend HNU?
HNU offers a learning environment that allows you to fully understand and develop the skills that are needed when you face the job market. I enjoyed the tightknit community of students whom I attended school functions with and was able to work with in study groups and on projects. All students and instructors at HNU really work together to achieve the common goal of learning.

What excites you most about HNU?
I am excited by how HNU strives to create a diverse student body.

Who is the person who influenced you the most at HNU?
The late James Durbin, former chairperson of the Business Department, had a way of explaining complicated material and making it understandable for his students. He truly cared about his students learning the material he presented.

What did you enjoy the most about your time at HNU?
I really enjoyed the relationships I built with fellow students. It was great how everyone came together to study for tests and complete complex projects. I also enjoyed the way the instructors pushed us to be the best we could be and make what seemed impossible, possible. The lessons learned during my time at HNU made it easier to transition from college to my professional career.

How do you see HNU changing in the future?
I see HNU being a place that continues to adapt and produce students that will be great contributors to society.

What advice would you give to a new student?
Take advantage of every opportunity while at HNU. Volunteer, try and get internships, do everything you can to get experience in the employment field you plan on pursuing. Experience is such a valuable asset when you leave college and enter the job market.

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Luncheon Connects Donors and Scholarship Recipients

Gabriela Garcia-Lopez (left) is greeted by Jim Vohs.

Gabriela Garcia-Lopez (left) is greeted by Jim Vohs.

The Holy Names University 2014 Scholarship Luncheon brought together more than 65 donors, scholarship recipients, friends, and staff on February 26. The unique tradition provides space for donors and scholarship recipients to meet and talk with each other, President William J. Hynes said.

“This is for many of us one of the most special times of the year,” he said. “Those who have given of themselves and their pocket get to meet and sometimes re-meet (scholarship recipients) … at this time of year.”

Sister Carol Sellman delivered a welcome address in which she stressed the value of the donors and scholarship recipients in the HNU community.

“You, our donors and our scholars, are the most important gifts for which we give thanks,” Sr. Carol said. “Each of you is part of the legacy of Holy Names University. The stories that connect each of you with HNU are rich and very diverse.”

In addition to a message by the president and welcome address by Sr. Carol, junior Stephany Cachet gave a student testimonial on what drew her to HNU.

“Not only did I know that I was going to receive a quality education, but I knew that I was going to enjoy being part of the HNU community as well,” said Cachet, a first-generation college student majoring in biological science. “My stay here so far at Holy Names has been very fulfilling. My experience in the classroom has been phenomenal because my teachers are committed to being there for their students.”

The luncheon recognized the late Wesley Jones, who founded the Jones/Frank Memorial Scholarship with his wife, Martha Frank-Jones, to honor their parents. Jones was a loyal supporter of HNU who consistently attended the annual scholarship luncheon.

“Wesley was a wonderful gentleman and a gentle man and a true friend,” Sr. Carol said. “We dedicate this luncheon to him in gratitude for giving fully of himself to Holy Names University.”


Joseph Marinshaw (left) talking with Cassandra Luu.

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