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Co-directors of National Catholic Sisters Initiative announced

Molly Dever Hazelton (left) and Mary Soher, OP were named co-directors of the National Catholic Sisters Initiative.
Molly Dever Hazelton (left) and Mary Soher, OP were named co-directors of the National Catholic Sisters Initiative.
Photos supplied.

A St. Catherine University faculty member and a member of the Adrian Dominican Sisters will co-lead the National Catholic Sisters Initiative.

In August, St. Catherine University was awarded a $3.3 million grant by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to launch an initiative to heighten public awareness of the lives and contributions of Catholic sisters. St. Catherine’s project will center on the design and launch of National Catholic Sisters Week as part of Women’s History Month, beginning in March 2014, through development of a comprehensive, digitally based array of materials, oral histories and curriculum about the lives and contributions of Catholic Sisters.

Molly Dever Hazelton and Mary Soher, OP were named co-directors of St. Catherine’s project.

Hazelton is currently adjunct professor of library and information Science at St. Catherine University, where she teaches courses in digital archiving. She holds a master’s in library science from Simmons College and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Mount Holyoke College.

A Vermont native, Hazelton is an experienced project director, having recently led a multi-year project to digitize over 12 million documents at The Leo Baeck Institute in New York, as well as develop digitization standards and metadata protocols for the institute’s materials. She has also served as an archivist for Sarah Lawrence College, the American College of Greece, American Jewish Archives, Mount Holyoke College, and the Five College Archives and Manuscript Project in Massachusetts.

Mary Soher, OP, of Henderson, Nev., has been an Adrian Dominican sister since 1996 and recently completed a doctorate at Colorado Technical University. Her primary area of research is organizational development and change. She holds a master's of pastoral studies from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Trinity University in San Antonio. Soher serves on the boards of Siena Heights University and Dominican Young Adults USA, and is currently director of the Dominican High Schools Preaching Conference.

Previously, she served in a diverse array of positions at Barry University and as vocation outreach coordinator for the Adrian Dominican sisters. She has also worked in television as satellite network coordinator in Newport Beach, Calif., and as production coordinator and satellite operations/news director at KENS-TV in San Antonio, Texas.

More about the National Catholic Sisters Initiative

The initiative will center on the contributions of Catholic Sisters in five areas:

• Education

• Healthcare

• Social change

• The Church and spiritual life

• Women’s leadership

As the project centerpiece, a digital resource hub will deliver audio, video, archival and other educational content to the public. Key project elements include a dynamic website and corresponding digital campaign; a broad spectrum of oral histories of Catholic sisters developed by university students as interviewers, film makers and writers; a significant documentary developed in collaboration with Twin Cities Public Television’s national productions unit; web-based curriculum materials for middle school, high school and college women; and a series of creative events to bring together young women and women religious.

Learn more in "Sisters Act," published in SCAN, October 2013.

Nationally recognized writer joins initiative

Hazelton and Soher will be joined by a digital media strategist (hiring in process) and a consultant and writing coach, Christina Capecchi.

Capecchi is an award-winning writer from Minnesota and author of the nationally syndicated Catholic column “Twenty Something.” Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, U.S. Catholic and Catholic Digest. She earned a master's from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism.

Also serving the project will be several St. Catherine faculty members and five graduate assistants, who will serve as content specialists and guides for undergraduate women engaged in the project.

Oct. 18, 2013 by Andrea J. Lee, IHM

See also: Catholic Identity, Faculty, Students