Last year, new employees were given the opportunity to be paired with an Adorer of the Blood of Christ (ASC) sister in a new program created to cultivate a relationship and learn more about the foundation on which the university was built.
For the sisters, this provided a bond to the university and an opportunity to share their mission. For new employees, it provided an opportunity to learn about the university sponsors with whom the university works so closely.
Sister Charlotte Rohrbach, director of mission effectiveness, led the initiative and was happy to see individuals eager to participate. She said the experience has been different for all, but all have been grateful for the experience.
Monica Heasty and Sister Miriam Rou
Sister Miriam Rou was excited to get more involved at Newman through this program. She was paired with Monica Heasty, assistant director of transfer admissions.
“I knew nothing about Newman and I had heard about it often, so when I moved here, I thought, ‘I’d like to know more about it,’ and the best way for me to learn more about it is to have a friend like Monica.”
Heasty was also looking for a deeper connection to Newman.
“Obviously I had a professional connection to Newman but I wanted something more personal,” she said. “I thought this was a great way to make a new friend and connect with someone who was involved in the university not necessarily from a professional standpoint.”
The two always look forward to their time together and are supportive of the program and the friendships it brings.
Beth Fatkin and Sister Fran Schumer
As a new employee, Senior Development Officer Beth Fatkin wanted to learn more about Newman and the ASCs, so she signed up, filled out the survey from Rohrbach, and was paired with Sister Fran Schumer.
Schumer and Fatkin became fast friends, meeting for lunch monthly at the ASC Center. Schumer took Fatkin on a tour of the center and the chapel inside, answered questions about her theology course and provided lots of friendly conversation.
Schumer joined the program because she was fairly new to the Wichita area, and though she’d heard a lot about Newman University as a sister, she wanted to become more involved.
“When Charlotte offered this program I thought it would be something I’d like to be a part of to share the passion that I have for ASCs, for who we are and what it is that we’re about. I certainly enjoy the relationship with Beth. I feel that I gained a friend,” said Schumer.
Fatkin said, “I learned a lot about the ASCs and Newman but this pairing has actually turned out to be something extremely personal to me in my spiritual journey.”
At the time, Fatkin’s two eldest sons had just been deployed and her youngest son was transitioning into a new phase of his life, so Schumer’s nonjudgmental listening ear was a godsend.
“Sister Fran invited me to start attending Mass every Sunday at the convent and I would sit there and just be filled with such a sense of peace and warmth, and I just knew the Catholic church was the place for me.”
Since the pairing, Fatkin has been confirmed in the Catholic faith and continues to attend Mass regularly.
Schumer said, “I can guarantee you that the spirit works in this program. I think we can agree we hit it off in this program and never looked back.”
Emily Simon and Sister Maureen Farrar
This bond was unique because Sister Maureen Farrar is located at a Mission in Crownpoint, New Mexico. In the beginning, she and Library Associate Emily Simon had some issues contacting each other, but they now communicate regularly.
This bond was particularly important to Farrar because of her history with Newman University. She graduated from Sacred Heart College and then began working as the director of publications and public information at the college. Farrar was in Kansas when Sacred Heart College transitioned into Kansas Newman College, which she explained as “an interesting procedure.”
Though she tried to keep up with Newman after leaving, it wasn’t always easy. She said this pairing has brought her what she feels is a connection to the heart of Newman.
Farrar said she is very happy with her decision to join the program.
“I think we all benefit from it and I know it certainly will keep me more in touch where part of my heart is.”
Simon joined the program for a similar reason — her history with the sisters.
“I originally wanted to join this program because I had the opportunity a couple of years ago to stay with the ASC sisters in South Korea,” explained Simon, “and that was just such an interesting experience. You get so used to what the ASC sisters do here and you kind of forget that they do other things as well, so it was really interesting to learn about their mission there and all of the activities that they were involved in.”
The two first met “face-to-face” through video chat on Sept. 12 and are working on plans to meet in person soon.
Because the program was a success in its pilot phase, Rohrbach said it will continue. This year, Rohrbach has invited employees who joined Newman in 2018 to participate in the program. And during Heritage Month in February 2019, the opportunity will expand to any employee wanting to participate, regardless of their start date.