Achona Staffers Interview SNJM Sisters as Rose Project Nears

January 20, 2021


(Photo Credit: Adriana James-Rodil/befunky/Achona Online)

Achona staffers interviewed five different SNJM’s who are pictured above.

On Jan. 11 and 13, five Achona Online staffers each interviewed a Sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary which were recorded on Zoom. First-year Campus Ministry Director Lisa Perkowski wanted to conduct these interviews with the Sisters whose reflections will appear in the yet-to-be-released annual Rose Project journal, which Achona got early access to in order to ask appropriate questions and engage in fruitful discussions relating to each of the stories of the SNJM’s.

On day one of Rose Project Week, Sister Cynthia Canning relates her reflection to the virtue of seeing; on day two, Sister Kathleen Ross writes about learning and analyzing; on day three, Sister Mary Ellen Robinson intertwines her narrative with praying; on day four, Sister Marylyn Gibney reflects on the virtue of acting; and finally, on day five, Sister Kay Burton writes regarding evaluating.

Below are paragraphs written by each staffer regarding their interview along with trailers that include a few clips from their conversation, prefacing the release of each interview in full that will be shown to all Rose Project teams during Rose Project Week — one or two each day (these videos will also be released on the Achona website in the future as well).

An Interview with SNJM Sister Cynthia Canning

In this video, Managing Editor Emara Sáez sat down to interview Sister Cynthia Canning, an SNJM sister who is based in California. Canning explains the experience that made her want to be a nun, how her journey with social justice began, and what it was like setting up Next Step Learning Center in Oakland, California, to address educational inequality in the area. She also reflects on the importance of Next Step in her life and the greater significance of education as a tool for equity. Since its founding in 1994 by Sister Rosemary, Sister Margaret Kennedy, and Canning, Next Step has served over 8,000 low income students, helped more than 850 students earn their GED or High School Diploma, and started a college program. Canning shares this and more details about her life in this interview.

An Interview with SNJM Sister Kathleen Ross

In this video, Editor-in-Chief Adriana James-Rodil interviewed Sister Kathleen Ross, SNJM, over Zoom to discuss her reflection in the Rose Project Journal. Beginning with general questions, followed by more specific ones, James-Rodil gained more of an insight into Ross’s journey from being Academic Vice President of Fort Wright College of the Holy Names in Spokane, Washington, to co-founding Heritage College in Toppenish — in the Yakama Indian Reservation — where, as I quote from her reflection, “the poverty rate was three times the rate in Seattle and no four-year degree programs were offered within commuting distance of almost 100,000 people.” Most in the area were Native Americans and Mexican immigrants, and during the interview, James-Rodil and Ross were also able to connect her life experiences to the current climate in the U.S. surrounding immigration and media coverage on marginalized groups. 

An Interview with SNJM Sister Mary Ellen Robinson

In this video, Sophomore Staff Writer Isabel Bequer interviewed Sister Mary Ellen Robinson, an SNJM located in Yakima Valley, Washington. Robinson discusses her journey as a nun, remaining hopeful in the face of injustice, and the importance of diversity and community. She also reflects on the impact of her work educating immigrant children at the Marie Rose House in Wapato, Washington. The Marie Rose House offers an array of social programs for residents of Yakima Valley and is dedicated to fighting the exploitation of migrant workers and creating a stronger community in Wapato. Robinson shares about this and other details about herself in the interview.

An Interview with SNJM Sister Marylyn Gibney

In this interview, Sophomore Staff Writer Winsome Storm interviews SNJM Sister Marylyn Gibney, residing in Winnipeg, Canada. Gibney talks about why she decided to become a SNJM Sister and how she helped with the youth center Rossbrook House to help teens. She also shares more personal stories about how the sisters have helped the teens of Rossbrook House and her experiences over the years. Gibney also shares how service and volunteer work is important to her and how much of a difference anyone can make by volunteering. With Rose Week Project approaching soon, Gibney’s experiences in volunteer work can serve as a reminder to all students that this week is about helping and serving others. She shares more details about Rossbrook House and her life in this interview. 

An Interview with SNJM Sister Kay Burton

In this video, Sophomore Staff Writer Kimberly Egoavil interviewed Sister Kay Burton, an SNJM sister who, for over thirty years, has served the community of Jonestown, Mississippi. Burton shares the story of her calling to be a sister, the importance education has in her life, the adversities faced when starting a new school with a new community, and much more. She talks about how along with Sisters Rose Monica, Mildred Hein, Anne Skok and Teresa Shields, in 1989, the SNJM’s started the Durocher Volunteer Service Program, along with the Jonestown Family Center in 1992. Ever since its founding, it has helped to form community and cultivate academic and spiritual integrity for the youth of Jonestown. Burton shares this and more stories about her life in this interview.

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