Transforming the world one story at a time

By Christina Michaluk
April 10, 2008


Cabrini has launched a new book, “Stories of Transformation.” The book is a result of a collaboration with Catholic Relief Services, Cabrini College and the Cabrini College Partnership Project at Norristown.

The book was a year-long project in the making. It was created for Cabrini’s 50th anniversary celebration as well as its three years of partnership with Catholic Relief Services, CRS and Norristown.

“Stories of Transformation” is a compilation of stories from all three of those organizations, representing people from all over the world with different experiences relating to service or solidarity with others.

The book took about a year to bring together all of the stories. Of the 100 to 150 stories collected, only 40 were used. Twenty- eight of the essays come from the Cabrini community.

Students, alumni and faculty as well as a representative from CRS teamed up to make the vision a reality.

Endless hours of editing and brainstorming were put into the making of the book.

The transformations are broken down into three sections: self, service and solidarity.

“We wanted to show what service and solidarity really look like in an individual’s life experience,” Dr. Mary Laver, director of programs for Applied Catholic Social Teaching in the Wolfington Center, said. “Something happens in your mind and heart. It stretches your perspective. We think stories about personal experiences are a great way to explore that.”

The stories found inside the book describe events that impacted the writers in many ways. Each story illustrates the transformations that are taking place through people and actions all over the world including transformations that are taking place within the Cabrini community.

Each one highlights an extraordinary impact from a personal encounter.

The book shows that people can lead by example. All of the transformations described in the book give examples of the good that can come from the world if people are willing to lead others.

Cabrini hopes to use the book as part of the new curriculum, beginning this fall. It will be used as a teaching supplement for the new social justice classes that will begin with the class of 2012.

The project was funded by a generous grant from the Cabrini College 50th Anniversary Committee. Still, there are not enough funds to print as many copies of the book as the editorial committee would like, although they are hopeful that they can print more copies.

Copies of the book have been distributed to the writers, to members of CRS as well as to people involved in the Norristown project.

“I would love to use all of the other stories in the next stage. I would also like to focus more on advocacy and systemic change because currently there is not as much about those concepts as we would like to see, and we know students are involved in that,” Laver said.

Sophomore mathematics major, Gina Mulranen, served as the only current student on the editorial committee that produced the textbook. Mulranen was approached about joining the editorial committee after winning the first year writing award for her writing an essay response to Elie Wiesel’s “Night.”

“I was a part of a collegiate team. It was like nothing I’ve ever done before,” Mulranen said. “My student opinions were valued and considered. I felt very qualified to be there.”

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Christina Michaluk

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