FRIDAY JULY 2, 2021
The Observer BY SHARON BOEHLEFELD Features Editor
hile looking for a project so she could cross write a book offher bucket list, Anna Marie Kukec Tomczyk thought about her time as an associate with the Dominican Sisters of Springfield. She first thought of the work the sisters were doing in Peru and called her friend, Sister Beth Murphy, OP, to talk about it. Sister Beth is the com- munication director for the Dominican Sisters in Springfield. When Tomc- zyk called, she didnt think the Peru idea would be the best for a book. As I thought about another story, I thought of the work our sisters were doing in the Dominican Literacy Center with immigrants. Nobody has ever written more than a newspaper article about them and I thought it was a good idea, Sister Beth said. And since the literacy center was inter- ested, thats how it happened. Tomczyk, who already knew of their work, agreed and talked to the Aurora centers director, Sister Kathleen Ryan, OP, about it. A book could help others learn about immigrants to the U.S., and about the work the sisters continue to do. The Dominican Sisters help people on the margins of society. So, Sister Kathleen believed creating a center to help immigrants to learn English and to improve their way of life fit perfectly into their mission, Tomczyk explained. As more former students achieved in life, the sisters saw the pillars of their Dominican life in a new way. Those pillars, which undergird their lives as Dominican women, Tomczyk added, are community, ministry, study and prayer. Now, the sisters saw how the pillars were support- ing their immigrant women as well. It took three years, but her work eventually became the book, We Are Eagles, which was released this past spring. (See give-away on page 11.) She decided to start serious work on her bucket list a while before that. Let me take you back to the 1990s. I was a Dominican associate. I was working at newspapers, - she worked for the suburban paper, The Daily Herald - and I fo- cused more on my career than being an associate. Then I took care of my dad until he passed away, then my mother-in-law until she died. I feel like if I dont do my bucket list things now, I wont do them. I talked to my husband, quit The Daily Herald (in 2017 and started) work on my books. As she began talking to people involved with the center, she said, I thought that what was interesting was the center in Aurora was reaching its 25th anniversary, so I thought I would center it on that angle. She started talking to early students about their stories from how they came to America to how they are today. The more women she talked to, the more she learned about how their lives began to soar. The center had students from Mexico from the very beginning. Their lives (in the U.S.) were dramatically different from Mexico. One
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Challenges Facing Immigrant Women Inspire Book about DLC
Destination: Getting to Italy may be less than certain right now, but if you can get as far as Rome, the Vatican Museums reopened May 3 with restrictions. The stun- ning collections are well worth the price of admission. Masses are offered throughout the day at the Vatican. Ask at the museum information desk for help. Why to go: The main museum on the grounds of the Vatican has several collections of artifacts, both religious and secular. But there are also archeological digs at the necropolis of the Via Triumphalis and at St. John Lateran in the city of Rome. Within the Vatican, museums include the Gregorian Egyptian and Etruscan museums, the lapidary Gallery, several papal rooms and the Sistine Chapel. For those unable to travel to Rome, the museums collections can be seen on their Instagram account at instagram.com/vaticanmuseums/ and with their online tours at museivaticani.va/content/ museivaticani/en/collezioni/musei/tour-virtuali-elenco. html If youd llike to keep up with the museum, you can sign up for a newsletter in Italian or English by clicking on the plus sign on the top of the page near the right. The menu uses pictographs for searching, information, tickets and merchandise. Accessibility: Some parts of the main museum could be dicult to get to for those with limited mobility.Ask about elevator access. The Vatican Museum ice of Services and Public Relations can answer email questions at email@example.com. (Grand) Kid friendly: All ages are welcome. Info: Address - Vatican Museum, Viale Vaticana, 00165 Rome n Phone - +39 06 69884676 or +39 06 69883145 n Website - https://m.museivaticani.va
- Sharon Boehlefeld compiled this story Send Destinations ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
Vatican City State
(CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Young tourists look at one of the Raphael rooms during the re- opening of the Vatican Museums on May 3.
(Observer photo/Sharon Boehlefeld)
A model of the Vatican City State was on display at the Vatican Mu- seum in 2014.
Anna Marie Kukec Tomczyk
Anna Marie Kukec Tomczyks book started, in part, because she was once an associate of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield. Its often through things like (being an associate) that people begin to appreciate the life of sisters and the work they do with people who are often found on the margins of society, said Sister Beth Murphy, OP. When they get that close up look at who we are and what were doing, it impacts their own lives. A new group of associates will begin their nine- month formation in August. Sister M. Joan Sorge, OP, can answer questions about the process.
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