New book tells sisters’ stories in their own words

October 12, 2011 by  

NOW AVAILABLE! Sister Margaret Nacke has been published her latest work, a collection of personal testimonies titled “BEARERS OF FAITH: Undaunted Courage of Catholic Sisters Under Communism.”In their own words, Catholic sisters tell their story of life in Central and Eastern Europe during the 40 years of communist rule.

Since 1993, Sister Margaret and Sister Mary Savoie have collaborated with Eastern European sisters as they have moved — and continue to move — from a clandestine life of oppression to a life of freedom in a complex world.

The book is available through lulu.com for $19.95 plus shipping. For more information or to order your copy, CLICK HERE.

EWTN to air ‘Interrupted Lives’ documentary

May 13, 2010 by  

“Interrupted Lives: Catholic Sisters Under European Communism,” the award-winning documentary based on the research of two Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, will be broadcast on EWTN beginning this weekend. (To go the the “Interrupted Lives” web site, CLICK HERE.)

The one-hour documentary that received a 2010 Gabriel Award will be aired Sunday and Monday (May 16 and 17) in Europe, and then June 17 and 19 in England. American viewers will be able to see it on EWTN in August.

John Elson, director of program acquisitions and co-productions for EWTN, said “the history and heroism” of the stories told in “Interrupted Lives” make it significant for EWTN viewers.

“Documentaries like ‘Interrupted Lives’ that present the story of individuals who have made great sacrifices for the Faith — even to the point of death — force each viewer to ask the question, ‘Why did they die?’” Elson said. “The consideration of that question and these examples of heroic witness” may lead people to a deeper appreciation of the people who suffered, and to the Church.

Elson noted that EWTN — the world’s largest religious media network, airing 24 hours a day to more than 148 million homes in 144 countries and territories — has broadened its programming in the past three or four years. “We’re trying to tell different stories,” he said, “that present the truth about the Faith in different historical periods and that recount the lives, spirituality and sacrifices of various Catholic individuals.”

To that end, potential programming is reviewed by a group of theologians — all of whom saw the “power and importance” of the story told in “Interrupted Lives,” Elson said.

The documentary was written and produced by Judy Zielinski, a Sister of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, was aired nationally as part of ABC’s “Vision and Values” series in September 2009.

It is based on more than 10 years of work by Sisters Mary Savoie and Margaret Nacke, both members of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, who first went to Romania in 1993 as volunteers to help the Church in Eastern Europe after the fall of communism. Over the next decade in many visits, they branched out to other Eastern European countries and built relationships with many of the sisters who had survived behind

In 2003, Sisters Mary and Margaret, who live in Belleville, Kan., began serious research into the plight of those Catholic Sisters, eventually covering eight countries and the years spanning the rise of Stalin in Russia to the fall of the Berlin Wall. That included numerous trips to Eastern Europe, interviews with the women they came to call “Sister Survivors” and extensive academic study into the local and Church history.

In July 2006, they planned and facilitated a conference in Lviv, Ukraine, bringing together sisters from eight former communist countries. The goal was to examine fundamental values guiding those sisters who survived under communism and to explore ways those values can be integrated into the lives of American sisters.

As a result of the work done by Sisters Mary and Margaret, hundreds of testimonies, photographs, books and other documents have been collected and archived at Catholic Theological Union’s Bechtold Library in Chicago.

It was also in 2006 that Sisters Mary and Margaret hired NewGroup Media of South Bend, Ind. — which is where Sister Judy Zielinksi works as a writer and producer — to create a documentary of the story of the Sister Survivors.

A team from NewGroup, including Sister Judy and photographer Lynn King, and Sisters Mary and Margaret traveled together to Eastern Europe. During that first trip, they interviewed and videotaped 42 Sister Survivors, and would eventually return for more interviews and taping.

Since the documentary’s release last September, Sisters Mary and Margaret have continued showing it around the country and have scheduled other educational programs to tell the stories of the Eastern European sisters.

In the United States, EWTN will air “Interrupted Lives” (all times listed as Eastern Standard Time) on Aug. 15 at 2 a.m., Aug. 18 at 1 p.m. and Aug. 21 at 2 p.m.

Gabriel Award recognizes sisters’ documentary

April 19, 2010 by  

The nationally televised documentary based on the research of Sisters Margaret Nacke and Mary Savoie has just been honored with a 2010 Gabriel Award from the Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals.

Judy Zielinski, a Sister of St. Francis off Sylvania, Ohio, who was writer and producer of the documentary — titled “Interrupted Lives: Catholic Sisters Under European Communism” — received notice of the national award earlier this month. The 45th annual Gabriel Awards will be presented in New Orleans June 3.

Sister Margaret Nacke

“The Gabriel is, indeed, a prestigious award. It proclaims a value-centered view of society and humanity, and it raises our consciousness,” according to the letter from the Catholic Academy. “We are pleased to recognize your work for its embodiment of these ideals.”

The documentary was aired nationally as part of ABC’s “Vision and Values” series in September, and is available on DVD through the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which provided a portion of the funding for the project. (For details or to order a copy, CLICK HERE.)

Sisters Mary and Margaret, both members of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, first went to Romania in 1993, as volunteers to help the Church in Eastern Europe after the fall of communism. Over the next decade in many visits, they branched out to other Eastern European countries and built relationships with many of the sisters who had survived behind the Iron Curtain.

Sister Mary Savoie

In 2003, Sisters Mary and Margaret began serious research into the plight of those Catholic Sisters, eventually covering eight countries and the years spanning the rise of Stalin in Russia to the fall of the Berlin Wall. That included numerous trips to Eastern Europe, interviews with the women they came to call “Sister Survivors” and extensive academic study into the local and Church history.

In July 2006, they planned and facilitated a conference in Lviv, Ukraine, bringing together sisters from eight former communist countries. The goal was to examine fundamental values guiding those sisters who survived under communism and to explore ways those values can be integrated into the lives of American sisters.
As a result of the work done by Sisters Mary and Margaret, hundreds of testimonies, photographs, books and other documents have been collected and archived at Catholic Theological Union’s Bechtold Library in Chicago.

It was also in 2006 that Sisters Mary and Margaret hired NewGroup Media of South Bend, Ind. — which is where Sister Judy Zielinksi works as a writer and producer — to create a documentary of the story of the Sister Survivors.

A team from NewGroup, including Sister Judy and photographer Lynn King, and Sisters Mary and Margaret traveled together to Eastern Europe, mostly for introductions and to get a better sense of the story.

But once she began meeting the sisters who had survived, Sister Judy realized this was more than just a scouting trip.

“These were women who were fragile, many of whom were mature women at the end of World War II,” she said. “They were elderly, and many were in frail health. We knew this couldn’t wait.”

During that first trip, they interviewed and videotaped 42 Sister Survivors. They would eventually return for more interviews and taping.

After the documentary was completed, it was offered to the Interfaith Broadcast Coalition as national religious programming, and ABC selected it to offer its affiliates in September 2009.

Since then, Sisters Mary and Margaret have continued showings of the documentary around the country and have scheduled other educational programs to tell the stories of the Eastern European sisters.

The Gabriel Awards, which were first presented in 1965, are designed to honor works of excellence in film, network and cable television and radio programs. These include feature films and documentaries, entertainment and news programming, public service announcements, and stations which serve audiences through the positive, creative treatment of concerns to humankind. Categories for TV and radio include both English and Spanish language programs.

“Interrupted Lives” won in the category for nationally televised religious documentaries.

The award itself is a nine-inch silver angel mounted on a polished base of wood. Gabriel raises skyward a globe encircled by electrons to symbolize the
communication of God’s word to humanity. It is a salute to all those who strive for values-centered programming.

Documentary to be shown in January

December 17, 2009 by  

By Doug Weller,
The Register of the Salina Diocese

SALINA — The film documenting the lives of Catholic nuns behind the Iron Curtain will be shown twice in January in Salina, with discussions afterward led by the executive producers.

“Interrupted Lives: Catholic Sisters Under European Communism,” is a one-hour documentary researched and produced by Sisters Margaret Nacke and Mary Savoie, Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia.

The two traveled to Eastern Europe after the fall of communism to assist religious communities, but when they heard the stories of their imprisonment, exile and torture, they began documenting the information.

After receiving funding from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the two produced the documentary with NewGroup Media of South Bend, Ind. It was released in September through the Vision & Values series created by the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission for airing on ABC television affiliates.

The Salina Arts Center Cinema will show the documentary at 10 a.m. and again at noon Jan. 16. The cost is $6. There are no advance ticket sales, but the theater at 150 S. Santa Fe seats 90 at each showing.

After each viewing, Sisters Margaret and Mary will discuss the documentary, which was filmed on location in Ukraine, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and the United States.

The two sisters, who are pastoral associates based in Belleville, have been traveling the country since the documentary’s release, conducting seminars and leading discussion groups about the film.

For more information about the project, go to interruptedlives.org. For more information about the Salina screening, call cinema director Heather Smith at (785) 452-0526 or e-mail heathersmith@cox.net This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

‘Interrupted Lives’ web site offers more info

September 22, 2009 by  

Now that the documentary “Interrupted Lives: Catholic Sisters Under European Communism” has been aired across the country, a web site that supplements the program with additional information is also available.

You can click HERE to go directly to the new site.

The site includes a study guide, plus background information and other details about the decades of research by Sister Mary Savoie and Margaret Nacke.

100+ TV stations nationwide to air documentary

September 12, 2009 by  

More than 100 ABC television stations nationwide plan to broadcast the new documentary, “Interrupted Lives: Catholic Sisters Under European Communism,” when it’s released this Sunday.

Stations from Alaska to Florida and Hawaii to New England will air the one-hour program based on the decades of research by Sisters Mary Savoie ad Margaret Nacke, both Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia.

The list of stations is available on the web site for the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission (www.interfaithbroadcasting.com), a coalition of American religious organizations that provide faith programming to the major television networks. “Interrupted Lives” was submitted by the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, which provided part of its funding, and is being offered to ABC affiliates as part of the network’s “Vision and Values” series.

(To go to the IBC list, click HERE.)

The IBC list, while extensive, is not complete. As one example, KTKA-49, the ABC affiliate in Topeka, is scheduled to air “Interrupted Lives” at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13, but it is not included in the IBC list. (KTKA had earlier announced that the documentary would air Sunday night, but the time has changed, according to the station’s posted schedule.) Viewers can check the schedules of specific ABC stations by going to their web sites or calling their offices.

For more on “Interrupted Lives,” the IBC or how to encourage ABC stations to air the program, you can click HERE to go to that page on the csjkansas web site.

100+ TV stations nationwide to air documentary

September 10, 2009 by  

More than 100 ABC television stations nationwide plan to broadcast the new documentary, “Interrupted Lives: Catholic Sisters Under European Communism,” when it’s released this Sunday.

Stations from Alaska to Florida and Hawaii to New England will air the one-hour program based on the decades of research by Sisters Mary Savoie ad Margaret Nacke, both Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia.

The list of stations is available on the web site for the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission (www.interfaithbroadcasting.com), a coalition of American religious organizations that provide faith programming to the major television networks. “Interrupted Lives” was submitted by the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, which provided part of its funding, and is being offered to ABC affiliates as part of the network’s “Vision and Values” series.

(To go to the IBC list, click HERE.)

The IBC list, while extensive, is not complete. As one example, KTKA-49, the ABC affiliate in Topeka, is scheduled to air “Interrupted Lives” at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13, but it is not included in the IBC list. (KTKA had earlier announced that the documentary would air Sunday night, but the time has changed, according to the station’s posted schedule.) Viewers can check the schedules of specific ABC stations by going to their web sites or calling their offices.

For more on “Interrupted Lives,” the IBC or how to encourage ABC stations to air the program, you can click HERE to go to that page on the csjkansas web site.

Watch the documentary preview

September 1, 2009 by  

To watch the six-minute “trailer” (or preview) of the documentary “Interrupted Lives,” click HERE and then scroll down several items to find it.

‘Interrupted Lives’ DVD to be available Sept. 21

August 25, 2009 by  

The DVD of “Interrupted Lives” is expected to be available Sept. 21 through the Publications Office of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, which partially funded the documentary.

To order, call 800/235-8722 or go to
www.usccbpublishing.org/showproducts.cfm?WPCID=1240

The cost is $19.95 plus shipping and handling.

Viewers may need to give stations a ‘nudge’

August 25, 2009 by  

Getting documentary shown may take a little ‘nudge’

ABC TV will be releasing the documentary “Interrupted Lives: Catholic Sisters Under European Communism” on Sept. 13 — but to get it broadcast on local affiliates may take a little nudge from interested viewers (like us).

The documentary grew out of the decades of research by Sisters Mary Savoie and Margaret Nacke and was written and produced by Sister Judy Zielinski, a Sister of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, and NewGroup Media of South Bend, Ind.

It is being released by ABC as part of its “Vision & Values” series, which is a public service coordinated with the Interfaith Broadcasting Coalition to provide faith programming on network television.

But local ABC stations have no obligation to broadcast it — unless they are urged to do so by viewers who want to see it.

So we’re providing contact information for ABC stations where many of our sisters live, or in areas where those stations are broadcast. Where we have the name of the station’s general manager or programming director, we’re providing it. (And if we don’t have the name, that’s still the title you would ask for.)

Your request might go something like this:

“I’m a viewer of _________________ and I am very interested in the ‘Vision & Values’ program that
has just been released to you by ABC. The title is ‘Interrupted Lives: Catholic Sisters Under
European Communism.’ I hope you will be able to broadcast it, and I know many other people
who are looking forward to seeing it, too.”

If they seem receptive, you might also suggest that the station promote it on-air so other viewers will be aware of it, too.

Please be aware if a station does decide to air “Interrupted Lives,” it has eight weeks from the release date to do so.

And also please note that KTKA-TV in Topeka has said it will air the documentary at 10:30 p.m. Sept. 13.

Here are local ABC affiliates, listed alphabetically by state. If your area or station is not listed, the easiest way to find contact info is by using ABC’s online map of station locations. Go to this Web site and click on your state: http://abc.go.com/site/al_ak.html

COLORADO: Grand Junction KJCT-8
General Manager Kristy Santiago
8 Foresight Circle
Grand Junction CO 81505
(970) 245-8880
ksantiago@kjct8.com

KANSAS: Wichita KAKE 10
1500 N. West Street
Wichita KS 67203-1323
(316) 943-4221
programming@kake.com

MISSOURI: Kansas City KMBC-TV
6455 Winchester Ave.
Kansas City MO 64133
(816) 221-9999
Director of Programming kking@hearst.com

NEBRASKA: Kearney KHGI/KWNB
General Manager Vincent F. Barresi
P.O. Box 220
Kearney NE 68848
(308) 743-2494 ext. 101

NEBRASKA: Lincoln KLKN
General Manager Roger Moody
3240 So. 10th St.
Lincoln NE 68502
(402) 434-8000
rmoody@klkntv.com

NEBRASKA: Omaha KETV
2665 Douglas Street
Omaha NE 68131
(402) 345-7777

NEBRASKA: Scottsbluff KDUH/KOTA
1523 1st Ave.
Scottsbluff NE 69361
(308) 632-3071

NEW MEXICO: Albuquerque KOAT 7
3801 Carlisle Blvd
Albuquerque NM 87107
(505) 884-7777

TEXAS: El Paso KVIA-7
Programming Director Karla Huelga
4140 Rio Bravo
El Paso TX 79902
(915) 496-1756
karlah@kvia.com

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