Thursday, August 7, 2014

Piscitiello, Fox honored as affiliated Christian Brothers

A group of Affiliated De La Salle Christian Brothers joined Fox and Piscitiello (center) for a photo including, from left: Father Robert Stamschror ’57, Loras “Red” Sieve ’60, Father Andrew C. Fabian, OP, and Jeffrey Highland, Ph.D.
Tony Piscitiello and Mary Catherine Fox
Two dedicated and treasured colleagues at Saint Mary’s, Tony Piscitiello ’69, M’82 and Mary Catherine Fox ’75, Ph.D., have become part of the largest congregation of Brothers in the Catholic Church that is devoted exclusively to education. On Monday, Aug. 4, the two longtime champions of education on Saint Mary’s Winona campus became affiliated members of the Brothers of the Christian Schools at a special ceremony held in Saint Thomas More Chapel.

Affiliation is the highest and rarest honor bestowed by the De La Salle Christian Brothers. By affiliation, men and women, lay, religious, and members of the clergy are made members of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. At great personal sacrifice, affiliated members have participated to an extraordinary degree in the life and work of the De La Salle Christian Brothers. Fox and Piscitiello live the reality of faith, service and community on a daily basis.

Fox is a respected graduate of Saint Mary’s and has been employed at her alma mater since 1990, serving as dean of the School of Business, Computer Science and Media Communications; vice president for University Relations; and professor of Interdisciplinary Studies.

She was a delegate to the De La Salle Christian Brothers USA/Toronto Regional Assembly in 2005 and the 1st International Assembly on Association & Mission in 2006. She served on the first Midwest District Mission Council including a term as chair, and has also served on the board of directors for Saint Mary’s Press. She received a Distinguished Lasallian Educator Award at the Huether Conference in 2013. She serves on the advisory board of the Institute for Lasallian Studies at Saint Mary’s, and has presented at both the International Leadership Conference of the International Association of Lasallian Universities and the Regional Lasallian Leadership Institute.

Piscitiello is an esteemed and invaluable member of the university’s Lasallian community for the past 45 years serving Saint Mary’s as an admissions counselor, vice president for admissions, executive vice president and senior development director. Piscitiello, a Catholic layman, has in thought, word and action helped the presidents of the university to ensure the future of the Lasallian Catholic educational mission at Saint Mary’s. He has served on numerous committees and task forces of the university and has been, for generations of Saint Mary’s graduates, the welcoming face of the university. In addition, he has served on the boards of directors of Cotter High School, Saint Mary’s Elementary Catholic School, and the Winona Area Catholic Schools Foundation and on the board of advisors of Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary. He received the Distinguished Lasallian Educator Award at Saint Mary’s University on Founders’ Day in 2013. Piscitiello received his undergraduate degree in 1969 and his master’s in 1982, both from Saint Mary’s University.

The letters of affiliation, signed by then Superior General Brother Álvaro Rodríguez Echeverría, read:

“I, the undersigned Superior General of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, acknowledge with joy and gratitude your outstanding collaboration with our Institute, the quality of your personal life inspired by Lasallian spirituality, and your active and long-lasting participation in our work of education. My Council and I wish to demonstrate our gratitude by associating you more closely with our religious family, and by presenting you with the present Letter of Affiliation. As an affiliated member, you share in the spiritual benefits of the prayers and apostolic activities of all those who are serving in the Lasallian mission, and of the Brothers of the Institute. ...”

Welcome back students and faculty!

Welcome Week begins with Move-In Weekend; student and parent check-in is 7:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 23. The President’s Welcome begins at 1 p.m. in the gymnasium, and a full weekend of events are planned. For more information, go to

University Convocation Day is Aug. 20 in Minneapolis

This year, University Convocation, Wednesday, Aug. 20, will be held on our Twin Cities campus.

The morning session will be highlighted by remarks from Brother William and our keynote speaker, Carolyn Y. Woo, Ph.D., president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States.  Dr. Woo’s keynote presentation will address faith, action, and results.  Following lunch, there will be a reflection session on Dr. Woo’s presentation, and an opportunity to hear updates on the HLC re-accreditation process, branding, and the campus master plan, as well as concluding remarks from Brother William.

We expect about 350 faculty and staff members to be in attendance at University Convocation.  

A bus has been arranged. The buses will depart from the front of the Toner Student Center at 7:15 a.m.

Please RSVP to Helen Philipps at with the following information by Friday, Aug. 15:

    • Whether you will or will not attend the University Convocation.
    • Whether you will or will not travel to the Twin Cities campus by bus.
    • Whether you have a special dietary need for the luncheon.

Let’s Do Ice Cream raises $210.50

The Volunteer Committee’s ice cream sundae fundraiser Thursday raised $210.50 for the students on our Nairobi campus. Thanks to Chartwells for donating ice cream to make this event successful.

Watch for SMU float in Goodview Days Parade

As part of our community visibility initiative, Saint Mary’s will participate in the Goodview Days Parade at 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 17. Watch and cheer for the large group of resident assistants who will represent Saint Mary’s.

News from Nairobi

By James Chege
Maryknoll Institute of African Studies
Editor: Father Michael C. Kirwen, Director

Prize Giving Ceremonies

On July 9 the students, field assistants and faculty gathered for the final day of the second immersion program.  The day began with summary lectures given for each course, followed by a coffee break and thereafter a plenary session.

Professor Waruta addresses students and field assistants during the final assembly.

During the plenary session, the lecturers spoke briefly about their courses and invited students who had not taken their respective courses to join their classes. Certificates were handed to field assistants who had qualified for three  levels of certification. Foundational certificates were given to those who have worked in at least six courses and scored a minimum “B” in their course essays. The intermediate certificates were issued to those who had worked an additional six courses, and the advanced certificates were issued to those who had worked in a further six courses for  a total of 18 courses.

All smiles as Judith Onyango receives her intermediate certification from Francis Kimani who was representing the Chairman of the MIASMU board, Fr. Lance Nadeau. 
Another highlight of the day was the prize giving ceremony for outstanding field assistants. Here, the three best male and female field assistants, as chosen through balloting by field assistants and MIASMU staff, received gifts for their hard work and dedication. For the men  field assistants position 1, 2 and 3 went to Victor Okubasu, Francis Kamunya and Lawrence Ofunja respectively. On the ladies side Sarah O’kubasu lead the way followed by Grace Onalo and Emma Masau. All the remaining field assistants were also given a small token of appreciation for their continued efforts in the program.

Francis Kamunya receives his gift from MIASMU assistant director Dr. Edith Chamwama.

The day ended with a celebration featuring the famous ‘nyama choma’ – roast goat meat-- that was enjoyed by all.

MA Student Successfully Defends Thesis

Zacharie Kyungu, a citizen of the Congo,  successfully defended his M.A. thesis on July 2. His thesis was on death and burial rites among the Bukusu Quakers of Bungoma County in western Kenya. His examining panel consisted of the chairperson and thesis adviser, Professor Douglas Waruta; thesis reader Professor Mary Getui; and MIASMU program director, Professor Michael Kirwen.

The thesis committee listens to Kyungu’s thesis defence.
The thesis presented the mindset of the Bukusu regarding death and burial rites.  It highlighted how there must be continuing ties between the living and the departed, even though the dead person is physically absent. One of the strongest ties is through his/her children and through the rituals which unite the two world as relatives and neighbors come to bid farewell and mourn the deceased. The Bukusu sacrifices, rituals, and the memorial services are expressions of “Bukusu Spirituality” regarding death and burial. The challenge for Christians is to find ways to integrate, in a holistic manner, their Christian and Bukusu spiritualities when faced with death and burial.

Zacharie stands between the MIAS director Professor Kirwen and Professor Getui
with Professor Waruta in the foreground.