Plagiarism by former SKC columnist

Former SKC columnist, Sister Irene Hartman, OP, has been found to have plagiarized at least 25 of the columns she provided to the SKC. For more than a decade, Sister Irene provided dozens of weekly columns under the title “Holy Ones of Our Times,” and the earlier title, “Charisms”.

It has been discovered that at least 25 of her columns were taken in part from the work of Robert Ellsberg, author of All Saints, Blessed Among All Women, and Blessed Among Us (a collected volume of his work that appeared in the publication Give Us This Day).

According to Give Us This Day editor Mary Stommes, a reader recently called their attention to one instance of potential plagiarism, which led to a more careful review and the discovery that, “Sister Irene not only copied many of Mr. Ellsberg’s words, but she also copied his method of expanding our understanding of saintliness in the range and breadth of those portrayed.”

One article reviewed by the SKC contained phrasing identical to that used in a column by Mr. Ellsberg, whose column was written more than a decade prior to Sister Irene’s.  The SKC trusts fully that the research completed by Liturgical Press, the publishing house of Give Us This Day, is accurate. Therefore, the Catholic has removed all of Sister Irene’s columns from our website, including the issues in which they were contained.

“As a 20-year columnist, I would like to offer my personal apologies to Mr. Ellsberg,” said Dave Myers, SKC editor. “I can’t begin to imagine how I would feel had I encountered someone using my columns in such a way. Ms. Stommes and Mr. Ellsberg have been extremely gracious in their response to this serious issue.”

Sister Irene died at age 95 on Aug. 17, 2017. The SKC urges readers to take a moment to view the books written by Mr. Ellsberg, the links of which are included above.  Coverage will appear in the April 7 SKC.

 

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March 24, 2019

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   The Dead Sea Scrolls series

 

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A priest and his love for Syrian refugees 

By Casey McCorry / Angelus News

Los Angeles, Calif., Sep 27, 2016 / 03:11 am (CNA) - The needs of Father David Bedrossian’s parish are unique.

While many priests grapple with budgetary concerns and a desire to fill pews, Father Bedrossian is wondering where he’s going to find the resources to house the next Syrian refugee who shows up on the church steps.

Father Bedrossian’s parish, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Armenian Catholic Church, has a long history of sheltering displaced persons. From the Armenian refugees escaping genocide and communism through the 1900s to the present-day Christian Syrian refugees, the parish has been a sanctuary for a generation of persecuted persons.

Each month, Syrian refugees show up at the church with their last penny to meet the man everyone calls “abouna,” (Arabic for father) Father Bedrossian. He is their job coach, landlord, translator, teacher and priest. And to many Father Bedrossian is their last hope.

Seventeen years ago, Father Bedrossian had to flee Syria, leaving his home, his brothers and sisters and his parishioners. Since leaving, six of his family members were killed and his beloved church was ransacked.

“I remember our church. They destroyed everything,” Father Bedrossian said. “They got rid of the crosses, the altars and turned it into ISIS headquarters with offices.”

He now lovingly tends to the wounds of his Syrian family in Los Angeles by making Our Lady Queen of Martyrs a true refuge, an elegant respite, a church resurrected far from home.

A labor of love

There is not a corner of the church that doesn’t have Father Bedrossian’s devoted and loving hand scrawled all over it. With few resources, he has imbued the church with all the ethnic charm and sacred beauty a few dollars and calloused hands can muster. The candles and sconces he bought from Ross’ Dress for Less. The crosses in the sacristy he bought from Hobby Lobby. The pews and roof of the church were artfully refurbished and hand-painted by Father Bedrossian himself.

But the tireless devotion he shows to his physical church is just a shadow of the attention he offers to each and every person in need that crosses his path: Muslim, and Christian, citizen or non, destitute or rich, he is “abouna” to all.

“I have no idea how they find me,” Father Bedrossian said. “I don’t find them, people send them to me. They show up here looking for help and I help them.”

A disappearing generation

In the last 10 years, the Christian community in Syria has gone from 10 percent of the population to less than 2 percent. Hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes or kidnapped and held at ransom. Those who stayed were given three options — convert to Islam, pay the minority tax or face death. Thousands of Christians have been killed, entire villages have been cleared and hundreds of churches have been damaged or destroyed.

“We will disappear in the Middle East,” Father Bedrossian explains.  “Before the war started, Christians were over 1.3 million. Now there are 200,000. You think we’ll survive there? I don’t think so.” And in spite of the terror in his home, Father Bedrossian sees little to no acknowledgment here.

“Everybody who is silent is ISIS. Everybody who is silent is killing Christians. Nobody is raising a voice.”

Father Bedrossian says the five main obstacles for refugees are language, paperwork, unemployment, housing and transportation.

“How are they supposed to get a job when they only speak Arabic? They have no papers, no social security number. Are they going to pay their last penny on a lawyer to help them with papers they don’t understand? And without welfare, food stamps, how will they eat? People come here with enough to survive for three months. After that they will be homeless. What do you want these people to do?”

One refugee at a time

The number of refugees and the needs are insurmountable, but Father Bedrossian does what he can one person at a time. Last month, he picked up a Syrian refugee from a homeless shelter and found her temporary housing and meals. He checks in on her daily and is job-hunting for her and many others.  

Vaskin Rashdouni, a friend from his hometown, came to the U.S. a few months ago after being kidnapped by ISIS and escaping. Finding work has been near impossible with the language barrier and his health issues. Ever since leaving Syria he has been suffering PTSD and type 1 diabetes. But this doesn’t stop Father Bedrossian from searching.

And Syrian soldier Yousef Hakim Hassake, one of Father Bedrossian’s former altar servers in Syria, is slowly rebuilding a life in the U.S. He has learned English and has found work in a manufacturing company. He has made enough money to take care of his mother. Any spare time he offers to Father Bedrossian and the church in gratitude, doing everything from cleaning and making meals to feeding doves in the garden.

Father Bedrossian explains, “If you choose to help these people, they will never stop repaying you. They will give you everything they have.”

Despite immeasurable obstacles for refugees, and unknown futures, there is no silencing the gnawing realization that being a refugee in the U.S. makes you one of the “lucky ones.”

Father Bedrossian continues to hear word from his family and friends in the Middle East — the escape of his sister to Greece on broken legs, his nephew killed by ISIS, his friend beheaded in a CNN video — these are the things that haunt him.

“I want to go and fight and protect them,” he says. But it seems God has other plans. There is a fight to be fought here.

Doing what you can

The burdens Father Bedrossian bears seem insurmountable: the livelihood of a forgotten nation, the survival of the persecuted in a new nation. Each morning brings the promise of a new refugee at his office door. A new family who needs food and housing. Another man suffering PTSD. Another woman from the homeless shelter. Each morning promises more news reports tallying the lives of his former parishioners like numbers and not lives he shepherded. But it does no good to focus on that, Father Bedrossian explains,

“We must do what we can. It’s the little things that will help a lot.” And he doesn’t work alone.

Strength lies in numbers

He and his parishioners work together. There’s a rolodex of parishioner lawyers he calls upon to help with legal issues. Parishioners “adopt” families financially, or house them until they get on their feet. Collection baskets continually finance a refugee’s month of rent, or a babysitter, or a week’s groceries. Volunteers offer English classes in a tiny classroom off the rectory.

Father Bedrossian has inspired this ragtag grassroots ministry in a way only a priest who stubbornly paints his own church can.

“You teach by doing. If you work they will come to help.”

This parish is unique in their shared history of persecution. Their community has consistently grappled with questions of survival and the worth of one’s faith. Their strength lies in uniting a community of broken people, in selfless charity when it hurts, and a rigorous love for Christ that was worth leaving home for.

For Father Bedrossian, this is everything. “I am tired. Very tired. Never tired of praying, only tired of thinking. What gets me out of bed each morning is my belief in God. It’s what keeps me alive. And even if I stop believing in him, he won’t stop believing in me.”

In a church named for the thousands of Christians who lost their lives protecting the belief in Christ they held so sacredly, the gift of faith is all too known. And Father Bedrossian will continue to wake up, and fight for that gift, and protect his people. It will just be in a little adobe church off of Cesar Chavez Avenue in L.A. It will be in the “little things.”

This article originally appeared in Angelus News, publication of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Past Issues

Feb. 24, 2019

Feb. 10, 2019

Jan. 27, 2019

Jan. 13, 2019

Dec. 23, 2018

Dec. 9, 2018

Nov. 25, 2018

Nov. 11, 2018

Oct. 28, 2018

Oct. 14, 2018

Sept. 16, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: 2018 Golf Classic; student athletes; physically challenged; Leonard Stegman; Lesson in forgiveness; Sending us on a mission

Sept. 2, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Priest crisis; Scandal; Opioid addictions; Seeds of Suicide; Leightons; St. Anne; Vincke; seminarians; Dominican Sisters; Stewardship Conference; Dead Sea Scrolls; PSR programs; Roe V. Wade

 

August 12, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Prayer and Action; Totus Tuus; Janee Bernal; Diana Ramirez; Heidy Ramirez; Bishop Gilmore honored for 20 years ministry; suicide; contraception and abortion; Dead Sea Scrolls; Humanae Vitae; certification in youth ministry; Chuck Weber; Cathedral rectory chapel; Sister Viola Heichelbech; Adam Urban

July 15, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Immigration Protest/Rally; Faith and Light Fiesta; Seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls; Corpus Christi procession; Prayers for priests; Sisters turn 100; Michael Brungardt; Gerald Vincke; Massacre in San Salvador; Action for Alex 

 

June 3, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Parish Pray for Priestly Vocations; Appeal reaches $10 million; Gangs; Seminarians; Pam Willis; Why I like being a priest; Happy Father's Day; Patricia Lujan; Tyler and Rachel Bennett; Adoption Protection Act.

May 20, 2018
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation

May 6, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Archbishop Romero; Seeing, Touching, Tasting; Exhortation; Father Patrick Conroy; Happy Mother's Day; A child on your doorstep; Vibrant Ministries Grant; From the heart of a young father; Love Gives Life; Roman Holiday; Smartphone; retirement
Fossil Hunting

 

April 15, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Easter Vigil; Angelica Village; Colorado woman; The art of anger; Cimarron Couple; Staats; Adoption; 

Father Ultan Murphy anniversary; Coughlan; Spiritual Advisor to Hoodlums; Woman of Courage; Oration contest; Darcy Feist  

 

April 1, 2018

 

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Defending Adoption; Led by the Spirit; Knights; ABC Pregnancy Center;
Memorial of Mary; Homeless; Relics; Down syndrome abortion; Chrism Mass

 

March 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: SKYAC; Aleksandr Men; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; Uganda; School for deaf; Rannah Evetts; Oberle; Rachel and Doug Trombley; Oscar Romero; Paul VI; DACA

 

 

March 4, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Fasting for priestly vocations; Father Juan; Fasting and prayer;
Quest Weekend 2018; DACA; With God, anything is possible; Homelessness in our communities; Rhubarb, Kansas;
What's the point of fasting; Rite of Election; same-sex couples

 

Feb. 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Catholic Schools Week; Rachel Doll; Ellinwood; Great Bend; Garden City; Ness City; Dodge City; Sister Rita Schwarzenberger; Nigeria; Bishop Hermes; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; World Day for Consecrated Life; 50th Anniversary St. Dominic School; What will life be like in 50 years?

 

 

Feb. 4, 2018

 

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: March for Life; Tracy and Ross Smith; Adoption; Vibrant Ministries; Faith and Light;
Pro-Life; Mortal sin to discard elderly; DACA; Abortion; Dreamers; Human Trafficking

 

Jan. 21, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Louise Korbe; Anne Frank; Miep Gies; Home Heat; Father Solanus

 

Jan. 7, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Good news and kingdom living; dreamers; Sister Teresa Orozco; Infant Adoption; Elderly; a moral conundrum; seminarian; feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

 

 

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