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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 Call to Continuing Conversion and Rite of Election 2019

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March 24, 2019

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   The Dead Sea Scrolls series

 

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Nigerian priest shares harrowing story of being kidnapped

Issele-Uku, Nigeria, Jun 12, 2017 / 03:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- It was supposed to be a quiet retreat weekend last April for Fr. Sam Okwuidegbe, a Nigerian Jesuit priest and director of a local spirituality center.

Before he left, he chatted with his new provincial, Fr. Chuks Afiawari, who joked with Fr. Sam: “Make sure where you are going they don't kidnap you."

“We laughed about it,” Fr. Sam recalled.

Little did the priests know that the joke would be an unfortunate foreshadowing of what was to come. In a testimony posted on the website of the Jesuit Superiors of Africa and Madagascar, Fr. Sam recalled how his faith carried him through a traumatic and harrowing experience of kidnapping.

On his way to the retreat, which was to be in Onitsha, in the state of Anambra, Fr. Sam took a familiar, seemingly safe highway on which he had traveled many times.

That’s why he was so surprised when he heard gunshots.

“On glancing back I saw all the vehicles behind me stopping, and trying to reverse … that's when it hit me that there was something dangerous ahead of me,” he recalled.

“On looking up I saw masked men with AK47 rifles shooting. I was so scared. I also stopped my car abruptly and began to reverse, but as I was trying to do that, a man suddenly appeared … and said, ‘If you don't get out of the car I'll shoot you.’”

The priest could see behind him that the men had also stopped another car, a black Mercedes, and were forcing two men out of the car. In a hurry, Fr. Sam left his phone in the car.

He quickly identified the armed kidnappers as Fulani herdsmen, a notoriously violent group whose clashes with farmers have killed thousands of people in Nigeria over the past two decades. According to the Global Terrorism Index, they were the fourth most violent militant group in the world in 2014.

Violence against Christians has also significantly increased in the country in recent years, particularly in Muslim-majority areas. In 2016, one Nigerian bishop lamented that Christians had essentially become “target practice.”

The Fulani kidnappers led Fr. Sam and the other two men into the forest at gunpoint for eight hours, barely stopping for breaks. They eventually let one of the two other men go, because he could not keep up with the pace, but they first cut his feet so that he could not escape quickly, Fr. Sam recalled.

“The pace in the forest was jogging, jumping over tree trumps, going over leaves, which often cut through our skin. So it was quite brutal!” Fr. Sam said.

“I was so shaken, and began to ask myself, is this happening to me? What am I doing in this forest? What am I doing here? I felt extremely cold and in my confusion … I'd mutter to myself, this can't be happening, God. This can't be happening,” he said.

The captors started questioning Fr. Sam and the other man, and were suspicious when Fr. Sam identified himself as a priest; they thought he might be a government spy. They stripped him of all his belongings – his watch, wallet, and rosary.

When they questioned Fr. Sam about his phone, the captors were enraged that he had left it in his car –  which was fortunate, the priest said, because he had saved financial information from his work on it.

The militants asked him if he could remember anyone’s number – someone to call who could negotiate for Fr. Sam’s life and pay off the herdsmen. Traumatized by his experience, Fr. Sam couldn’t remember one phone number.

“That triggered a series of beatings...they huddled me up, hands and feet tied to the back with a rope like a goat before a kill. They removed my cassock, then my shirt, threw me into the dirt on the ground, and began to beat me with the back of their guns, they'd kick me hard on my sides, slap across my face, push and pull me hard across the ground...one of them said ‘We are going to burn you alive!’” the priest recalled.

“I really believed that they were going to do it...I began to pray in silence...I said, ‘God, I commit to you, I commit my spirit' and I resigned to the thought of my fate, that I was going to die that day.’”

Finally, the beating stopped. Fr. Sam said he remembers praying constantly through the whole experience.

“I hoped for a miracle...every minute I'd pray saying all kinds of prayers, I'd pray to Saint Ignatius, say the rosary and the Divine Mercy (chaplet)...at one time I found myself singing heartily but in the inside, a Ghanaian song that says 'God speak to me...God where are you?’ I kept humming in my heart...it gave me hope,” he said.

Eventually Fr. Sam was able to get the phone number of another Jesuit priest through the contact of the other man in captivity. This priest, Jesuit provincial Fr. Jude Odiaka, began negotiations with the herdsmen.

And while at times he prayed for death, Fr. Sam said he felt better once he had made contact with the Jesuits.

“I knew that word must have gotten around about the kidnapping, and that the sisters at the retreat centre and people who knew me all over, must have been praying for me.”

The other man who had been captured with Fr. Sam also was a great comfort, he recalled.

“...the guy I was kidnapped with...he was a grace for me, a gift from God. I hope I was too for him because we exchanged words of encouragement silently, as we were not allowed to talk to each (other).”

Finally, the captors seemed to have gotten what they wanted, and started talking of letting the men go.

“I intensified my prayers and I prayed to God ‘Please God, make this end well,’” Fr. Sam said.

“I recalled a saying that ‘God will not bring you this far, then abandon you’, so this brought some assurance to my heart,”

When the militants decided to release the men, they were left to wander alone together through the forest, trying to find the pathway out. Eventually, they were able to make it to safety and back home.

While the experience was “painful and traumatizing,” Fr. Sam said one of the best consolations upon his return was hearing from many people, near and far, that they had been praying for him.

“In all these things God revealed to me that I was never abandoned while in the forest, even if I was out of reach and in danger, that God heard the prayers and was with me,” he said.

“It has renewed my faith in God, my faith in people...the human person, God's gift of friendship and that if what I do matters, then also those people I do it with are also very important.”

Fr. Sam said he also plans to use his experience to help other people in his work as a counselor.

“This has also given me an understanding to accompany those who come to me for help seeking solace, encouragement, strength, hope, renewal...you know...maybe that's why it happened,” he said.

“I'm going to use it in my work as a counselor, psychologist and help those who come to me for help, because what support can be given to people that have been kidnapped? What help can we give such people? I think I have become part of that help with what I have received, and experienced.”

 

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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