Holocaust Education Resource Center at the College of Saint Elizabeth provides a variety of programs, resources, and educational opportunities for study of the Holocaust and contemporary genocide.It aims to encourage remembrance of the Holocaust and to promote respect for diversity with the goal of ending prejudice, racism and intolerance. In addition, the Center provides an opportunity for serious Jewish-Christian theological dialogue. It is opening doors through which many are experiencing mutual respect and understanding.
The College's commitment to Holocaust education began with its first Kristallnacht (now an annual event) commemorations in 1990. Translated from the German meaning the Night of Broken Glass, Kristallnacht was an anti-Jewish pogrom that took place in Nazi Germany, November 9-10, 1938, that is widely acknowledged as the beginning of the Holocaust. CSE established the Holocaust Education Resource Center in 1994, the same year the Center began collaborative work with the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education for teacher training.
The Center draws on the disciplines of history, literature, the social sciences, education, theology, art, music and communication in developing its programs. It provides access to a full range of Holocaust curriculum and other resource material. The Center has produced its own educational videos, The Holocaust in a Catholic Educational Setting and Remembering Kristallnacht: A Survivor's Testimony.
Since its inception, the Holocaust Center has developed workshops for secondary, public and Catholic school teachers and students. Under the Center's auspices, CSE faculty and students have participated in the international leadership program, March of Remembrance and Hope, for study of the Holocaust in Poland and in Israel.
The Center for Ministry & Spirituality (formerly the Center for Theological & Spiritual Development) provides theological and spiritual formation programs for the general public and training for lay ministry.
The Center supports the CSE mission as a community of learning dedicated to the development of leaders in a spirit of service and social responsibility. Although its programs are open to everyone, the personal and ministerial development of laity in the Church is its special focus. The Center is committed to developing skills for ministry in multicultural settings and providing opportunities for inter-religious dialogue.
The Center began in 1982 with a few courses, workshops and special events. Since then, the Center has grown at an astonishing pace. Currently, there are about 150 students enrolled in five certificate programs. Over 2,000 people come to campus each year to the Spirituality Convocation, the Summer Institute with courses, lectures, and retreat experiences, or the fall pastoral conference.
The faculty, which consists of Department of Theology professors and experienced adjuncts, share a special commitment to the adult learner. Students can earn 25 undergraduate theological credits either in a classroom or online. These credits are transferable into other programs leading to baccalaureate degrees. Classes are taught in both English and Spanish.
The Center for Catholic Women's History located in the College of Saint Elizabeth Archives, second floor of Mahoney Library was established in 2001 to collect Catholic women's stories and record the ways those women hand on their faith. These stories are available to researchers as a source of studying Catholicism in the United States
The Center for Catholic Women's History oral history project, Gifts from the Past, begun in 1998, has recorded close to 100 interviews. Some of the women who were interviewed have lived in the state for many years and were influenced by the Sisters of Charity; others are recent immigrants whose Catholic roots were planted in countries such as Peru, Mexico, India, Kenya, Cuba, and Belize. Another phase of the project was devoted to oral history interviews with African-American Catholic women from Newark and Montclair. The most recent phase pursued the theme of Handing on the Charism by conducting oral history interviews among women who could speak of the way the Vincentian charism has influenced or transformed their lives.
The Center has been supported by grants from the New Jersey Historical Commission, the Vincentian Studies Institute, the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth Ministry Grants Program, and the College itself.
Pictured above is Lauren Smith, '12, who is this year's recipient of the Center's Heritage Award. The Heritage Award is a $1,000 research grant for students to use and to contribute to the Center. The goal of the Award is to encourage students to learn more about the lives and contributions of New Jersey Catholic women.