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Docudrama: Celebrating the contribution of Catholic sister nurses in the U.S. Civil War

March 01, 2015
Location: Mullen Little Theater

Ursuline College honors the contribution of Catholic sister nurses in the U.S. Civil war, as well as the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, with a docudrama based on the book, To Bind Up the Wounds: Catholic Sister Nurses in the U.S. Civil War, by Sr. Mary Denis Maher, C.S.A., former Ursuline English faculty member. 

With documentation from letters, journals, and diaries of over 600 sisters from 21 congregations who nursed in the Civil War, Sr. Mary Denis’ groundbreaking work provides a comprehensive study of the largely unknown contribution of women religious during the tumultuous years, 1861-65.

Students in Sr. Cynthia’s creative nonfiction writing class wrote monologues, letters and scenes, based on Sr. Mary Denis’ book, that formed the foundation of the docudrama. Two students, Natalie Huggins and Rhianna McChesney, wrote about actual sisters, including Ursulines and Daughters of Charity, Jasmin Montalvo wrote letters from a fictional Sister of Mercy, and Nneka Iheama wrote about a fictional African-American woman, who was a nurse on the hospital boat, the "Red Rover." Another student, a nursing major not in the class, Jared Syndan wrote a scene focusing on a wounded Confederate soldier.


Also included in the writing process were alums Eileen Delaney Kohut, Miki Steigerwald, Sr. Cynthia Glavac, O.S.U., and Patti Stephens. Eileen Delaney Kohut wrote in the voice of southern nurse, Kate Cumming, Miki Steigerwald wrote in the voice of Mary Livermore, who was involved with the US Sanitary Commission, Sr. Cynthia edited and expanded journal entries of Sr. Anthony O'Connell, a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati, and Patti Stephens used the letters of Sr. DeSales Brennan, a Sister of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy, as a basis for her character.

Jennifer Dunegan, English adjunct faculty member, serves as the docudrama’s director.  The production is scheduled for performances on Friday, February 27, and Saturday, February 28, 2015, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 1, at 2:00 p.m.  Call 440-646-8111 for ticket information.

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