Sr. Victorine Atsufui Afi Dorkenoo of the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church (SMMC), from Ghana, is conducting research at CARA, a non-profit Georgetown University affiliated research center that focuses on social scientific studies about the Catholic Church. Last week she paid a virtual visit to Marywood University to meet the ASEC staff. While all would have loved to greet Sr. Victorine at Marywood in person, it is important to continue to exercise caution regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
While visiting, Sr. Victorine presented her ongoing research to the U.S. Staff, informing them about what she is learning and what she hopes to take back to Ghana after her research is over. Her research explores how congregations in Ghana can benefit from using social media to spread the word about their missions. She explained that technology is available which can help people outside the congregation understand the work that is being done within. Her passion for sharing the mission and stories of her sisters came through as she talked excitedly about future possibilities to spread the word.
She used questionnaires and direct observation to complete most of her research. Her surveys were distributed to parishes, parents of high school students and religious institutions entrance classes. She is still waiting for some responses to come in.
While right now her focus is on research, Sr. Victorine’s future plans center around taking care of the aged in all ways, especially emotionally, spiritually and physically. She took time to discuss the importance of treating the elderly as whole people rather than just seeing them for their age or illness. Although this is where she hopes to focus her work, she also looks forward to helping all in need – youth, elderly, and everyone in between.
“I will fish out and gather the vulnerable youth and ensure they have a future and are settled spiritually, emotionally and physically.”
She finished off her presentation by opening up the discussion for questions and comments. ASEC U.S. staff members asked a few questions, mostly centered around the use of social media in congregations to spread their missions. Kim Scalese, Office Manager, expressed gratitude for Sr. Victorine’s dedication to improving the quality of life for the aging population.
On the days she wasn’t presenting her research, Sr. Victorine was given a virtual tour of the departments of ASEC, learning in-depth about program evaluations and research initiatives. She met with previous visiting scholars to provide advice and discuss their experiences. Together they discussed how to make the most of the opportunity provided to them and how to take it back to their communities for improvements.
The week closed with an interview for ASEC to learn more about her specific experience in the program as well as a staff meeting to introduce Sr. Victorine to all.