Sister’s online ministry features video interview series

Sr. Cecilia Joy Kugel uses her communications background to evangelize

ALLOUEZ — If you visit the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity (Manitowoc) social media sites, you will become familiar with Sr. Cecilia Joy Kugel. Last fall, she started a new ministry conducting video interviews, which can be accessed through fscc-calledtobe.org.

Manitowoc Franciscan Sr. Cecilia Joy Kugel and Deacon Kevin Ripley are seen in a screenshot taken during their livestreaming interview. Deacon Ripley is one of several local Catholic leaders she has interviewed. (Submitted Photo | For The Compass)

“Discussion with a Deacon,” an interview with Deacon Kevin Ripley, who is scheduled to be ordained to the priesthood in May, was conducted on Jan. 29. Sr. Cecilia Joy’s next guests are Julianne Stanz, director of Parish Life and Evangelization for the Diocese of Green Bay (Feb. 12), and Fr. Edward Looney, pastor at St. Francis and St. Mary Parish, Brussels, and St. Peter and St. Hubert Parish, Lincoln/Rosiere (Feb. 17, 6:30 p.m.). Both have written new books. The interview series has expanded from its original plan, said Sr. Cecilia Joy.

“Our sisters had wanted to do something where we could interview sisters in Nebraska and Arizona about their mission lives,” she added. “It started as a service to interview our sisters and has developed into a service of interviewing (various) people who are building up the kingdom of God and live as disciples.”

Sr. Cecilia Joy utilizes the Be.Live streaming service at the recommendation of the Daughters of St. Paul.

“I was glancing at the Daughters of St. Paul Facebook page,” she explained. “They did an interview with three people live. How did they do this? I messaged them and received a contact.

“The feed is live, so people can watch it live,” she added. “I try to do two to three a month, usually on Wednesdays. It depends on people’s schedules. When we prepare, we have a set of questions, but we leave room for the Holy Spirit to work.”

Sr. Cecilia Joy has enjoyed getting to know interview guests she had not met previously.

“If I haven’t met them before, I’m better able to ask questions,” she said. “I come in with fresh eyes, a perspective the audience may have.”

Interviews with sisters remain an important part of the series, said Sr. Cecilia Joy. For example, she has featured sisters from both Yuma and Bapchule, Ariz.; Sr Anne Marie Lom, who ministers at the House of Prayer at St. Francis Convent in Manitowoc; and Sr. Jackie Spaniola, who serves in campus ministry at St. Albert the Great University Parish on the campus of Michigan Tech in Houghton, Mich.

“When I interview sisters who are in other areas of the country, their relatives see the videos and share them,” said Sr. Cecilia Joy.

The interview series provides an opportunity to share her talents. Sr. Cecilia Joy, who entered the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity in 2016 and professed first vows in June 2019, earned an associate degree in video motion graphics from Madison Media Center.

She worked as a freelance videographer and earned a degree in corporate health communications at UW-Whitewater. Sr. Cecilia Joy interviewed Brian Zanin, campus minister at UW-Whitewater, on Jan. 8.

Sr. Cecilia Joy also uses her skills as a communications specialist at St. Paul Elder Services in Kaukauna, and assists Sr. Julie Ann Sheahan in vocations ministry for the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. The video interviews have an underlying vocation benefit, she said.

“(Viewers) are introduced to our community,” said Sr. Cecilia Joy. “If they want to come on retreats or ask questions, they can check out our website or Facebook.

“Doing the interviews helps us embrace the Franciscan charism,” she added. “St. Clare is the patron saint of television.”

The average views of Sr. Cecilia Joy’s first nine videos have ranged between 800 and 1,000. She was surprised to be recognized by a viewer at a conference in Milwaukee.

“She said, ‘You are the sister I follow on Instagram,’” said Sr. Cecilia Joy. “I’ve received some good feedback. The hope for the majority (of the videos) is sharing stories and ways to grow spiritually.”