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We Have Winners!


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Christian Miller, a first year student from Washington, D. C., won this man’s ugly Christmas sweater in the raffle held as part of Falvey’s Finals Stress Bustin’ Open House  on December 16, 2016.

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McKenzee Chiam, a comprehensive science major, won the woman’s sweater.


Photos by Alice Bampton and Hunter Houtzer, Communications and Marketing Dept.



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A New Face at the Circulation Desk: Michael Sgier

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Michael (Mike) Sgier, a native of Denver, Col., joined Falvey’s Access Services team at the beginning of January 2017. He previously worked at the University of the Arts Libraries.

As an Access Services Specialist, he reports to Luisa Cywinski, Director of Access Services. He is the service desk coordinator and will assist with library processing. Cywinski says, “He has several years of experience in library services and with various types of access services processing including resource sharing, stacks maintenance and course reserves.”

Sgier has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a major in printmaking from Creighton University, Omaha, Neb. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, Minn. Sgier is a printmaker and cartoonist based in West Philadelphia. He is an “avid reader and coffee drinker, bicyclist (when the weather agrees), and [is] always looking to discover a new art form, whether it’s a movie, book, or another graphic form.”

When asked why he made the transition to the east coast, Sgier said after finishing graduate school, “finding full-time work was proving difficult. A friend of mine from New Jersey suggested I look at Philadelphia, and it just so happened that a job was available at the University of the Arts Library. Plus, I was interested in east coast cities, having spent most of my time in mid-west locales.”

And, just to help you, he pronounces his surname “SKEER.”


Photograph by Alice Bampton, Communications and Marketing Dept.


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Foto Friday: Will D Cat Visits Falvey

Will D Cat in Falvey

Will D Cat is a fan of Falvey; here he is in the stacks, but we’ve spotted him in the Dugan Polk Family Reading Room, in the small second floor lounge, visiting librarians and even behind the circulation counter.

Today Will is competing in the UCA & UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship, Jan. 13-15, in Orlando, Florida. Last year Will placed third in the Mascot Open Championship and he was the Fan Favorite! Go Will D Cat!


Photograph by Alice Bampton, Communications and Marketing.

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More Photos from the Holiday Lunch


Academic Integration Team Leader, Jutta Seibert, and Margaret Duffy, Director's Office

Director of Academic Integration, Jutta Seibert, and Margaret Duffy, Director’s Office


Librarians Rob LeBlanc and Laura Bang talking with Kallie Stahl and Sarah Wingo

Librarians Rob LeBlanc and Laura Bang talking with Kallie Stahl and librarian, Sarah Wingo


Joanne Quinn with librarians Linda Hauck and Sue Ottignan. (Sue is camera shy!)

Joanne Quinn, Director of Communications and Marketing, with librarians Linda Hauck and Sue Ottignan. (Sue is camera shy!)


Margaret Duffy and Jee Davis who will join Falvey this month

Margaret Duffy and Jee Davis who will join Falvey this month


A tower of cupcakes, especially the chocolate ones, made us all very happy.

A tower of cupcakes, especially the chocolate ones, made us all very happy.


Photographs by Alice Bampton






Falvey’s Holiday Lunch – More Photos

Roberta (Robbie) Rosci and Laura Hutelmyer, Collections Directorate

Roberta (Robbie) Rosci and Laura Hutelmyer, Collections Directorate


Stephen Spatz, Collections Directorate; Christopher (Chris) Hallberg and Demian Katz, Library Technology Development

Stephen Spatz, Collections Directorate; Christopher (Chris) Hallberg and Demian Katz, Library Technology Development


Jacqueline (Jackie) Smith and Lorraine Holt, Director's Office

Jacqueline (Jackie) Smith and Lorraine Holt, Director’s Office


Falvey staff enjoying the party

Falvey staff enjoying the party


Photographs by Alice Bampton, Communications and Marketing Dept.



Course Reserves – A Falvey Service for Faculty

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As one of its services, the Library processes and houses Course Reserves for faculty. “In addition to library materials, faculty may place their own books, DVDs, VHS, exams, desk copies, manuals, etc. on reserve.” (website)  Processing is done Monday through Friday, 9 am through 5 pm when staff is available.

Reserve materials are kept on the first floor behind the circulation desk and are usually available only to registered students. Each faculty member sets the loan period for the materials s/he has placed on reserve unless it is a library item that has a permanent non-circulating status.

Trisha Kemp

Trisha Kemp

Patricia (Trisha) Kemp oversees the processing of Course Reserves, aided by Cordesia (Dee-Dee) Pope. Contact Kemp at Patricia.Kemp@villanova.edu , 610-519-3899 or visit her in the Library.

For more information about Course Reserves see  https://library.villanova.edu/about/services/coursereserves/



Photos by Laura Hutelmyer and Alice Bampton.



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Library Holiday Lunch Photos

More photos from the holday lunch on Jan. 4.

Luisa Cywinski, Access Services Team Leader, and Michael Sgier, Access Services Specialist

Luisa Cywinski and Michael Sgier, Access Services


Librarian Sarah Wingo; Kallie Stahl, Librarians Robin Bowles, Rob LeBlanc and Laura Bang

Librarian Sarah Wingo; Kallie Stahl, Librarians Robin Bowles, Rob LeBlanc and Laura Bang


Librarians Darren Poley, Nik Fogle, David Burke and Janice Bially Mattern enjoying a conversation.

Librarians Darren Poley, Nik Fogle, David Burke and Janice Bially Mattern enjoying a conversation.


Library staff members, Melanie Wood and Jesse Flavin

Library staff members, Melanie Wood and Jesse Flavin


Photographs by Alice Bampton, Communications and Marketing Dept.





Dig Deeper: Christians in the Contemporary Middle East Conference

Nova Conference: Middle East

Villanova University will host a conference on Dec. 5-6 titled Christians in the Contemporary Middle East: Religious Minorities and the Struggle for Secular Nationalism and Citizenship. With such wonderful speakers attending as Retired General Anthony Charles Zinni (USMC) and Ussama Makdisi of Rice University, the conference promises some elucidating conversation.

For a conference on such a particular subject, the presentations will cover a diverse range of topics. Attendees will hear such intriguing talks as “Christian Contributions to Art, Culture and Literature in the Arab-Islamic World” and “The Impact of the Shia-Sunni Political Struggle and Future Strategies for Christians and Other Minorities in the Middle East.”

Specialized lectures such as these sometimes require a little bit of background information, and some students may be wondering the relevance of these topics to their lives or academic development. I had similar questions and concerns and brought them up with Assistant Director of Academic Integration and Theology Librarian Darren Poley.

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(Cover of illustrated edition of Universal Declaration of Human Rights from website below)


“Religious liberty is not just an American or even an exclusively Western concept,” he began. “Freedom to practice one’s faith or belief system is an intrinsically human desire.”

Poley recommends taking a look at the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights if you’re interested in why the Villanova University should be concerned about the Middle East. It’s available here, and Poley reminds you, “especially since we live in an increasingly interconnected and globalized society: no one can afford to ignore any lack of respect for people, property, social justice or the integrity of creation anywhere in the world.”

Dig Deeper by investing these associations, centers and initiatives for social justice:

“It surprises most students to learn that the Middle East and North African were predominantly Christian lands for the centuries between the official toleration of Christianity in the Roman Empire in the 4th century and the rise of Islam in the 7th century,” Poley continued.


(Villanova University’s Arabic Cartouche)

It’s important for Villanova students to think about the decline of pluralistic spaces in the Middle East because so many of these early Christian societies remain today, albeit under different leadership and sometimes different names.

“Nestorian Christians in the Middle East established themselves in the 5th century and continue as the Assyrian Church of the East.” Poley highlighted, and “there are many different Eastern Orthodox churches often along ethnic or national lines that are affiliated with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, a Turkish citizen who resides in Istanbul.”

Patriarchate Banner

(Banner for the Ecumenical Patriarchate – website below)

In addition, there are Catholics outside of the Latin Rite tradition. The Maronites of Lebanon, the Chaldeans of Iraq, and the Melkites from Syria, Jordan and Israel represent the largest groups of such.

Poley said, “There are also small groups of Christians in the Middle East with doctrinal differences from either the Catholic of the Eastern Orthodox churches, which are collectively called the Oriental Orthodox churches; the three major ones being the Syrian, Armenian, and Coptic (Egyptian).”

Despite the complexity of their histories, you may find statistics and information on the individuals and groups of Christians who continue to “live, work, worship, and coexist alongside Muslims and Jews in Middle Eastern countries,” according to Poley, at these websites:

An encyclopedia of knowledge on the topic, Poley provided me with an exhaustive list of thinkers, theologians and writers who have promoted religious diversity in the Middle East. I’ve included just a few of those thinkers below so that you may familiarize yourself with them before the conference:

  • Saint Pope John Paul II
  • Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
  • Eastern Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I
  • Catholic Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah
  • Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine William Shomali
  • Melkite Archbishop George Wadih Bakouni
  • Antiochian Orthodox Bishop George Khodr
  • Coptic Orthodox Bishop Barnibas El Soryany
  • Armenian Bishop of Damascus Armash Nalbandian
  • Father Kail C. Ellis, OSA, Villanova University.

Yes, that’s the abridged list. In case you were wondering if you should visit a subject librarian before collecting research for your next term paper: yes, you should. Poley, and indeed all of our subject librarians, work tirelessly to keep up-to-date on current events, research, and research methodologies.

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(This is what Darren Poley looks like, in case you go looking for him.)

They also keep tabs on the library collection and can direct you to books and journals available either here at the Falvey or through the library’s databases. I asked Poley: what library resources are available for students to learn about the prospects of and strategies for promoting piece in the Middle East?

He suggested looking at the Theology & Religious Studies and Cultural Studies subject guides and reading one, some, or all of the following:

For some students, including me, starting to read up on Middle Eastern Christianity would be difficult without some background on Middle Eastern geopolitics. I submitted the same question to Poley about library resources for looking at the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East. He suggested starting with the Political Science Subject Guide and the History Subject Guide, but also directed me to these books:

Mary Queen of Peace

(Mary Queen of Peace)

Speaking of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Poley said, “So in the middle of the 20th century, perhaps the bloodiest in history so far in terms of wars and other violence, people of good will came together to publically declare among other tenets that freedom of conscience and religion is a basic human right.” Described as “timely and riveting” by the university’s poster, this conference may be an excellent opportunity for the Villanova community to validate these tenets.

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Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant on the Communications and Marketing Team at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.



Sravanthi Adusumilli – New Library Technology Development Graduate Assistant

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Sravanthi (Sravs) Adusumilli , a graduate of Acharya Nagarjuna University, Guntar, India, joined the Library Technology Development team in August. She reports to Demian Kratz, team leader. She is currently working on redesigning “Finding Augustine.” “Finding Augustine” is “[a] rich and readily accessible biographical collection concerning Augustine of Hippo and his legacy;” it is sponsored by the Augustinian Institute at Villanova University.

Adusumilli has a bachelor’s degree in computer science engineering and is now enrolled in the Master of Science in Computer Engineering program with an anticipated graduation in May 2018. She plans to work as a data scientist.

Her hometown is Machilipatnam, India, a city on the southeast coast. Adusumilli’s hobbies are cooking and gardening.


On the Path to Sainthood – Father Bill Atkinson, OSA

Father Bill Atkinson, OSA

Father Bill Atkinson, OSA.  Image courtesy of augustinian.org

Who is the Rev. William Atkinson (Father Bill), OSA, a priest who may become a saint, and what is his connection to Villanova University? September 15 is the tenth anniversary of his death and with a movement towards canonization underway, it is appropriate to consider his life.

Born in 1946, Father Bill was a native of Upper Darby, Pa.; he attended St. Alice’s Elementary School there and then graduated from Msgr. Bonner High School (now Bonner Prendergast) in Drexel Hill, Pa. He spent a year as a postulant at Augustinian Academy (now closed), Staten Island, N.Y., and then entered the Order of St. Augustine as a novice at Our Mother of Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, N.Y., in 1964. It was here that his life-changing accident happened on February 22, 1965.

On that cold February day William Atkinson was tobogganing with his fellow novices when his toboggan hit a tree; his broken spine left him a quadriplegic. He was hospitalized in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., then spent a year at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia. Although he had limited movement only in his head, neck, shoulders and arms, he was determined to continue his studies to become an Augustinian priest. He came to St. Mary’s Hall at Villanova University, at that time the Province’s Collegiate House of Formation where he began his novitiate once again on July 19, 1969. He professed his simple vows, then on July 20, 1973, he professed his solemn vows. Throughout these years, a group of Augustinians cared for Atkinson who occupied a motorized wheelchair. On February 2, 1974, nine years after his disastrous accident, Cardinal John Krol ordained William Atkinson to the priesthood. Because Atkinson was a quadriplegic, Pope Paul VI had to make a special dispensation for the ordination, making Father Atkinson the first quadriplegic priest.

Following his ordination the Rev. William Atkinson, usually called Father Bill, was assigned to the faculty of Msgr. Bonner High School in Drexel where he served from 1975 until 2004. At Bonner, he was a beloved presence, teaching theology, serving as assistant school chaplain and a moderator for the football team. He was the senior class retreat coordinator and director of the detention programs. His declining health brought him to the St. Thomas Monastery on campus where he remained until he died on September 15, 2006, surrounded by family, friends and caretakers. His funeral mass was held on Sept. 19 in St. Thomas of Villanova Church and he was buried in the Augustinian section of Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, Pa.

In mid-August 2014 twenty-five invited guests – relatives, friends and friars –  met with the Rev. Michael Gregorio, OSA, the prior provincial of the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova, and the Rev. Josef Sciberras, OSA, postulator general of the Order of St. Augustine, Rome. Father Sciberras challenged the group: “Convince me that Fr. Bill lived a life of heroic virtue. Persuade me that he is a saint.” (www.augustinian.org) Various attendees testified about Father Bill’s “character, his virtue, his fidelity, his ministry, his humor, his humility and much more.” (www.augustinan.org)

In September 2015 the Cause of Canonization of Father Bill Atkinson, OSA, opened; the formal request was made to Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia. In November, Archbishop Chaput introduced the Cause to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Archbishop Chaput encouraged the bishops to approve the Cause and they did so unanimously.

Father Gregorio, OSA, says, “Obviously, we are delighted that the cause is underway, and that we will have the opportunity to make the life and virtues of Fr. Bill more widely known. We rely very much on the friends and acquaintances of our brother to spread knowledge of him, to assist us in collecting data that can further the cause, and recommend his intercession to those in need.” (www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/first-quadrilegic-priest-on-path-to-sainthood)

Documentation for the cause is currently being collected and then it will be analyzed by censors, who are usually theologians. If the censors approve the evidence for sainthood, they will send a report to Archbishop Chaput. If the archbishop accepts the censors’ report, he will send it to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints who would then make their recommendation to the Pope for Father Bill to be considered “venerable,” one of the steps towards canonization.

The Father Bill Atkinson Guild, sponsored by the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova, will work to promote awareness of the Cause and to collect funds for its support. Contact information for the Guild is Fr. Bill’s Cause, Augustinian Provincial Offices, P.O. Box 340, Villanova, PA 19085.


Dig Deeper (Father Atkinson):

Green Bananas:  The Wisdom of Father Bill Atkinson (2010). Steve McWilliams. Steve McWilliams, PhD, is the Villanova University advisor to Students Living with Disabilities. Father Bill had been one of his teachers at Msgr. Bonner High School. Later, McWilliams became one of Father Bill’s caretakers. He asked Father Bill if he (McWilliams) could write a book about him and the priest agreed. McWilliams called his book “Green Bananas” because Father Bill said he did not buy them because he might not live until the bananas ripened. “Green Bananas” is not a biography. It shows Father Bill’s spiritual outlook.

The Effort to Canonize Father Bill Atkinson

Father Bill Atkinson, OSA:  The Cause for Sainthood

Father Bill Atkinson, OSA – Taking Up the Cause

Father Bill Atkinson:  Augustinian Friar

Father William Atkinson a ‘tremendous witness to the rest of us’

Upper Darby native may be next American saint


Dig Deeper (Canonization and Sainthood):

Sharing God’s Good Company:  A Theology of the Communion of Saints

The Cult of the Saints:  Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity

Saints and Their Symbols

Saints and Sanctity Today

The Process of Beatification and Canonization

Holy confusion? Beatification, canonization are different

A new look for the canonization process under Pope Francis?

Duffin, Jacalyn. “The Doctor Was Surprised; or, How to Diagnose a Miracle.” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 81, no. 4 (Winter 2007): 699-729.

A succinct official description from the U.S. bishops

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Darren Poley, Theology/Humanities librarian, contributed  the information for this “Dig Deeper (Canonization and Sainthood).”

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Last Modified: September 15, 2016