Where Have All the Friars Gone

For over one hundred years since the establishment of St. Francis Solanus College in 1860 there has been a large Franciscan presence on campus.


Today, the current representation of the Franciscan order on QU campus is two, Fr. John Doctor, OFM, Vice-President of Ministry and Mission and Brother Terry Santiapillai, OFM, who serves the campus at Brenner Library. Why has the presence of the Franciscans on campus declined?

For over one hundred years since the establishment of St. Francis Solanus College in 1860 there has been a large Franciscan presence on campus. There were 30 to 40 Franciscans on campus during the later half of the twentieth century. Since that time the number of Franciscan brothers and fathers has diminished greatly to one-fourth the population in the province since 1960.

According to Fr. Tom Nairn, Provincial for the Province of the Sacred Heart. The reason for this can not be found in one simple answer. It involves many factors that have affected the Franciscan culture on campus to this day.Fr. Tom Nairn

“Quincy University suffered from the same fate as many of the ministries of the Province of the Sacred Heart,” Nairn said.

The lack of vocation in young adults to join the ministry. The changes that took place during Vatican II. Religious orders overall dropped in numbers. As the Franciscan province got smaller, Franciscans were taken out of their educational ministries and were needed to perform parish work.  Those Franciscans still left in the order were also advanced in age, most over 70. Finally, most who enter the order today are older and there is less desire to complete the necessary training and education that is required to become a professor.

During the 60s and 70s, there was a decline of young men and women willing to make the sacrifices needed to become priests, brothers or nuns, primarily the vow of celibacy. The refusal by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to change this commitment impacted their numbers greatly. There were also changes taking place in society for those who felt a calling to serve in other ways.

Fr. John Ostdiek, OFM, was present on campus during these developing times. He acknowledges these changes taking place during and following the Kennedy administration. father-ostdiek

“The switch started for people with President John F. Kennedy, he was instrumental in promoting the Peace Corps and other service organizations. There were opportunities to serve other than vocation for lay people,” Ostdiek said.

Fr. Joe Zimmerman, OFM arrived on campus in 1963. There were approximately 32 friars at that time on campus. He also witnessed these changes taking place.

Fr. Joe Zimmerman

“Vocation is happening more outside the Franciscan Friar order, but what I think Fr. John Doctor is trying to do is keep the Franciscan heritage alive on campus. Also keeping the Franciscan spirit alive are lay people like Ray Heilmann, who still connects to the students,” Zimmerman said.

Vatican II ushered in a number of changes in the order. Removal of Latin as the spoken word in Mass, lay people were encouraged to participate in the service and new possibilities granted for music and singing, and women allowed into upfront roles as readers, lectors, and Eucharistic ministers.

“Prior to the Vatican Council, for someone to feel that they were active in the Catholic Church, many needed to be a priest, brother, or sister. That is not the case anymore,” Nairn said.

Many Franciscans believed the Catholic Church to be headed in the wrong direction by including so many others who were not fully committed to the church by taking vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

“A lot of personal reaction to the changing situation came from the Franciscan community. Some were in disagreement with these decisions and decided to leave the order,” Ostdiek said.

Fr. Joe believes Vatican II aroused deeper feelings in Franciscan men. Most of the Franciscans were in eighth grade when they left for the seminary and psycho-sexually speaking were not fully mature.

“Vatican II said marital state was not inferior to clerical state, it’s a vocation, it’s a calling. That made a lot of Franciscan men think about it,” Zimmerman said.

Religious orders in general in this country have dropped in numbers, not just on this campus. According to Pew Research Center, the number of U.S. adults and youth who do not identify with any organized religion is growing. There are many who have religious interfaith marriages and choose not to follow one doctrine over another. Another factor according to the research is the millennial generation’s decline in affiliation with any Christian organization. Fewer than six-in-ten Millennials identify with any branch of Christianity.

With the decline in numbers of Franciscans, many were called to leave educational institutions to perform parish work. Many friars felt the attractiveness of doing parish work.

“Many Franciscans didn’t consider teaching priestly work, they wanted to perform weddings and funerals. College didn’t offer much of that. Franciscans were offered choices by their provincial, but many didn’t get to choose their path, it was ultimately decided by the provincial based upon need in the community,” Zimmerman said

In the 60s there were at least 25 friars teaching on campus, but as the college grew there was a need for more teachers to serve. The overall declining population of Franciscans, with even fewer desiring a higher level of education prompted the school to turn to lay teachers to fill the void.

Because many of the men who enter the Franciscan order today are much older, the average age is around 50, there is less desire for them to complete all the credentialing requirements needed to teach at college.

“In the 30s and 40s, you didn’t need a degree to teach, once you had spent four years in the seminary and were ordained you could teach. Central accreditation for schools didn’t take place until 1952 and only a few had masters or doctoral degrees then. Today there are more factors involved. First, you have to get your degree. Second, once you get your degree there is no guarantee you can get a job. Third, you can’t just walk in and take a job away from a lay person, why go through all the hassle,” Zimmerman said.

There isn’t just one reason for the diminished presence of Franciscan Friars on campus at Quincy University, but several combined. In many ways, it is the history of the Catholic Church, an aging population of friars, and the lack of vocation felt by many over the past several decades that is the cause. The only real possible way for this to change is more Franciscan vocations.

Fr. Ted Bracco, OFM spent many years teaching on campus and believes it is the work by the friars that built the school and perhaps the time has come for others to take their place.

“Maybe we’ve done what God intended us to do and it’s time to move on,” Bracco said.




The Future of Social Media

It seems clear that social media will remain part of our societal norms for a lifetime of generations to come.

The first recognizable social media site, Six Degrees, was created in 1997. Blogging sites became popular shortly thereafter and are still popular today. Soon they were followed by MySpace and Linkedin in the early 2000s and YouTube in 2005. When Facebook and Twitter became worldwide sensations in 2006, the establishment of social media platforms became part of our ongoing cultural experience. It seems clear that social media will remain part of our societal norms for a lifetime of generations to come.

To fill up specific niches in social media other platforms followed as well, Tumblr, Spotify, Foursquare, and the fastest one growing is Pinterest. The presence of social media has impacted our daily lives. There are very few people in the world who spend less than an hour each day checking multiple sites for news or other forms of social engagement. These platforms are highly focused on exchanges between friends and family and are constantly pushing interaction through features like photo or status sharing and social games.social media 2

What does the future hold for social media? In 2017, there will be over two billion social media users worldwide. There is no question that social media and the many revolutionary forms of it are here to stay as long as humans feel the need to communicate with each other. It is only speculative by many theorists what future versions of social media platforms we will choose in which to engage our fellow man or woman.

It is the multitude of applications on social media that assisted in changing its future. The creation of the Like and Retweet buttons gave power to an individual who otherwise might sit idly by as an observer. The network of increased users and personal information provided by many allow us to find lost long friends, classmates, relatives and aid in establishing a business network. It grants us an opportunity to stay in touch when it wouldn’t otherwise be possible or perhaps find the career you have always been hoping to find.

The technology will change to cater to an individual’s needs and preferences. The mass produced content will still be out there but it will be filtered based upon the settings we choose. We have live streaming, which allows us to send out a personal invitation to followers and capture their attention away from bots with no personal connection to viewers. Providing analytics gives the producer and reader an ability to better predict their strategy on many social media platforms.

The future of social media is not written in stone. There are flaws in most everything that is created and unleashed on the public to use at will. No real governing body has been able to keep up with the changes that have taken place in the last few years. The responsibility for proper usage lies mainly in the hands of an individual or society as a whole to monitor each other. So much content is shared on a daily basis it is difficult for an important message to be shared by all, unless it goes viral.

Social marketing of brands will increase the company revenue and make buying fun. The usage of pictures and video will grab the attention of the reader and possibly eliminate the need for complex websites. Through the use of social media, employees will be a large part of the marketing team. Building their skills across multiple platforms and developing social strategies they will become invested in their companies future.

This ever popular trend of social media is addictive. The technology companies know this and will continue to improve their technology to reinforce and enhance this addiction. Whether we know it or not the high-tech companies hope to shape our thoughts, actions, and feelings of every user. Our feelings of inclusion and being liked by followers will shape decisions we make for our future. The brain hacking of these industries has commenced with an assault on all of us. We are lab rats pushing buttons to get a drug they hope we can never live without.

The future of social media has its benefits as well as its evils. We are moving beyond the simple likes and tweets of Facebook and Twitter to a more sophisticated method of communication. It is up to society to maintain the checks and balances for future usage. Hopefully, in this ever-changing world of social media, we make the correct decisions now for the amelioration of future generations. social-media-icons

Live Streaming

Live streaming is the ability to share content live from your PC, tablet or phone. Multiple sites are offering this new feature for personal or businesses purposes.

There are many options for live streaming these days. Businesses and organizations at every level are directing more attention and resources to live streaming.  2016 has brought a dramatic increase in live streaming viewership and this is not just a fad, but here to stay. Most platforms such as Facebook, You Tube, Periscope, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin offer free live streaming. There are multiple companies that will give you much more if you’re willing to pay for the subscription to their service.


There are best practices for using Facebook Live or any platform that offers this feature. The first step is asking why you want to send out live images, what is it that you want to offer your audience? Have a plan and make a list of those items that are needed to achieve this goal successfully. To get the most engagement from your followers you should be prepared to broadcast for 30-45 minutes. Have information to share and be prepared to answer questions.

Tell people why you are doing a live streaming event. Showcase your expertise or have an expert handy if you’re unable to handle the tough questions you might encounter. Remind your followers what you plan to provide and keep reminding them every five to ten minutes for those who are joining in after you started.

The logistics of your event should start with a checklist, which should include an extra battery pack, cleaning your lens, a tripod, you want to shut off your push notifications, and check your memory storage. Set your phone to airplane mode, you don’t want any incoming calls while you’re going live.

Scout out a location for your live feed, making sure that it is suitable for your purposes. If it is outside, pay attention to the weather forecast that day also make sure above all that it is safe for you and your crew. If it’s in your home make sure there are no distractions. An annoying meowing cat or barking dog can turn off your viewers from learning something important.

Take a buddy along to monitor your feed with an IPad and respond to those who are joining your livestream. Make sure to acknowledge orally your followers as they post comments or questions. Remember the trolls are everywhere, just do your best to ignore them.

There are certain responsibilities to live streaming and ethical guidelines should be considered before undertaking this event. Be careful of copyright infringement, broadcasting other people’s work or ticketed events is illegal. Consider what content is appropriate for your viewing audience or what content may appear that you don’t always have control over. A few ethical values that most journalists adhere to should be in place before your broadcast. Always be accountable,  be transparent, you should seek the truth and minimize harm to anyone.

The best way to promote a brand, event or cause is to inspire and educate your audience. Give them a call to action to participate in your event or provide good solid information about the brand you are promoting. Every business can benefit from having a strategy to take advantage of the enormous reach from posting videos. Look good, comb your hair, dress professionally, and don’t forget to smile for the camera.

Whether your audience is going to watch you live or wait for the right time to watch and replay your streaming video is changing. Most people want to know what is happening right now and don’t want to wait for important information to finally get to them. The demographics for those who surf the internet looking for content to feed on is an ever increasing number. The public has gotten addicted to current live news feeds from everywhere in the world.

Social media is impossible to ignore these days. It’s everywhere and you can’t go 30 minutes without interacting through social media or watching someone who does. Most people couldn’t go without checking social media for an entire hour. It’s such a huge part of the daily lives of almost every single person in the world.

live streaming 1







Summer of Fun and Sun

For three months summer break can be the best road trip of your life, soak up the sun and start to have fun.

The academic calendar on the wall is rapidly affecting our way of thinking. It usually is filled with stressors like classes, research papers, and exams. For some, it is the end of all of those important facts once committed to memory to pour out onto a final exam. The semester is coming to an end and thoughts turn to less stressful events in our lives. Fun stuff, like friends back home, going out to parties, endless activities and getting out of your dorm room and into the sun.

It’s time to recharge the depleted brain cells with some activities that require less critical thinking. Get to the beach, sit and relax that’s what one faculty member is doing. Professor Alan Steigelman will be heading to South Carolina for several well-earned weeks of vacation.

“My wife and I are renting a home for three weeks on Kiawah Island, on the coast of South Carolina. Our plan is to ride bicycles around the island, go fishing, swim in the ocean, lay in the sun and generally just forget about school for a while,” Steigelman said.

Kiawah island


Thoughts from several students at QU who are ready for the semester to be over and begin summer break. They are looking forward to a road trip with friends and go where the highway leads them. A road trip is a perfect metaphor for the journey of life traveling free and easy over summer break. Go whichever way the wind blows, stopping just because you can and no one is there to tell you that you can’t. It beats the heck out of classes five days a week.

Some students are taking what they have learned in college on one of the most exciting road trips, a career. They will create a life outside of the four walls of a classroom and begin their journey after graduation. Lydia Cruz, a graduating senior is one of them, she’s excited to be heading back to the coast for wake surfing, sitting in the sun at Safeco Field watching her favorite team play ball and backyard BBQ’s with friends.

wakesurfingSafeco Field

“I’m heading to Seattle to start a new job with 710 ESPN radio, an opportunity I’m ecstatic about. Summer will be all about work, but luckily it’s something I’m passionate about. Luckily watching, studying, and reporting on sports hardly seems like work,” Cruz said.

Even though your summer may be occupied with summer school, a job or an internship, it’s important to take the time to enjoy your summer break, too. Graduating senior and author, Rebeka Porter will be having fun planning her trip and setting her compass for “The Land of the Rising Sun.”  japan

“I’m looking forward to preparing for my move to Japan. I’m extremely excited about this opportunity to be an assistant language teacher. I’ve been dreaming about this for over a year now,” Porter said.

By the time August creeps up on you, you begin to wonder where the summer went. As it is with every summer, there seems to never be enough time to enjoy all the simple things you were dreaming of sitting at the same desk, in the same classroom, listening to the same professors talk about what you can do with your life if you just apply yourself.

Students and staff want to take a break this summer and forget about their stressful lives. Everybody waits months for summer, enjoy every day of it. Three months to just hang out, have fun and relax in the sun.

Analytics and Social Media

Analytics provide us with tools to better reach our social media followers and the platforms they use.

The analytics of social media is a great way to measure your strategy success. Analytics by definition is the systematic computational analysis of data or statistics. In social media, it is the practice of gathering data from blogs and social media websites and analyzing the data to make business decisions.

The ways in which Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram differ in their approach to analytics is a rather narrow approach. Facebook measures pages likes, post reach, engagement (shares, reactions, comments) impressions and clicks. They gauge post type, video views, and Facebook referral traffic along with bounce rate.

Twitter measures the analytics with @replies + mentions + re-tweets + likes divided by total impressions.

Instagram uses similar analytics as the others by measuring the top posts, photos sent, videos sent, your followers, a total number of followers, followers gained, hashtags, for likes, comments, engagements per follower and media.

Social media managers use analytics to form an impression of your personal site or of your business site. They want to know if their strategy is working for improving the business for whom they work. If it is working, there should be more engagement or in businesses an increase in sales. If it is not working, then it is time for them to change the strategy.

A business will use analytics to measure their response from posts or tweets and if it is increasing their engagement and revenue. They check to see if the content they’re posting is engaging their target audience and if it calls them to action. If the analytics do not support their strategy then they may change the time of day they post or the content they’re posting.

The content your posting is relevant to the increased numbers for analytics. It will guide you to use the correct platforms of social media. The strategy of using analytics is valuable to anyone seeking to reach more people on social media platforms. A business will set up its expectations ahead of time, and should make them realistic, achievable, and focused. As a journalist, you may change your strategy through the use of analytics to find out when your audience is utilizing social media. Time of day is important and you must consider where your audience may reside. It may be viewed throughout the world in multiple time zones. Increased likes and what do they share or not share with others if valuable to increase your followers. If you don’t see an increase in followers, then change the content you post or the frequency you post.

The most important analytic to measure is the engagement from your followers and the results it provides for you or your company.

One of the most important companies that provide analytic tools is Google. They provide the whole picture of your performance on social media. It offers to you a visual of how people are getting to you and what platform they are using to do it. They measure traffic by social channels.

Analytics are the best method to measure if your goals and strategies are working. They are valid and valuable for the individual or for business. There is definitely an influence by bots, they can spread content like the wind spreads wildfires in California. Overall analytics are very useful tools to interpret your strategies.

A personal way to measure engagement would include an analytic for creating a call to action and then track how well it performs, instead of how far the content reaches. Another way to measure engagement is how much time does someone spend on your page. A valuable part of your strategy should include if your followers are reading all the content you post or is it just a bounce.


The like button for most is a way to show approval to those they follow. Sometimes it’s just polite to “like” the content, after all, they are your friends. You know they want it, need it, desire it and it’s socially acceptable. Most times I have read the content posted by those I follow and genuinely enjoy it. That is why I share and re-tweet their posts, especially if there is a call to action from me. The best way to measure someone’s social attitude is to just ask them. Some people like to hide behind the wall that is social media, but that may not tell their true attitudes. Some social media users may want to be seen as socially acceptable and there is nothing wrong in doing so. Find out more information by just asking a question of the intent of their posts. You can’t always talk face to face, but today you can reach anyone anywhere in the world through social media platforms.

One Life Has Touched So Many

The most painful lesson I learned in life, was that I wasn’t able to help every patient.

In the world of great stories, there are those that happen right in our own backyard. From her humble beginning as a girl growing up on a farm to a woman whose life’s work is considered an inspiration from her admiring family, patients, and colleagues.  So it was with Dr. Sheila K. Laws, an outspoken Quincy, Illinois, chiropractor known for her ability to help her patients with a hands-on, drug-free approach to health care and inspire those to follow in her footsteps.

Sometimes the simple twists of fate in life can reveal the path we are destined to follow. When she was young Dr. Laws fell from her horse while riding and suffered an injury to her back. Her mother took her to see a female chiropractor, Dr. Katheryn Nicolay, who helped her recover from the injury.

Growing up in the area she attended Quincy Senior High School and spent several years at Quincy College. Dr. Laws married and then relocated with her husband for his job to the Quad Cities. As a stay at home mom with two kids, she still dreamed of one day pursuing a career.

“It was then I discovered there was a chiropractic college in Davenport a block from our apartment. I then had two more children but felt that I was meant to be a chiropractor. My husband took on a part-time job in addition to his working full time with Ozark Airlines so I could attend chiropractic college. I then discovered what I was meant to do with my life as a professional,” Laws said.

Even though she had four children at home to take care of, she was able to graduate valedictorian from Palmer Chiropractic College. She was just one of a handful of women in the college at the time. She found very little resistance from others in her life that prevented a block for her to pursue her professional goals. Most everyone was very supportive of her endeavors.

“My husband was one of my biggest supporters and through his efforts with our children and the household duties that I was able to accomplish my goals. If it wasn’t for this I would have never been able to graduate valedictorian from college,” Laws said.

After graduation, the Laws family moved back home to Quincy where she started her own practice. The business thrived and so did her family.  She loves to help people achieve their health goals and make their lives better.  She finds it exciting when her skills help people to live a healthier life.

Dr. Laws was always looking for ways to improve her skills that would benefit her patients. She attended a chiropractic seminar given by Dr. Raymond Nimmo, a man who would change her life and become her mentor.

“Dr. Nimmo was a great influence on my life and my work. His interest in finding the answers for things and why they worked fascinated me. He developed a technique called Receptor-Tonus that I learned to be proficient in and began teaching it all over the world to chiropractic students,” Laws said.

Dr. Laws retired from her practice after 45 years, leaving it in the hands of her eldest daughter. At 81 she is still teaching Nimmo Receptor-Tonus seminars at chiropractic colleges in Brazil, Spain, and across the United States.

Mom teaching2
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Suzanne Feldmann

Dr. Laws is very proud of the fact that two of her daughters, Dr. Diana Franklin and Dr. Suzanne Feldmann, her grandson, Dr. Brandon Bruening, and her first office assistant, Dr. Mary Ruebbelke were influenced by her to become chiropractors as well.

Diana photo  “Her example of being a great wife, wonderful mom, and a fantastic doctor made me want to pursue the chiropractic profession. She led by example, I knew I could do the same,” Franklin said.

sue photo  “My mom had a great influence on my decision to become a chiropractor. I am sure I would never have even considered becoming a chiropractor if I had not grown up with my mother being a chiropractor.  As a chiropractor, her attitude about life and health affected the way we were raised,” Feldmann said.

Dr. Laws feels there is so much more breadth and depth to the profession. It isn’t just a profession that helps people with backaches. Chiropractic is able to help all types of illness and is no longer considered quackery.  The increased number of women in the profession is also a great sense of pride for her as a woman.

“I can’t think of anything else that I would have wanted to be. I believe that everything happens for the right reasons to take me to the place where I have always belonged,” Laws said.




Social Media Campaigns

SoZesty is a social media driven consulting agency. Helping businesses create more customers through social media platforms.

Our social media class had the privilege to listen to guest speakerZack Hesterberg, Zach Hesterberg. He is the CEO of SoZesty, a consulting agency that specializes in social media marketing. Hesterberg was also a former student at Quincy University.

Hesterberg spoke of his eight steps to developing a social media strategy. He used a metaphor of going to the gym is like social media. He spoke of the failing platform Twitter, identifying your audience, sharing across platforms and the biggest mistakes people make on social media. All were very interesting ideas on increasing your customers and brand through the usage of social media accounts in business.

His eight steps to developing a social media strategy started with step one, understanding your micro-goals. This involved the sales angle approach. It is your method of approach when looking to increase the number of followers, which in turn, increased the number of customers.

The second step was setting goals. He believed in setting high goals but be specific, and it should be something you can measure.

The third step was to characterize your target customer. This means to locate, understand and target your local customer. To increase your business you need to post relevant material that attracts and engages your target audience.

Fourth, you need to analyze your competition. Find out what they are doing to attract customers, but don’t focus on them for too very long or you’ll lose sight of your own vision for your company. See what works for them and infuse those ideas into your strategy.

The fifth step is to develop and establish your brand message. Understanding this is key, so moving forward you know what content is essential to post that will attract more customers.

In the sixth step start by choosing which platform is the best for your brand. Before doing so it is imperative that you research your target group. After you have established your target group, and what platform they frequently use, find out the intent of the platform itself.

Build your content posting strategy is the seventh step. You should schedule your posts and be consistent. A suggestion is to use websites that specialize in scheduling posts such as later.com. Remember to post original content and use visuals, a must have on posts are videos, pictures, and info-graphics. Through the use of analytics on each platform you will know if they are effective. If they’re not working, change the strategy.

His final step in developing a social media strategy, step eight, was to search out the best in paid advertising. Enlisting the best algorithms that are most relevant to your success. Ads are the best way to reach people, it virtually guarantees you’ll increase your viewers and create new customers.

Zach used the metaphor, “social media is going to the gym.” This means you have got to be there if this is going to work for you. Make the time to develop your strategy. Apply yourself, set your goals, remember, to actualize you must first visualize. If you want to build stronger muscles it doesn’t happen overnight, nor do your customers find you if you’re not engaging with them on a daily basis.

“Twitter is sinking,” Hesterberg said. Just like the Titanic, no one was listening to those who sounded the alarm, and by then it was too late. He believes this platform is not responding to the ever-changing needs of those individuals who are engaging on social media every day. Other platforms have listened and are providing those with the essentials they seek. They are reluctant to change and this is reflected in their stock values.

If you are looking to hit the bulls-eye with one shot, then don’t use a shotgun, too much buckshot flies everywhere. When you identify your target, that is, your audience, you should narrow down your message to make it more successful. Identify their wants and needs and leave the rest behind.

This same thought process is why you want to target those in your local vicinity. Accelerate your message towards those who are close enough to utilize your services. Don’t waste time sending messages across the country when the customers you seek are in your own backyard.

Hesterberg finds that most people who try to capitalize by using social media become too “salesy” and lose their followers. They often misuse the platforms that could bring them increased followers and customers. You don’t want to turn people off, there are too many options out there for the public. They will seek out another brand and in turn provide loyalty to your competition.

These methods have provided success for Hesterberg and the companies who utilize his services. Always stay on top of the trends, know who and where you target audience is and remember to engage them.