Mount scholars donate nearly $350 to aid children in Syria

April 25, 2017

Left to right: Meredith Murphy of Mahwah, N.J.; Victoria Kuhr of Holbrook, N.Y.; Raiya Isaac of Hawthorne, N.J.; Sr. Bette Ann Jaster, OP, a Dominican Sister of Hope; Charles Zola, associate professor of philosophy, director of the Catholic and Dominican Institute, and chair of the division of philosophy and religious studies; Ilona McGuiness, vice president of Academic Affairs; Jeanne Conboy, administrative assistant of the Catholic and Dominican Institute; and Jessica Kovach of Queens, N.Y. 


Mount Saint Mary College’s Dominican Scholars of Hope recently donated nearly $350 to help the children of the war-torn city of Aleppo in Syria.

“We decided that our community service project for this year would involve aiding children,” explained associate philosophy professor Charles Zola, founder of the Dominican Scholars. “The students researched what was going on in Aleppo, presented to the campus community, and raised the donations. They’ve done a great job for a good cause.”

The Dominican Scholars of Hope is a nonacademic living and learning community for highly motivated Mount freshmen. Rooted in the values of the Judeo-Christian and Dominican heritage of the Mount, it was inspired by the four pillars of Dominican life: study, spirituality, community, and service.

The program is spearheaded by Zola, director of the Catholic and Dominican Institute and chair of the division of philosophy and religious studies. It is now in its second semester and consists of about a dozen students.

The money was presented to Sr. Bette Ann Jaster, OP., a Dominican Sister of Hope, before her recent Mount lecture, “The Catholic Social Justice Teachings Made Real and Active in our Time.” It will be utilized in the Dominican Sisters’ “We Have Family in Iraq” charitable program.

“By donating to this program, we know the money will be used for the purpose it was raised,” explained Zola.

According to Sr. Jaster, nurturing community isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s ingrained in the Catholic experience.

“The Gospel urges us,” explained Sr. Jaster, “and the world needs what we have to offer.”