Catholic women focus on making a difference Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Dorothy Lepeska, Catholic Herald correspondent   
Thursday, Jul. 28, 2011 -- 12:00 AM
At the Madison Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (MDCCW) convention in Green Lake, keynote speaker Susan Conroy shares her experiences working with Mother Teresa (Photo by Rita Brey)

GREEN LAKE--  Approximately 150 people attended the 57th annual Madison Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (MDCCW) convention held at the Green lake Conference Center, June 28 and 29.

The theme was “Making a Difference in our Mission.” The women heard from their president Carol Brennan, Berlin, and convention chair, Kim Holliday, Green Lake, talk about their own mission work with Father Wally’s water project in Panama. Keynote speaker Susan Conroy shared her experiences working with Mother Teresa.

Changes and priorities

In her opening remarks, Brennan highlighted the changes going on in the diocese. Noting that 33 parishes are merging into 12, she said, “Be available as they struggle with change.”

She outlined the priorities of the MDCCW. She said, “We are pro-life. Since 2009 Planned Parenthood aborted 332,278 babies nationally. In the past 38 years, more than three million babies have been aborted.”

Citing a recent Pew Study that 53 percent of Catholics don’t believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, Brennan introduced a decal with the words, “The Eucharist/Christ’s Real Presence.”

Later Vice President and membership chair, Linda Rosiejka, Helenville, promoted the decals, which are available for 25 cents each or a donation. For more information, contact Rosiejka at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Inspired by Mother Teresa

Keynote Speaker Susan Conroy shared her experiences with Mother Teresa. The author of the best-selling Mother Teresa’s Lessons of Love & Secrets of Sanctity, Conroy credited her family for giving her strong faith.

“Home has always been the greatest classroom of love. It has always been the place where love is best taught, learned, and lived.

“Whenever I speak to a group of women, I tell them it all started with mama. I thank God for my mother. It was my mother who gave me those first words I ever read by Mother Teresa, which inspired me with such longing.”

As a young college student, Conroy shared her dream of going to Calcutta with her mother who has since died of cancer. “I said, ‘Mom, what would you think if I got a job, earned the money, and sent myself to India?’ I will never in my life forget her reaction. She said, ‘That would be my worst nightmare.’”

After raising the money, at the age of 21, Conroy left for Calcutta in the summer of 1986. Unable to speak the language, she wandered the streets looking for Mother Teresa.

Crowds of people directed her to the home of Mother Teresa. She found out how much work there was to do. Mother Teresa said you have two hands and you only can do one thing at a time.

Starting with one

Conroy said she was prepared to offer “hands to serve, a heart to love and joy, which were the only requirements of working with the order. Mother Teresa taught us one, one, one. She said just begin one at a time. Give all your love, your care, your attention, and your compassion to that one human being in front of you.”

Mornings, Conroy worked in the orphanage with the children, and afternoons she worked with the sick and dying.

She told about a little boy who was quite rebellious. As he came toward her almost violently, she took him in her arms, and that is what he needed: someone to love him.

She relayed her experience of the first time she held a dying person and how she felt the grace come to her.

Conroy reminded the women, “God doesn’t call us to do huge things but to do small things with great love. To do ordinary things with extraordinary love.”

She advised the women, “Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Become a channel of God’s peace.

“Smile five times a day at someone you don’t want to smile at. Smile at your own families. Start with joy. Put joy in everything you do. You will fulfill your vocation.”

Ways to get involved

Sandra Hull, Patch Grove, Service Commission chair, reported that the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW) is offering programs that will lift women and their families out of dire poverty and restore dignity to their lives.

She encouraged the women to go to the NCCW Web site ( for a copy of the Campaign for Human Dignity manual to find opportunities to help.

Dorene Shuda, leadership chair, talked about the importance of “R and R: Recognize and Reward.” This year she presented the spiritual award to Kim Holliday, the chair of the convention. Describing her as a lady who has been truly blessed with so many gifts, Shuda told how Holliday enthusiastically attended the national Catholic Women’s convention in her place last November. “As I recuperated from a heart attack, Kim kept me updated on the convention with her Blackberry,” she said.

Accepting the award, the enthusiastic Holliday said, “I can’t begin to tell you what an experience it was for me to be at national. If there is such a thing as being more energized, I was.” As chair of the Green Lake convention, she said, “Never once did I have to ask for anyone to volunteer!”

Spirituality Commission chair Lucy Kippley, Sauk City, said, “Pray for seminarians. There are priests coming.”

She challenged the delegates to do the best they can to stop a whole list of activities that are robbing people of their dignity, including pornography, Internet bullying, innocent killing of babies, domestic violence, sex slavery, media distortions of family life, unjust immigration policies, to name a few. The NCCW is joining other organizations to make their voice more powerful.

Convention Mass

Mass was concelebrated by the Msgr. Duane Moellenberndt, Sun Prairie, and Fr. Lorin Bowens, Lime Ridge, MDCCW moderators, along with Frs. Philip Krogman, Green Lake; David Greenfield, Markesan; and Dominic Roscioli, Kenosha.

Reflecting on Saints Peter and Paul in his homily, Father Bowens said, “They were wonderful people but they were sinners like us. Peter was a doer and Paul a scholar. While Judas gave up, Peter and Paul allowed Jesus to work within them. Do you allow Jesus to work in you to heal you?”

Trip to Panama

Following lunch, at which the past presidents were honored, Kim Holliday spoke about a January mission trip to Panama with a multi-age group of volunteers from the area. A video, complete with music, captured the beauty and poverty of the area as well as the joy of the volunteers connecting with the Panamanians.

In 1988, Fr. Wally Kasuboski, a Capuchin priest from Ripon, became the first resident priest in the jungle areas of Panama to serve the spiritual and temporal needs of a parish covering 2,500 square miles and 30,000 people in more than 40 villages.

He is working on building a dam and reservoir to provide safe drinking water to 13 villages and 5,000 people. Money collected at the convention Mass will go through the Rotary Club to be increased by a 50 percent match to help Father Wally in his work.

For more information on the project go to or contact Laurie Kasubowki, 920-748-2651 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The service and spirituality commissions offered workshops in the afternoon.

The banquet was held Tuesday evening with entertainment by the Berthon Family from Packwaukee. Homeschooled, the children range in age from seven to 17. They delighted their audience with their musical and acting talents.

Jefferson Deanery will host the 2012 convention.

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