Superior Diocesan Council of Catholic Women President Jane Schiszik is excited about the group’s upcoming convention, but mostly she is “just really thankful to be gathering as a group.”
The convention, which will be the organization’s 71st annual gathering, will take place on Thursday, Aug. 5, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Holy Rosary Church in Medford. Scheduled later than the accustomed May/June event, the organizers decided to give extra time for a safe and healthy gathering.
With the cancellation of the 2020 convention, Schiszik said she particularly wants to “gather and reconnect with our sisters in council,” while ensuring “everything is going to jive with COVID precautions.”
The Medford site was chosen because the parish also has a school that can accommodate social distancing. The morning refreshments and catered lunch will all be served as packaged individual servings as a precaution. In addition, the typical table displays for CCW commissions and committees are being omitted and replaced with information overviews in the printed convention booklet.
There will be displays featuring the 2021 scholarship recipients and history books available.
The schedule includes Mass with Bishop James P. Powers, SDCCW spiritual advisor Fr. Jim Brinkman and Medford’s pastor, Fr. Patrick McConnell, as well as the annual Pax Christi Award presentation at the end of the Mass and afternoon messages given by NCCW President Jean Kelly from the Milwaukee Archdiocese and Province Director Paula Freimuth, of the Green Bay Diocese.
“Harvest the Garden of your Soul” is the theme for the morning keynote address, which will be given by speaker Rose Folsom.
Folsom, who had been suggested as a speaker by past-president Barbara Gagliardi, was thrilled to be invited, Schiszik said.
“She calls herself a virtue coach … for saints in the making,” the current diocesan president explained.
“She helps people who are ready for spiritual growth become more patient, forgiving and prayerful.”
Schiszik, who feels very fortunate Folsom was able to present, said the theme was suggested by the speaker herself based on the past year of pandemic.
“Harvesting the garden of your soul. Women can use more patience and gratitude,” Schiszik said, adding, “The world can use more of that, too. And in a prayerful setting, those are things that would help harvest your soul.”
She added that the concept, especially relatable geographically and given Wisconsin’s agricultural economy, conjures up a lot of thoughts and images.
“In August, people are already harvesting their garden,” Schiszik said. “You need to spend time in your garden, but you also need time working on your soul.”
The SDCCW president, in her second year of office, noted that Folsom believes virtue is something everyone can develop, a reality cultivated deep inside that makes it easier to do the right thing. As a speaker, she tries to connect with her audience with the goal of making them as happy as possible in today’s unpredictable world.
After living the past year under COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines, Schiszik affirmed, “We can all use some happiness.”
More information about Folsom can be found at her website, virtueconnection.com.
One other change for the 2021 convention will be an item collection in place of a monetary one. Schiszik said the convention organizers decided to choose a service project with broader outreach. Deciding against an international project, given shipping costs, the group decided in favor of the “Little Miracles” initiative of the Glenmary Sisters Mission in Owensboro, Kentucky.
The project, which serves the impoverished in the Appalachian Mountains region of Kentucky and West Virginia, was also chosen for its effort to support mothers and young families in need, as has been a focus of the U.S. bishops this year.
Women who plan to attend the convention are encouraged to bring children’s new/gently used clothing and books, school supplies, diapers and children’s hygiene items.
The items collected will then be delivered in person by Schiszik and her husband.
Detailed information and registration forms can be found at the SDCCW’s new website, https://sdccw-wisconsin.weebly.com/. The cost is $45 and questions may be directed to Denise Anderson at 715-377-0140 or .
Schiszik said the convention is open to all women, whether members of the CCW or not.
“All women are invited, and any age group would get some value out of this,” she affirmed.