Jenny Snarski
Catholic Herald Staff

Speaker, author, retreat leader and columnist Elizabeth Kelly will be the keynote speaker at the Superior Diocesan Council of Catholic Women’s 72nd annual convention.

The convention will take place June 28-29 at Heartwood Resort and Conference Center in Trego. Normally held at one of the diocesan parishes, this year’s convention will be hosted offsite.

According to Superior Diocesan Council of Catholic Women President Jane Schiszik, the SDCCW Board is “trying something totally new this year.”

This mid-week convention will move from a one-day gathering to two days of spirituality, education and motivational speakers.

“Attending this convention,” Schiszik said, “is likened to attending spiritualty retreats which have not been able to be offered the past two years due to the COVID pandemic, along with attending the annual convention. It’s a two-for-one deal all happening in one place.”

The 2022 theme is “A Renewal of Faith, Purpose, Prayer: a Time for Gathering and a Time for Celebration.”

Some of the changes taking place have been advocated by SDCCW’s spiritual advisor, retired diocesan priest Fr. Jim Brinkman, who has encouraged board members to reflect on what the diocesan and local councils have to offer that will motivate women to join.

Fr. Brinkman believes in the vital importance of relationships, both for men and women.

After the cancellation of the annual convention in 2020 due to the pandemic, last year’s convention felt like a family reunion of sorts for women from across the diocese. Fr. Brinkman recalled the comments of convention guests, the province and national presidents for the CCW and how impressed they were with the human dimension and relationship-building aspect of the Superior Diocesan CCW convention.

Another element Schiszik hopes to highlight in promotional materials for this year’s convention is to clear up any confusion about who is invited to the convention.

“This convention is for all Catholic women residing in the Diocese of Superior,” she added. “Every woman over the age of 18 is a member of the Superior Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, whether they do or do not belong to a parish ladies’ group or reside in a deanery affiliated or not affiliated with the Diocesan Council.”

Fr. Brinkman also emphasized this in comments he shared ahead of the 2022 convention.

“Every parish has the backbone of a women’s group,” he said, noting the SDCCW board’s desire to give women the opportunity to experience something different and connect with other women outside each one’s parish.

He spoke about a spirituality day held in Cameron last year and the “really nice mix” of women of all ages who attended.

“This is the direction we’re needing to go,” Fr. Brinkman said. “We want to give a whole new image from the old conventions.”

As spiritual advisor, he hopes women will see that the organization – on a diocesan and local level – is not dwindling to a group of grandmothers. Rather, the CCW is comprised of multiple generations, grandmothers and mothers, single women and those engaged in careers and every stage of family life. All women seeking growth personally, in their faith and in service, are welcome.

He also hopes this intergenerational enthusiasm will spark renewed fervor in the local diocesan priests to see their parish CCWs as seedbeds for evangelization and engagement in the faith.

“We’re not gonna change the world overnight,” Fr. Brinkman said, “but we’re moving in the right direction.”

“Rekindling the flame by reuniting women,” is another phrase Schiszik used to describe the two-day event.

“This convention will be awesome!” she said, adding that she is sure anyone who attends truly will have their faith, purpose and prayer renewed.

Both days of the convention will feature a morning rosary prayed by the lake on the Heartwood grounds, weather permitting. Mass will be concelebrated both days by Bishop James P. Powers and Fr. Jim Brinkman.

“What is a convention without raffles?” Schiszik quipped, adding, “yes, we are having raffles!”

Each attending parish CCW has been asked to provide a basket raffle item. There will also be 50/50 raffles and one for a quilt made by the SDCCW board members featuring quilt squares with different titles and images of the Blessed Mother.

Several vendors and displays will also be available.

Special events for Tuesday, June 28, include talks presented by the diocese’s director of Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship, Chris Hurtubise. He will speak in the morning about the diocesan participation in the global Synod on Synodality and how CCW women can help recover the church’s mission.

That afternoon, the Ladysmith cluster’s Dcn. Craig Voldberg will speak on St. Paul’s joy.

The SDCCW board meeting is scheduled for that afternoon, with an open invitation for all to attend. Following will be an evening banquet.

Wednesday’s schedule features the convention’s keynote speaker, Elizabeth Kelly.

Kelly, a national speaker and author, will cover the theme “Your Majesty, Your Mission: Why the World Needs a Woman Just Like You.”

The Diocesan Chorale will provide music for Wednesday’s Mass. Afterward, the annual installation ceremony for new officers will take place, the Pax Christi Award winner will be announced and the CCW scholarship recipients introduced.

In the afternoon, Bishop Powers will address convention attendees as well as Lu Ann Miller, new province director from La Crosse.

Wednesday will also feature the introduction of another new element for the Superior Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, the Golden Rose Award. This program was started in the Diocese of Venice, Florida, and was presented to the General Assembly at the 2019 National Council of Catholic Women’s Convention.

The award recognizes one female high school student between the ages of 15-18 who resides in the Diocese of Superior, who exhibits leadership skills, is involved in service project(s), is a practicing Catholic, and whose lifestyle exemplifies a level of spirituality reflected by her prayer life.

Each parish’s youth minister has been asked to nominate a teen from his or her parish. The honoree and one guest will be introduced at Wednesday’s luncheon, and they will be seated with Bishop Powers for lunch and presented with an award and a NCCW Student Membership.

Registration for the two-day event is $90, including five meals. However, one-day registration for either day is also available for $50.

Lodging is provided by the Heartwood Resort with a block of rooms being reserved for the convention. For the best rate, women are encouraged to stay two nights in double occupancy.

Lodging options are also available if attendees want to make it a family mini-vacation, as cottages are onsite.

Registration forms are at or by contacting Mary Werner, or 715-748-4709. Call the resort to book a room, 715-319-3064, and mention you are attending the SDCCW Convention.

(Image courtesy of