GREENVILLE — SCCCW celebrated its 67th annual convention last weekend by crowning Elizabeth C. “Betty” Shepherd as Catholic Woman of the Year. Runners up for the prestigious award were the Woman of the Year for the Florence Deanery, Olive Kulesa of St. Michael’s Church in Garden City Beach; the Greenville Deanery’s Jane Martin of St. Mary in Greenville; and the Charleston Deanery’s Joan Mack of St. Patrick in Charleston.
Shepherd represented the Columbia Deanery and is a member of St. Joseph’s Church in the capital city. She was widowed in 1992 after 40 years of marriage and has three children and six grandchildren. Shepherd is a retired Civil Service employee, who is active in church and community. She holds both deanery and state positions in the SCCCW.
Sister Carol Gnau was chosen as the Woman Religious of the Year. The School Sister of Notre Dame has lived and worked in the Diocese of Charleston for 22 years. She was principal of Our Lady of the Rosary School and of St. John’s School, and has been pastoral associate of St. John the Beloved parish in Summerville for 11 years.
Sister Mary Joseph Ritter was the keynote speaker for the convention. The Sister of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy directs OLM Community Outreach Services on John’s Island. The N.A.I.L.S. program of that agency is the convention project of the SCCCW for 1997. NAILS organizes and supports groups of people from all across the nation who spend a volunteer week repairing the homes of poor residents on the Sea Islands of South Carolina.
The theme of the SCCCW convention was “Many Faces, One Voice.” One of the faces that invariably appears at the ladies’ big meeting is the Most Rev. David B. Thompson, Bishop of Charleston. At the Mass preceding the awards banquet, Bishop Thompson installed SCCCW officers, including new treasurer Mary Sue Barnum. He urged the 300 delegates to “use your convention as a symbol of what is right and good and apostolic.”
The main banquet was highlighted by Sister Mary Joseph’s speech Lafredrick Coaxner. The 13-year-old with the powerhouse voice received a standing ovation. The Amani Dancers also entertained.
The annual Composite Awards went to St. Michael in Garden City (large affiliate), St. John the Beloved in Summerville (medium) and Our Lady of the Lake in Chapin (small). There were other awards presented during the three-day convention, which was dedicated to Elaine M. Roberson. Members also participated in the National Council of Catholic Women’s Doll Campaign.
The 1997 convention was chaired by Elaine Lee and Leslie Woppman of the host Greenville Deanery; Patricia Langston is president of the S.C. Council of Catholic Women.