Good evening and welcome to our March 2016 Monthly Members’ Call.
As we gather on the phone this evening to hear about our Leadership Commission, we are at a unique point where the Lenten Season and the Jubilee Year of Mercy have come together, both bearing themes of forgiveness and mercy. Centuries ago, Seneca, a Roman philosopher and statesman wrote, “It is impossible to imagine anything which better becomes a leader than mercy.” So, tonight we have Leadership and Mercy, Lent and the Jubilee Year of Mercy. What great synchronicity!
As members of the NCCW, we demonstrate leadership when we exercise the quality of mercy, a quality that is a hallmark in a particular way of women, almost an innate reflex for us. We can lead noisily with mercy in the midst of the happy chaos of a busy young family or a job -but we also lead quietly and powerfully simply through our example as Christian women, making ourselves, our families, our parishes and communities, and our nation vessels of God’s loving mercy.
In our actions of mercy –which I hope all of you are recording for the Million Works of Mercy –forms are on the website! –we show the leadership of Christ on Earth through our words and deeds.
Our 70 year partner, Catholic Relief Services, has a beautiful prayer that speaks to this and I share it with you now as we begin our call:
God of Mercy,
As you have forgiven us
So you send us forth
To bear your message of mercy to all.
Give us willing feet and gentle hands.
Bless us with listening ears and searching eyes.
Endow us with understanding minds.
Ordain us with compassionate hearts.
In our acts and in our words
Make us vessels of your mercy
To reach out to the broken
On behalf of the Father who wipes away our debts
As lovingly as he wipes away our tears
And calls his children home.
Help us lift your people in body and spirit.
And so make every year a year of mercy.
Now it is my great pleasure to introduce you to the leader of tonight’s call: Lindamarie Richardson-Kelly
Lindamarie is a past President of the South Carolina Council of Catholic Women (SCCCW) and a past President of the Associates of SCCCW.
She has held many elected positions, from the affiliate level to state level along with commission chair positions in the Diocese of Charleston SC, Province of Atlanta, all of which makes her so very well qualified to serve as our NCCW Leadership Commission Chair.
Lindamarie has stated that she firmly believes that women should help other women which is why she is actively involved with Habit for Humanity- Women Build.
They build a home for a low income single mother or a grandmother who is raising her grandchildren. Every year, that home is built completely by women.
She is also a strong supporter of Catholic education. Lindamarie also works with The Poor Clare Monastery, Safe Harbor for abused women, and Animal Care for abused animals,
She is devoted to our NCCW and has attended every NCCW convention since 2000 as well as the last 2 WUCWO Assemblies. I had the great good fortune of being her bus seat mate on our bus trips around The Holy Land at the 2010 WUCWO General Assembly and that is when I had the pleasure of really getting to know this lovely, talented, generous, and gracious lady.
Tonight, she will tell us about the plans for the Leadership Commission for this term. So now I am going to mute my phone and ask all of you to do the same by hitting *6 as we listen to Lindamarie. Thank you.
Lindamarie thanked Maribeth for the introduction and said not to hesitate to ask any questions that we may have. She then proceeded to provide an update on the work of the Leadership Commission.
1. They intend to develop public service announcements that will be aired on EWTN and other radio stations around the country. This will assist in the effort to get our name out there. Lindamarie travels a great deal and always asks women if they are familiar with the NCCW. The sad truth is that women do not know about us. It is expected that the public service announcements will connect us with younger women who are at home with their children, women listening on the car radio, and with retired women. We want to get our Mission Statement out there and all the good resources and projects that we have.
2. We need to push the Million Acts of Mercy and use our website to evangelize. We need to get out there and promote Convention and the great speakers we’ll be hearing there. We want to increase attendance at Convention because as anyone knows who has attended Convention, it is where you see the scope of our NCCW and once you go, you are hooked.
3. Lindamarie then spoke of ways we can support Council and get our name out there:
-Share your Catholic Woman magazine or copy articles from it and give them to women to interest them in Council
-Make copies of Connect and share this at affiliate meetings as well as with other women. Let them see all the good that is done through National at all levels of Council.
-Talk to women who are not members of Council. Share something heard at Convention or read in Connect that would interest them. It is a fact that a one to one invitation is the most effective way to get new members. Do not be discouraged if you are not successful the first time with a lady. Gently try again. Ask them for ideas for projects for your affiliate. Involve them and not only will they join but by involving them, there will be no problem with retention.
-Have fund raisers to send women to Convention. Once you go, you’re hooked!
-Jane Carter has told us to “Be the Voice of Catholic Women” and to wear our title of Council of Catholic Women proudly every minute.
-Pray – Pray – Pray that we are all wise, courageous and loving leaders
-She then reminded us of the Membership Contest
4. The Leadership Commission is also seeking ideas so that our Councils reflect the diversity mix found in our parishes.
-Have a membership drive after a Mass or parish celebration for an ethnicity
-Have an international tea or potluck and share the dishes and learn the cultures. We women love to cook –and eat and talk to each other!
-Ask someone to speak about a special saint of their heritage at a meeting
5. The Leadership Commission is also working on ways to attract younger women (College and High School age) to know about us so they will join.
-Getting information from areas that have successful “junior CCW’s”
-Work with youth groups on their projects. Tell them that your CCW wants to help them.
-Talk to them about Council as you work on projects like Habitat for Humanity Women Build house building
-Get the youth involved in the Million Acts of Mercy
-The Commission will prepare a resource on how to attract and keep younger women
-The Commission has an email: NCCWleadership@yahoo.com
Please send ideas there. Share and pass on information that will help us to attract younger women.
6. The Commission has submitted a Resolution for Convention
7. Leadership Training Development Team (LTD) Information:
-Linda Clark, an LTD team member, said that the team had met at the end of January.
-They are very excited as the program has been updated and restructured.
-They have had very positive reports concerning the custom design of the program for each site. They are asking the women who are going to have the training to select the components (There are approximately 50 different subjects or components from which to choose). This has been very appealing to participants.
-The team is constantly updating the material and now they are exploring different topics that appeal to the younger generation of women (technology developments, etc.).
-They are now in the process of “cycling themselves off” so are looking for new trainers. The information on how to submit the application and a 10 minute video are on the NCCW website. Presently, it is in the About Us section but will be moved under the Leadership Commission section.
-The packet to complete, if a site is interested in hosting a meeting, is also on the website. The forms have all been updated.
-Feedback from sites where LTD has presented recently have been very positive about the content and the professionalism of the trainers. This makes the team very excited about this important program!
-If groups have had the LTD training in the past, it is indeed beneficial to have it again as there are always new subjects and always ways to learn to do something even better.
-The team uses what they learn in one part of the country to help other areas though they are careful to tailor the presentations to the needs of the area.
-Lindamarie said that she had very recently received a call from a lady in Austin who attended an LTD who was so happy and said that she received so much from it. She is going to apply to become a trainer in the program. Linda said that they would welcome her application.
-The program costs $30 per person but $10 goes to NCCW and $20 is retained by the group offering the training. Most professional leadership training costs at least $300/day.
-The LTD training helps women with more than Council; it enhances their personal, family, and job experiences. Among many other things, it teaches one to communicate well.
-The training also has a module that can help when clergy is not supportive of your Council.
-Lindamarie suggested that a schedule listing the locations of the LTD trainings could be posted on our NCCW website so that women who might belong to Councils other than the one specifically offering the training could avail themselves of the training. Linda responded that typically it is up to the host site to publicize the training but that it is a wonderful idea to list the upcoming trainings on the NCCW website with a contact person for each training site.
-Non-CCW and non-Catholic women have attended the trainings. It is a wonderful way to show how Catholic women can be empowered. The trainings make believers out of non-CCW women and we have gained new affiliates from these encounters. They see how they become empowered and how NCCW makes such a difference in our Church and in our society. When they learn of our CRS programs and Cross Catholic programs and of all we do domestically it completely changes our image. We are not just older women that bake for Father. We change families and the world for the better.
-The LTD program is a good place to start with leadership training. The team is a good resource for any questions. It is a wonderful group of Christ-centered women.
-The LTD Team is looking at ways to attract mothers and college students. Find out what interests them. Partner with the Neumann Club on campus. Partner with mothers at schools and help with their projects. Build relationships and assist them. Then you can talk about Council in an informal setting. Attend coffee-time after their meetings.
-Suzanne Erpenbach reminded us that the LTD has a monthly article in Connect and that they try to get to know an area’s needs prior to offering a program there.
-Email address for the LTD Team is: firstname.lastname@example.org
8. Lindamarie said that getting new women to join is all about relationships.
-One to one is THE way to get new members. Talk and smile. Don’t bother them but mention our projects and ask them if they would like to help.
-Offer to pick them up for meetings.
-Once they get involved right away, they won’t leave. It is essential to get a new member involved right away
-Some of our Council members drive 200 miles to attend a meeting; such dedication.
9. Lindamarie then asked if anyone had any additional information to volunteer or any questions.
-Sheila Hopkins again reminded us of the Million Acts of Mercy and of its value as a great opportunity to showcase what we do. It will show the numbers, power and dedication that we have. Pope Francis has sort of revitalized the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. We tend to do these things automatically but we need to record them to demonstrate what we do. Please encourage everyone to do this. Jane Carter who had the idea for this project has volunteered to count each month for us.
-Sheila thanked everyone who is supporting the Young Messiah movie premiere. Most areas have sold out their vouchers for the show. The Daughters of St. Paul have a cinema novena that this movie will touch people and encourage directors and the movie industry to make more of these Christian-centered movies. The novena will be on our website.
-It was noted that our NCCW name appeared at the end of the trailer on TV. This is such a great partnership for us. Sheila responded that advertising us was one of the movie production company’s goals. The lead woman on their team has joined the NCCW. We are thrilled to get our name and message out there to the public.
-Sheila noted that the LA Province will hopefully be reactivated shortly and that we are adding a staff member to assist in updating the website and recording information for the database.
-Connie Gillies said that all her encounters with the staff have been very positive and commented on their responsiveness.
-Lindamarie encouraged all attending the movie premiere to take pictures for our newsletters. She indicated that she had made a packet for all (approximately 300) women attending the South Carolina CCW Convention with information on the Million Acts of Mercy, the Membership Contest, Membership information, etc.
-Lindamarie encouraged everyone to go on the website, so full of great information that is updated often, and become individual members. She urged us to be out front encouraging membership. If we don’t do it, who will?
-Jane Carter said that she is very excited about the Million Acts of Mercy in that it is such a wonderful way to unite our members as we work to achieve a common goal. She said that the idea came to her when she heard Pope Francis say that it was his “fervent desire to embrace the works of mercy.” The words “fervent desire” grabbed her and she hopes that we shall all take the time to send in the forms. The suggestions on the form are just guidelines; please note all your acts of mercy. She intentionally left off the name and diocese as this is a collective effort and so no one will feel awkward writing down what they have done. Some areas are collecting the information at the parish or diocesan level.
-Jane also reminded us that we need to work hard to submit the names for the Our Lady of Good Counsel Award. Please spend a good amount of time completing the form to give your candidate a complete profile for the committee. The closing date will be 25 April. All necessary information is on the form.
The call closed with many thanks to Lindamarie for such an informative and collegial call with great participation.