Speakers and Workshops for Assembly 2014

assembly-brochure-1Sr. Germaine Price, DC, will speak on Vincentian spirituality and how it is connected to the theme of the assembly. Sr. Germaine was a missionary in Burundi, Puerto Rico and Romania, and for the past eight years has been a representative of the Daughters of Charity at the United Nations.

Kathryn O’Dell will lead a workshop titled Family Caregiver: A Path of Love, Not of Choice. Many families are the primary caregivers for a child, disabled member or frail aging parent or spouse. This workshop will help listeners understand the strengths and weaknesses of families who experience this journey, what resources are needed to sustain their efforts and how Ladies of Charity associations can support family caregivers.

Lynda Markut, education and support coordinator for Southeastern Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Association, will lead a workshop titled Caring Too Much? Laughing Too Little? Laugh for the Health of It! When caregivers lose their sense of humor, they need help. In this presentation, there will be a review of the impact of both stress and humor on the body. Humor is a good antidote to caregiving stress. This lays the groundwork for accepting a lifestyle that includes more humor. Humorous stories and exercises will be offered to help participants reframe situations to add more humor to caring. Toys, laughter and humorous quips will be utilized to help attendees experience the benefits of adding more humor to their lives.

Franciscan Peacemakers Deacon Steven Przedpelski and Carmen Mojica will present Systemic Change at the Local Level: Meeting the Face of Christ. Ladies will learn about the presenters’ outreach to women, men and children who engage in prostitution on the streets of Milwaukee. They do this by being a consistent presence in neighborhoods where prostitution is occurring. They offer a simple bag lunch, personal care items and an invitation to leave the streets behind and enter a place of healing. Economic opportunity is offered through Gifts for the Journey: A Social Enterprise Lifting Women out of Poverty. There will be an opportunity to purchase soaps produced by this ministry.

Gerri Sheets-Howard, executive director of the House of Peace; Julie Darneider, director of the Marquette University Legal Clinic (located at the House of Peace); Herb Hayden, director of the Adult Learning Center; and Vida Langenkamp, board chair of the Adult Learning Center will present a panel discussion. Following the guidelines of the International Association of Charities, the international organization for LOC, when we meet the needs of individuals we need to organize and coordinate our charities. The House of Peace and the Adult Learning Center exemplify how specific services can change the lives of those in need. A spiritual dimension sets the House of Peace apart from other social service agencies. The Marquette Clinic pairs volunteer attorneys with volunteer law school students to provide legal information and referrals. The Adult Learning Center provides motivated adults with basic education, life-long learning opportunities and resources to transform their lives and contribute to their communities in the spirit of the teachings of Jesus and the principles of social justice.

An Advocacy Workshop will simulate the first step in advocacy, moving from a problem to an issue and from discussion to advocacy. A panel of family caregivers will identify ways they offer loving care but also how the system creates burdens rather than benefits. Using the “pastoral circle” model of social analysis, those present will develop a plan that an association could follow to create an educational awareness day leading to advocacy for family caregivers.

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