Fr. Richard Gielow, CM, national spiritual advisor, installed officers and the board of directors for 2017-2018. Suzanne Johnson of Los Angeles will be president; Debbie Chadwick of Nashville will serve as president-elect. The secretary will be Peggy Keene of Pittsburgh, joined by treasurer Victoria Shoaf of St. John’s University. Regional vice-presidents Karen Radu (Mid-Atlantic); Mary Nell Williams (North Central); Irene Siedlarczyk (Northeastern); Mary Cay Murray (Southern); and Theresa Ward (Western) and the directors from the respective regions were also installed. Following Mass, there was a gala cocktail hour and dinner where we viewed the first part of “Acting with a Vincentian Heart”, a documentary about the Ladies of Charity; our history, our work, and our future. The film is being produced by Joan Ball, Ph.D., St. John’s University, and her husband Martin, who spent the spring traveling around the United States filming and interviewing LOC.
The assembly offered several opportunities to consider the theme, Ladies of Charity, Woman of Mercy. Sr. Regina Bechtle, SC, spoke on praying with the spiritual works of mercy, saying that a Vincentian heart knows that prayer and service become one when our eyes are fixed on Jesus. In the second major address, Meghan Clark, Ph.D., a faculty member at St. John’s University, discussed the essential connection of mercy and justice. Several current board members also presented information on best practices for local associations, including two exciting new LCUSA projects: Mission Market involving selling fair trade items; and Ladies of Charity Caregiving which would establish and maintain centers around the US for the purpose of training and hiring home care workers to work in local communities.
The 400th Anniversary of Ladies of Charity is in 2017 and opportunities for celebration were discussed. We will gather in Kansas City, MO September 7-10, hosted by LOC of Metropolitan Kansas City, for this most festive occasion.
LCUSA is greatly indebted to the St. John’s University Association and the Northeast Region for planning and hosting an outstanding Assembly, chaired by Natalie Boone and Marge Cashin. We also thank outgoing President Mary Ann Dantuono for her truly outstanding leadership these past two years in which much was accomplished to advance the mission and growth of LCUSA.