SCCW focuses on community and family life


MYRTLE BEACH — As legislators prepared to vote on gambling, the S.C. Council of Catholic Women was in Horry County, home of the majority of video poker machines in the state, hammering out a positive resolution on community and family life.

Noting that “gambling can be addictive and injurious to the individual and family life,” the group resolved that members educate and caution adults and youth about the dangers of addiction.

“Whereas ‘adult entertainment’ found in night clubs, theaters, bookstores, the Internet and on TV is increasingly prevalent in our society, (it is) resolved that SCCCW members continue to protect their families and communities against such undermining of their moral values by protesting privately and publicly to such business enterprises.”

There were 213 women attending this year’s convention, which is an opportunity for parishioners from across South Carolina involved in their own churches to come together to share their ideas and concerns and to support each other on important issues.

New officers include Province Director Harriet Condon of Charleston, President Monica Symanski of the Columbia Deanery, Recording Secretary Audrey Adduce of the Florence Deanery and Treasurer Mary Sue Barnum of the Columbia Deanery.

After moving to South Carolina in 1976, Symanski and her family became involved at Our Lady of the Hills Parish in Irmo. She started the Women’s Club there and became its first president. In 1987 her family moved to Chapin and became active in Our Lady of the Lake Parish, where she taught second, third and fourth grade religious education classes. She served her church guild as vice president, convention delegate, and Christmas Party chairperson for two years.

She has also served the SCCCW as parliamentarian for two presidents, recording secretary, Organizational and Family Commission chairperson, and as a delegate to the National Council of Catholic Women Convention in Kansas City.

nn Mitchum was presented the award for 1998 Catholic Woman of the Year for her efforts over the past five years, including the doll project for abused children.

She also received the Our Lady of Good Counsel Medal from her brother, Msgr. Thomas Duffy, the keynote speaker at the convention.

n addition, Sister Colleen Waterman of Charleston received the Catholic Religious Award. The award was established by the SCCCW in 1995 and is presented annually to a nun who has made a significant contribution to the Church in South Carolina.

Sister Colleen has spent the last 30 years working with the underprivileged in the diocese. She tutors children at Echo House and is one of the founders of the Neighborhood House on Charleston’s Eastside, where more than 200 homeless people are served lunch in the soup kitchen each day.

Graduating from nurse’s training in 1995, Sister Colleen entered the Sisters of St. Francis of Rochester, Minn., the following year. She assumed various supervisory roles in a 2,000-bed hospital, and she worked with many surgeons at the Mayo Clinic, where her specialty was post-operative cardiac surgical care.

She then requested to go into public health nursing, and her superiors sent her to Charleston to work with Sister Maigread Conway at Echo House in Union Heights. She and Sister Maigread became masters tutor trainers at Laubach Literacy Training in the Trident area, and the sisters also worked with the Summer Achievement in Learning (SAIL) program in the inner city.

Sister Colleen has marched for just wages, against abortion and capital punishment, and has advocated for the homeless, in addition to being a Low Country AIDS volunteer. When Msgr. Duffy was assigned to Our Lady of Mercy Church, she played the organ and, after learning how to play the guitar, taught that instrument to young people.

At the SCCCW Sunday brunch, members learned that $2,355 had been collected from an offering from affiliates in memory of Mother Teresa for the Refugee Women Emergency Fund. A collection was also made for school supplies through Catholic Charities, with the supplies to be distributed to all four deaneries.

Catherine Fleming Bruce, director of the Office of Black Catholic Ministry, was the featured speaker. Following her talk, the Father William Pentis Multi-Cultural Outreach Award was presented to St. John the Beloved in Summerville.

Proposed resolutions from the gathering included one promising participation in the phase of the Synod in special honor of the contributions of Bishop David B. Thompson, and one on legislative and family concerns, including support of a new bill in the state General Assembly titled “The Right to Life Act” which states that the right to life and to protection by the laws be vested in “each human being at fertilization.”

The resolution would also research a bill to amend the Comprehensive Health Education Act to “reduce the incidence of sexual activity among school age children.”