Women religious of Quad Cities region celebrated, appreciated

ROCK ISLAND — Nearly 40 women religious from six communities were thanked and celebrated during an evening in their honor on May 24 hosted by the Faith in Action Committee of St. Pius X Parish.

“Thank you for your ministry to the church, your service to the poor, to children, to youth, the elderly, those who are hospitalized, the homebound, battered women — for all the work that you do,” said Msgr. Mark Merdian, pastor of St. Pius X, in addressing the honorees seated with guests throughout Farrell Hall during “Celebrating Women Religious,” a local observance of the Year of Consecrated Life.

The catered dinner followed a vespers service at the church.

Msgr. Merdian prayed that God would reward the women religious for their years of dedicated service “and especially for the example they have set for us in the world.” Some in attendance professed vows more than 65 years ago.

Twenty-one of the honorees were Benedictines based at St. Mary Monastery in Rock Island. Ten were from the Davenport, Iowa-based Congregation of the Humility of Mary, and other communities represented included the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George, the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, and the Religious Sisters of Mercy.

The dinner featured an ice cream sundae bar for dessert. Entertainment was provided by musicians Lydia and Tina Olson, members of St. Pius who play the harp and flute.

Carolyn Bileddo, one of the event’s organizers, encouraged other regions in the Diocese of Peoria to host similar “thank-you” celebrations as the Year of Consecrated Life declared by Pope Francis continues through Feb. 2, 2016.

“To me, they deserve a big pat on the back,” Bileddo said of women religious. “All of us were recipients of their courage, strength, goodwill and ideas.”

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PHOTO CAPTION — Those honored at the “Celebrating Women Religious” evening at St. Pius X Parish in Rock Island pose (with a cardboard guest) for group photo. The banner behind them reads “Because you answered God’s call, the world is a better place.” — Catholic Post photo by Robin Heiar

More photos from the evening will be posted on The Catholic Post’s Facebook page.

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