Catholic women throughout diocese are invited to convene Oct. 27 in Champaign

The convention speakers are Joann Hillebrand of Oakbrook, past president of the National Council of Catholic Women, and Bonnie Engstrom of Washington, who has a special connectoin to Venerable Fulton Sheen.

Women throughout central Illinois are invited to take a Saturday off and travel to Champaign to share stories of faith, plan for the future, and encourage one another to “cling to the truth of the Catholic faith” at the Peoria Diocesan Council of Catholic Women’s biennial convention. It will be held Oct. 27 at St. Matthew Church, 1303 Lincolnshire Drive.

The theme comes from a quote by Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: “For a woman, love is its own reason.”

Registration and refreshments are planned for 9 a.m. and the opening prayer and welcome will follow at 9:30 a.m. The day also includes a Mass celebrated by Father Robert Rayson, pastor of St. Matthew Parish; a luncheon; and a business meeting and installation of officers.

The convention speakers are Joann Hillebrand of Oakbrook, past president of the National Council of Catholic Women, and Bonnie Engstrom of Washington, who has a special connection to Venerable Fulton Sheen.

Hillebrand continues to serve the NCCW as a member of its 100 Year Celebration Committee and is treasurer of the Friends of NCCW for the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations. She is also president of the East/South Deanery of the Joliet Diocesan Council of Catholic Women.

Engstrom is a writer, speaker, and contributor to Blessed Is She, and has a blog, A Knotted Life. In her blog, she describes the 2010 birth of her son, James Fulton Engstrom, who was without a pulse for 61 minutes. Just as the doctors were about to declare him dead, the little boy bounced back.

She attributes this to the intercession of Venerable Fulton Sheen, whose name had been invoked in prayer throughout the birth and in the days that followed. (For the full story and how James is doing now, go to aknottedlife.com.)

“I just thought, ‘Here we have a local mom who has a direct story of an alleged miracle,’” said Kim Padan, president of the Peoria DCCW. “The whole thing is right here in the heartland of our diocese because of a man who is from our diocese and his intercession, his love for Christ. This is a treasure. It’s a beautiful treasure.”

She said the Engstroms’ story shows “how awesome God is that he continues to perform incredible miracles in our day and time.”

RALLY AS WOMEN OF FAITH

Padan acknowledged that some women would probably have to travel a long distance to get to the convention, but said, “There are always blessings that come when we make those sacrifices.”

She added that this is a good time for Catholic women to link arms and move forward.

“Our church is wounded,” Padan said. “I think it’s so important for us to cling to what is true. God is still sovereign, his Son still loves us, and his church is still the true church, the body of Christ.”

Her hope is that the convention will be “a way for us to rally together as women of faith and say, ‘We’re here for each other. We’re here for prayer and in service of one another.’”

The cost for the convention is $25. To register, send a check made payable to “Peoria DCCW” along with your name, address, phone number, email address and the name of your parish to Jane Harris, 932 W. Oakview Drive, Peoria, IL 61615.

Registration is requested by Oct. 6.

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