June 1-2, 2019    Washington Retreat House, 4000 Harewood Road, NE, Washington, D.C.

Many had arrived the afternoon and evening of Friday, 31 May, while the Executive Committee met.  Greeting each other over supper, we had the pleasure of renewing friendships and catching up on each other’s lives.


Saturday, June 1, 2019

The meeting was called to order at 8:45am after which Father Dawson, Chair of the Spiritual Advisors, led us in an Opening Prayer.  The normal opening procedure of the meeting then commenced with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the USA, Approval of the Agenda, Roll Call, and Approval of the Minutes from our meeting in January 2019.

Most Province Directors and Commission and Committee Chairs as well as the President-Elect, Jean Kelly, had submitted their reports previously which had been shared with the Board electronically prior to the meeting.  We heard reports from the President, Maribeth Stewart Blogoslawski and Immediate Past President, Sheila Hopkins.  These reports are on file and available, as needed.


Following her report, Maribeth, who also serves as our USA representative to the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO) and as Vice President General of that group, indicated that the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Family, and Life had requested that member organizations of WUCWO develop a policy for the protection of children and minors.  Accordingly, Maribeth presented a proposed NCCW policy for the Protection of Children, Youth, and Vulnerable Persons.  This policy was adopted by this Board of Directors on June 1, 2019.


Maribeth next gave a brief synopsis of the WUCWO Board meeting held in Rome from May 15-26, 2019.  During that meeting, the WUCWO Board developed and adopted a 4-year work plan based on the resolutions adopted at the General Assembly held in Dakar, Senegal last October.  They also enjoyed visits to the Dicasteries, Mass celebrated for them by Cardinal Ouelette at the Tomb of St. Peter, a beautiful retreat given to them by Cardinal Tagle based on Gaudete et Exsultate, and a group meeting with Pope Francis after the Wednesday General Audience during which Maribeth, as VP General, had the opportunity to speak with His Holiness.  Rosaries blessed by the Pope were distributed to the NCCW Board members in attendance at this June Board.


We next heard a summary of the highlights of the Province Directors’ reports given by Secretary, Teresa Sarzynski.  We were all impressed with the prodigious work that has been accomplished by our Province Directors and learned of best practices from each other from Teresa’s excellent summary.


A checklist is being developed for new A/Diocesan CCW Presidents and we added to the basic list that had been sent to Board members prior to the meeting.  This checklist will ensure that a new diocesan president fulfills certain duties that will allow her to be in contact with National.


After an opportunity to discuss and comment upon the various reports, we proceeded to a review and discussion of proposed bylaw amendments sent to the Board by the Bylaws Committee.  There were eight amendments proposed, all of which were approved by the Board of Directors.  They include adding the NCCW Executive Director to the NCCW Executive Committee ex officio without vote, submission of proposed bylaw amendments to the membership 45 days prior to the Business meeting rather than the present 60 day notice, clarifying the Nominating Committee reporting process, submission of proposed resolutions to the membership 45 days prior to the Annual Business Meeting rather than the present 2 month notice, clarifying the duration of the break in service between terms for members of the nominating committee who wish to run again from stating that the break be for one complete election cycle rather than the current wording of 2 years break in service, and creating a membership category for ordained Spiritual Advisors.


Following a beautiful Mass in the chapel at the Washington Retreat House and a delicious lunch, we reconvened to discuss four proposed resolutions.  Following refinements, all four were adopted and include resolutions on Suicide Awareness, the Opioid Crisis, Bullying and Harassment, and the Reuse of Products and Reduction of Consumption.


In the afternoon, we walked to Mary’s Garden that had been donated by the NCCW and is located behind the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where our Spirituality Commission led us in the Joyful Mysteries of the new NCCW Rosary for Peace and Healing.


We were then free until dinner and many decided to visit an exhibit at the Mullen Library of the Catholic University of America where an exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Catholic School of Social Work was showcased.  This was of interest because the NCCW was responsible for getting this school well established and we were happy to see much mention made of this.


After dinner at the Retreat House, we gathered on the front steps for a group photo.

Our first evening ended with a social hour and Evening Prayer.


Sunday, June 2, 2019

Following breakfast, we assembled in the meeting room at 8:45 to begin another day of work, prayer, and fun together.

We then discussed topics ranging from our website to our upcoming Convention that will be held in Atlanta from August 21-24.

We next drew the winner of the Convention Contest who will receive free registration and a 5-night stay at the hotel for Convention.  Two more winners were drawn who will each receive a $100 credit toward items in our NCCW Store.


At 9:30am we gathered in the Chapel for a beautiful Mass after which we presented the Sisters of the Washington Retreat House with a lovely framed print of our NCCW patroness, Our Lady of Good Counsel with a small attached plaque that reads, To the Washington Retreat House with gratitude from the National Council of Catholic Women.  During the presentation, the sisters who had been called to come stand in front of the altar, were thanked for providing a haven of peace and friendship for the NCCW Board for so many years.  Father Dawson then extended a special blessing over the sisters.


Back in the meeting room, we watched a video tour of our NCCW Office in Arlington, VA.  Many comments concerning our wonderful staff were made as they appeared in the video.  We are indeed blessed with caring, lovely women who answer all our questions and fill all our requests in rapid time with competence and grace at our NCCW office.  A perfect team!


Andrea Cecilli, Executive Director, then provided an update on our NCCW office and spoke about the 100-year history book being prepared.  It will be a lovely volume full of information and photos.  The inside front cover will be a photo of the 1921 Convention attendees and the inside back cover will be of those attending the 2019 Convention in Atlanta!  Another good reason to attend…


We then heard Rose Martinet, NCCW Treasurer, give her report.  The need for attendance at the 2019 Convention was stressed since we receive a good part of our operating budget from Convention revenue.  Province Directors were reminded that in order to meet the Food and Beverage minimum required for hotel concessions such as the large meeting room at no charges, etc., it is important that the Province Dinners be held in the hotel as they count toward that F&B minimum.  The Treasurer’s Report was accepted as presented.


We then broke into our Commission Working Groups where each spent much time finishing plans for their Convention presentations.  We heard a summary of each group’s work at the Commission Plenary held at 3:30pm.  Their Convention presentations promise to be filled with information and fun.


A brief session followed for discussion, Maribeth expressed her appreciation for all and for the work that our Board has accomplished during this term, and then the meeting was adjourned.


We enjoyed a lovely reception and dinner together and concluded with a beautiful Evening Prayer in the chapel.


This was indeed a time when a great deal of work was accomplished in the company of dedicated Catholic women who worked so well together because beyond being Province Directors, Commission Chairs, and Officers, they are bonded in true friendship.  We worked, prayed, laughed, and cried together and will always treasure this time as one of grace and joy.


May Our Lady of Good Counsel ask her Divine Son to bless you, your families, and our National Council of Catholic Women.






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