MYRTLE BEACH—Faithful women have a lot to offer in today’s troubled world by showing God’s mercy to the less fortunate and the true meaning of the Gospel to women struggling in their spirituality.
Participants learned to take up these challenges at the 86th annual convention of the South Carolina Council of Catholic Women held March 11-13 at the Marina Inn at Grand Dunes in Myrtle Beach.
The convention drew 130 women to discuss and listen to talks on “Called to Serve God’s Children with Mercy and United in Love.” Attendees were invited many times during the weekend to reflect on the Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis and to seek ways they can carry out acts of mercy in their daily lives.
The weekend offered time for prayer, worship and fun.
The women prayed a rosary together on March 12, with each person reciting one of the prayers and everyone reflecting on the sorrowful mysteries. Oratorian Father Fabio Refosco, spiritual adviser for SCCCW, celebrated Mass and offered blessings as the group’s new officers were installed.
At the awards banquet on March 12, Margaret “Peggy” Moulton of the Greenville deanery was named the South Carolina Catholic Woman of the Year. Moulton lives in Greenville and attends St. Mary Church. A native of Minnesota, she was one of 13 children raised in a faith-filled family. She majored in elementary education at Minnesota State University and taught for several years before marrying her husband Jim Moulton in 1965. The couple have five children and seven grandchildren.
Moulton moved to Greenville several years ago to be closer to family and is involved in many activities at the church, including a prominent role in the women’s club, where she served as president from 2012-14. She is an active volunteer at the monastery of the Poor Clare Sisters in Travelers Rest, where she does everything from prepare food to help upkeep the gardens. She also has volunteered as a Guardian Ad Litem for children and has helped raise funds for programs at Bon Secours St. Francis Health System in Greenville.
Sister Kathleen Kane of the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur was named Religious Woman of the Year. She currently serves as pastoral associate at St. Francis by the Sea Church in Hilton Head.
Neither Mrs. Moulton nor Sister Kathleen were able to attend the convention because of prior commitments, but their accomplishments were hailed by those present.
The other ladies named Catholic Women of the Year for their deaneries were Denise Parsick in Beaufort, Kathryn Park in Charleston, Barbara S. Lux in Columbia, and Alice Tingler in Myrtle Beach.
Each year, the women select a charity to support and this year they raised more than $8,000 for Camp Rise Above, a Charleston-based program that offers summer camp activities for children with serious illnesses and disabilities.
Donna Tyson, an author and motivational speaker who lives in Surfside Beach, gave a moving presentation about how faith in God can carry women through even the darkest times in their lives. Tyson talked about how God showed His grace to her during some of the most difficult times in her life, including her father’s death, her mother’s illness, watching her son struggle with substance abuse and finally her own recent battle with cancer.
“God has given us the universal gift of His love, and who more should be walking in happiness than women who know the Lord?” Tyson asked. “No matter what is going on, I know who my Redeemer is. I know how to live above the circumstances and remember that we serve a powerful God. There were times I didn’t know if I was going to take my next breath, and those times brought moments where I became incredibly aware of God’s mercy and overwhelmed at His goodness.”
Tyson said that the only way to live a full and holy life is to embrace the beauty of giving and showing mercy, and she urged the women to realize there are different chapters in life,and the only way to embrace a new one is to let go of what came before.
“You can’t let the past chapters define you now,” she said. “You need to be capable of changing and living the holy life you are meant to have. Whoever is in your life now are gifts in your life for this chapter, but they don’t define you. Your spirit is who you are.”
Marybeth Hicks, a Savannah-based author and columnist for Catholic Digest, spoke about the need for women in SCCCW and other organizations to deal with dwindling membership rosters by reaching out to women in the pews at their parishes. She said many women today feel adrift in their faith because of busy lives and a culture they increasingly see as alien to values they were raised with and are trying to share with children.
“Stop organizing and start evangelizing,” she said. “Look for the woman who is at Mass but just going through the motions. She’s so busy that she might not be able to give you a lot of time initially, but she needs you to give her something. She needs your wisdom.”
All photos by Christina Lee Knauss/Miscellany
Top photo: Donna Tyson, author and motivational speaker, signs a book following her presentation March 12.