SALT LAKE CITY — The annual Woman of the Year banquet honored 32 women who work behind the scenes and actively in the parish communities in the Diocese of Salt Lake City.
This year prayers were offered for Monsignor Robert Servatius to get well soon. He is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish and moderator of the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women. Monsignor J. Terrence Fitzgerald, vicar general emeritus for the Diocese of Salt Lake City who accompanies Msgr. Servatius in honoring the women, said he wasn’t going to attempt telling any jokes, as Msgr. Servatius would, because he might not get the punch line right.
"It’s wonderful to honor these wonderful women who represent so much in life, love and sacrifice that goes on in our parish communities," Msgr. Fitzgerald said. "But first I want to say there are two American women who will be raised to sainthood in October, and we should all take great pride in that."
The two are Blessed Franciscan Sister Marianne Cope who spent four decades caring for the lepers on the island of Molokai, Hawaii, where she died. And Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, a native of the Mohawk tribe, who was very dedicated to serving the poor and the sick; she will be the first Native American saint.
Blessed Marianne Cope "brought hope to those who had none," Msgr. Fitzgerald said. "And isn’t that what you women do – bring hope to others in so many ways."
Like the two saints, the Women of the Year were honored for caring for the sick and homebound, teaching CCD, serving meals for parish functions, singing in the choir, for being long-time members of parishes and like Blessed Kateri, honored for converting to the faith and serving others.
Among them are Dora LaVoie of Saint Ann Parish in Salt Lake City, who is the religious education director and has been involved in religious education for 46 years. She also attends Eucharistic adoration every week.
When LuAnn Koch, Mission San Rafael in Huntington, converted to Catholicism, no one was surprised because most people thought she already was Catholic. Stewardship is a way of life for her. She brings a positive attitude to the community, her nomination read.
Shelly Maggio of Good Shepherd Parish in East Carbon converted to Catholicism over 40 years ago and has helped with many projects. She is an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and she and her husband co-chair the Diocesan Development Drive.
Norine Ghiradelli Jewkes has been a life-long member of Saint Anthony of Padua Parish in Helper, where she married her husband 60 years ago. She helps with parish fund raisers, parish dinners and her children are following her legacy of service to the parish.
Nelle Heeney, a 40-year member of Saint James the Just Greater Parish in Vernal, has hosted many priests in her home over the years.
Nancy Goebel moved into the mission Church of Saint Christopher in Kanab 11 years ago and immediately became involved. She planned the 50th anniversary celebration as parish council president and has led the congregation in Sunday celebrations in the absence of a priest. She visits the sick, is a lector and extraordinary minister of communion.
Angie Mittleberger has been a member of Saint George Parish in Saint George for 38 years, where she has been active in all aspects of the parish. Most notably, she was one of four women to start the Thrift Shop.
Toni Foran is the first Saint Paul Center Woman of the Year in Hurricane. She is the center administrator, and it has grown due to her leadership style and endless devotion.
Women of the Year
Shelly Maggio, Good Shepherd
Ramona Valdez, Notre Dame de Lourdes
Norine Ghirardelli Jewkes, St. Anthony of Padua
Carole Ebright, St. Helen
Nelle Heeney, St. James the Greater
Clarice Chapoose, Bl. Kateri Tekawitha Mission
Luann Koch, San Rafael MissionSouthwest Deanery
Marie Mischo, Christ the King
Nancy Goebel, St. Christopher
Angie Mittleberger, St. George
Toni Foran, St. Paul CenterSalt Lake Deanery
Debra Allred, Cathedral of the Madeleine
Terry Budell, Catholic Woman’s League
Tamara Elsbury, Our Lady of Lourdes, Magna
Dora LaVoie, St. Ann
Jan Kofford, St. Marguerite
Tammy Willhard, St. Olaf
Roberta Valles, St. Patrick
Delfia Gutierrez, Sts. Peter & PaulNorthern Deanery
Faith McCardle, Holy Family
Jackie Traynor, St. Joseph
Susanne Thompson, St. Mary
Sue Bedard, St. Rose of Lima
Sonia West, Blessed Sacrament
Ana Durand Palomino, St. Francis of Assisi
Lynn Miller, St. Francis Xavier
Rachel Moore, St. John the Baptist
Emma Serassio, St. Joseph the Worker
Sandra Black, St. Martin de Porres
Millie Ortiz, St. Peter
Beverly Dusserre, St. Therese of the Child Jesus
Barbara Maughan, St. Thomas More