Catholic women celebrated at SL Council of Women gala

Friday, Mar. 30, 2012
Catholic women celebrated at SL Council of Women gala + Enlarge
Ida Brunatti (seated), Linda Itami (left), Rosalie Mirabelli, Cynthia Bestvina, Ann Bero and Janet Geyser are Catholic women associated with the Salt Lake Council of Women. These women have served as officers and delegates from the Catholic Women's League and the Italian American Civic League.  IC photo/Christine Young

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake Council of Women celebrated its 100th Anniversary Gala at Little America Hotel Feb. 25, during which Hall of Fame members and past presidents were honored.

Among those honored were Catholic women who have been members of the council for many years or are affiliated through council’s clubs. The council has had as many as 55 clubs and now has 40. Every five years the council elects outstanding women from these clubs who have given 25 years or more of community or civic voluntary service in communities along the Wasatch Front.

"The Salt Lake Council of Women is made up of about 200 women," said Cathreen Stevens, council president. "The council assists in other women’s organizations’ community service efforts as well as our own, which are the International Peace Gardens and Utah Youth Village, a program for troubled children."

Among the clubs that belong to the Salt Lake Council is The Catholic Woman’s League (CWL). Emma McCornick Bird, who served as the first CWL president from 1916 to 1928, was inducted into the Salt Lake Council of Women Hall of Fame in 1933.

CWL members Roselee Norwood and Helen Struble were inducted in 1973 and 1983, respectively.

Five years later, in 1988, CWL member Margaret May, a Cathedral of the Madeleine parishioner, was inducted into the Hall of Fame, followed by CWL members Ida Brunatti and Ann Bero in 1998. Brunatti is a member of Saint Ann Parish. Bero, a former CWL president and council delegate, is a Saint Catherine of Siena/Newman Center parishioner. Brunatti and Bero also are members of the Salt Lake Council of Women.

CWL member Jacqueline Roblez, a Saint Vincent de Paul parishioner, was honored as a past president of the council from 1995 to 1996.

Saint Ambrose parishioner Linda Itami served as a council chaplain and as a CWL delegate; she also served as a delegate for the Italian-American Civic League, which also belongs to the Salt Lake Council of Women.

Numerous women’s clubs in Salt Lake City are affiliated with the council, and have acted on important issues such as libraries, parks, Girl Scouts, public health, city beautification, smoke pollution, women’s legislation and social welfare.

In 1947, the International Peace Gardens became a reality on the west side of Salt Lake as a result of the council’s efforts. The council’s past presidents’ sole focus is on fundraising for and maintaining the Peace Gardens. Every year in August they have an international celebration.

"I enjoyed the gardens growing up," said Salt Lake City Councilman Van Turner during the gala. "My favorite was the Japanese section and the Little Mermaid from Copenhagen, Denmark. Many people have had their wedding photos taken there; they celebrate their birthdays, graduations, engagements and other events. It’s just a super gathering place."

During this year’s gala, a woman seeking refuge at the YWCA was awarded a scholarship to Salt Lake Community College (SLCC). The funds donated by the council were matched by SLCC. The woman was selected from among other mothers in the YWCA’s long-term transitional housing program. The council’s fundraising efforts, along with the SLCC contribution, will allow the woman to attend classes for a year with more fundraising in the works to increase the length of her education.

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