Affiliates share Catholic social teaching in Wisconsin’s Northwoods

by Pat Ruda, justice and peace coordinator

Justice and peace ministries are thriving all over our county. Just recently, I had the opportunity to see what is happening in Wisconsin’s Northwoods in Webster’s Tri-Parish Catholic churches. Five committee members, affiliates and an affiliate discerner are working in unison to serve their churches in the area of social justice.

I sat down with affiliates Marge McCardle, Erin Fox and Paula Naill as well as affiliate discerner Jane Corrigan and parish member Lynn Radvansky to hear how they are implementing social justice ministries in their congregations. According to Marge, “the initial goal was to acquaint our parish community with the social teachings of the Catholic church.” All in the group acknowledged that this effort will always be a work in progress but the challenge is drawing them closer as sisters in Christ, walking their spiritual journeys together.

The committee developed a year-long plan that includes messaging events, root causes and action steps. The plan for the first year is underway with consistency in their messages and branding. Who knows what year two will bring but the Webster Tri-Parish Social Justice Ministry will persevere.

The web of social justice ministry spans to Adams County in central Wisconsin. Here, affiliate Gail Schultz is using her talents to facilitate spiritual direction, dream groups and discussion groups using the online resource “Living the Questions,” DVDs and other materials on progressive Christianity. She does this out of her rural home where many of these groups would otherwise have no opportunity to study as a group. When I spoke with Gail, she told me she is currently training as a civil funeral celebrant to serve those that may not have access to traditional celebrants.

As so many of the affiliates of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration do, she finds inspiration  — revelation of goodness — in Margaret de Pererio who, Gail states, dedicates her life to bringing goodness and hope to disadvantaged persons, especially Spanish-speaking immigrants. “What is unique about Gail is her enthusiasm and optimism in advocating for people in need.” 

It’s no surprise that by the true good of FSPA, affiliates and so many collaborators, A Revolution of Goodness is spreading fast and far beyond mission assembly.

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