Church Women United install officers, honor woman of year

SALEM – Officers were installed and the Woman of the Year was honored when Church Women United met recently at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church.

Sister Mary Ann McFadden from St. Paul Catholic Church was honored as this year’s Woman of the Year. She was nominated and selected because of her dedication to human rights and as a person who works to ensure that these rights are realized with dignity and respect for all individuals.

Sister Mary Ann grew up in Toledo with her mother Virginia and older sister, Kathy. She moved to Cleveland and attended Notre Dame College where, in her junior year, she entered the Sisters of Notre Dame in Chardon. Her first years were spent teaching English to mostly high school sophomores and juniors. She also directed high school plays for a number of years.

In 1996, Sister Mary Ann began working as a director of religious education at St. James Church in Warren. She continued her work as a church minister in Canton for seven years and then began working at St. Paul in Salem in 2003. For the past 15 years, much of Sister Mary Ann’s work has included both religious education and working with the poor and/or marginalized. Her parish in Canton, St. John the Baptist, was situated in the downtown area and hosted a weekly hot meal served to the growing number of city dwellers. Sister Mary Ann got to know them and their stories and began trying to find ways to address their needs.

Coming to Salem in 2006, Sister Mary Ann was faced with a new challenge: working with the Hispanic community in the area. She continued with her work as religious educator, but found herself more and more involved with Hispanic ministry. Her religious community, the Sisters of Notre Dame, was committed to helping the poor and those who were underserved as well as educating people, especially women and children. Therefore, Sister Mary Ann’s work was totally in line with the community’s goals and commitments and she found support from her sisters.

With the help of her pastor, Father Bob Edwards, and the Youngstown Diocese, Sister Mary Ann, along with two Spanish speaking helpers from the diocese, opened Centro San Pablo on Feb. 23, 2014. The center is located on the ground floor of the St. Paul parish office building next to the church. Open two days a week from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the center offers the Hispanics many activities in English and in Spanish. English is taught daily and help is always available to assist with bills, applications, school matters and other business items. As the center grows, so will the offerings and presentations and activities. Sister Mary Ann hopes to continue her work in Salem and eventually retire in the community’s Provincial House convent in Chardon.

CWU officers installed include: Pat Wilde, president; Penny Lippiatt, first vice president; Sue Motherwell, secretary; Sandy Blankenship, treasurer; Laurel Todd, assistant treasurer.