When the National Council of Catholic Women celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2020, the president of the group will be an Elm Grove woman, Jean Kelly.
The current secretary of NCCW, Kelly will be installed as president-elect at the group’s national convention Sept. 6-10 in Dallas. That will be the beginning of a six-year commitment for the St. Mary Visitation parishioner. Kelly will serve two years as president-elect, two years as president and two years as past president.
She should be well-versed for the role, serving as former president of the Milwaukee Archdiocese Council of Catholic Women.
Ending up in spots like that is the norm for Kelly, who was treasurer of NCCW before moving all the way up the organization’s leadership ladder. The MACCW will also celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2020, as the local group, which is an umbrella organization for women’s groups at the parish level, was formed months after three women sent by Archbishop Sebastian Messmer attended the first national meeting in Washington, D.C.
“I felt this is a group that women really need,” Kelly said. “It’s grounded in faith, it’s grounded in our Catholic beliefs and that’s why they’ve been around since 1920.”
Kelly formed a women’s group at St. Mary’s Visitation about 20 years ago, and has served in a number of roles at the parish, archdiocese, state and national levels.
“I see some of the women before me and they have been involved in this a lot longer,” Kelly explained. “I have such a passion for it, and I think maybe they see that. We come up with programs, we come up with resources. We have women that are in different organizations within our organization. We take whatever the bishops want us to expand on for the year.”
This year’s convention theme is “The Joy of the Gospel.”
Some of the “pet” causes of the NCCW, which have trickled down to various dioceses and parishes, are domestic violence, human trafficking and putting young ladies through vocational training (the Vocation Purse Club). Every year, NCCW has a national service project and each state has its own.
The national organization was founded by bishops, and Kelly, in her role with MACCW, regularly meets with Archbishop Jerome Listecki to keep him up to date on what the group is working on.
“It has so deepened my faith,” Kelly said. “I have learned so much about so many things going on.”
The idea that she is carrying on a legacy for the organization is something that is overwhelming to Kelly.
“I think it’s very humbling,” she said. “When I see the women before me, it’s a little overwhelming. That’s one of the things I like about this organization. The woman before me will be the president, and I’ve already been working with her.”
When MACCW held its 97th annual convention in May, the organization awarded two $1,000 scholarships to incoming freshmen Adeline Elizabeth Buechel, who will attend St. Mary’s Springs High School in Fond du Lac, and Grace Hecht, who will attend Divine Savior Holy Angels High School.
For more information or to join MACCW, contact Kelly at 262-797-0937 or go online to www.maccw.com.