CWR Board members in Racine. Standing from left: Jennifer Brandlon, Sister Patricia Lenihan, RSC; Sister Maxine Kollasch, IHM; Carol Scheiber, Stephanie Manseau, Janice Parrott, Stephanie Hall, Jean Merry, Kathy Gatliff, Cecilia Rupell, Jane Strittmatter. Front from left: Sister Angela Szczawinska, CSFN, and Sister Annmarie Sanders, IHM. Not pictured: Sister Beth Kress, PBVM, and Spalding Hurst.

Dear CWR Friends,

In the interest of keeping you informed, the Communicators for Women Religious Board of Directors shares highlights of our monthly meetings. The Board met in person at Siena Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin, May 14–18.

Jane Strittmatter prepared and led the opening and closing prayer for each day.

Minutes from the April 3 board videoconference were approved.

CWR Board Chair Kathy Gatliff presented a report from the Executive Team.

Sister Beth Kress, PBVM, shared an update from the Nominating Committee. CWR is actively seeking nominees for board service. Please contact Sister Beth Kress, PBVM, if you are interested. There will be four board vacancies at the end of this year.

Nick Schafer presented highlights from the Executive Director’s report:

  • Nick will be attending the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation grantee convening Oct. 3–6 in Long Beach, California. He will attend the first day of the CWR conference and then travel to the Hilton gathering.
  • Graphic designer Allan Johnson is working on a membership folder and other printed pieces for CWR. Nick shared samples.

Cecilia Rupell shared an update on the planning for CWR’s 24th annual conference Oct. 2–5, 2018, in Fort Worth, Texas. Registration materials will be printed and mailed soon. Cost information for this year’s conference has also been posted online. Reserve your hotel room now at the Sheraton Fort Worth Downtown.

Jane Strittmatter presented information from the Scholarship Committee. The deadline for scholarship applications to attend the 2018 conference in Fort Worth, Texas, has been extended to June 30. Also, the board voted to include three nights’ accommodations at the hotel as part of the scholarship. For more information

Stephanie Manseau and Stephanie Hall have begun the work of co-chairing the 2019 Conference Committee, reaching out to possible presenters. CWR’s 25th anniversary conference will be Oct. 1–4 in Mesa, Arizona. The committee is also looking for up to four new members. Interested? Contact Stephanie Manseau at

Jane also shared the Marketing Committee report. CWR will be a Diamond Level sponsor at the LCWR Assembly this year. The committee is also getting ready to launch an online apparel store for CWR.

Jennifer Brandlon presented an update from the Membership Committee, which is planning the orientation for this year’s conference. The Membership and Marketing committees will be collaborating to develop a membership survey.

Bylaws changes: The board voted to approve a proposal for bylaws changes, which will be sent to members for a vote prior to the conference.

Finance presentation: Nancy Gonsiorek, CPA, shared information with the board on reading finance reports and provided a check list for board financial oversight. The board also reviewed the first quarter financial reports including profit and loss compared to budget and balance sheet.

Cycling with Sisters: Sister Maxine Kollasch, IHM, and Stephanie Hall are looking at the future of this event as a possible large-scale awareness campaign. They are preparing a draft of a plan for the June 26 board meeting.

On Wednesday, the board and staff participated in a “Guide to Great Governance” workshop led by Michael Steinberg. The full-day interactive presentation and discussion served as a board evaluation and development session. Each participant received a “Fostering Dynamic Boards” packet.

At the end of the day, Annmarie Sanders, IHM, and Carol Scheiber presented liaison reports from LCWR and NRVC.

On Thursday, the board…

  • Continued working on the “guiding questions” from the “Fostering Dynamic Boards” packet.
  • Scheduled meetings through the end of this year.
  • Approved a proposal from the International Outreach Committee (Sister Angela Szczawinska, CSFN, and Sister Patricia Lenihan, RSC).
  • Heard a report from CWR Ireland presented by Sister Patricia.
  • Participated in a “Think Big” group discussion, including a review of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Catholic Sisters Initiative future direction.
  • Discussed board succession planning and length of board terms.

Next Board Meeting: Videoconference Tuesday, June 26 at 11 a.m. Central

CWR 2018 Board of Directors
Kathy Gatliff, Chair
Jennifer Brandlon, Vice Chair
Jean Merry, Treasurer
Stephanie Hall
Spalding Hurst
Maxine Kollasch, IHM
Beth Kress, PBVM
Patricia Lenihan, RSC
Stephanie Manseau
Janice Parrott
Cecilia Rupell
Jane Strittmatter
Angela Szczawinska, CSFN
Annmarie Sanders, IHM, LCWR Liaison
Carol Schuck Scheiber, NRVC Liaison

CWR Staff
Nick Schafer, Executive Director
Susan Oxley, Coordinator