CWR partnered with the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) for a May 3 Zoom panel discussion on successful collaboration between communicators and leadership. Thanks to the panelists, facilitators and all of the participants who joined us from around the world. If you were unable to join the live session, the webinar recording is now available:
The panel was composed of a communicator and member of leadership from three different congregations. Panelists shared experiences, expertise and best practices from the point of view of both communicator and leadership.
UISG is a worldwide, canonically approved organization of superiors general of institutes of Catholic women religious. Based in Rome, UISG offers regular programs, meetings and publications to assist members in their development as leaders of religious congregations.
Elise Garcia, OP
General Councilor, Adrian Dominican Sisters (Adrian, MI)
Elise García, OP, a member of the General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, previously served as the Congregation’s Director of Communications and Technology. She focused on Communications when Communications and Technology were separated into two departments. Before moving to Michigan in 2011, Sister Elise and Carol Coston, OP, had founded and directed Santuario Sisterfarm, an eco-spirituality center outside San Antonio, Texas, dedicated to cultivating biodiversity and cultural diversity. The organization established Sor Juana Press, which published such titles as the Dominican Women on Earth series and Drawn by Love, the history of the Dominican Congregation of St. Catherine of Siena of Mosul, Iraq. Sister Elise has served as Director of Communications and Development for St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas; Vice President for Membership and Media Communications for Common Cause in Washington, D.C.; and as consultant to numerous national and regional non-profit organizations. She was elected to the presidency of LCWR in 2019 and is currently serving as president.
Director of Communications, Adrian Dominican Sisters (Adrian, MI)
Angie Kessler became Director of Communications for Adrian Dominican Sisters in 2016, when Elise was elected to the Congregation’s General Council. The prior 10 years were spent as editor of the Diocese of Toledo’s newspaper, the Catholic Chronicle. Angie began her career as a journalist for the Daily Telegram in Adrian covering religion and education, which first introduced her to the Adrian Dominicans. The majority of her career has been working for non-profits – including Director of Development for one of the Adrian Dominicans’ schools. Her work has included many aspects of communications and development: grant writing, event planning, marketing, and publications. Angie found her way back to the Adrian Dominican Congregation, where she sees her work as a ministry supporting the Sisters’ Mission rather than a job.
Eileen McKenzie, FSPA
President, Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (La Crosse, WI)
Sister Eileen McKenzie, who has ministered as a nurse, researcher, and acupuncturist, is currently serving the FSPA community as president. Her ministries have taken her throughout the United States and West Africa, and for the past 15 years, she has been centered in the upper Mid-west, serving in St. Paul, Minnesota, and more recently La Crosse, Wisconsin. She founded FSPA Community Acupuncture and was a founding member of Integrative Therapies of La Crosse, a collective of holistic practitioners dedicated to making their services affordable and accessible for people in the region from 2010 to May 2020. She has a bachelor’s degree in nursing, a master’s degree in oriental medicine and has completed a predoctoral fellowship in clinical research. Sister Eileen has devoted time and energy for many health, justice and mission service-oriented organizations both locally and internationally, and is particularly interested in the intersection of social justice and healing movements. She is enamored by Franciscan spirituality and an ardent discerner of Pope Francis’ call to create cultures of encounter.
Communications Director, Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (La Crosse, WI)
Jane Comeau serves as communications director for FSPA, a position she’s held since 2007. In her role, Jane works collaboratively with the FSPA Leadership Team, along with several teams charged with advancing the organization’s mission. During her time with FSPA, Jane has worked with four leadership teams and is grateful that partnership has always been valued; FSPA recently called it out as a key value and shared with all FSPA Partners in Mission: We empower the spirit of teamwork to strengthen relationships in support of mission and ministry.
Rebecca Ann Gemma, OP
Prioress General, Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois
Sister Rebecca Ann Gemma is in her second term of leadership as prioress general of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield and was first elected to leadership as a member of the general council in 2005. She is on the Dominican Sisters Conference Planning Committee, is a member of the LCWR national board, and the Sponsor Board for Franciscan Calais Ministries, the ministerial juridic person of Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System.
Beth Murphy, OP
Communication Director, Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois
Sister Beth Murphy is the communications director for the Dominican Sisters of Springfield and has been in church communications for most of her religious life. She has also served as a director of diocesan communications, works collaboratively with Dominican communicators, and served at the national level through a Hilton Foundation Grant to produce and publish multimedia resources for vocation ministers in the English-speaking world.
Patrizia Morgante – Communication Officer, UISG
Rob Cogswell – Director of Communications, Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange (CA)