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Utah Catholic receives NCCW’s top honor

Friday 25 November 2022

Utah Catholic receives NCCW's top honor

Courtesy of Photo/NCCW

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Jeanne Audiss, center, the recipient of NCCW’s 2022 Our Lady of Good Counsel Award, is shown with awards chair Kathi Bonner (left) and NCCW President Pat Voorhes.

By Linda Petersen

Catholic between the mountains

WEST JORDAN — Jeanne Audiss, a parishioner of St. Joseph the Worker, recently received the National Council of Catholic Women’s highest award, the Our Lady of Good Counsel Award, for her “significant and distinguished contributions” to the church, the Council of Catholic Women , their community and the community at large.

She received the award from her friend Pat Voorhes, a parishioner from St. Vincent de Paul who is currently NCCW President, at the organization’s annual conference on November 2 in Minneapolis, Minn.

“It was very special for me to give her this award,” said Voorhes, who has known Audiss for more than 30 years and has worked with her in the organization for most of that time. “She’s the kindest, most thoughtful person I know around here. She always cares more about others than herself. I consider her a really good friend. She is always very considerate and willing to do anything for the council. She is a wonderful person.”

Audiss has been a member of the Council of Catholic Women since 1985. After converting from Methodism a few years earlier, she decided to follow her mother’s example, who was always involved in her church’s women’s group, she said.

“I believe in what they do,” Audiss said of her longstanding association with the Catholic Women’s Council. “They promote women’s leadership, they support service projects in the church community, and they support the development of spirituality for women. I just always thought that was wonderful, because as I got older I discovered that a lot of women in the church felt intimidated and I wasn’t brought up that way.”

Audiss was recognized for the award by Barb Kerouac, President of the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, Sts. Parishioner Peter and Paul.

“She embodies everything a councilwoman is,” Kerouac wrote in her nomination letter. “She loves the Council of Catholic Women organization and is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure it thrives at every level.”

In her letter, Kerouac listed many of Audiss’ contributions, including serving at various levels in the Catholic Women’s Council, working as a mentor and advisor to other members, organizing a bilingual Saturday Mass and Rosary, conducting meetings in her parish, Visiting the sick, carpooling to church and singing in the parish choir.

“The words used to describe this year’s nominee are humility, responsibility, service, forgiveness, friendship, generosity, compassion and spirituality,” Kathi Bonner, chair of the Our Lady of Good Counsel Award awards committee, said of Audiss when she announced the winner of the award at the Audiss convention. “She steps in when necessary, but steps down when the matter can be dealt with more effectively or efficiently. Whatever committee oversees them, there is never an “I”; it is always a “team”. She works with the hands of God and the heart of Blessed Mother Mary while being guided to stand up and help whenever a need arises.”

“It’s very humbling,” Audiss said of the award. “To me, I’m just a farm girl from South Dakota, and I do what I’m supposed to do because God called me to do it, and I don’t see it as anything more extraordinary than anyone else.”

The convention also installed Audiss as director of the NCCW’s San Francisco Province, which serves councils in California, Utah, Nevada and Hawaii. This is the highest position she has held in the organization. During her tenure, she hopes to help revitalize California’s diocesan and archdiocesan councils and encourage young women there to get involved in the organization.

“I think she will be very organized and will pull through,” said Voorhes, who is halfway through a two-year term as national president. “She is very honored to be the Director of the San Francisco Province. She’s very friendly, so she just draws people to her, so she won’t have a problem at all.”

Since joining the Catholic Women’s Council, Audiss has served in many leadership positions at the local, deanery, and diocesan levels. This year, Utah is well represented in the national organization: Audiss is San Francisco Provincial Director, Voorhes is President, and Cathedral of the Madeleine parishioner Amy Kennedy serves as national secretary.

Audiss, Dennis Audiss’ widow, retired from her position as finance director at Catholic Community Services last year. She is the mother of two adult children, a son and a daughter, who live in Salt Lake City.

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