Fifteen Women Honored for Their Inspiration
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
November 9, 2023
ROCKFORD—The Rockford Deanery Council of Catholic Women changed things up this year for its 30th annual Catholic Women of the Year celebration.
Normally an evening banquet event, this year’s Nov. 4 celebration began with late morning Mass celebrated by Bishop David Malloy at St. Rita Parish in Rockford. The Mass was followed by the distribution of awards to each inspiring woman before everyone migrated into the parish’s Wahl Hall for a catered luncheon buffet featuring beef, salmon, vegetarian lasagna and trimmings.
2023 Women of Inspiration of the Rockford Deanery
St James:
Karen M. Snyder
Durand/Irish Grove
St. Mary/St. Patrick:
Shirlee Jasien

Loves Park
St. Bridget:
Donna C. Wagner

St. Mary:
Lori Ann Bonar Peterson

Cathedral of St. Peter:
Socorro Heim
Holy Family:
Mary Rita McCarthy
St. Anthony:
Bernice Maggio Brown
St. Bernadette:
Joanne DeCastris
St. Edward:
Irene Grzelecki
St. James:
Sheila Antosch
St. Patrick:
Angelica Becerra
St. Rita:
Sue Knuth
St. Stanislaus Kostka:
Marzena Domyslawski
SS. Peter and Paul:
Prisma Galarza

South Beloit
St. Peter:
Debra McGinniss
The changes kept costs down, deanery organizers said. They noted also the advantages of holding the event earlier in the season (avoiding bad weather) and earlier in the day (no night driving). And people, they said, appreciated the inclusion of a Mass as an important part of honoring those women of faith.
Bishop Malloy has become something of an expert at Women of Inspiration events, and about the women he noted that “their tremendous examples of faith … all of this in so many ways is a reflection … of the reality of that Eucharistic Revival. It really does adhere to what it is we are honoring here this morning.”
He said, for example, that “so many of the women as we read (about) why they’ve been chosen, they are essentially connected to the Mass … to this reality that is beyond human symbolism …
“We are to enter into a personal relationship with Christ in the Eucharist … because He is here to be received, to be talked to. How many times the women of inspiration, as we hear about them, are known for their time of prayer in their parishes … Our women so often reflect in love and joy that reality that transforms that to that personal relationship as they pray for themselves, they pray for their families, they pray for their parishes, they pray for their priests, and how great it is!”
Perhaps the quality mentioned most often in women of inspiration is their service.
“We are transformed, we become like (Jesus),” Bishop Malloy said, “and if we become like Him one of the main things we have to do is be engaged in works of charity, in works of service, because that’s what Christ did … the whole story of the women of inspiration comes down to the service that they are known for and that have motivated others to say, ‘This would be someone we for our parish would like to present on a morning like this.’ 
“So ladies … thank you. Thank you for what you have done, how you have done this, the way that you have constantly contributed to the life of the Church. … 
“On a morning of inspiration, to all of you ladies, thank you for what you are doing.”
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