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Catholic women encouraged to take leadership role

LisHendey cracks up as Aurorresident Arline Hoban says she's waiting for woman president Saturday during Rockford Diocesan Council Catholic Women

Lisa Hendey cracks up as Aurora resident Arline Hoban says she's waiting for a woman president Saturday during the Rockford Diocesan Council of Catholic Women biennial convention Saturday at Holy Angels. Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media

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Lisa M. Hendey, founder of, lives in Fresno, Calif., with her husband and two sons.

Her popular blog features more than 140 contributing columnists and attracts visitors from 180 countries. Author of “The Handbook for Catholic Moms” and “A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms,” she also hosts two award-winning podcasts, Catholic Moments and Faith & Family Live.

Last spring, Hendey was invited to Rome for the first-ever Vatican Bloggers Meeting, which attracted 150 writers from around the world. She has also toured Israel with the Catholic Press Association as a guest of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.

She is a frequent speaker across the country on topics of Catholic faith, family, new media, personal productivity and healthy living.

More information about Hendey is available at and

— Nancy Strunk Kirby

Updated: May 21, 2012 8:02AM

AURORA — Catholic author, blogger, speaker and mom Lisa Hendey encourages women of faith to step outside their comfort zones and say yes to leadership roles in the church.

“While our first instinct might be to say no, remember that God equips us with the skills that we will need,” Hendey told members of the Rockford Diocesan Council of Catholic Women during their biennial convention last weekend at Holy Angels Church in Aurora.

“When I started out, I felt I was the least equipped to do this,” Hendey added. “I went to the library and got a lot of the ‘books for dummies.’

“Part of my reality is accepting that we learn as we go,” she said. “I don’t let it stop me that I’m not going to be the best at things I’m new at.”

Over the last 13 years, Hendey has become a media powerhouse and popular Catholic speaker. She is founder and webmaster of, which was launched in 1999 and draws visitors from around the world. She is also author of “The Handbook for Catholic Moms” and “A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms.”

More than 50 women gathered at Holy Angels to hear Hendey’s keynote address, “A Catholic Woman in Today’s World” and have their books signed following her presentation.

Hendey encouraged the active parishioners to be involved in faith outreach in their home churches.

While 28 percent of Americans describe themselves as Catholic, she said, one-third of adults raised in the church no longer identify themselves as Catholic. About 25 percent of young adults don’t affiliate with any religion, she added.

Churches can keep young people involved by giving them a sense of place and purpose, such as inviting them to teach technology tools to older members, Hendey suggested.

“Our teens have so much societal pressure on them,” she said. “What they need from us is real love. Let them venture into the church using the skills they have.”

In addition to Hendey’s afternoon address, the day-long convention included a business meeting, Mass, luncheon, fundraisers and a morning session on using the Internet and social networking as faith-building tools.

During morning Mass, three Aurora women were installed as officers of the Rockford Diocesan Council of Catholic Women: Mary Glosson will serve as president, Sherry Spinelli as first vice president and Carla Limbaugh as secretary for a two-year term.

The convention drew women from across the diocese including Cathy Vendemia of St. James Catholic Church in Belvidere. The women’s group in her parish is raising money to help build a new church.

Her group also supports the St. James Catholic School and Knights of Columbus. “We believe in unity of community,” Vendemia said. “We hope to raise a lot of money over the next few years.”

By day’s end, the women at the convention had raised more than $800. Proceeds will support various charities of the Rockford Diocesan Council of Catholic Women.

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