Sinsinawa Mound site of women’s convention Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by By Jane Lepeska Grinde   
Thursday, Apr. 26, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

SINSINAWA -- All women of the Diocese of Madison are invited to attend the 64th annual convention of the Madison Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (MDCCW) at the historic Sinsinawa Mound on Wednesday, June 13.

Grant Vicariate CCW President Janet Block, St. Clement Parish, Lancaster, chairs the convention and is working with fellow parishioner Bernadette Schaefer, who will assume the MDCCW presidency at the convention.

Beautiful site

Both women are excited about the plans that are in place and “look forward to a great convention. While located in the far corner of the diocese,” they say, “the beautiful Mound is worth the drive.”

Not only is it beautiful, said Schaefer, but the Mound is historically significant because of its founder, Venerable Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli, who played an important role in the spiritual development of Southwestern Wisconsin.

According to the Sinsinawa website (, the Dominican priest from Italy established many local parishes, designing and building more than 24 churches and civic buildings before his death in 1864 at the age of 57.

In 1993, Pope John Paul II declared Father Mazzuchelli Venerable, and efforts are underway for his canonization as a saint.

Sinsinawa has a special place in Schaefer’s heart, since she attended the all-girls St. Clara Academy at Sinsinawa before it closed in the 1970s. The school was founded by the community of Dominican Sisters established by Father Mazzuchelli in 1847.

The Mound continues to be the Motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters and includes housing for retired Sisters and Sisters who work in the offices. The complex also includes Queen of the Rosary Chapel, book and gift store, bakery, retreat center, and concert venue.

‘Joyful Disciples’ theme

Reflecting on the convention theme of “Joyful Disciples,” MDCCW Spiritual Advisor Msgr. Duane Moellenberndt, Sun Prairie, wrote in the MDCCW newsletter, “We know that the closer we are to the Lord, the more this mood of joy can be ours, even in the midst of chaos and challenges in our life.

“We need support to be able to attain this joy. One of the opportunities to gather in support of one another is the MDCCW convention. This is a wonderful opportunity to gather as Catholics at the home of the Dominican Sisters for a day of renewal.”

Co-Presidents Suzanne Koch, Berlin, and Ellen Martin, Westfield, will convene the business meeting at 9 a.m. to be followed by Mary Pedersen, director of Adult Faith Formation for the Dubuque Archdiocese, who will speak on “Women Called to Missionary Discipleship.”

Mass will be concelebrated at 10:45 in the Queen of the Rosary Chapel with Monsignor Moellenberndt; Fr. William Vernon, pastor of St. Clement Parish, Lancaster; and other attending priests.

The spiritual advisor will install officers after Mass with lunch to follow.

In the afternoon, Joanne Pohland, director of Catechetical Services for the Dubuque Archdiocese, will speak on “How Jesus Encounters Women and Calls Them Forth.”

Speakers work together

Pohland and Pedersen work together for the Archdiocese of Dubuque to promote discipleship. They recently conducted conversations and focus groups with women of the archdiocese, including members of the CCW.

Pedersen has a Master’s of Theology in Religious Studies from Loras College and a Doctorate of Ministry in Preaching from the Aquinas Institute of Theology. She promises “a spirited presentation,” to keynote the convention.

She said, “In The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis summons all the baptized to missionary discipleship. Jesus continually encountered and then sent men and women on mission. As women of God, we are to encounter others and bring them to Christ.”

Pedersen’s doctoral thesis, “Parents as First Preachers: Naming Grace in the Domestic Church,” reflects her passion for her faith and parenting. The wife, mother of six, and grandmother of eight, she hosts a website at She speaks and writes on topics of faith, evangelization, discipleship, women’s issues, and the domestic church.

Pohland’s afternoon session will focus on the practical ways that the Council of Catholic Women can help women to answer the call as missionary disciples.

Married and the mother of four and grandmother of one, Pohland has a Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Studies from the University of St. Thomas. She has served in parish and diocesan settings for over 30 years, including as a volunteer, director of religious education, youth minister, school principal, and liturgy and music coordinator.

In her current position, she offers planning and administrative help to parish faith formation leaders. She has been active with the parish, diocesan, and the National CCW.

Raffle, silent auction

An annual fundraiser for MDCCW is the convention raffle. Among the prizes are $300 cash, Holy Spirit Basket, Madonna statue, Sinsinawa gift shop card, two Badger football tickets, and Fireside Dinner Theater gift card.

Raffle tickets are $5 each or five for $20 and are available through parish councils. For more information, contact Judy Lyons at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

A silent auction will also be held at the convention.


All parishes have received registration information, which is also on the MDCCW website ( Deadline for registration is June 1.

Registration cost is $25 for first-time attendees and $35 for others. Fee must accompany the registration form to be mailed to Grant Vicariate Treasurer, Andrea Block, 241 W. Pine St., Lancaster 53813.

For questions, contact Jan Block, phone 608-723-7978 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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