Madison Catholic Woman's Club spring celebration Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Mary C. Uhler, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, May. 16, 2019 -- 12:00 AM
sr. alice torres
Sr. Alice Torres of the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago  talks to the women. (Catholic Herald photos/Mary C. Uhler)

MADISON -- Members and guests of the Madison Catholic Woman’s Club were reminded of God’s mercy through the speaker at their 105th annual Spring Celebration and the recipient of the club’s annual Christian Achievement Award.

Gail Yellen-Shiring, chairperson of the club’s Spiritual Committee, pointed out the connection to God’s mercy in the opening invocation of the event, held May 6 at the Blackhawk Country Club in Madison.

A mission of grace and mercy

She noted that Dr. Michael Kloess, the award recipient, “carries out a mission of grace and mercy every day.”

He founded Our Lady of Hope Clinic 10 years ago to provide a full range of primary medical care to member patients. Those member fees, as well as community donations, support the clinic’s work of providing free medical care to the uninsured.

Yellen-Shiring noted that about one in nine Wisconsites go without health insurance. “Many are working poor whose jobs don’t provide insurance,” she said.

Dr. Kloess has provided free physician visits to nearly 8,000 uninsured patients in the past 10 years.

He also provides fertility care with a pro-life model, Natural Procreative Technology (NaPro), a women’s health science that monitors and maintains a woman’s reproductive health. “He has provided hope to many couples,” said Yellen-Shiring.

He and his wife, Laura, have seven children and are members of St. Mary Parish, Pine Bluff.

In accepting the award, Dr. Kloess noted that 40 percent of the clinic’s budget comes from donations and grants. For more information on the clinic and how to help, go to

The Madison Catholic Woman’s Club itself gave over $18,000 in donations to Church and community programs. This included $1,000 to Our Lady of Hope Clinic.

Chopped winner speaks

Sr. Alicia Torres, a member of the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago, shares God’s love and mercy with people in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, one of the poorest in the city.

She is perhaps best known outside of Chicago for being a winner on the television cooking show, Chopped. She competed with other soup kitchen chefs from around the country. She won $10,000, which she used to provide home-cooked meals for the people at the Mission of Our Lady of Angels.

Sister Alicia’s enthusiastic personality came through in her talk, which focused on the importance of sharing the love of Christ with others.

Sister Alicia has lived for 10 years in her Chicago neighborhood. “We hear gunfire outside our windows,” she said. “People don’t know how to love one another.”

Besides her work in the food program, she also teaches at Our Lady of Angels School. She said very young children coming to her classroom have experienced violence and drugs in their lives.

“In my classroom, I have a large crucifix with Jesus’ arms spread open. We believe that love is a choice for the good. God asks each of us to do something.”

She pointed out that St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “The greatest poverty is not to know we are loved.”

After experiencing a head injury, Sister Alicia said she was forced to slow down after 10 busy years doing pro-life work. “I was constantly on the go. I was forced to slow down and to think and pray. The Lord helped me learn that prayer is everything. I fell in love with the Rosary and pray it every day.”

And, she said, “I received one of the greatest graces of my life. I realized God loved me.”

She said there is hope through the power of the Resurrection. “Jesus is real. He is alive.”

She urged people to enter into a deeper reality of love and gratitude.

At the beginning of the school year, she drew a small heart on the blackboard in her classroom. She told her students, “Jesus helps our heart to grow bigger and include the whole world. We must let our hearts expand and expand.”

She reminded the women that we’re all headed to heaven, but “we have to make choices every day” to get there.

Club membership

At the Spring Celebration, the Madison Catholic Woman’s Club recognized its 22 new members.

The club welcomes new members. For more information, go to

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