Archdiocese honors 10 ‘Women of Faith’
New Catholic award will be an annual tradition for outstanding local women
Friday, October 31, 2014
Tom Tracy – Florida Catholic
AVENTURA | They are involved in parishes, schools, fundraising efforts, special projects and ministries, not to mention a plethora of wider community volunteerism.
In some cases, they had a similar track record of excellence and contributions at former parishes up north.
On Oct. 26, Archbishop Thomas Wenski and the Archdiocese of Miami honored 10 outstanding women from across the region for their work, dedication and commitment to the Church with the first ever “Women of Faith” awards luncheon.
The event, which is expected to become an annual recognition program, was held at Turnberry Isle Hotel in Aventura. The proceeds will support Catholic education locally.
All of the women were endorsed by their pastors and selected by Archbishop Wenski, who gave each one a religious Woman of Faith pendant and a larger medallion. The latter will be passed down to next year’s recipients, to continue the tradition.
Each of the awardees was also associated with a particular Catholic virtue and a corresponding patron saint for that virtue.
“Women play a vital part and special role in the Church; it has been that way since the very beginning,” Archbishop Wenski said, quoting St. Pope John Paul II, who wrote in his 1995 letter to women: “Thank you every woman for the simple fact of being a woman; you enrich the world’s understanding and help make human relations more honest and authentic.”
“I hope this event will become an institution in the archdiocese,” the archbishop said.
The 10 Women of Faith award recipients are:
Barbara Romani of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Doral: nominated by her pastor, Father Israel Mago, for the virtue of faith whose corresponding patron is St. Faith. Romani was among the first new families to register at her parish where she still plays a very active role. She is an ecclesial lay minister, a member of the pastoral council, and chair of the finance council. In 2008, Romani received the archdiocese’s highest honor, the Primum Regnum Dei award.
Marie Ludwick of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Lighthouse Point: Her virtue is grace and her patron is Our Lady of Grace. Ludwick was a choir member at St. Paul for over 20 years, and has been a stalwart contributor to all the church’s fundraising efforts, most notably the ABCD (Archbishop’s Charities and Development). She was also very active in charitable and church organizations in the New York area before moving to Florida.
Carol Ann Coyle of St. Gregory Parish in Plantation: nominated by her pastor, Father Michael Hoyer, for the virtue of humility, her patron is St. Anthony. Coyle has spent more than two decades volunteering at St. Gregory School, organizing, planning and implementing activities for the students. Other activities have included the parish walk-a-thon, golf tournament and grand auction. She is a founding member of the Crusader’s Circle, a major fundraising effort to support church renovation.
Sally Russomanno of St. Louis Parish in Pinecrest: nominated by Mary Blanco, dean of primary education at St. Louis Covenant School, her virtue is love and her patron is St. Valentine. Russomanno has been a volunteer for more than 20 years, serving as a classroom teacher, religious education teacher and spiritual leader. Currently, she leads the Little Disciples Program at St. Louis Covenant School and also teaches religious education to first graders.
Swanee DiMare of St. Hugh Parish in Coconut Grove: nominated by Douglas Romanik, principal at Archbishop Curley Notre Dame Prep, for the virtue of radiance, her patron is St. Lucy. Her service to the school includes supporting technology, capital improvements, and cafeteria upgrade projects and chairing their Hall of Fame annual event. Recently, DiMare was inducted into the high school’s Hall of Fame, and is an active community volunteer with local nonprofits including Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens.
Christina Wells of Archbishop Edward McCarthy High School in Southwest Ranches: nominated by her principal, Richard P. Jean, for the virtue of youth, whose patron is St. Maria Goretti. Three years ago, Wells created the Hugs for the Homebound ministry, encouraging student teams to visit 45 homebound members of her parish, St. Gregory in Plantation. She also established an endowed scholarship fund for Archbishop McCarthy High School, which raised $7,500 its first year. Wells has also been an altar server and lector for the Sunday night teen Mass at St. Gregory.
Wini Amaturo of St. John the Baptist Parish in Fort Lauderdale: nominated by her pastor, Msgr. Vincent T. Kelly, for the virtue of wisdom, whose patron is St. Sofia. Amaturo and her husband established both the Amaturo Family Foundation and Joseph and Winifred Amaturo Education Foundation, through which they support many local charities that serve Catholic programs, education and children in need. This year, she is excited about introducing Catholic students to Junior Achievement of South Florida, a high school program that strives to help students develop and encourages their continued education.
Ada Armas of Epiphany Parish in Miami, for the virtue of compassion, whose patron is St. Francis of Assisi. Armas is co-founder of the Leadership Learning Center at St. John Bosco Church in Miami, an after-school program for elementary and middle school children in Little Havana. She also volunteers with Catholic Charities’ New Life Family Shelter, a transitional housing shelter with 15 private units for dispossessed families with children.
Marile Lopez of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Miami: nominated by Federico Padovan at Immaculata-La Salle High, for the virtue of charity whose patron is St. Vincent de Paul. She is a mother of five and has supported both Sts. Peter and Paul elementary and Immaculata-La Salle High School, as well as Msgr. Edward Pace High School in Miami Gardens, where she is establishing a scholarship program. She also serves in a leadership role with the Florida chapter of the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (CALL).
Jacqueline De Souza of St. John Neumann Parish in Miami: nominated by her pastor, Msgr. Pablo Navarro, for the virtue of motherhood, whose patron is the Virgin Mary. From her family in Jamaica, De Souza learned to help the local nuns make hosts for the Mass, and with the guidance of her father graduated from Immaculate Conception High School in Kingston. She has attended Emmaus retreats, marriage enrichment weekends and Life in the Spirit seminars. She has been involved in parish religious education, as a eucharistic minister, and served as treasurer and president of the Women’s Club.