Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Catholic business women’s group continues to provide members with connections, support, spiritual growth

by Bonita Lawhead, Inland Register staff

(From the Feb. 5, 2004 edition of the Inland Register)

The Catholic Business and Professional Women’s club, founded 53 years ago, is primarily about connections.

Five years ago, a friend who was a member asked Kathleen Green of Spokane, now the club’s president, to join. Member Helen Kading of Spokane invited Karen Hathaway, who lives in Deer Park, to a meeting a couple of years ago. Both Green and Hathaway joined the club, finding the connection with other business and professional women enjoyable.

That’s one of the major reasons women have given for joining the club, founded in 1951.

It started with Jean Thorpe. She believed it was important for Catholic women who were in the workplace to get together for spiritual growth and mutual support.

As stated in the club’s brochure, the object is “to bring together in closer union the Catholic Business and Professional Women of Spokane; to create and further an interest in Catholic action among ourselves and for the enhancement of the Catholic community; to continue our philanthropic purpose of granting two or more college scholarships to young ladies of the Spokane Catholic Diocese.”

When the organization began, Jesuit Father Erwin Toner was the moderator. When he was assigned elsewhere the next year, the post was given to then Father (now Monsignor) David Rosage, at that time assistant pastor at St. Ann Parish in Spokane. He remained the moderator for over 50 years, retiring from the post last year.

In 1959 Msgr. Rosage started Immaculate Heart Retreat Center. Club members at that time volunteered many hours getting the center ready for opening day.

Currently there are 45 members, but more are always welcome. The club meets at Rockwood Lane in Spokane on the fourth Saturday of each month, to enjoy lunch and fellowship. Women who might like to know more about the group are invited to attend one of the meetings. The next is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 28.

Meetings follow a general format. The priest-moderator gives a spiritual talk, followed by a program on a topic of interest; at their January meeting, members learned about the work of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. In December a Mexican seminarian in Spokane attended the meeting to tell about the Christmas customs in his country.

The women hold two fund-raisers each year, one just before Christmas and one in the spring, with the proceeds awarded to young women pursuing a college education for a professional career. The fund-raisers not only raise money, Hathaway said, “they are fun, too.” Members also participate in an annual day of recollection to prepare for Lent.

Kading has been a member for about 15 years and currently serves as treasurer. She joined, she said, because she felt she “needed to get acquainted with more Catholic business women.” In the years since then, many of those women have become friends. “It’s a way of getting together,” she said. Another bonus is that the club enables her to meet members of other churches.

Hathaway also wanted to become acquainted with other Catholic business women. She makes the drive from Deer Park for the meetings each month, finding the connections she makes with members enjoyable and even beneficial. Since she moved to Deer Park from the west side of the state, she also enjoys learning the history of this area.

Green strongly believes in the purpose of the Catholic Business and Professional Women. She said it’s “a place that says ‘we’re Catholic.’ (The club) is needed in the workplace for Catholic women.” She sees it as helping women “withstand the stuff that goes on in offices” and other workplace environments. She extends an invitation to all Catholic business women to “come see what we’re about.”

(Women who would like more information or who would like to attend a meeting can call Green at (509) 484-3023 or Kading, 624-5577.)

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