A Thomson woman was elected Vice President of the National Council of Catholic Women at a national convention in Atlanta recently. Shirley Radican is the first person from Thomson to ever hold a national position.
"It's such a big honor. It's within the Catholic Church, but it's a big honor just to be involved on that level like that," said Father Edward O'Connor, priest at Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Thomson.
The NCCW was founded in 1920 by U.S. Catholic Bishops to unite and strengthen Catholic women's organizations, thus giving national scope to their work and influence. Ms. Radican said the mission statement of NCCW is to support, empower, and educate all Catholic women in spirituality, leadership and service. The Council currently consists of more than 5,000 affiliated Catholic women's organizations in parishes and dioceses all across the nation, according to Ms. Radican.
Ms. Radican said the NCCW is also a member of the World Union of Catholic Women's Organization, é─˙so it's a world-wide thing." Officers are elected by all members, and hold their position for two years. There is one president, and three vice-presidents who preside over regions of the U.S. divided into thirds.
é─˙I'm in charge of region three, which is the eastern third of the United States. So I'm going to be doing some traveling," Ms. Radican said.
The position is volunteer and will take a lot of time, but Ms. Radican said she will enjoy the travel involved because she used to be a travel agent.
é─˙It's one of those non-paid type things that your heart has got to be in it, but it's a very worth-while choice," she said.
In 1989, Ms. Radican became involved with NCCW by attending a deanery meeting from Queen of Angels in Atlanta. At the meeting, Ms. Radican said they were asking for volunteers.
é─˙My husband always said that I didn't know how to keep my hand down" she said. é─˙They were asking for volunteers, and I always volunteer."
Before she was elected Vice President of NCCW, Ms. Radican was Family Commission Chair in her parish, then Province Director over South Carolina, Savannah, and Atlanta. It is her spirit of not keeping her hand down that Ms. Radican wishes to spread to other Catholic women during her reign as Vice President.
é─˙Personally, I'm a big advocate of volunteerism and charity work. I think that our younger generation has lost that. So many people say é─˙what's in it for me?" But, to me, my goal for the next two years is communication and membership. I want to get more young women involved in the church and the church charitable work," she said.
On a local level, Ms. Radican said Catholic women at Queen of Angels are involved helping the needy at Milledgeville state hospital, Safe Homes of Augusta, Refugee Women and Children, in the local prisons, and through the St. Vincent De Paul Society.