Utah Catholic receives NCCW's highest honor

Friday, Nov. 25, 2022
Utah Catholic receives NCCW's highest honor + Enlarge
Jeanne Audiss, center, the recipient of the NCCW 2022 Our Lady of Good Counsel Award, is shown with award chairwoman Kathi Bonner, left, and NCCW President Pat Voorhes.
By Linda Petersen
Intermountain Catholic

WEST JORDAN — Jeanne Audiss, a St. Joseph the Worker parishioner, recently received the National Council of Catholic Women’s highest honor, the Our Lady of Good Counsel Award, for her “significant and outstanding contributions” to the Church, the Council of Catholic Women, her parish and the community at large.

She was presented with the award by her friend Pat Voorhes, a St. Vincent de Paul parishioner who is the current NCCW president, at the organization’s annual conference on Nov. 2 in Minneapolis, Minn.

“That was pretty special for me to be able to give that award to her,” said Voorhes, who has known Audiss for more than 30 years and has worked alongside her in the organization most of that time. “She is the kindest, most thoughtful person that I know here. She is always more concerned about others than herself. I consider her a really good friend. She is always very considerate and willing to do anything for council. She is a wonderful person.”

Audiss has been a member of the Council of Catholic Women since 1985. After she converted from Methodism a few years earlier she decided to follow the example of her mother, who was always involved in the women’s group at her church, she said.

“I believe in what they do,” Audiss said of her long involvement with the Council of Catholic Women. “They promote leadership among women, they support service projects in the Church community, and they support developing spirituality for the women. I just always thought that was a wonderful thing to do because as I started maturing I was discovering that a lot of women felt intimidated in the Church, and I wasn’t raised that way.”

Audiss was nominated for the award by Diocesan Council of Catholic Women President Barb Kerouac, a Sts. Peter and Paul parishioner.

“She exemplifies everything a council woman is,” Kerouac wrote in her nomination letter. “She loves the Council of Catholic Women organization and is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure it flourishes at all levels.”

In her letter, Kerouac enumerated many of Audiss’ contributions, which include serving at various levels in the Council of Catholic Women, along with being a mentor and adviser to other members, organizing a bilingual Saturday Mass and rosary, conducting meetings in her parish, visiting the sick, giving shut-ins rides to church and singing in the parish choir.

“The words used to describe this year’s nominee are humility, responsibility, service, forgiveness, friendship, generosity, compassion and spirituality,” Our Lady of Good Counsel Award Committee Chair Kathi Bonner said about Audiss as she announced the winner of the award at the convention. “She steps up when needed, but steps back when the matter can be taken care of in a manner more effective or efficient. Whatever committee she oversees there is never a ‘me;’ it is always a ‘team.’ She works with the hands of God and the heart of the Blessed Mother Mary as she is guided to step up and assist whenever a need occurs.”

“It’s very humbling,” Audiss said of receiving the award. “To me, I’m just a South Dakota farm girl, and I do what I’m supposed to do because that’s what God calls me to do, and I don’t see it as anything more extraordinary than anybody else.”

At the convention Audiss was also installed as the director of the NCCW San Francisco province, which serves councils in California, Utah, Nevada and Hawaii. This is the highest position she has held in the organization. During her time in office, she hopes to help revitalize the California diocesan and archdiocesan councils and to encourage young women there to become involved in the organization.

“I think she will be very organized, and she will follow through with everything,” said Voorhes, who is halfway through a two-year term as national president. “She is very humbled to become the San Francisco province director. She is very friendly, so she just attracts people to herself, so she will have no problem at all.”  

Since joining the Council of Catholic Women, Audiss has served in many leadership positions on the local, deanery and diocesan level. This year, Utah is well-represented in the national organization: Audiss is director of the San Francisco province, Voorhes is president, and Cathedral of the Madeleine parishioner Amy Kennedy is serving as national secretary.

Audiss, who is the widow of Dennis Audiss, retired from her position of financial director at Catholic Community Services last year. She is the mother of two adult children, a son and a daughter, who live in Salt Lake City.

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