Women of St. Francis
Contact: Kay Crawford, President
Mission Statement: This women’s group was formed in 2004 to promote the spirit of unity among the members of the group and the parish as a whole and to foster the spiritual, cultural, educational, social and service oriented life of the parish.
Congratulations Kathy Struna - Catholic Woman of the Year - 2022
The Women of St Francis are delighted to announce that Kathy Struna is our 2022 Catholic Woman of the Year. First awarded here at St Francis in 2006, Kathy is being honored for her tireless work in multiple areas of projects for WOSF and the community, as well as being an exemplary Catholic. Kathy will be nominated to be the Beaufort Deanery’s Catholic Woman of the Year and could be the South Carolina Council of Catholic Women’s awardee as well.
We thank Kathy for her outstanding work, her desire to make a difference and that she does everything out of love for others.
St. Claire Prayer Garden
The Women of St. Francis would like to welcome you to our beautiful Prayer Garden in honor of St. Clare of Assisi, our patroness saint. We hope that you will enjoy visiting the garden to pray, meditate, say the rosary or just enjoy a quiet break in your day.
Dedication of the Prayer Garden took place on April 24, 2021, with a blessing by Reverend Michael J. Oenbrink, pastor of St. Francis by the Sea Catholic Church, but began as an idea of two WOSF members, Dee Judge and Rosa Miriello, who envisioned a beautiful, peaceful outdoor setting for prayer and meditation in honor of St. Clare. Their prayers, hardwork and determination made the prayer garden a reality. The location between the Church and the Family Center was chosen because it allows visitors a place of privacy, beauty, and quiet.
The focal point of the garden is the statue of St. Clare, a gift to the church by WOSF member Mary Ann Bell and her family. It is dedicated in loving memory of their parents, Mary Beth and Bob Schmitt. The statue of St. Clare was hand carved of white Carrera marble in the studio of Franco Spagnoli in Pietrasanta, Italy. Cement benches, a rosary in pavers and landscaping complete the garden, which was made possible by the Women of St. Francis and many generous donors. A list of donors is available in the Narthex. Saint Clare of Assisi was the founder of the Order of Poor Ladies (eventually known as the Poor Clares) and one of the first followers of St. Francis of Assisi.
WOSF Scholarship Awards
On Wednesday, May 26th, The Women of St. Francis honored our 11 scholarship award recipients with a photo and certificate for their accomplishments reflecting Spirituality, Leadership and Service, the three tenets of the Women of St. Francis.
Congratulations to these students, some of whom were very helpful in our wildly successful fundraiser, Soup for Scholarships, selling our decorated bowls and cookbooks over two weekends in March. The Women of St. Francis are happy to be of assistance to our parish school families who desire an excellent Catholic education for their children. We hope to be able to resume our popular soup night on March 2, 2022, to benefit even more school families in the future. Thank you to the parish for their overwhelming support of our event in this very trying year.
Congratulations Ana Vera for being recognized in The Miscellany for heading up the Women of St. Francis Coventry Sewing Ministry! Please click on this link to read the article published in The Miscellany.
Covenant Sewing Ministry: Helping the “Poorest of the Poorest” in Venezuela
Venezuela has been in the midst of a severe political and economic crisis for the past several years. Millions of refugees have fled Venezuela due to extreme levels of unemployment and severe challenges in trying to access daily necessities such as food and medication. Those who stayed are struggling with a worsening economic situation, including a year-over-year inflation rate of 2,400% last year.
A recent census revealed that more than 96% of the population lives in poverty and malnutrition. In 2018, it was reported that most Venezuelans had lost nearly 25 pounds in the previous year. Venezuela’s oil industry, once the country’s primary economic driver, has been reduced to a single producing well.(1)
Ana Vera and her husband are natives of Caracas, Venezuela, and now live on Hilton Head Island. Ana visits friends and family members in Venezuela, and has witnessed the extreme poverty that has so drastically changed their lives. She approached the Women of St. Francis with an idea: “Let’s grow a community of friends and help the ‘poorest of the poorest’” – orphaned children, adolescent girls, and the elderly in Venezuela.
The idea came from Ana’s friends in Memphis, who had organized a group that has been making and sending clothing to Haiti for the past decade. She also has friends in Houston who have undertaken a similar ministry.
The Covenant Sewing Ministry of the Women of St. Francis has 12 members, who work from their homes sewing dresses and other clothing for children and adolescents, along with feminine hygiene kits for adolescent girls and aprons and pillows for the elderly.
While most organizations struggle to get food and supplies to those who need them in Venezuela’s complex political landscape, Ana has assembled an efficient network of locals. Two priests deliver the goods to four Catholic orphanages and schools serving children from ages 1 to 19, including one that houses 300 abandoned, HIV-positive children. A cousin helps distribute goods into bad areas. “It takes a village,” Ana remarked.
But shipping products from the U.S. to Venezuela is an expensive proposition. A single box can cost $160 to $180 to ship from Hilton Head. Ana has discovered that shipping from Miami is half the cost, and her brother can sometimes find people traveling there who are willing to help.
The group is looking for cash donations to cover shipping costs and buy fabric. They would also welcome donations of cotton fabrics – flannel, polished and pique – and coupons for fabric stores like Hobby Lobby. Gently-used children’s clothing is also gratefully accepted. If you can help, please contact Ana at (901) 896-9086. Checks (made payable to the Women of St. Francis), fabric and coupons can be sent to or dropped off at the Parish Office.
The group is especially thankful for a recent $5,000 donation from an anonymous donor. “The Lord has blessed us in so many ways,” Ana said. The Covenant Sewing Group hopes to do the same for the people of Venezuela for years to come.
(1) Center for Disaster Philanthropy, “Venezuela Humanitarian and Refugee Crisis”, November 9, 2020.
The Rosary Makers are comprised of a small group of ladies affiliated with the Women of St. Francis. They make Rosaries for the First Communicants and the RCIA Candidates each year. Additionally, they make Chaplets for the Confirmandi each year. In previous years, they have taught some of the St. Francis Catholic School students how to make simple cord and plastic bead rosaries and plan to resume when advisable. Rosary Makers meet in the Sacristy behind the Main Altar in Church on the 1st and 3rd Thursday afternoons from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. Anyone interested in additional information about our group, please call Audrey McGovern at 843-415-6651.
For a printable Rosary Makers Calendar, please click on this link.
"Cell Phone for Soldiers"
The Women of St. Francis is collecting Cell Phone for Soldiers. All donated cell phones are either:
- Repurposed - Repaired, wiped of data and given to the vets and active military members or sold
- Recycled - If too old or broken, are recycled down to parts and sold for remaining value
- Proceeds - Provide international calling cards and domestic wireless minutes for vets and active military members. Proceeds also provide emergency financial assistance to veterans.
- Remove -your SIM card (instructions in the Narthex) and then see your type of phone below
- IPhone - Click on "Settings", "General", "Reset", and "Erase all content & Settings"
- Anroid - Click on "Settings, Type "Reset" in Search Bar, Click "Factory Data Reset"
- Flip Phone - Remove back of the phone; remove batteries; check model number. Online, go to manufacturing (Samsung, etc.) type in the model number and follow the instructions.
If all else fails, your providers (AT & T, Sprint, etc.) will help you terminate your data.
Please place your phone and chargers in the box in the church's narthex or bring them to a Women of St. Francis' General Meeting. Any questions, please contact Kathy Struna (843)682-4045. Thank you for your support of our military!
Current Volunteer Opportunities: We promote volunteerism amongst our members and have been a resource for other ministries and non-profit organizations locally.