Benedictine Sisters bring Catholic Relief Services CEO to Benedictine College

Woo speech Sept. 20 is part of Fellin Lecture Series

Carolyn Y. Woo, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, will present “Common Ground, Uncommon Excellence” at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., this fall.

She will speak at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20, in O’Malley-McAllister Auditorium at the college. The lecture is open to the public at no charge.

Woo’s speech is part of the Mary L. Fellin Lecture Series, sponsored by the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica. The series is intended to support the liberal arts orientation of Benedictine College from a feminine perspective through lectures presented by distinguished women. Woo’s lecture is the 19th in the series which began with a lecture by Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, in 1997.

Catholic Relief Services is the official humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States, established in 1943 by U.S. Catholic bishops to serve survivors of World War II in Europe. Woo has led the agency since 2012.

Previously, she was dean of the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, and associate executive vice president for academic affairs at Purdue University.

Woo was born and raised in Hong Kong, educated by the Maryknoll Sisters and immigrated to the United States to attend Purdue University for undergraduate and graduate studies. She holds a doctorate from Purdue, where she was a member of the faculty and served in administration.

Woo served on the Catholic Relief Services board of directors from 2004 to 2010. She was one of five presenters in Rome at the release of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment this summer.

The Mary L. Fellin Lecture Series

The series is named after Mary L. Fellin, a woman who had devoted her life to others.

Mary grew up in Marshfield, Mo., one of 12 children. She earned a nursing degree from St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Mo., and became a private duty nurse.

Later, she purchased a five-and-dime store near the town square in Marshfield, Mo., where she operated Mary’s Variety for more than 30 years. A just and service-oriented storekeeper, she held her customers in high regard, provided children with penny candies and served with a smile. Her frequent blessing: “Be happy.”

Her generous donation to Mount St. Scholastica upon her death aids the Mount in its sponsorship of Benedictine College. The goal of the fund is to support the liberal arts orientation of the college from a feminine perspective through lectures presented by distinguished speakers.

Past lectures are:

2014, Combating Trafficking: A Call to All for Action, Kimberly Ritter

2013, Atchison Blue: A Writer’s Search for What Really Matters, Judith Valente

2012, Reading the Scriptures with the Mind, Eyes and Heart of a Woman, Barbara Reid, OP

2011, Catherine of Sienna, A Woman for Our Times, Nancy Murray, OP

2010, Christ and the Earth, Prepare to be Astonished, Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ

2009, Economic and Social Justice: The Vision of Catholic Social Teaching, Amata Miller, IHM

2008, Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible, Mary Irene Nowell, OSB

2007, Dialogue of Hope: The Future of Catholic Relations with Muslims, Sandra T. Keating

2006, Benedict, Francis, and Thomas: Contributions to Environmental Ethics from a Catholic, Christian Perspective, Jame Schaefer

2005, Responsibility of an Artist in View of 9/11, Diane Couture, SSJ

2004, Seeking Understanding in an Expanding Universe, Aileen A. O’Donoghue

2003, The Life that Matters: One Woman’s Perspective, Kathleen Norris

2002, God of the Bars and the Brothels: One Woman’s Journey, Edwina Gateley

2001, Resurrection, the Body and You, Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ

2000, Strange Attractors: Leadership and Spirituality, Vicki Bergkamp, ASC

1999, The Catholic Liturgical Tradition: Remembering Who We Are, Mary Collins, OSB

1998, Justice by the Numbers: Pensions, Prisoners and Ice Hockey, Mary W. Gray

1997, The Gospel Mandate: “Love One Another As I Have Loved You,” Helen Prejean, CSJ