More on the Gala- Sr. Mary Cecilia's Experience

andreas and SMC2 People often ask me what externs do and usually the answer isn’t very exciting. Very often my tasks consist of very simple things like grocery shopping or driving sisters to doctor’s appointments. Every once in a while we get to represent the community at a special event, and the First Annual Dominican Nuns Gala was certainly a special event!

Upon arriving at the Grand Summit Hotel, attendees signed in and received their tableassignment. Some of our volunteers were on hand at the registration table and did a wonderful job getting everyone through quickly. There was some time to spend in the Atrium enjoying delicious hors d’oeuvres before moving to the ballroom for the start of the evening.

To be honest I knew that the gala had sold out, but I didn’t really know what that meant until I saw all of the tables and all of the people. It was very touching to see the amount of people who came to support us. As Deb Belfatto, the gala chair, said in her opening remarks, we all had close new friends as it was a tight fit (a good problem to have!). But I don’t think it bothered anyone.

The evening began with Deb Belfatto introducing Martha MacCallum, our excellent Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Both ladies gave touching accounts of how they came to know the community and their friendship and enthusiasm was very evident. Next I gave a word of welcome and thanks on behalf of the community and Fr. Brian Plate, pastor of St. Teresa of Avila Parish, gave the blessing.

We enjoyed a delicious meal and good conversation. Before dessert, Louis Martine (1933-2013) and James Prisco, Sr. and James Prisco, Jr. were honored for sharing their faith, time, talents and treasure with the community. Andreas Widmer then gave an entertaining, touching, and inspiring talk. You could have heard a pin drop in the room as he engaged everyone’s attention with stories of his time with the Swiss Guards, including a moving account of the first time he met St. John Paul II (on his first night of duty, no less). He also spoke of lessons he’s learned as a father and how they helped him grow in his understanding of God. His talk ended with a challenge for us to make good use of the gifts God has given us.

To top off a night filled with good things, The Infernos provided excellent music for dancing. The dance floor filled quickly while others danced in the aisles. It was obvious that everyone enjoyed themselves. It is a testament to the hard work of our gala committee and volunteers and the staff at the Grand Summit Hotel that the evening went so smoothly. We are so grateful to all who attended - may the Lord reward them for their generosity. I was very privileged to attend on behalf of the community and I enjoyed spending the evening with so many friends, both old and new.