On behalf of the St. John XXIII Parish Women’s Guild, Sue Edwards and a member of the Parish Knights of Columbus offer a donation to a nearby prolife pregnancy center.

Volunteer fuels passion into guild

Fort Myers | When a former special education teacher and a mother of two grown children says her favorite words to live by are from a Philippians Bible quote, you know she is probably a very busy person.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” from Philippians 4:13 are the words that keep Sue Edwards, president of the St. John XXIII Parish Women’s Guild in Fort Myers, going each day.

The unknowing may view a women’s guild as a group of ladies who get together for coffee, companionship, or to kick back and stretch out their legs in good company. This is not the case for the St. John XXIII Parish Women’s Guild, which raised more than $31,000 in one year from bake sales, fashion shows, pasta dinners, Broadway Palm Dinner Theater Ticket sales and their own membership dues.

“One of my favorite events is the fashion show, which is coming up Feb. 22 — it’s a lot of work but it’s worth it,” said Edwards, who admitted it is set up like a wedding and always brings a good crowd.

Edwards moved to Florida five years ago from Chanhassen, Minnesota, with her husband, who retired after working as a meteorologist for the National Weather Service and for the Minnesota Twins. After arriving, Edwards quickly jumped into what she loves most — volunteering at her new Parish as a lector and greeter, attending Bible studies and fundraising.

There are approximately 70 members of the St. John XXIII Parish Women’s Guild, with 30 to 40 attending regular meetings. In the last year they hosted Mornings with Mary; a May Crowning in the Garden; assisted with planning for the 40th ordination anniversary of the Pastor, Father Robert Tabbert; baked cookies for Memorial Masses for those who have lost children; and hosted bake sales for the nearby pro-life pregnancy centers.

“I have some very good support. There’s a couple of others who are also very organized. This job is not something a non-organizer can do, let’s put it that way,” Edwards said. “We started Bingo this year and were able to contribute over $900 dollars to the Parish Social Justice Committee.”

Edwards described this year’s Parish picnic as a huge success with many young families stepping up to manage the planning tasks.

That was really appreciated by Edwards, who admittedly has had two knee replacements, two hip replacements and multiple foot surgeries, but keeps on ticking.

Every few years the nominating committee chooses names for the various positions and terms in the Women’s Guild, and the president and vice president spots are up for grabs this June. Maybe Edwards could bake her famous cookies for the nominating committee.