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50th Biennial Texas State 2017 Convention




The Catholic Daughters of the Americas®
50th Biennial Texas State Convention ~ April 20-23, 2017

“Everything is possible to the one who has faith”
Mark 9:23

Feature Story and Photos by Terrie Vacek,
State Public Relations Chair, 2015-2017

Day One, THURSDAY, April 20, 2017

Adorned in purple and gold, and busy as a bee, members of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas® (CDA) across Texas gathered in Corpus Christi’s American Bank Center with joy and anticipation of the 50th Biennial State Convention and the 100th Anniversary celebration of the State Court. Like diamonds in the rough, CDA sisters have emerged with brilliant beauty and endurance since the mother court of Texas was instituted in 1909. It was like a family reunion bursting out in the Omni Corpus Christi Hotel lobby with delegates, clergy and guests registering for the April 20-23 convention.

The 2017 State Convention Committee Officers - State Convention Chairman Mellie Smithwick, Co-Chair Minnie Dennis, Events Vice Chair Patsy Cantu, Registration Vice Chair Dorothy Villarreal, Liturgy Vice Chair Iris Hinojosa, Hospitality Vice Chair Bertie Almendarez, Convention Secretary Susie Saenz, Convention Treasurer Rosie Rodriguez and each of their committees did an outstanding job that was greatly appreciated by all attendees.

State Regent Eve Trevino, Corpus Christi; First Vice State Regent Rosie Stockwell, Edinburg; Second Vice State Regent Melodie Brunt, Texarkana; State Secretary Becky Brown, Angleton; and State Treasurer Terri Beltran, El Campo together with Convention Committee Members Patsy Cantu and Mary Lou George of Corpus Christi were hosts of the State Board Luncheon held at the Corpus Christi Omni Hotel.

State Regent Eve Trevino presented the 2015-2017 officers (State Secretary Becky Brown, First Vice State Regent Rosie Stockwell, Second Vice State Regent Melodie Brunt and State Treasurer Terri Beltran) with a Certificate of Appreciation, a “pink gift bag” and a Centennial Anniversary History Book.




Special recognition was given to State Chaplain Reverend Bob Dunn, Pastor of Most Precious Blood, Corpus Christi; National Regent Elect Olga Samaniego, El Paso; National Director Carolyn Bachmann, Scotland; all sixty-two (62) District Deputies and forty-six (46) State Chairs.










Every member of the state board received a Certificate of Appreciation, a pink bag containing a Texas CDA Cross and various gifts of gratitude for their amazing service to CDA Courts across Texas.

Outreach State Chairman Fran Stegge was presented the Saint Bernadine of Siena Court Development Medal issued at the 2016 National Convention, PA

Convention Parliamentarian, Past
State Regent Carolyn Malik,
received a Certificate of Appreciation.


A CDA ‘Commemorative Blessing Bell’ charm was presented to State Public Relations and State Website Chairman Terrie Vacek in appreciation of her contributions in restructuring the state website and creating the 100th Anniversary History Book of the Texas Catholic Daughters, “A Journey of Unity and Charity in the Lone Star State.”

Following a healthy and beautifully presented meal, State Regent Eve Trevino took center stage for the viewing of a PowerPoint with highlights of her journey on the State Board.




On behalf of all state board members, each of the state officers shared a “favorite memory” as they presented Eve the gifts of gratitude purchased with the donations from district deputies and state chairmen. The VIP luncheon concluded with a group sing-a-long and photo.



State Newsletter Editor Rosie Rodriguez was on hand for every event of the convention providing AV/PowerPoint Support.

Following the luncheon, State Chairmen and District Deputies attended the following Committee Meetings: Rules, Timekeepers, Courtesy, Monitors, Resolutions/Bylaws, Credentials, Minutes Approval, Pages, and Nominations/Elections.




The beautiful and historic Corpus Christi Cathedral was host to the Opening Mass of the 50th Biennial State Convention of the Texas Catholic Daughters of the Americas® held on April 20, 2017.

Most Reverend Wm. Michael Mulvey, Bishop of the Corpus Christi Diocese, was celebrant of the Opening Mass and was assisted by CDA State Chaplain Reverend Bob Dunn and twelve (12) local court chaplains across Texas.










Members (Sir Knights) of the Knights of Columbus, Fourth Degree Assemblies from Corpus Christi, Alice, Sugar Land and Houston served as honor guard. Reverend Pedro Elizardo served as Master of Ceremonies. The altar servers were from St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish, Alice.





Bishop Mulvey shared in his homily that “We are often called “fools” for the beliefs we have as Catholic Christians. But it is that “faith” that gives us life and peace. Only the Risen Christ can give us that.



The two Mary’s at Christs death experienced “fear,” and “discouragement” was evident in the lives of those making the journey on the road to Emmaus. These illustrations mirror the fear and discouragement of our world today. Yet Christ said, “I am here, do not be afraid.” It may be the open door, or His ideas. Begin now, begin each day with Jesus Christ on your lips and ask the Holy Spirit to help us be strong witnesses of Christ.

…Can we go into a classroom and learn who we are? We can only find the meaning of who we are in finding out who Jesus is. He directs us to His Word and opens our minds to the Word of God.

He needs us to accept that He has risen in us. Our politics is not of this world, it is the Gospel of God.”

The Bishop continued with a story about his mother and a one year old photo of her that hangs in his room. He then shared that one of his trying tasks is providing the diocesan editor a monthly message. In his struggle to find the right theme to compliment the powerful message of Easter, he found himself pondering on the photo of his mother, specifically, her smile. Then it came to his heart that his mother’s photo had provided the powerful message he was seeking.

The Bishop continued, “In our desire to accomplish much for family and Church, we make a lot of plans for our lives, but we must leave a lot of space for the Holy Spirit. We need to end our life with our one year old smile! Jesus is alive and lives in you and me.”



The Pontifical Choir and Brass Ensemble, directed by Lee Gwozdz, Director of Music for the Diocese and Cathedral of Corpus Christi, provided sacred music.














Those attending the Opening Mass enjoyed a Meet & Greet reception hosted by the Past Regent’s Club of Texas in St. Joseph’s Fellowship Hall, the Cathedral’s lower level. The inaugural reception was fit for a queen and her court! Fresh fruit, homemade cookies, salad, cheese and beverage. It was a wonderful reunion evening of unity, joy and laughter.







Registration for the convention was open 8:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.

The following complimentary group photo taken from the choir loft at the Cathedral is offered to you by Ervey Martinez, www.photobyervey.com