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Woman Religious of the Year Honorees

The Woman Religious Award was established by the South Carolina Council of Catholic Women in 1995 and is presented annually to a Sister who has made a significant contribution to the Roman Catholic Church in South Carolina. The recipient is recognized annually at the SCCCW Convention.

2022 Woman Religious of the Year

Sister Mary Cecile Swanton, C.S.J.B.

Sister Mary Cecile Swanton, CSJB


Sister was born in Staten Island, New York and educated in Catholic schools.  While attending St. John Villa Academy High School she met the sisters of St. John the Baptist and eventually entered this Congregation.  Sister Mary Cecile education includes a BS in Secondary Education, an MS in Religious Education and an MS in Pastoral Clinical Counseling.  While working in New York, Sister was a teacher and counselor in the elementary and high school levels.  Sister was the Vocation Director and the Director of Formation of new Religious for her Congregation, the local administrator of three different convents over the years, was a Provincial Council Member: subsequently serving as Provincial Superior of the American Province of her Congregation for four terms.  In most recent years, she continues to serve as a Provincial Counselor and has been engaged in different facets of pastoral work for the past seven years in the Diocese of Paterson, NJ and in Pastoral Ministry in the Diocese of Charleston, SC.  As a member of St. Joseph parish, Columbia, Sister has been very busy.  She is a tremendous asset to the parish and to our Pastor.  Some of her many ministries include Pastoral Counseling, Parish Assistant for Decrees of Nullity, Marriage Prep for engaged couples who desire destination weddings.  Sister offers Group Sessions for Separated/Divorced individuals and is involved in Adult Education sessions.  Morning and Evening sessions are held with topics such as: Hope, Highlights of Vatican II, the Nicene Creed, the Psalms, the Parables, Social Teaching of the Catholic Church.  Since March of 2020, through the parish website, Sister offered weekly one-two minutes spiritual and uplifting sessions.  Sister works with the parish’s Homebound Ministry brining her joyous spirit to all who have needed it.  Working with Catholic Charities she makes weekly visits to a women’s prison helping indigen women who will be released in a month’s time.  Sister works closely with the St. Joseph Women’s Society and has given us several retreats.  Her office door is open to all who seek her advice and wisdom. Blessings come in many ways and our parish has been immensely blessed by her presence. 

Past Honorees



























Sister Gertrude Bassey, SFCC

Sister Kathy Adamski, OSF

Sister Pamela Smith, SSCM

Sister Mary Frances Cannon, OSF

Sister Kathleen Kane, SSMN

Sister Sandra Makowski, SSMN, JCL

Sister Josephine Murphy, DC 

None Awarded   

Sister Christina Murphy   

Sister Canice Adams, SSCM 

Sister Carol Dulka, OP, 

    and Sister Mary Lequier, OP

Sister Mary Schifferle, OSF 

Sister Roberta Fulton, SSMN

Sister Dorothy Brogan, CBS

Sister Marie Amelia Ferillo, OLM

Sister Roberta Theon, SSMN

Sister Veronica Janas, OLM

Sister M. Jacob Yelcho, CSA

Sister Colie Stokes, SSM

Sister Mary Joseph Ritter, OLM

Sister Andrea Callahan, OSU

Sister Margie Hosch, OSF

Sister Colleen Waterman, OSF

Sister Carol Gnau, SSND

Sister Marie Gerard Donovan, OP

Sister Bridget Sullivan, OLM

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