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23rd Annual CWR Conference

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Date & Time
3 October 2017, 16 h 00 min - 6 October 2017, 11 h 30 min

Hilton Hotel and Suites Niagara Falls

6361 Fallsview Blvd.
Niagara Falls, Ontario
L2G 3V9

The CWR has put together a dynamic agenda of speakers and presentations along with opportunities to experience the culture of the region. The theme of the conference, “One Voice, Charged by the Current”, reflects one of the world’s greatest sources of hydroelectric power, the Niagara River, as well as the strength of our collective message in advancing the mission and image of Catholic Sisters.



Registration Form


Catholic Social Teaching and Communications

Moira McQueen, LLB, MDiv, PhD

Dr. Moira McQueen will describe how the Magisterium communications office is organized and the strategies used to communicate Church teaching worldwide. Pope Francis’ more informal communications style has tended to intrigue the general public. She explores why people are more interested in what he has to say and what we can take away from the Pope’s method. Dr. Moira McQueen has a degree in law from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. She earned a Master of Divinity and a PhD in moral theology from the Faculty of Theology, University of St. Michael’s College and the Toronto School of Theology. She has been teaching moral theology at the Faculty of Theology since 1994, and has written and co-authored several articles in bioethics, fundamental ethics and other areas.

Using Social Media to Inspire Millennials and Gen Z

Heather Mansfield

Millennials came of age using social media, first on a laptop, then on a smartphone. Gen Z is mobile first, mobile only, and the driving force behind a growing App economy. To reach either generation, your organization must be adept at both social and mobile communications. With a focus on Instagram and Snapchat, Heather Mansfield will highlight how each generation uses social media and will provide detailed how-to tips and best practices. Heather is the founder of the Nonprofit Tech for Good blog and author of the books “Mobile for Good” and “Social Media for Social Good.”

Prophetic Imagination and the Ethics of Communication

Sister Nuala Kenny, OC, BA, MD, FRCP(C)

Religious life is a prophetic lifeform committed to bringing the “good news” of the Gospel of justice, peace and mercy to the world. The range and diversity of media conveying news of all types today, in a world of blogs and “alternative facts,” is both astonishing and terrifying. Sister Nuala Kenny will discuss the advantages and challenges of modern communication in proclaiming the unique message of women religious. Dr. Nuala Patricia Kenny was born in New York and entered the Sisters of Charity of Halifax in 1962. Dr. Kenny is nationally recognized as an educator and physician ethicist. Her latest book is “The Art of Dying and the Paschal Mystery: A Compassionate Vision of End of Life Care.”

A Practical Guide to Copyrights

Blayne Haggart

Copyright law has a daunting reputation. Unfortunately, in an era of digital communication, understanding copyright has become a necessity. Blayne Haggart will offer an introduction to copyright, including its purpose and objectives, and will suggest approaches to dealing with copyright issues as they relate to communications for women religious. Blayne is an associate professor of political science at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. His book, “Copyfight: The Global Politics of Digital Copyright Reform,” was published in 2014 by University of Toronto Press.

Communicating to a Divided Audience

Peter Panepento

We are living in a world marked by deep political and philosophical divisions. It is increasingly difficult to create messages that span the divide. Peter Panepento will describe the tools communicators need to develop messaging strategies that appeal to a wider range of audiences. Peter is the principal of Turn Two Communications, a strategic communications, content, and PR consultancy that specializes in helping nonprofits and foundations tell their stories more effectively. Before launching the practice, Peter spent more than a decade as a contributing writer and editor at “The Chronicle of Philanthropy.”

Creating a Culture of Effective Communication

Loyola Institute for Ministry and Salt+Light

The Loyola Institute for Ministry recently completed a project entitled “Communicating Charism: Educating for Leadership and Social Media Capacity in Communities of Women Religious,” which was funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Loyola representatives, Fr. Tom Rosica from Salt+Light TV, and women religious project participants from the U.S., Africa, and Asia will share what they learned in the process.

Who I’ve Met and What I’ve Learned

Sister Susan Doubet, OSB

Sister Susan Doubet, OSB, will share the ins and outs of working for more than 10 years with Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, international lecturer and author of 50 books. She will share how she has “survived” this communications ministry on the local, national and international scenes. Sister Susan is the subprioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania. For the past 10 years, she has worked as a research assistant to Sister Joan Chittister, OSB. She also writes a twice weekly blog, “Light Through Stained Glass Windows.”

Spirituality of Communications

Sister Kateri Mitchell, SSA

Sister Kateri Mitchell invites us to experience the heartbeat of God in a verbal and non-verbal society, creation and world. The quality of our lives and spoken words can be a source of giving life to others we encounter. Ask yourself: Is my heartbeat in tune with the multi-cultural world in which I live: different age groups, races, religions, diverse cultures and languages? Sister Kateri, a Sister of St. Anne, is the executive director of the Tekakwitha Conference, an international non-profit organization for evangelization among Native American Catholics. She was born and raised on the International St. Regis Mohawk Reservation (Akwesasne).


Tuesday, October 3

4–6 p.m. — Registration
5:30 p.m. — Orientation
7:00 p.m. — Welcome Reception: Myst Lounge (34th Floor)

Wednesday, October 4

Exhibits available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

7:15 a.m. — Breakfast/Visit Exhibitors
8 a.m. — Welcome/Opening Ritual with Bishop Gerard Bergie
8:45 a.m. — Catholic Social Teaching and Communications Moira McQueen, LLB, MDiv, PhD
10 a.m. – Break
10:30 a.m. — Using Social Media to Inspire Millennials and Gen Z — Heather Mansfield
12:30 p.m. — Lunch/Visit Exhibitors
2 p.m. — Prophetic Imagination and the Ethics of Communication — Sister Nuala Kenny, OC, BA, MD, FRCP(C)
3 p.m. – Break/Visit Exhibitors
3:30 p.m. – Prophetic Imagination continued
4 p.m. – Break
4:15 p.m. — Depart for optional evening out (MacKenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum, Laura Secord Homestead, dinner at the Old Winery Restaurant, Niagara-on-the-Lake)

Thursday, October 5

Exhibits available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

7:30 a.m. — Breakfast/Visit Exhibitors
8:15 a.m. — Prayer
8:30 a.m. — A Practical Guide to Copyrights — Blayne Haggart
9:45 a.m. – Break/Visit Exhibitors
10:15 a.m. — State of the Organization
Angela Szczawinska, CSFN, CWR Chair, and Nicholas Schafer, CWR Executive Director
11:30 a.m. – Lunch/Visit Exhibitors
1 p.m. — Communicating to a Divided Audience — Peter Panepento
2 p.m. Break/Visit Exhibitors
2:30 p.m. – Communicating continued
3:15 p.m. — Creating a Culture of Effective CommunicationLoyola Institute for Ministry and Salt+Light TV
4 p.m. Close of day; evening on your own or optional evening out (“Saint Joan” at the Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake)

Friday, October 6

7:30 a.m. — Breakfast
8 a.m. — Who I’ve Met and What I’ve Learned on the National and International Stage – Sister Susan Doubet, OSB
9 a.m. — CWR Business Meeting
10 a.m. – Break
10:30 a.m. — Spirituality of Communication — Sister Kateri Mitchell, SSA
11:30 a.m. — Closing

Evenings out

Wednesday, October 4

Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum, Laura Secord Homestead, and dinner at the Old Winery Restaurant, Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Visit the restored home of rebel publisher William Lyon Mackenzie and experience 500 years of printing technology including the Louis Roy Press, the oldest in Canada and one of the few original wooden presses remaining in the world! Then travel back in time to the lovingly restored home of Laura Secord, Canada’s most famous heroine. After overhearing a conversation in 1813 about a planned American attack on British and First Nations allies, she walked 32 kilometers through enemy lines to warn British troops of the impending invasion, helping to change the course of Canadian history. Finish the evening with fresh Mediterranean cuisine inspired by the Tuscan countryside, traditionally prepared and served in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake. (Depart 4:30 p.m.; return 9:30 p.m.)

Thursday, October 5

SAINT JOAN at the famous Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake

“Saint Joan” is Bernard Shaw’s greatest play. At its center is the most remarkable teenage girl in history. But who is she? The divinely-inspired saviour of France? A dangerously clever charlatan? Or a pathetically deluded country girl? It all depends on your point of view. Whatever she is, eventually Joan is bound to become an embarrassment to the male-dominated world she has turned upside-down. And then what? Dinner on your own before the show. (The play runs two hours and 45 minutes. We will return to the hotel at approximately 11:30 p.m.).

Conference Fees (US$)

  • CWR member EARLY registration received by July 15: $475
  • CWR member registration received after July 15: $525
  • Non-member EARLY registration received by July 15: $550
  • Non-member registration received after July 15: $600


  • Wednesday, Oct. 4: Mackenzie Printery/Laura Secord: $75
  • Thursday, Oct. 5: Saint Joan — register by Aug. 15: $60

About the CWR

Communicators for Women Religious (formerly the National Communicators Network for Women Religious) is a professional organization of personnel responsible for communications within religious congregations of women. Our mission is to be a network of professional support and education for members who promote understanding of women religious, enhance their image and advance their mission. CWR is also a resource for organizations serving women religious.

More information available online at c4wr.org