At the 10th anniversary Diocesan Women’s Conference held in March, Bishop Michael Cote honored Elizabeth Percy for her vision and leadership in the Church by presenting her with the newly created Our Lady, Queen of Hope Award. Percy is a parishioner at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Coventry.
The award will be given to a woman of faith in the diocese each year during the Annual Diocesan Women’s Conference. Members of the women’s conference committee who selected Percy from a slate of nominations agreed that she embodied the attributes for which the award was created: strong faith, commitment to living out Catholic/Christian values, spiritual leadership, and a spirit of love and service to the Catholic Church.
In a letter nominating Percy for the award, members of her parish described her as, “a humble woman of deep faith who loves her parish.” She joined Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in 2005 and serves as coordinator of eucharistic ministers, faith formation teacher, a member of its music ministry, and, with her husband Jim, is the parish pro-life representative. In addition, Percy has been actively involved in the ACTS Retreat program at her parish and helped develop the ACTS Catholic Guide Manual for Connecticut. She has also been instrumental in developing and presenting parish-centered retreats for women.
Bishop Cote said he was struck by Percy’s generosity in sharing her gifts with the Church. In a video played at the Women’s Conference, he thanked her for distinguishing herself as a worthy recipient of the award. “The good Lord has been and will continue to be good to you. Congratulations and we applaud you for your accomplishments.”
Fr. John Antonelle, Percy’s former pastor at Our Lady Queen of Peace, also acknowledged her witness of faith to other women in the Church. He said he had no doubt that Percy judged there were other women more deserving of the honor than her, noting her humility is one of her most appealing qualities.
Her current pastor, Fr. Jonathan Ficara, said, “The people of the parish are thrilled about Elizabeth receiving this award. Nobody is more deserving of this honor than she. Already, in the short time I’ve been at Our Lady Queen of Peace, Elizabeth stands out as a dedicated and selfless servant of the Lord and His Church. She is a tremendous gift to the parish and to this Diocese. I couldn’t be happier for Elizabeth.”
The Our Lady, Queen of Hope Award is named after Mary, our Mother, who is our role model and in whom we place our trust. Percy received a plaque with a picture of Mary holding the infant Jesus as well as a $200 check to be donated to a charity or agency selected by Percy. She chose to donate the money to her parish’s Haitian Ministry, which supports its twin parish of Our Lady of the Presentation in Les Palmes, Haiti. Percy said the money would help pay teachers’ salaries and tuition for students attending the parish school in Les Palmes.
Percy and her husband have been married for 52 years, have seven children and 10 grandchildren. They are both members of the Domestic Expression of the Brothers and Sisters of Charity, a lay community in which Percy serves in several leadership positions. Before joining the parish community in Coventry, the Percys attended St. Francis of Assisi Church in their hometown of South Windsor, where she was Social Action Minister and developed a sandwich meals program for a Hartford soup kitchen. She is also a certified spiritual director.
Andrea Hoisl, director of the Office of Faith Events -- which oversees the annual Diocesan Women’s Conference -- said, “Elizabeth’s continuous witness of faith through the years has been a source of inspiration to so many people, and we are glad we can acknowledge that in a meaningful way.”
By Mary-Jo McLaughlin