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St. Rose de Lima’s annual Celebration of Women will mark its 20th year with the theme, “Empowering Women to Rise Up! Step Up! Move Up!” The two-day celebration kicks off at noon on July 27 and concludes with morning Mass on July 28. It is free to attend, and no registration is required.
The event was created in 1999 by St. Rose parishioner Judith Verrett, who was killed in a tragic car accident in 2016. “It was a passion of hers to have this every year,” said Rhonda Labat, one of the organizers who keep the celebration going each year in honor of Judith Verrett’s memory.
Labat said the celebration’s purpose from the start was to give women time together to talk about things of common interest and all them to share their thoughts. “We are trying to keep this program going and empower women to see that they can do even more than they think they can,” she said.
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Leading the Health Forum discussions will be Luella Williams, a nurse practitioner at Coastal Family Health in Pass Christian, and Marion Brewer, registered nurse – surgery at Ochsner Hancock.
The education issues forum participants will include Dr. Carla Evers, superintendent of the Pass Christian School District; Dr. Cherie Labat, superintendent of the Columbus Municipal School District, and Dr. Toy Watts, superintendent of the Laurel School District. Other speakers with connections to Bay St. Louis and St. Rose include former Bay High star Christa Reed, a professional basketball player with the Killester Basketball Club of Dublin, Ireland; Judge Ellen Hazeur-Colbert of Division A for the Civil District Court for Orleans Parish in New Orleans; Wendy McDonald, former Bay Council member and Democratic candidate for Mississippi House of Representatives; and Emleigh Mitchell, a Justice of the Peace court liaison in Houston, Texas.
Also on Saturday, the Book Review Forum will be led by Dorothy Wilson, Publisher and Editor of Gulf Coast Woman Magazine and co-founder of the Success Women’s Conference. She will be joined by locals Angelyn Truetel Zeringue, CPA, independent insurance agent and owner of SouthGroup Insurance Services and AST Solutions; Ellis Anderson, publisher of Shoofly Magazine and French Quarter Journal and author of the award winning Katrina book, ”Under Surge, Under Siege;” Holly Lemoine-Raymond, broker and owner of HL Properties and executive producer of the TV Series, “Inside Outside with HL Raymond Properties;” and Brandi Stage, portrait photographer and owner of Brandi Stage Portraiture.
The day will conclude with a reception for participants and presenters.
On Sunday, participants will be recognized at 9 am Mass at St. Rose, where the Women’s Mass Choir will be directed by Sherry Hill and the Liturgical Dance will be choreographed by Marion Brewer