A warm and welcoming crowd surroundedJenny Blanchard as she accepted the award for the Catherine McAuley Center’s “Mercy Woman of the Year” Monday evening at the Wyoming Valley Country Club in Wilkes-Barre.
With her husband Scott and children, Katie and Peter in attendance, the Clarks Green resident became part of a special group of women selected by the executive director of the McAuley Center and the golf committee, which hosted a “Swing for Mercy” tournament earlier that day.
“It was a beautiful day, there was a real spirit of warmth and generosity,” Blanchard said. “There was a sense of connection to every person in the room.”
“It was with the greatest joy that we honored out friend Jenny,” Executive Director of the McAuley Center, Sister Therese Marques said. “She truly has followed the example of Catherine McAuley by bringing compassion and comfort to those in need.”
It was Marques who initially informed Blanchard of her selection in September of 2013. Marques, who is celebrating her 20th year with the McAuley Center, has known Blanchard for the past eight years since she began volunteering.
“I’m deeply honored and humbled to be recognized by [the Sisters],” Blanchard said. “They have had such a profound effect, they taught me to be compassionate, caring, and to have empathy.”
Blanchard serves as an overnight volunteer at Catherine McAuley Center, which has been sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy since 2006.
The Catherine McAuley Center, which has a main office at 430 Pittston Ave. Scranton, is an organization established in 1984 that’s committed to helping homeless women and children. The Catherine McAuley House is located at 121 Church St. Plymouth.
The organization’s efforts include food pantries, furniture banks, and finding apartments for homeless women.
“Their commitment is helping the poor, they are very much sisters of service and remarkable women of faith,” Blanchard said. “[The homeless] are invisible to most, and they really transform and rebuild the lives of women and children. I’ve just always been very inspired by them.”
Monday marked the 19th year of the “Swing for Mercy” golf tournament. The tournament included 90 golfers and around 130 attendees with all the proceeds going toward the Catherine McCauley Center.
“Every year they honor a person who in some way exemplifies the Mercy spirit of compassion,” Blanchard said. “I was very inspired by their mission and what they accomplish. Their depth of compassion has no end. … It’s breathtaking.”