Each year, the Archdiocese of Chicago confers the title of “Woman of the Year” to dedicated women in parishes throughout the Chicago area and honors them at a luncheon. 

The archdiocese is divided into what are called vicariates, made up of a number of parishes, with each parish selecting its own honoree.

In the Landmark area, three women will be honored at a luncheon held May 14 at Elmcrest Banquet Hall in Elmwood Park.

St. Mary Parish in Riverside this year selected Joan Wiaduck as their Woman of the Year. A lifelong member of the parish, Joan has been active in all aspects of parish life, from Council of Catholic Women to helping with the parish school when her children were in attendance. 

She, along with her husband Jack, have spearheaded committees to help fundraise, chair events and provide constant support wherever needed. This coincides with her busy life as a businesswoman and as a member of the Riverside Public Library Board of Trustees.

Linda Johnson is a 10-year member of Mater Christi Parish is North Riverside and the Guild. She said she loves her parish and is a member of the Respect Life Committee, helps with special projects, is a minister of care and gives time to a women’s shelter. She also helps with the St. Vincent DePaul Society. 

Johnson’s next project is to help raise funds in June to help defray funeral expenses for those who cannot afford it. According to Bern Gordus, Guild member and longtime parishioner, “Linda does so much.”

St. Barbara Parish in Brookfield will honor Gladys Wheeler. Council of Catholic Women President Alicia Mancini said she is proud of Wheeler and all she does. 

Wheeler has been a longtime board member of the International Concerns Board, gives time to the missions, collects items and delivers them to Hines Hospital and regularly visits Cantata Adult Life Services in Brookfield. She also reminds people to save the pop tops from soda cans for the Ronald McDonald House.

These women are representative of the many women who serve not only their parishes but wherever they see a need. It is also apparent that the title they are given should exceed for more than a year, because they have provided a lifetime of achievement and accomplishments and will continue to do so in the future.