Clergy Support Memorial Church was pleased to ordain the Rev Catherine O’Connor on February 26th, 2006 and to welcome her ministry to our church. Rev Catherine brings her many talents to the community of Orillia. The forefront of these is her passion to have women recognized in the Catholic Church, as well as the voice to those who have lost their hearing or are unable to speak.
- BA, English Literature, University of Toronto
- MDiv, Master of Divinity, (Anglican), Wycliffe College, University of Toronto
- Certificate in Bereavement Counselling and Palliative Care Counselling, TAPE, Toronto
Pastoral Care & Worship
Catherine enjoys performing Life Celebrations and offers counsel to couples and families, when appropriate. She has a part-time partner that helps her with this work named Ekko, who is her hearing ear dog.
Rev Catherine’s pastoral ministry is varied and she politely calls her work as a “mixed bag”. She was raised Catholic, took her theological training in the Anglican faith, and now provides Sunday Worship pulpit supply to the United Church of Canada. It’s really about her being where people need her.
Catherine is a firm believer in women’s rights and considers herself a feminist when it comes to including women in religion. She is strongly involved with the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement in order to give a voice to women who are called to ordination within the Roman Catholic Church.
Rev Catherine can speech read well, which is a skill. She has been known to go into hospital ICUs to lipread people who are unable to speak but who wish to communicate to their loved ones.
Catherine was honoured to be seconded by the Ontario Ministry of Education, where she had the privilege of touring the entire province performing accessibility audits in hundreds of schools. This work allowed her to write the manual on how to perform accessibility audits related to providing access to deaf/hard of hearing employees in the workplace.
- Long time member of Toastmasters International.
Roles held: Area Director, Vice President Education, Vice President of Membership, Vice President of Public Relations. Trainer, Pathways; Ambassador, Pathways.
- She is a member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. She is a registered social worker.
- Her hearing dog Ekko is a member Dog Guides of Canada.
- Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM)
- LDREXC – certificate in Leadership Excellence, Toastmasters International
- Advanced Communicator Gold, Toastmasters International
- Humorous Speech Contest – first place Area, third place Division, 2008, 2012
Rev Catherine is a compassionate listener and a hearing care counsellor offering her services with the Canadian Hearing Society. Her role is to counsel people about hearing and hearing loss and support and counsel those people through the grieving process that occurs when someone loses their hearing.
Bereavement Counselling and Palliative Care Ministry
Rev Catherine volunteered for three years as an on-call crisis counsellor with North Simcoe Victim Services, providing crisis counselling to people who were victims of a crime or of tragic circumstances. It was with the OPP out of the Orillia detachment. Occasionally, when asked she facilitates bereavement support groups.
Rev Catherine, an avid dog lover herself, helps to raise funds for Dog Guides of Canada. She absolutely loves Toastmasters and public speaking is something she enjoys and looks forward to. When she craves quiet time and to satisfy her creative side, she quilts and writes.
“I believe that all faiths lead to something better in the next life, whatever that is called, and I believe that those with no faith will be there as well, wherever “there” is. While I believe there is something beyond me, I am also very respectful and aware that others may not share that faith or may share a differing faith. I am personally allergic to proselytizers of any faith.”
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