Welcome all guests as Christ

Pastoral Council

To serve as representatives of the Caravita Community for the purposes of bringing the Community closer to God and to one another.


Helen Harrington
Since 2015

Helen was born in England, but moved to Ireland at an early age and was educated by the Loreto Sisters in Mullingar.  She graduated from Trinity College, Dublin in 2002 and spent the next three years working in healthcare and banking in Edinburgh, Scotland and a further nine years in consultancy in Dublin, Ireland, eight of which was spent working with religious congregations.  Helen moved to Rome in early 2014 to set up her own independent consultancy practice, Helen Harrington & Associates. Helen specialises in supporting the leadership teams of religious congregations and their associated groups in all aspects of current and future resource planning.   Helen has found an open, welcoming community in Caravita and enjoys being part of the ministry as both a greeter and reader.

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Michelle Hough
Since 2017

Michelle is a communications officer for Caritas Internationalis in Rome. She coordinates the communications for the Share the Journey migration campaign, launched by Pope Francis in September 2017. She’s worked for Caritas since 2008 and before that she was at WFP and Vatican Radio. She’s originally from Derbyshire, England.

Maria Kasolo
Since 2014

Maria Kasolo came to Rome in May 2012 and is the Personal Assistant to the Ambassador of the Republic of Zambia to Italy.  She worked for the European Union in Zambia for 15 years prior to her appointment into Diplomatic Service.  Maria likes to sing and has joined the choir at Caravita. Maria is also  a member of the reading ministry at her home Parish of St Ignatius in Lusaka, Zambia.

Contact information:

Tel: +39 06 3221655

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Joshua McElwee

Joshua McElwee is the Vatican correspondent for the independent U.S. newspaper National Catholic Reporter. He has lived in Rome with his wife Kate since 2014. They are both readers and greeters for the Caravita community. Joshua previously served as his paper’s national correspondent in Washington, DC. He is most recently the co-editor, alongside fellow Caravita member Cindy Wooden, of A Pope Francis Lexicon, a collection of 54 essays exploring the different words the pope emphasizes in his ministry.

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Kate McElwee_Edited

Kate McElwee

Kate currently serves as the Executive Director of the Women’s Ordination Conference, where she has worked since 2011. Born in Syracuse, New York, Kate attended Mount Holyoke College to study Religion and later SOAS in London, earning an M.A. in International Human Rights Law. Kate volunteers with several women’s advocacy groups and as the president of her alma mater’s alumnae chapter in Italy. She and her husband, Joshua, relocated from Washington, D.C. to Rome in 2014 and are both readers and greeters for the Caravita community.

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William McGurn
Since 2012

Mr. McGurn is a past president of the American Chamber of Commerce in France, and serves as a director of various non-profit organizations. He is recognized as a leading lawyer by Chambers Global, Chambers Europe and The Legal 500 U.S. William is a member of the Bar in Washington, D.C. and an honorary member of the Paris Bar. He is a native English speaker and is fluent in Italian and French.


Michaeline O’Dwyer, RSHM, Convenor
Since 2012

Michaeline O’Dwyer is a Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (RSHM) and is currently the Convenor of the Pastoral Council at Caravita. She has served as an educator in a number of RSHM and Marymount Schools at the elementary, high school and college levels. After a number of years as teacher and principal at Marymount International School Rome, Michaeline took a sabbatical year at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley (JSTB). At the end of her sabbatical year, she was asked to join the Development Office at JSTB and remained there for twelve years. It was here that she first met Keith Pecklers, SJ who was studying for his Master of Divinity degree. After Berkeley, Michaeline served on the Provincial Team of the RSHM Province in New York for six years as Provincial Secretary followed by another six years as Provincial Councillor. At the end of her term as Provincial Councillor, she was missioned to Marymount International School London to serve as interim Head of School for one year. The following year she returned to Rome where she is the Alumni Coordinator for Marymount Rome, a position she enjoys very much since it puts her back in touch with her former students as well as alumni who were there before and after her time.

Michaeline is currently working in Paris.

Contact information:

Tel: +39 06 3629 1045

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Susan O’Leary
Since 2007

Susan O’Leary Portieri is an original New Yorker – born and raised near the Metropolitan Museum and educated at Marymount school. Susan’s family life included visits from Jesuit priests of nearby St. Ignatius, who would stop by for a chat and/or dinner with her father who was an Irish Catholic attorney.

Susan then found herself in Italy, soon married and began adopting the Roman lifestyle with her husband and two daughters where they split their time between Rome and Umbria.

She volunteers at the Jesuit Refugee Service and has been a part of the Caravita community since its inception. She can always be relied upon to welcome visitors with a smile and a glass of Prosecco.


Joanne Safian, RSHM, Treasurer
Since 2014

Joanne Safian, RSHM, is a member of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, and a native New Yorker. She arrived in Rome in 2013 to serve as General Secretary of her congregation after serving for four years on the RSHM Eastern American Province’s leadership team in New York as Provincial Councilor and Provincial Treasurer. Prior to that, Joanne had always been (and still is) passionately committed to educating and empowering young women. For many years, she was an English and classical Greek teacher and an assistant principal for academics in RSHM and Ursuline high schools in Virginia and New York. She holds a doctorate in English and an M.A. in secondary education administration. Her leisure interests include tennis, reading mysteries, and travel. Here in Rome, she has been delighted to discover and become active in the Caravita community.

Contact information:

Tel: +39 06 9760 3210 

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Rose Wentz
Since 2015

Rose Wentz lived for 40 years in Seattle and her career is guided by the goal of helping abused children and their families maintain and enhance healthy relationships. She was social worker and now provides consultation and training for judges, social workers, attorneys and foster parents.

She moved with her husband Wayne to Washington DC for five years and then they fulfilled a lifelong dream to live in another country by moving to Rome in 2013. She and Wayne have two sons; one in Dallas and the other in Seattle.

Rose is an acolyte and reader at Caravita and assists at San Egidio in Rome. She is committed to helping others through social justice within an ecumenical approach.


Wayne Wentz
Since 2015

Wayne Wentz was born in Kentucky to a military family.  He lived in Germany, Japan, and several states before moving to the Seattle area where he lived for 40 years. In 2013, he retired from his civil engineering career and moved to Rome with Rose.

He attended Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Washington. He studied both Engineering and Economics, but developed a passion for traffic engineering.  He and Rose had met in high school and married during university. They began assisting with youth groups, ecumenism, baptism, and marriage prep ministries before their two sons were born.

Wayne participates in the choir at Caravita and assists the San Egidio community in feeding Rome’s poor.

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