ORANJESTAD- Lifelong volunteer Catharine Elzevar Bennett-Francis has been awarded the Order of Orange-Nassau by His Majesty the King for her tireless work for Statia over many years. She received the honour on Wednesday 26 April 2023 at a special ceremony at the Quill Gardens.
Born in St. Kitts and Nevis in 1945, Bennett-Francis – affectionately known as Miss Kathleen, Kate or Katey – came to St. Eustatius as a child. Over the years, she was active in the Methodist church, serving as a leader for over six decades. She was president of the Women’s League, an organization dedicated to the well-being of women of the church. Mrs. Bennett functioned in this role with no reservation. She was also a member of the MCCA, an organization that also looked after the needs of women.
Bennett held the position of leader and assistant class leader for more than 40 years at Bethel, as well as at Jeems where she still serves as an assistant leader. She is part of the Jeems Choir, the Jeems United Sisters, and a care fund steward, and served as a member of the Auxiliary Home Foundation. For many years she coordinated the meals for the work team, a group that came to the island to execute church work. She was also on the fundraising committee, where she helped organize food and bake sales.
Bennett is still very active in the community and often stresses that it is important to safeguard the island for the next generation.