2020 is the 100th anniversary of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada (CWL). The CWL’s national convention/AGM was to be held in August 2020. However, with the onset of the COVID19 virus restrictions, all levels of CWL conventions/AGMs were cancelled. The National Council of the CWL was proactive in using technology to engage several of the National convention speakers to give their presentations as webinars. The webinars are called the Summer Speaker Series. Well over 1,500 people from across Canada and from several other countries tuned in to the webinars. Today, I share with you some of my notes from the fourth session.
The Catholic Women's League of Canada is a national service organization of women who are members of the Roman Catholic Church, who work together to promote Catholic values and to carry out volunteer and charitable work. In 2020 the CWL has about 75,000 members in over 1,000 parish councils across Canada. The CWL is one of the largest women’s organizations in Canada promoting awareness and responding to political and social issues that affect all Canadians. While today, approximately 75,000 women make up the CWL, the organization once boasted a membership of over 100,000 women. For some years now, the national leadership team along with its members have been discerning the steady decline in membership and resistance of members to take on leadership roles. Across Canada, many other non-profit groups and associations are facing the same membership crises. In an attempt to stem the decline in membership and to fine tune the organization, the leadership team decided to plan strategically for the future. A plan was unveiled in August 2018.
In the fourth session of the Summer Speaker Series, August 14, 2020, Fran Lucas, National President-Elect and Chairperson of Organization spoke on the topic: "The League of the Future: Part III."
With a ‘Star Wars’ theme opening, Lucas reviewed the mission, the core principles and the purpose of the CWL. The mission is “The Catholic Women's League of Canada calls its members to grow in faith, and to witness to the love of God through ministry and service.” Its core purpose is to unite Catholic women to grow in faith, and to promote social justice through service to the church, Canada and the world. Core values are: faith – following Catholic teaching; service – local, national and international; and social justice – active involvement in society.
We were encouraged to pray the Prayer for Renewal developed by Sr. Susan Scott at all our council meetings. [See end of this article for copy of prayer.] Ms. Lucas focused on Goal 4 – Addressing Critical Issues with help from the leads for this particular goal, Sharon Cieben and Lisa Henry. The objectives are:
Ms. Henry spoke on Goal 4:A1 – simplify procedures and reporting processes. The Reorganization group is looking at the following actions:
Building a foundation – having a new section on the CWL website dealing with social media and marketing contact with a uniform brand presence and a new social media program.
Ten Storytelling vignettes and a 100th Anniversary video with achievements, milestones and resolutions that have had an impact on our society.
Focus on connecting: Why join? If you only knew! Progressive thinkers, positive images, and a one-stop shop for faith, social justice and service.
We were given a peek at what is coming up next:
Goal 2: Increase members’ knowledge of Catholic social teaching – G2.A2 – Empower members by providing educational opportunities to learn more about Catholic social teaching.
Goal 3: League Misconceptions – G3.A1 – Address misconceptions about The League.
Goal 3: Encourage Diversity – G3.A2 – Embrace diverse cultures and ages.
Goals 3: Toolkits – G3.B1 – Create ready-made adaptable toolkits for use in parishes.
Goal 3: Spiritual Formation – G3.C3 – Focus on the spiritual and social aspects in councils.
Goal 1: Increase the capacity and efficiency of leadership – G1.D3 – Capitalize on members’ willingness to take on short-term leadership responsibilities.
Ms. Lucas concluded with the comment: “WE NEED YOU!” She encouraged us to sign up to complete the surveys that are sent out, to participate in focus groups, to complete questionnaires, and to volunteer for working groups. [Sign up by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and stating your intention to participate.]
CWL Prayer for Renewal
God of new beginnings, ever faithful God, we thank you for your constant care for
the women of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada.
We have sought to serve you in faith by service to your people.
Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and with the help of Our Lady of Good Counsel,
we continue to discern Your call to seek justice and build Your Kingdom on earth each day.
We ask your guidance as we plan the evolution of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada.
Grant us wisdom, the grace of discernment, and strength.
May each of us open her heart and mind to your will and welcome the new life you bring to the League.
We ask this through Jesus, Your beloved Son and Our Lord, Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. AMEN. – Sr. Susan Scott, CAF
Hi! My name is Fr. Doug Jeffrey, OMI and I am the pastor of the Meadow Lake Cluster. I serve the faith communities of Our Lady of the Smile, Waterhen, St. Jude's, Green Lake and Our Lady of Peace, Meadow Lake. I arrived in the cluster on August 15th, 2019. You can see more information about me on the home page!