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The Catholic Women’s League of Canada BC & Yukon Provincial Council

President’s Oral Report to the 2017 Provincial CWL Convention – Evelyn Rigby

When I was honoured with the presidency of BC &Yukon this time last year I little knew what was actually in store. If I had, I would have probably been tempted to beat a hasty retreat.  However, here we are with one more year to go, older, wiser, and yes, more grateful than ever for the blessings that have accompanied these challenges, blessings which in the main have come from the Holy Spirit inspiring my Officers and Chairpersons to work as a team. All have demonstrated a tremendous capacity for work, and a willingness to step in and plug the gaps caused by challenges, such as bereavements, sickness, accidents, two moving house, and a not-to-be-missed-event in Kuala Lumpur, which deprived us of our secretary for a few weeks!

I attended the Sisters’ Appreciation dinner in Vancouver and was delighted to be invited to speak. Religious sisters were an important part of my upbringing, without which I doubt I would be here today!

During April and May it was gratifying to have our provincial workshop HMCS CWL Refit well received, another project which benefited from teamwork in its production and presentation. The clashing dates of diocesan conventions this year meant that my President-elect, Ist Vice and 2nd Vice deputized for me in other dioceses than their own, enabled the other dioceses to get to know them better. By all accounts this was a mutually beneficial experience.

What a privilege it was for me to attend two diocesan conventions, to be among so many women committed to the Objectives of our league, to be warmly welcomed, to have every need granted, to listen to so many reports of the good deeds accomplished by chairpersons striving to fulfill the Objects of our League, and to have a lot of fun in the process. I always thought of myself as a martyr having to travel from 5 to 6 hours to attend a diocesan convention. Those ladies in the North are willing to drive for two days to get to their annual convention! Now there’s commitment.

Diocesan presentations were very timely and educational. One panel in Victoria Diocese, addressed the medical, legal and spiritual aspects of Advocacy for Quality Care at the End of Life. In Prince George a young woman gave personal testimony about mental health and depression. There was also a micro study of Laudato Si in which Sr. Connie Harkin extracted key quotations and had different tables discuss their implications. Table summaries were shared with the whole assembly. I envied those reporters their talent for summarizing discussions. Vancouver with the theme “Shine like the Son” had presentations on Developing your Spiritual Life, Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia. Kamloops’ theme was “Live by the Spirit, Walk by the Spirit” with presentations on “The Leader in You”  and the remarkable life story of their new Bishop. Nelson members enjoyed presentations on Wills and Power of Attorney, and Chiropractics and Wellness. I had been unable to attend the Nelson Diocesan Convention in its entirety because of travel logistics, so I registered for the Military Ordinariate provincial convention which was taking place only one ferry ride away from my home. I was invited to bring greetings on behalf of our BC & Yukon sister council and I took this opportunity to thank them for giving me a gift of a president-elect who had started her CWL journey with them many years ago. There was also the Dynamic Duo, Doreen Gowans and Nancy Simms giving a Discernment workshop. One vivid memory I will treasure was of the Military Ordinariate’s Spiritual Development Chairperson who had travelled up from a military base in the Eastern United States. She gave a very well organized report while her fifth child, a 6- month old baby heavily into teething, balanced on her hip.

Hard on the heels of these action-packed weeks came the March for Life in Victoria. Christ the King parish on Vancouver Island always hires a bus to the event so I was able to take advantage of this, and the kindness of their parish president Mary Nicholas who billeted me for two nights when the ferry schedule didn’t co-operate. Not the brightest of days in terms of weather, but with almost 2000 pro-lifers and excellent speakers, still a wonderful event! The new support equipment for our banner worked really well during the March and was very prominently displayed later, on the steps of the legislature.

I close my report as I started, by acknowledging the support I have received from this provincial executive and with the hope that our theme “Leading with Courage” will be acted upon by our members to help right the wrongs prevalent in today’s society and by example point the way to a better world.

This concludes my report

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