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The Catholic Women’s League of Canada BC & Yukon Provincial Council National theme: One Heart, One Voice, One Mission Provincial theme: Joyfully Serving the Lord

Provincial President – Evelyn Rigby – Communique 1    Sept. 4, 2016

What a wonderful time to complete my first communique to you, the day following the canonization of a woman who embodied all that the Year of Mercy stands for. Pray for us, St Teresa of Kolkata, you who are a constant reminder that “the gift of love is service”

Welcome Back Diocesan Presidents!

I congratulate all of you for showing courage in taking on your leadership role, and I assure you that I will keep you daily in my prayers. To this end, as is my wont, I keep your names posted below the keyboard on my laptop. Please keep each other in your prayers, and throughout your term, do remember to include each other in the mailing list for your communiques.


Sheila Doherty (Kamloops)

Sylvia Jurys (Nelson)

Carmen Foucher (Prince George)

Roxanne McDonald (Vancouver)  

Maureen Ingram (Victoria)    

Carol Vanderbyl (Whitehorse)

No doubt you pored over the list of Presidential duties at the outset of your term, but there is an advantage for all of us in reviewing them from time to time, and particularly following the months of July and August when vacations and family visits may have been our main focus.


Annual Report Forms

Winds of change are blowing through the CWL! Gisela Montague, Provincial President-Elect has already included this topic in her first communique, but because so many parish councils are without an Organization Chairperson, I think it is important that our six Diocesan presidents inform all their parish presidents that we will be embarking on something new this year, namely on-line reporting. This procedure has already been successfully piloted in three other provinces.

Anne Marie Gorman, National President-Elect assures us that “parish councils will find them comprehensive in regard to their positions and easy to complete. There is also room for comments.” The new on-line procedure should make reporting “much simpler and much less stressful.”  National chairpersons are presently updating the forms, and all presidents will be notified when these reports can be accessed.

Also at provincial mid-term we plan to have a simulation of on-line reporting so that all your provincial executive will be well versed in the process and able to field any questions about it and/or offer help to any council that may need further direction.

National Convention- Charlottetown PEI August 6-9, 2017

Due to other celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of Confederation, the date of this annual convention is earlier in August than usual. If you are planning to stay in the convention hotel, namely Prince Edward Delta, make your booking as soon as you can. When I first contacted them I was told that the hotel was fully booked for that time, but this is not the case. A couple of hours later Gisela received the same answer as I, but, when she called a second time and asked about the reserved block for the CWL she was able to book two rooms. So when you contact them make sure you ask for the reserved block booked for the Catholic Women’s League of Canada (our name in full) and  I suggest you do that as soon as possible if you plan to attend.

National Convention, Halifax 2016

Not all of you were able to attend the Halifax Convention last August, but the three main speakers’ presentations were videoed and can still be viewed on the National Website. I recommend that all councils view these powerful presentations . Also the oral reports of national chairpersons and provincial presidents are now posted.

Having attended every national convention since 1998, I had a very different experience this time in my role as provincial president. To be in full view of seven hundred and fifty attendees throughout three days, let alone do justice to the work of BC &Yukon in my oral report to them, was the biggest challenge yet faced in my CWL career. Here I must thank Gisela Montague not only for preparing the power point  presentation which enhanced my report, but also for organizing our provincial night, a relaxing evening for almost fifty BC &Yukon delegates, graced by the presence of Archbishop Miller, several spiritual advisors and Barb Dowding, our National President. Alicia Ambrosio, reporter for Salt and Light was also one of the group.  During the evening we signed get well cards for absent Life Members Ann Dobie and Lois Charlebois.

One highlight of the convention was the Pilgrimage to St Mary’s Basilica, which presented another opportunity to  pass through a Holy Door of  Mercy, and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Despite all our efforts to re-instate them, the two resolutions from BC & Yukon did not reach the convention floor, casting somewhat of a pall over the first few days and causing a few sleepless    nights, but matters improved when we managed to salvage their content. One, dealing with conscience rights morphed into a motion, and the second addressing the need for palliative care became two new resolutions. I must express my gratitude to our former Resolutions chairperson Dianne Barker for her efforts to effect a satisfactory outcome, and for her diplomacy throughout the negotiations.

I was extremely thankful that our provincial spiritual Advisor, Father Edwin Kulling was able to accompany us and fully participate in all liturgical, business and social events.

Congratulations to newly elected National President, Margaret Ann Jacobs and her talented team. I am also happy to report that BC and Yukon’s own Nancy Simms (Legislation), Doreen Gowans (Christian Family Life) and Barbara Dowding (Past President & Laws) will serve another term on the national council.

Our Nova Scotian Hosting Committee more than lived up to their reputation for maritime hospitality, and our league sisters from all parts of the country, as always, affirmed and assisted.

Please convey my sincere thanks to all our members who made it possible for BC & Yukon to have such strong representation at the 2016 national convention.

 Joys of the Presidency

Shortly after returning home from the national convention I flew to Kamloops for the episcopal ordination of their sixth bishop, the Most Reverend Joseph Phuong Nguyen. Held in a transformed hockey arena to accommodate the huge crowd, this was a beautiful ceremony which incorporated some traditional Vietnamese elements honoring the bishop’s roots. On arrival, I was delighted to see Kamloops CWL members welcoming and ushering the numerous attendees and later to watch the Kamloops Diocesan council in the opening procession, led by their president Sheila Doherty. Kindly billeted and escorted throughout my stay by Dianne Barker, I was privileged to sit in the section reserved for family members and former parishioners which afforded me a wonderful view of all the proceedings. Seventeen bishops and more than a hundred priests were in attendance, a testimony not only to the office but also to the character of this man who has faced many challenges and much suffering on his faith journey. The whole ceremony was recorded by Salt and Light and can be accessed from their website. Before leaving Kamloops I was able to attend the Bishop’s first Mass, in their packed cathedral. The BC Catholic will shortly carry reports of the event and also our congratulatory message to Bishop Nguyen.

May God bless us all, and may our patroness Our Lady of Good Counsel intercede for us as we work with courage for God and Canada.

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