2008 Annual Report – National President

2008 Annual Report of 
National President
Danielle McNeil-Hessian

Last year marked the 88th anniversary of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada. For 88 years women across the country have been involved in social justice issues within their community, province and other countries throughout the world.

Annual reports in The Catholic Women’s League of Canada provide an accounting of the initiatives of the past year, an opportunity to celebrate the many successes and a time for reflection in order to build on the past as we begin the work of the League anew each year.

As you read the reports included in this book you will be impressed by the activities that grace the pages written by the presidents of the provinces and the standing committee chairs.

Spiritual growth continues to be at the heart of our organization.

The provincial presidents’ reports chronicle the many ways that their members are taking advantage of opportunities for spiritual growth, supporting parish initiatives, education, and lobbying governments to support resolutions. Members celebrated anniversaries and years of service and cherished a sisterhood that enables them to establish life-long friendships.

The reports of the standing committee chairpersons give life to resolutions and to the areas of focus under each committee. They tell of the monies raised not only for the voluntary funds at the national level but for many other organizations in need across the country and abroad. Support is given to spiritual growth, initiatives supporting life, stamping out pornography, meeting with government, educating, recruiting and maintaining members.

One challenge that continues to affect councils at the parish, diocesan and provincial levels is the willingness of eligible members to take on leadership positions. There is no shortage of talent at these levels but the issues of lack of confidence, and daunting time commitment are stumbling blocks still to be overcome. To this end, mentorship and the sharing of responsibilities are two of the ways councils are attempting to overcome this challenge. This is one area that the national level will need to address now and into the future.

Based on internal initiatives such as The Vision Committee (1997-2000), the surveys of 2003, 2006 and 2007 and the input from women across the country, the national executive elected to hire an outside agency to assist with developing a plan to take the League into the future. The League engaged the services of Manifest Communications to assist it with developing the plan to address the main areas of image and maintaining and recruiting members.

This report identified the strengths of the League, areas where we could grow and developed a plan to recruit and maintain membership into the future. Based on the input from members, and the words of one member in particular, Manifest identified Faith, Fun and Fulfillment as an area of strength. Since that time all of the national executive have chosen to use those three words as our guide in the promotion of the League.

Keeping in mind the findings of Manifest the national executive participated in a workshop to zero in on a plan for the future at the fall meeting. A decision was reached to focus on a Catholic Women’s League Day of Peace and Hope to be held on April 26 th , the Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel. The theme for 2009-2010Women of Peace and Hope with a focus on palliative care and welcome friend formed the basis of the kit. The idea was to unite sisters at all levels in the common goal. A kit was developed with input from all members of the executive and the ideas of the standing committee chairpersons to create the activities to be included. It was an example of women from across the country all with different gifts and talents working together for the love of the League. The finished product speaks for itself.

There have been many changes in the world, the church and Canadian society over the last 88 years and the Catholic Women’s League has endured, staying true to its commitment ??teach us to share with others at home and abroad?? and to our motto ?For God and Canada?. I am confident that with God’s help and the commitment of the women of the League in 2009 it will endure long into the future. I look forward to the actions that come from our new theme, Women of Peace and Hope and to journeying with you as I continue as national president of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada.