faith | service | social justice

Adventures with Anne – National President Anne-Marie Gorman, June 14, 2021

Jun 14, 2021 | In the News, Media, News Releases

We have an associate pastor at St. Dunstan’s church worship site who begins most of his homilies, “So, how ya doin’?”, a simple little question that puts all at ease and prepares those at the mass for whatever words he will share. I think it puts him at ease as well. I believe we are “doin’” well, all things considered. I am generally at ease, knowing the preparations are well underway for the national annual meeting of members. The staff is meeting with Executive Director Kim Scammell regularly, and members will be offered lots of training. It will be a unique experience in the history of the League. I will write about it as part of my journey and try to imagine what eyes and hearts will see when they read it years from now, assuming pandemics are rare and COVID-19 is a distant memory.

What a spring it has been! I have been so blessed to reap the rewards of the hard work of so many faith-filled women. Since my last check-in, the League, including me, has been privileged to take part in: a retreat facilitated by Dr. Anne Jamieson, webinars on recognizing abuse in children sponsored by the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO), and one on palliative care; regular monthly meetings of the strategic plan implementation committee; a governance forum facilitated by the Canadian Society of Association Executives; governance education sessions hosted by the League; and an Earth Day webinar hosted by Religions for Peace, among others. I just wanted to give you a taste of what members have been organizing in light of not being able to meet in person.

I want to focus, though, on “12 Hours of Prayer for Palliative Care,” hosted by Thunder Bay Diocesan Council and facilitated by life members Colleen Martin and Pauline Krupa. I mean, this was 12 full hours and 12 hours full, as it included prayer, music, breakout sessions, quiet adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and presentations by guests. The day concluded with a live-streamed mass in what was the evening here in New Brunswick. It was a wonderful, wonderful 12 hours. Attendees were educated, and as importantly, brought together in a common purpose. That is what makes the League so special and vital to the church and country.

Going beyond the borders, the annual WUCWO Day on May 14th meant I could commune with women of member organizations from all over the world. Amazing that the Good Lord sees women in action constantly, but that is what women do, is it not? Concluding with mass celebrated by Fr. Gerald Whelan, SJ, in Rome, I was party to the celebration of his years as pontifical assistant to WUCWO as he was bid farewell.

I watched Dr. Josephine Lombardi’s film, The First Lady and Her Successors, an excellent portrayal of Mary’s life juxtaposed with life for us in contemporary time. To cap off the week, I was able to attend North Bay’s virtual webinar during the day, entitled “Hope will see us through,” facilitated by Sr. Linda Mac Isaac, an inspiring message, and Toronto Diocesan Council’s virtual 100th anniversary celebration that evening. These are just some of the many events that transpired throughout the country.

The aforementioned activities demonstrate the viability of this beloved League and the service spirit of members. No one asked that the sessions be developed, researched, organized and presented. Still, so many people, despite Canada’s health and safety situation, used their “can do” God-given gifts and shared the fruits of their labours with all of us. What an outward demonstration of love. “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Mt. 5:14-16).

The excitement (and a bit of anxiety) is building towards the annual national meeting of members on August 9th and 10th. Members can now register for it wherever they are in Canada and take in whatever sessions they wish. There is no registration fee; however, as only 1,000 may register, it is better to do so early. I pray all goes well and ask members to pray for a successful national annual meeting of members. It will be a unique experience for all of us.

And now, I can finally put some seeds in the ground and pray them into germination with the hope of a bountiful harvest. This farm girl did not get good training in gardening, alas, except for weeding and harvesting, but the Good Lord must have decided I needed other gifts. God bless my dear sisters until next time…