Meet Our Executive
National Spiritual Advisor Bishop Wayne Lobsinger (Hamilton)
National Vice Preside nt
Kim Scammell Scammell
Jessie Marie Parkinson
Bishop Wayne Lobsinger, VG, EV
National Spiritual Advisor
Bishop Wayne L. Lobsinger was born in 1966 the first child of Larry and Eileen Lobsinger. Raised in the Waterloo Region, he received his Secondary School Honours Diploma in 1985. After one year in the honours music program at Wilfred Laurier University, he entered seminary at Resurrection College, St. Jerome’s College, University of Waterloo and there completed his Bachelor of Arts degree.
He then entered St. Peter’s Seminary, part of King’s College, Western University, London, Ontario and completed his Masters of Divinity degree. He was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop A.F. Tonnos, Bishop of Hamilton on April 17, 1993 and to the Presbyterate on May 7, 1994. As Associate Pastor he served at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Hamilton, St. Anthony Daniel Parish, Kitchener, St. Eugene Parish, Hamilton and Holy Cross Parish, Georgetown. In 2003 he was named Pastor of St. Anthony Parish, Kincardine with missions at Sacred Heart, Teeswater and St. Anne, Riversdale. In 2005, he was named Pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish, Kitchener and its mission St. Brigid in Ayr. In 2012, he was named Pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Waterdown. In 2019, he was named Pastor of St. Ann Parish, Ancaster. On November 21st 2020 he was appointed by Pope Francis as the Titular Bishop of Gemellae in Numidia and Auxiliary Bishop of Hamilton, ON.
On April 18th 2021, his Episcopal Ordination took place at the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King, Hamilton, ON Bishop Wayne has also served in a number of Diocesan roles including: Master of Ceremonies for Bishop Ustrzycki (1994-2003), Diocesan Spiritual Director of the Legion of Mary, Hamilton Comitium (1992 – 2016), Vice-chair and then Chair of the Clergy Updated 3april2023 Seminar Committee (2001-2004) and Chaplain to the Kitchener Knights of Columbus, third and fourth degrees (2005-2012). In 2010 he was elected as a member of the Diocesan Personnel Board and as Chair of the Presbyteral Council; he was re-elected to these two roles in 2013. In 2011, he was appointed to the Diocesan College of Consultors and as the Diocesan Representative to the Canadian Federation of Presbyteral Councils. In March of 2014 he was appointed coordinator of the “Good Leaders, Good Shepherds” program for the Diocese and in September of 2014 was appointed as Episcopal Vicar for Consecrated Life.
For twenty-three of the past twenty-eight years, Bishop Lobsinger has led an annual pilgrimage to various countries throughout the world. He is also a trained organist, and for two and a half seasons he was the organist for the Kitchener Rangers Junior A hockey team. The Bishop has one brother and four nieces. His parents and his brother’s family continue to live in the Waterloo Region.
National President, Chair of International Relations
Originally from Nova Scotia, Shari moved to Toronto to attend college and finally settled in Waterloo, Ontario with her husband Peter. They have 2 adult children.
Shari’s League journey began in 1986 at Sacred Heart Parish, (Kitchener). When she attended her first CWL meeting, she was asked to serve as recording secretary, and she became parish council president in 1991. Following that, she served on the Hamilton Diocesan Council and was diocesan president from 2001 to 2003.
Once elected to the Ontario Provincial Council, Shari served as treasurer, chairperson of spiritual development, organization and became provincial president in 2009 to 2011. Elected to the national executive in 2012, she served as chairperson of resolutions, secretary treasurer, and chair of spiritual development before becoming president elect and then national president in 2023.
Shari received her life membership in 2005 and is active in her parish, St Michael, Waterloo as a minister of the Word and chairs the parish finance council. She also serves on the diocesan finance council for the diocese of Hamilton. In 2014, Shari was honored with the papal honor of the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal.
She currently is a member of the board of directors and past chair of the Brothers of the Good Shepherd Non Profit Homes. Shari has been a business woman most of her career life, owning several businesses particularly in condominium management and specializing in non-profit housing.
Shari expresses her thankfulness to have met and interacted with so many intelligent, spiritual, insightful women through the Catholic Women’s League and looks forward to her continued journey.
Raised in Ignace, Ontario, Liberina was born as a first-generation Canadian in Dryden, Ontario, as Ignace did not have a hospital. Known as Betty, she has kept her birth name given in honour of her grandfather. The family moved to Fort William, Ontario, which amalgamated with Port Arthur, Ontario, to become Thunder Bay. In 1970, the family moved once again to Niagara Falls, Ontario and became parishioners of St. Thomas More Church. Betty pursued her love of music as a singer and saxophone player during her high school years while joining a local band that performed for dinner dances and weddings.
She became a legal assistant working for a law firm in Niagara Falls until her marriage to Nick in 1984. Choosing to build a house on a vineyard owned by the Colaneri family in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario; they still reside there today. The vineyard was a wonderful place to raise her two sons, Nicholas, 31 and Christopher, 26. Betty and her sister Angie married brothers, making family gatherings very convenient and memorable. In addition to working for Welcome Wagon and organizing bridal fashion shows twice a year, she helped her husband’s business. Currently, Betty is the marketing manager, event planner and creative consultant for the family-owned winery.
Betty joined The Catholic Women’s League in 1986 as it appealed to her as a way to give back to the parish. She became chairperson of several standing committees on the parish and diocesan levels before becoming the diocesan president for St. Catharines from 2001 to 2003. Betty has served on the provincial executive since 2003 as newsletter editor, chairperson for communications, Christian family life, spiritual development and organization.
The highlight of Betty’s service (at the provincial level) was being elected Ontario provincial president from 2013 to 2015, followed by her term as past president. Betty has also served as a sub-committee member for the national council under Christian family life, education and health and community life. She received her Maple Leaf service pin and was honoured with life membership in 2005. Over the years, Betty has volunteered for many organizations and has given presentations and workshops such as “When Life Hands You Lemons, Give Them Jesus, Then Lemonade.” She is a cantor, Minister of the Word, and a pastoral council member at her parish.
Presently, Betty serves as community life chairperson and chairperson for the 100th-anniversary committee for the national council of the League. She feels that the best part of being in the League, which has been a spiritually enriching and rewarding experience filled with blessings, is having sisters all across Canada to pray with in times of joy or to help carry the cross in times of sadness, walking with her on her spiritual journey.
Dorothy Johansen was born in Calgary, Alberta and currently lives in Edmonton. Dorothy is married to Michael, and they have one daughter, Jamie. Following her mother’s advice that it was an excellent way to make friends quickly in a new parish, she became a member of the League in 1985. She is currently a member of the St. Thomas More Parish Council (Edmonton).
Dorothy received her post-secondary education at the Memorial University of Newfoundland (bachelor of science degree in physical geography.) After working for a few years, she attended the University of Alberta (bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering) and completed two certificates in oil sands technology and management development. She has retired from her engineering career and created a family business to pursue her passion for owning and operating a store that caters to quilters and needleworkers.
She is currently a secretary for her council and the Focus on Fibre Arts Association. She is also the treasurer for the Edmonton and District Quilter’s Guild. She finds that being on a board or executive is a good way to get to know a smaller group of members really well.
The League is still her source of sisterhood, friendship and opportunity. The opportunity taken is to learn more about how we can better communicate with our members and to oversee the finances and records of the League.
Dorothy became the national secretary-treasurer at the national level in August 2023.
Fran has been a League member for 31 years. She is married to George, and her son and daughter-in-law have blessed them with two grandchildren. Born to parents of Polish descent, she was born and raised in Chipman, Alberta.
Fran has been National President of the League (2021-2023), National Chairperson of the Organization, Community Life, and Education and Health. Prior to that, she was President at the Provincial, Diocesan and Parish levels.
Special League projects, committees, meetings and presentations Fran has worked on include:
- Planning Strategically Liaison from the implementation committee to the national executive/board.
- Chaired and co-chaired various fundraisers in the Edmonton Archdiocese, with funds going to the Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation, Valour Place, etc.
- Worked with the Edmonton Catholic Schools board’s program specialist to create a Catch the Fire! curriculum for high school use and assisted in the delivery of the pilot (2013-2014)
- Member of the ad hoc national leadership development committee (Catch the Fire!) and subsequent facilitator for Catch the Fire! (2010-2012)
- Chaired diocesan council (Edmonton) Centennial Gala Committee (2012)
- Member of the national subcommittee of Christian family life to develop an administration manual for the Catholic Girls’ League. Organized a Catholic Girls’ League at Jean Forest all Girls Leadership Academy (All Girls)
- Organized the first university parish council at the University of Alberta
- A member of Archbishop Collins’ strategic planning committee on “The Definition of Marriage.”
- As member of the Edmonton Diocesan Fieldworkers for eight years, developed and delivered workshops
- Started a young women’s group whose mandate was to recruit League membership
In August 2014, Fran accepted an invitation from the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace to nationally represent the League on a solidarity trip to the Philippines with nine others.
In 2015, Fran worked with Salt + Light Television in its production of a video on the League, For God and Canada. In 2018, she represented the League at the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations conference in Dakar, Senegal, and in Assisi, Italy in 2023.
Fran retired while managing Volunteer Services and Community Relations Departments for a large not-for-profit organization with a base of more than 1,200 volunteers. Her previous position with this organization was as a manager of training and development.
National Chairperson of Faith
Rolande Chernichan, who is of French-Métis heritage, is a fraternal twin who grew up the eldest girl in a family of thirteen children in the farming community of Fisher Branch, Manitoba. After high school, she moved to Winnipeg for employment. She married the love of her life, Bob, in 1973 and they made their home on a 5-acre rural property in Ile-des-Chênes, MB. Rolande worked as a medical secretary-receptionist for several years; and she also partnered with Bob in his home-based self-employed backhoe business and as a partner in a golf course. Being blessed with five wonderful children, Rolande eventually became an at-home Mom, and devoted herself to being a full-time homemaker, raising their children, being bookkeeper for their business, and giving of her time as a volunteer in her parish of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, its schools, as well as in the community.
Rolande was introduced to the League on invitation of then national president, Evelyn Wyrzykowski, who sought her out to become the president for a CWL council that Evelyn wished to organize in their parish. Evelyn was naturally too busy to be Rolande’s mentor but assured her that the League had all the resources necessary to lead a council and that all one had to do was read. Rolande accepted the call, serving as charter president of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette Parish Council in 1989; holding membership with that council for the past 34 years. With aim of keeping members connected and informed, Rolande initiated her council’s monthly newsletter which is still being published by a dedicated member. Rolande has assisted in the research and development of all 22 resolutions adopted by her parish council, 5 of which went on to be adopted at the national level. In 2012, Rolande was awarded the Maple Leaf Service pin by her council.
League experience for Rolande has come from serving in several officer positions at the parish, diocesan and provincial levels as well as on several ad hoc committees. From 2008-2010, she served as St. Boniface Diocesan President, a term marked by celebrating the 60th anniversary of the council and implementing email communication to parish councils. Her service at the diocesan level included developing and facilitating resolutions workshops as well as workshops aimed at CWL leadership training. She also initiated two diocesan council resolutions, and co-authored manuals for conducting CWL elections at the parish, diocesan and provincial levels, supported by electronic files for ease-of-use. In 2016, Rolande was awarded Life Membership by St. Boniface Diocesan Council.
Her service at the provincial level included being a facilitator for Catch the Fire! workshops, developing and facilitating S’Mores as well as annual resolutions workshops. Rolande served as president of Manitoba Provincial Council from 2017-2019, a term marked by celebrating the 70th anniversary of provincial council, hosting the national convention by Manitoba in 2018, launch of Manitoba Provincial Council’s website, as well as the start of implementing the League’s Strategic Plan in her province.
Rolande’s service at national level has included being appointed to the national resolutions committee from 2014-2016, serving as provincial president, and serving as national chairperson of resolutions 2021-2023. Her term as national chairperson resulted in several resources being developed to assist members in the development and processing of resolutions.
Membership in The Catholic Women’s League of Canada has been a gift to Rolande who is quick to admit that she has gotten more out of being a member than she could have imagined. She has experienced spiritual growth, she has learned skills that have served her well in other organizations, she has gained confidence in leadership and public speaking, she has fuller appreciation of the broader impact of the League beyond the parish level, she has greater awareness of social justice issues and avenues to address them, she has been supported and affirmed by the sisterhood of the League, and she feels blessed to have the friendships of CWL sisters from coast to coast. Rolande has benefitted from the passion that her mother and sisters share as CWL members. She delights that her three daughters are also CWL ‘sisters’ who have been supportive and who have shared their professional skills to assist her in leadership roles in the League.
Rolande is a charter member of the Manitoba Association of Parliamentarians, and she holds membership in the National Association of Parliamentarians.
Rolande has remained an active volunteer in her parish throughout her League service. In 1993 she was awarded the Prix Evangelium by Archbishop Antoine Hacault in recognition of serving her parish for several years as volunteer coordinator of catechesis, for developing and facilitating sacramental preparation workshops, in addition to serving on the pastoral council, as a trustee and on the liturgy committee. Rolande has served for several years as coordinator and trainer of Ministers of the Word, and she currently serves as a reader as well as a Minister of the Eucharist.
Rolande and Bob have been blessed with 9 beautiful grandchildren who keep them young-at-heart. They both enjoy being outdoors in their large yard, travelling, camping and making memories with their children and grandchildren. Rolande has a passion for growing flowers, so her greenhouse, flowerbeds and vegetable garden put her in touch with Creator God throughout the growing seasons. She likes to spend R & R time in her hot tub with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine in hand, reading, reflecting, praying, and surrounded by nature, no matter the season. She feels very blessed to have the support of Bob and her family in serving God and Canada through the national level of the League.
National Chairperson of Service
Joline’s story began 70 years ago in Quebec City, where she was born, and then her family settled in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. She has fond memories driving to Halifax to see the Ice Capades, and the Expo in Montreal. She started primary at a Catholic school called Saint Ambrose, and while attending school, she took piano lessons for a long time.
After university she moved to Ottawa, and worked for a federal crown corporation called Export Development. She worked there for 10 years and would often go to daily Mass at an inner city church, St. Patrick’s.
She moved back home and since 1990 she worked as a medical secretary for an Ear, Nose, Throat Doctor. She joined the Catholic Women’s League in 2000. Since joining the League in 2000, her positions on the executive were: Parish President, Diocesan President elect, President, Past President; Provincial Resolutions Chair, Treasurer, Provincial President elect, Provincial President. Pins awarded include: Maple Leaf, Life Member. She also led presentations (Leadership, Catch the Fire), Strategic Plan, and is presently Co-Committee Chairperson for the Halifax National Convention in 2026.
She owns many cats, (five) and two dogs! That is enough animals, and as each one departs this earth, it won’t be replaced by another one. Besides the Catholic Women’s League, she is also a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, leader of the RCIA team at her church, for a long time loved to run, and finished a full marathon at the Bluenose Marathon in Halifax, coming third in her division. Other interests include good music, resistance training, yoga local plays, and watching “The Young and the Restless”.
National Chairperson of Social Justice
Glenda grew up on a farm in the small town of Golden Prairie in the southwest corner of Saskatchewan. Although very small, the Catholic community helped plant the strong roots of her faith fostered by her parents and family. Glenda eventually moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where she studied nursing and met her husband, George. After living in Saskatoon for a couple of years, George joined the Canadian Navy, and they eventually transferred to Halifax, Nova Scotia. The prairies never left Glenda’s heart as home, but the birth of her two children helped to set down new eastern roots. The beauty and warmth of the Maritime people cemented the feeling that Nova Scotia was also home. Feelings of belonging in her adopted province were also greatly fostered over the years by the wonderful relationships formed through St. Clement Parish CWL Council and her diocesan and provincial council service.
For over 35 years, Glenda has served the League in leadership roles, including parish, diocesan and provincial president and chairperson for various standing committees at all levels, special committees and projects. She became a Life Member in 2020. League service has often been a tenuous balance between a demanding career as a clinical nurse specialist, lifelong studies that eventually led to a doctorate in nursing, serving in parish ministries, and being present for her family. The extraordinary Christian compassion of many League sisters and the League’s strong spiritual, leadership and social justice focus has kept Glenda faithful and passionate in her membership for God and Canada.
Kim was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her education and work experience has been varied and interesting. To support herself while attending university, Kim worked at four part-time jobs concurrently. She graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Science (Honors) with Distinction in 1988, majoring in genetics. Before graduation, she accepted employment with a public accounting firm and committed herself to becoming a Chartered Accountant (CA).
Kim spent five years at an accounting firm performing audits, financial reviews and tax assistance for clients in various industries. Many of her clients were not-for-profit organizations, and she thoroughly enjoyed these audits. As a CA student and receiving practical on-the-job training, she was required to take accounting courses, two of which earned her Gold Medals.
After receiving her CA designation in 1991, Kim found employment in the industry, where she was employed as a controller for the past six years. Her responsibilities have included all aspects of finance and administration, allowing her to develop a keen business instinct.
Kim has volunteered with various organizations, primarily those supporting and increasing awareness of the mentally and physically challenged. She has also volunteered as a catechist in her parish and is currently on the school board.
Kim is married to David and has one son, two daughters, and two step-daughters.
Alberta Mackenzie Provincial President
Mary has been a League member for 27 years, after a friend invited her to a council meeting at Good Shepherd (Edmonton). As an only child, she had always longed for siblings and the League represented a graced opportunity for sisterhood and to grow in her Catholic faith. She was blessed to serve as Edmonton Diocesan President from 2015-2017 and is currently serving as provincial president until 2024.
Mary remains a parishioner of Good Shepherd Parish where she served on the parish pastoral council, as chairperson of the liturgy committee, and as Eucharistic minister and lector ministry coordinator. Since 2001, she co-chaired the Jasper Place Warming Ministry that feeds the poor and homeless during the winter months. From 2019-2022, Mary served as chairperson of the Alberta March for Life Association that promotes the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. She also served as a League representative for the GrACE initiative (Grateful Advocates for Catholic Education). Mary is passionate about all matters related to Catholic education and promotes it whenever possible.
During Mary’s working career, which spanned 28 years with the Province of Alberta, she had the honour of working for five lieutenant governors. She served as chairperson of the Monarchist League for Northern Alberta for five years and remains a board member. She also serves on the boards of directors of the Royal Commonwealth Society and the Edmonton United Services Institute. Volunteering has been an important part of her life. Mary has found many opportunities to grow in faith through service.
Along with her husband Larry, Mary has two grown children (son, Ryan and daughter, Clarissa), two granddaughters (Sierra and Hanna) and a grandson (Kael), who are all a source of joy and keep them busy. In Mary’s spare time, she enjoys creative writing, theatre, gardening, music and reading.
Mary’s goal for the next two years is to GROW the League by building relationships throughout Alberta Mackenzie. If every member would invite one other woman to join, membership would double…together we can make it possible!
B.C. & Yukon Provincial President
Catherine was born to the late Dr. Hubert and Margaret Dumont in Vancouver, British Columbia, the seventh of 12 children. She is married to Art, and they have five children and 16 grandchildren.
As a member for 28 years, Catherine has always been on the executive at the parish, diocesan or provincial level and loved every minute of it. Why? Because she gets to serve God and her League sisters in all sorts of wonderful ways, her faith has deepened immensely, and she learns something new every day while continually meeting new people.
At the parish level, Catherine has been secretary, president-elect, president and past president and the chairperson of Christian family life, legislation, resolutions and community life standing committees. She served as diocesan president-elect, president and past president. As past president, she spent 125 hours gathering, organizing and filing the diocesan archives. At the provincial level, Catherine served as chairperson of spiritual development and, while president-elect, organization. While chairperson of spiritual development, she held a province-wide St. Joseph carving and carpentry contest and was amazed at how talented members were. While chairperson of organization, she organized a membership contest that brought in more than 125 new members within the province.
Catherine and Art live in Vernon, where they enjoy boating, hiking, swimming and being active in their parish of St. James Catholic Church. About 10 years ago, she started the St. James Catholic Girl’s League.
For several years, Catherine promoted a culture of life by giving pro-life talks in parishes and high schools in the north.
She continues to write to politicians about “womb to tomb” pro-life issues and is a member of Vernon and Area Pro-Life Society.
Catherine attended Little Flower Academy in Vancouver, run by the Sisters of St. Ann, from Grades 1 through 12. These were some of the happiest years of her life. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a bachelor of arts degree and has her gold level in leadership and public speaking from Toastmasters International. Her further experience includes two terms on the Advisory Planning Commission for the City of Vernon. This committee advised the mayor and council on planning issues. She programmed for and worked with children for several years, worked in sales and helped her oldest son with a business start-up.
Catherine credits the League for filling a gap for her as a young mother. Her parish council in 100 Mile House was filled with young moms, some of whom she is still friends with today.
Catherine is impressed with the new strategic plan resources and the Unity Outreach. She feels both are excellent ways to move the League forward and that the Unity Outreach is a great way for councils to stop and talk about the League and get feedback from other levels. She looks forward to being the new provincial president and working with her knowledgeable, supportive and hardworking executive
Manitoba Provincial President
Crystal is the oldest of three children, born in 1965 and not joined by her sister until later in 1970, she has always been a leader! She was born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan and spent her early years in that area. She graduated from North Battleford Comprehensive High School in 1983 and went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science in physical education at the University of Saskatchewan.
As often happens during the four years of obtaining a degree, Crystal met and fell in love with Daren, who comes from a small town in Saskatchewan and has a strong Catholic upbringing. Not a “cradle Catholic”, Crystal feels this led her to read and learn about many aspects of the faith. Marrying Daren brought her to Manitoba where his eventual employment with Manitoba Hydro led to living in various locations. Crystal has three sons, two daughters-in-law and three fabulous grandchildren. Family is a very important focus of Crystal’s life!
When the children were eight, six and four years old, Crystal, with the profound support of Daren, decided to embark upon a new career and obtained her Bachelor of Nursing from the University of Manitoba. She worked in orthopedics and medicine where she became the clinical resource nurse for the medicine ward at Selkirk and District General Hospital. She was able to obtain her certification as a hospice and palliative care nurse during these years. The last job she had was as the educational nurse at Betel Home in Selkirk.
Crystal was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007, which led to the eventual end of her nursing career, but it opened up so many other opportunities! In 2013, Crystal and Daren were part of group with Ovarian Cancer Canada that fundraised for the opportunity to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro! This is a feat of which Crystal is quite proud – hardest thing ever! She has also been able to increase her activities within the League. Daren signed her up – before she really even knew what the CWL was about – “It’s what Catholic women do,” he said!
Well, after a first convention, she was hooked! This organization was on fire and the idea of lobbying the government and actually making a difference in the world was so exciting!
Military Ordinariate Provincial President
Theresa grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia and is the youngest of five children. Once she became a registered pharmacist, Theresa joined the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to seek new adventures and travel. God had His own plan as Theresa met her husband Hans in basic training, and in the next year rejoined civilian life and was married. In 1984, pregnant with her first child, Theresa became a member of the CWL at St. Mary’s Chapel, CFB Gagetown. Her mother and grandmother were members of the CWL and Theresa was seeking that type of sisterhood. Recently, Theresa was looking at the Military Ordinariate (MO) archives and found out that she held her first executive position in 1987!
During the next twelve years Theresa had two more children, moved six more times, went back to university to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and remained an active member of the CWL in military chapels and civilian parishes. The MO CWL was a lifeline, during those moves. Even with the complexities of re-establishing the family and career, Theresa knew that she always had a CWL sister nearby. It is a sisterhood, like no other.
Theresa and her family moved to Ottawa in 1999 and have lived there ever since. In 2000, Theresa became the president of the newly reactivated council at Our Lady of the Airways military chapel in Ottawa and in 2003 began serving on the Military Ordinariate Provincial Council. Theresa left the Military Ordinariate in 2010 when her husband retired, and she became a member of the St. Martin de Porres council. In 2015, after a change in the eligibility criteria for the MO CWL, Theresa had the honour of serving on the MO Provincial Council once again. Theresa is still an active member of the St. Martin de Porres community, serving as an usher and a member of the finance committee, while attending Our Lady of the Airways as a CWL member.
Theresa just retired from an amazing career as a pharmacist. Moving frequently, she had fantastic opportunities working in a variety of pharmacy positions, in traditional and non-traditional roles. Theresa worked for 40 years either full time or part time in traditional roles such as community, hospital and long-term care pharmacy and non-traditional roles including course development and teaching, policy and regulatory development and radiation protection within Health Canada, and during the past 9 years, working in areas such as registration and licensure with the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities.
Theresa is excited for the next two years, beginning with the Unity Outreach Project. She also plans to build stronger relationships by supporting the Military Ordinariate and Chaplains while focusing on growing the membership within the CWL.
New Brunswick Provincial President
Madonna was born in Newcastle, NB. At a very young age her family moved to Fredericton where she currently resides. Madonna feels blessed to have attended St. Dunstan’s Catholic School from grades one to nine. She and husband, Robert, celebrated their 50th anniversary last year, having their marriage blessed at St. Kevin’s church in Dublin, Ireland. They have two adult children and a sixteen year old grandson.
Joined St Francis of Assisi CWL in 1990 as her mother, 40 year member, transferred her membership because she needed transportation to meetings. Her late sister, Norah, also joined both gals and held parish positions, with Madonna going onto Parish President twice, receiving her Maple Leaf Pin in recognition of her work. She has fond memories of the convention time shared with mother and sister, Madonna wondered how the ladies at the head table got there, receiving a letter to apply for the diocesan level, when the past parish president thought maybe she could do this and waited for the last eligible year to apply and went for it, as the say the rest is history! Madonna’s daughter Lynn, sister Norma and niece Beth are members of St Francis of Assisi Parish Council.
Highlights included chaired catering at Fredericton City Hall Citizenship Ceremony, back in the day different faith communities volunteered to host. Hosting an Apple Cider Making Day fundraiser for Mary’s Meals, included in article Mary’s Meals “A Simple Solution to World Hunger” in the league magazine by National Chairperson of Community Life at the time. Member of the national sub-committee chairperson of community life (Refugees, Immigration and Citizenship) interviewing Parish Priest Father Charles Udeh, from Nigeria, with the article published in League magazine “God’s Call from Nigeria to New Brunswick”. Facilitator of the Catch the Fire team, My CWL 2022 – Changing with the Times, now involved in Unity Outreach. She was the Transportation Chair during the 2014 National Convention in Fredericton. Her meticulous planning and organizational skills ensured the success of the event, leaving a lasting impact on attendees. Also was the Member of Servant Leadership team.
Represented CWL as member of faith in diversity program. This included women from 8 different faith communities, brought together by St. Thomas Professor of religious studies, Dr. Alexander Bain who included her students, from September to March, meeting once a month.
Madonna was awarded Life Membership in 2020. She retired after 42 years of dedicated service. She is a member member of the YMCA and enjoys aqua-fit and gentle fit programs. She finds it exciting times to be part of national executive of like minded faith-filled women!
Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial President
Linda is the eldest of four children and was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She was raised and still lives in the beautiful rural community of Colliers – a small town 45 minutes to the west of St. John’s in Conception Bay on the Avalon Peninsula. She has been blessed with three sons and three grandchildren. Sadly, her husband passed away in 2022.
Professionally, Linda worked for 35 years in administration at Memorial University of Newfoundland and retired from full-time employment in 2020. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Memorial and describes herself as a life-long learner. She cites her maternal grandparents as being the greatest influences in her life and always encouraging her to achieve her potential academically.
Born and raised as a practicing Catholic, Linda felt the need to become more involved in her parish and Christian life and “give back” to her community following the near fatal accident of her youngest son in 2014 in which he suffered a traumatic brain injury. She is a firm believer that the power of prayer granted her a miracle in her son’s survival and recovery. She is a member of her parish council’s Board of Administration and active as a lector. She became a member of the Catholic Women’s League in 2015 and has served as parish council member and president of her parish of Immaculate Conception CWL Council. Provincially, she has held the position of interim Communications Chairperson and two years as President-Elect. Her term as Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial CWL President commenced on May 28, 2023.
Linda is an avid gardener, walker, lover of animals and nature and is a passionate reader and writer. She believes in using her God-given talents to the best of her ability especially her gift for public speaking. Her favourite time of day is the first light of morning when she can enjoy her first cup of tea while sitting in her rocking chair and watching the sun rise while giving thanks for the day. She is a life enthusiast and looks forward to serving for many more years in the CWL.
Jessie Marie Parkinson
Nova Scotia Provincial President
Jessie was born in Inverness, Cape Breton and raised in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. She was blessed with a beautiful voice and performed in music festivals and as a soloist in her church until she graduated from high school. She attended Marianopolis College in Montreal, graduating in 1968 with a bachelor of arts, majoring in music. Jessie had decided at age seven that she wanted to be a lawyer. Despite her mother’s admonishment that “she would never get a husband that way,” she entered Dalhousie University Law School in 1968. Upon graduation, Jessie moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where she articled to Mary Southin (later Madam Justice Southin of the British Columbia Court of Appeal). Upon her call to the bar, she practiced with the Vancouver City Prosecutor’s Office and the British Columbia Crown Council Office until entering private practice in 1981. She has appeared as counsel at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. In 2004 she received her certification in Mediation from Dalhousie University Henson College.
Following a bout with breast cancer, Jessie retired from active practice and returned home to Nova Scotia in 1999. In 2008, the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour hired her to establish a pilot project, the Office of the Worker Counsellor, for two years. She remained with the program until 2015.
Upon her retirement, Jessie was tapped by many volunteer organizations in her community. She is the past chairperson of the Tearmann Society for Abused Women, which operates a shelter for abused women and their children in several counties. She is a guest lecturer in law at her local high school, is a volunteer with Mentoring Plus (a program that matches retired people with those entering the workforce), a board member of the New Glasgow Music Festival for 19 years, and currently serves as the president of the Federation of Music Festivals of Nova Scotia. With her talents as a fundraiser, she is often called upon to chair local fundraising initiatives.
Jessie paddles with a breast cancer survivor Dragon Boat team and served as its chairperson from 2018-2022. She is the treasurer of Women Alike Breast Cancer Survivors Society, a support group that assists women financially through their journey. Jessie has been inducted into the Pictou County Sports Hall of Fame with other members of her team. She is a proud international athlete, having competed in the 2018 Breast Cancer Survivor International Dragon Boat Race in Florence, Italy.
Jessie is active in her church, St. John the Baptist. She is a member of the parish council, has served as a lector and Eucharistic minister and directs the senior choir.
Jessie has been a member of the League for 20 years and an executive member in one capacity or another for all of those years. She was elected chairperson of legislation at her first meeting! At the parish and diocesan council levels, she has served as chairperson of organization, legislation and resolutions and has been the president and past president. She is currently the parish council co-chairperson of social justice and fundraiser extraordinaire.
While diocesan president, Jessie was chairperson of transportation at the 2016 national convention in Halifax. Utilizing her contacts in the industry, she worked with convention chairperson Honorary Life Member Danielle McNeil-Hessian to produce the CWL scarf pin, a major convention fundraiser.
On the provincial council, she has previously served as chairperson of organization and spiritual development.
During her 20 years of service, Jessie has delivered numerous workshops, including Catch the Fire! and S’Mores. She has facilitated workshops on resolutions, legislation and governance at all levels of the League within her province.
Jessie currently serves as executive secretary and chairperson of governance on the board of directors of the Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation.
Married to David for 40 years, they have one daughter, Caitlin. Jessie resides in New Glasgow with David and their Havanese dog, Sully, where she loves decorating, reading, gardening, baking and fundraising.
Ontario Provincial President
Linda was born in Timmins and raised in the town of Schumacher. After graduating from teachers’ college, she moved to Sudbury. She married Tullio in 1970. They have two sons, a daughter and eleven grandchildren.
During her 28-year teaching career, she taught various grades and special education in the Catholic schools in the Sudbury area. During this time, she took university courses and earned a B.A. and B. Ed.
The family moved to the town of Coniston, just a short distance from Sudbury. In 1975 Linda joined the League at St. Paul the Apostle Parish as a way to meet other women in the parish community. She became actively involved in council projects and served on the executive.
In 2002, after retiring from teaching, Linda was appointed to the Sault Ste. Marie Diocesan Council to chair the resolutions and legislation standing committees. During this time, she worked on four resolutions, one of which was approved at a national convention. Always having had a strong interest in social justice, resolutions became her favourite committee. Linda has developed and presented several leadership workshops, throughout the diocese. She continues to serve as the archivist for the Sault Ste. Marie Diocesan Council.
In 2013, Linda was elected to the Ontario Provincial Council and has chaired several standing committees. Her greatest thrill was being a member of the Ontario Provincial Council delegation to visit Queen’s Park, twice, and personally have the opportunity to express concerns to the provincial government.
Linda served as the lead on the Restructuring Working Group who were tasked with reorganizing the standing committees.
CWL is important to her family. Her daughter, mother, granddaughters, two sisters and mother-in-law are al League members. When her granddaughters turn 16, they know they will be enrolled as members of the League. She is a parishioner and CWL member of Holy Redeemer Parish in Sudbury.
Linda is a breast cancer survivor for over 25 years. Her favourite pastimes are reading, knitting, embroidery, travelling, spending time with family but most of all doing League work.
As an adult she was always interested in social justice issues, spoken out against injustice and written letters to government expressing her concerns. In the League she found like-minded women who shared her Catholic beliefs and an organization which gives voice to her concerns.
Prince Edward Island Provincial President
Karen was born and raised in the small community of Selkirk, Prince Edward Island and graduated from Souris Regional High School. In 1995, she graduated with honours from the Tourism and Hospitality Program at the Atlantic Travel and Hospitality Institute as a travel agent. In the early 1990s, she taught English and studied martial arts in Japan for four years. In 2003, she graduated from Holland College’s diploma program in practical nursing.
After working in acute care for Health PEI for 18 years, Karen has recently taken a position in a health clinic to allow more time for the League.
Karen has been a member for 12 years at St. Peter Parish Council in St. Peters Bay and has held the positions of secretary, president and past president, for which she still serves in that position. She has been on the provincial council since 2014, as recording secretary, president-elect/chairperson of organization and now, as provincial president.
Karen has had many meaningful experiences over the past six years, including her work as accommodation chairperson for the 2017 national convention, member of the misconceptions working group (2018-2021) and as a participant in the smartphone focus group and app discussion group for the strategic plan in 2022. She also completed the Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation program (2021-2022) and the Four Seasons of Reconciliation Program online (2023). She engages in many parish activities in her home parish of St. Peter’s Bay and her former parish of St. Charles.
Karen credits the League for enabling her to meet so many wonderful women. It has allowed her to grow in faith and advance her leadership skills in ways she never thought possible. Karen’s passion for the League continues to grow, and she looks forward to what the future has in store for her.
Quebec Provincial President
Alice has been a member of the League at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish Council of Saint Raymond’s Parish for 26 years and a life member since 2020. She lives with her husband of 28 years in Candiac on the South Shore of Montreal. They are the proud parents of three young adult children.
Alice arrived in Canada at the age of five from England. She is fully bilingual (French and English) and also speaks Spanish. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Concordia University and has 32 years of experience as an independent self-employed advisor in the financial industry. She has been a member of various education and health boards.
Alice has been a warden, leader, reader and member of the evangelization project team in her parish. In her diocese, she was a member of the marriage preparation team for 20 years.
As a member, Alice has served at the parish, diocesan and provincial levels, chairing most committees and as treasurer and secretary. She has helped write three resolutions as well as policy and procedure manuals for her parish and diocesan councils. She was a member of two national convention planning committees.
Alice’s special interests include resolutions, spiritual development and treasury. She enjoys giving presentations and helping with leadership development. Some workshops she has helped develop and present include Resolutions, Kindle the Fire: Treasurers, World Day of the Poor, The Art of Having a Great Meeting and Care for Our Common Home: Water. As provincial president-elect, she helped develop the national Executive Orientation Program workshops.
In Summer 2022, she joined the national executive as provincial president. Over the last few months, she prepared two workshops, Recruitment and Changes 2022, and has members of the provincial council meeting with every parish council in Quebec to present them. Her objective is to reaffirm the League’s sisterhood across the province. Alice hopes to inspire and motivate all members in Quebec to share their gifts.
Such a journey is never undertaken alone and without help. Alice thanks her family and all her council members for their continued support and encouragement.
Saskatchewan Provincial President
Connie is the youngest of three girls and grew up in Watson, Saskatchewan, the Home of Santa Claus day. To welcome you to the town is a 20ft Santa and each year the town dedicates a whole weekend to Christmas celebrations. After completing high school in Watson, Connie attended the University of Saskatchewan and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. She began employment with Revenue Canada Taxation (later CRA) and retired from her 35-year career with the federal government in 2012.
A late joiner to the Catholic Women’s League, Connie was first inspired by the social justice aspects of the league, but this was soon followed by the joy of sharing her Catholic faith through positions on her parish council and later provincial council as Spiritual Development Chairperson. During her twelve years as a member Connie has served on her parish council as president as well as other executive positions. She has served as treasurer on both diocesan and provincial council and has served on provincial council since 2013. Connie has been a member of the marketing working group since May 2019 and has been excited by all the new resources created by the many working groups that are a part of the Implementation of the Strategic Plan..
Connie has served in her parishes of St. Patrick and then St. Mary in Eucharistic, music, and liturgical ministries. She has served on parish and diocesan pastoral councils, chaired the finance committee and has been on the diocesan Justice and Peace Advisory council for the past 13 years. Connie also was the treasurer of her husband’s CN Pensioners Association for eight years.
Connie has devoted her retirement years to volunteer work including prison, hospital, school, and care home ministries. Working with people is her greatest enjoyment. Once the snow has melted you will find Connie on the golf course, gardening or taking the grandchildren on an adventure. In winter you will find her at a rink watching her grandsons play hockey or at the pool swimming. One place it is hard to find her is at home!
Together with her husband Bill they have five children and six grandchildren. Connie and Bill take part in outreach ministry at both their parish of St. Mary’s and the Indigenous parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe providing weekly food hampers. The two parishes both celebrate Mass in the same church building, giving parishioners of both parishes an opportunity to share community life. Connie completed a four-course certificate education program “Indigenous Pastoral & Lay Leader Ministry” offered by the Saskatoon Diocese. This has inspired her to devote her term as president to promoting Indigenous history awareness and encouraging members in their journey towards reconciliation.
During the pandemic Connie began administrating the GoToMeeting virtual meeting platform for the provincial council that enabled the member to stay connected through an exceedingly difficult two years. For her efforts she was awarded the Maple Leaf Service medal by the Provincial Council.
Connie has been inspired and supported by many wonderful members and mentors and looks forward to continuing her work with the league for many years to come.
*list updated December 5, 2022