The CWL of 2011 is about a lot more than receptions in church halls, although their presence and support of families who have just lost loved ones is a tremendous example of compassion and outreach. A quick read of one of their recent issues of their official publication, "The Canadian League", included stories tackling numerous hot button issues including child poverty, corporate responsibility of Canadian mining companies, palliative care, hospice, prostitution and other important resolutions brought forward by CWL members.
The publication also highlights the intense work being done at the local level by councils thorughout the country. These are women of action and they're not afraid to step forward, bringing along with them the voices of tens of thousands of members from across Canada. You can learn more about the CWL through their national website here or for Ontarians through the provincial web presence here.
In fact, every year a delegation travels to Ottawa to meet with our political leaders to discuss issues of great relevance. The 2010 visit included meetings with the Prime Minister, Minister of Justice, Minister of Finance as well as numerous other Chiefs of Staff, opposition members and other government officials. Now that's some substance to sink your teeth into.
In action for over 90 years in Canada, the CWL continues to be one of the most visible and engaged lay movements in the country. Their manadate is clear, as outlined on their national website:
The objectives of the League shall be to unite Catholic women of Canada:
to achieve individual and collective spiritual development.
to promote the teachings of the Catholic church.
to exemplify the Christian ideal in home and family life.
to protect the sanctity of human life.
to enhance the role of women in church and society.
to recognize the human dignity of all people everywhere.
to uphold and defend Christian education and values in the modern world.
to contribute to the understanding and growth of religious freedom, social justice, peace and harmony.
For this year's national gathering in Toronto, keynote speakers will include Dr. Nancy Reeves, a registered clinical psychologist, spiritual director, best selling author and internationally respected workshop facilitator. She will be joined by Linnea Good who is called the “contemporary musical voice of the emerging church in Canada. They will speak on the topic: “The poor have good news brought to them."In addition to educational and business sessions the delegates will come together in prayer and fellowship at two of Toronto’s historic churches with the opening Eucharistic celebration at St. Paul’s Basilica and the closing Mass taking place at St Michael’s Cathedral.
Planning has been underway for more than a year on this conference and our prayers and best wishes go out to all involved. Added to the stress of convention planning is the fact that in the last couple of weeks, the CWL National office endured a fire that temporarily prevented staff from operating out of their national base in Winnipeg.
We can't underestimate the powerful impact the CWL continues to have on our local and national church. Let's hope their drive to recruit new members and encourage young women to join the "League" is answered with a resounding "yes" from coast to coast.
So if you happen to be in downtown Toronto August 14-17 and run into the 600+ strong, extend your thanks for all that they continue to do. While I can't guarantee there will be any cookies, you can be sure there will be plenty of faith driven women committed to making a difference and walking the talk, serving as the hands and feet of Christ in our communities.