2015 Annual Report – Alberta Mackenzie
Alberta Mackenzie Provincial Council President
2015 Annual Report
2015 Membership: 9,674 members in 163 councils
One Heart, One Voice, One Mission—this theme was the League’s call and focus during this past year through its councils and activities. Diocesan and parish council presidents and their councils worked diligently and were rewarded for their devotion to God and Canada.
One of the key reasons women joined and stayed in the League was the desire for spiritual enrichment. Members celebrated their faith primarily through the Holy Eucharist, shared around the table of the Lord with their sisters. It was with creativity that members developed their spirituality, and members prayed together in many voices and styles.
Members moved from their parish ministries to serve “in the world”. Members evangelized in many ways. They lived out the gospel message by serving God and Canada. Councils became informed and participated in the Pornography Hurts postcard campaign and sponsored refugees from Syria and other developing countries. Letters were written to government to respond to the issues of physician-assisted dying and access to quality hospice palliative care. Petitions were shared, and members spoke to their members of the legislative assembly about a provincial independent senior’s advocate. Support for Catholic schools was evident through letters and action to protect Catholic schools. Members were involved with a number of issues, including supporting youth, refugees, trafficked persons and worldwide concerns, especially through partnership with the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) and Catholic Missions In Canada. Councils focused on the papal encyclical Laudato Si’ and the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy with speakers, shared information and action.
Council presidents provided active leadership by representing their councils at conferences, fundraising dinners and events, workshops and annual conventions at all League levels. The annual conventions have been cited as where parish council members truly see the “big picture”. A few councils were able to meet with politicians, and the provincial council wanted to make this a priority. Presidents used a variety of methods to communicate and inform the membership of the League’s position on current issues and priorities and new programs. Information and action plans were shared at diocesan council and executive meetings. Websites and newsletters provided fresh and detailed information.
Members were recognized in a variety of ways. Provincially, parish council growth was recognized in the areas of increased individual membership and percentage of membership increase. In this way, even smaller councils could demonstrate and celebrate their growth. Members who modeled extraordinary service by their lives were recognized with the Elsie Yanik Award. Individuals were recognized with the Bellelle Guerin award. A new life member was added to the provincial numbers, while the loss of Life Member Ella Ell was mourned.
Members of the provincial executive represented the League at various meetings and functions including the Alberta Catholic School Trustees’ Association annual general meeting, Covenant Health luncheons, CCODP workshops, every annual diocesan convention, anniversary celebrations and as many workshops as possible.
The bishops were supportive and promoted the League, as did many parish priests. The parish priests were needed to enthusiastically support the League’s work in order that parishioners would see the value of what the League does. Presidents who met regularly with the spiritual advisor, and requested his or her support, experienced more success as a council.
All levels became more mindful of goal-setting and priorities. Councils continuing to use League resource manuals and programs experienced the most effective member retention and recruitment. Members shared the concern across Canada of declining membership, participation and lack of members taking leadership roles. Conversely, those who did take on leadership were rewarded by the gains in their own skills and abilities. The challenge was to consider new possibilities and change the way the League met, conducted business and “did things.”
For the League to grow and sustain itself, members must invite women to become involved in the meaningful work of the League. The League is a precious gift to be shared with others. It is a blessing to share time and service with other women. While members hope for new and improved ways to recruit members, the reality is that members join and stay because they want a relationship with God and their spiritual sisters.