2015 Annual Report – New Brunswick

October 01, 2016

Margaret McCallum
New Brunswick Provincial Council President
2015 Annual Report

As provincial president, I was blessed with an abundance of opportunities to celebrate the women of the League and the work done so well and so often throughout the beautiful province of New Brunswick. When I read the annual reports of the provincial chairpersons and diocesan presidents, I was treated to countless reminders of the gifts members share. There was a common thread in these reports—the service members provided to the church and communities, combined with their deep concern for justice throughout the world. Members provided and enjoyed faith-based opportunities for spiritual growth, leadership development and service. Day-to-day acts of kindness attributed to members were countless and overwhelming.

Like all provincial presidents, I had the honour of serving on the national executive to represent the provincial council. Attending meetings with members from across Canada was an amazing experience for me. It was good to see and hear how the League was visible in every province, and it was good to see and share how members in the province made a difference as members of a national organization.

The year was a busy one. Reports reflected projects that were well received and executed. With the help of the National Development Fund, facilitators presented “Servant Leadership” workshops to over 200 members. Other workshops presented were “Discernment” and “Affirming Workshop”. Saint John Diocesan Council hosted an annual retreat that provided spiritual programs and direction, and was open to all women.

Councils made special efforts to celebrate the Feast Day of Our Lady of Good Counsel and members’ feedback was positive. Celebrations focused around the Eucharist, and attendance was fantastic. Councils were committed to providing more opportunities for spiritual development. Motivational speakers, prayer services and workshops proved to be what members were seeking.

Members and councils were active in their support of Syrian refugees by forming committees and providing financial and other assistance. This was the work that began the League. Members have supported immigrants to Canada for close to a century now.

Membership continued to be a challenge. A national report indicated a total membership of 2,115. Sixty-three new and reinstated members were welcomed by councils, while they sadly bid farewell to 51 deceased members. Membership declined by a further 160 members in those who did not renew. The provincial council asked parish councils to look at their membership, to identify and seek out those 160 members and ask why they did not renew. Councils were encouraged to take action and invite them to come back.

In the fall, the New Brunswick Prayer Card was introduced and a membership drive geared toward all women was launched. The project was new and had a slow beginning, but, as I wrote this report, I heard of good results in the parishes. The aim was to distribute the prayer cards at weekend masses and have a member speak, inviting all women to gather following mass, meet with members, hear about the League, and join.

The provincial executive began the process of reviewing the structure of the League in the province. The question was to consider if the three levels of parish, diocesan and provincial put too heavy a burden on members to fill positions. A committee has been struck to attend local meetings and conventions, provide information, discuss the role of the diocesan level and analyze the feedback. Following this consultation, an instructed vote was planned for annual diocesan conventions in 2017.

It was a pleasure and a great honour to serve as provincial president. My two years went by too quickly. I was happy to prepare reports, but my wish was that all members could see what I saw and hear what I heard. I was educated by speakers and at workshops. I was given wonderful opportunities to develop my spirituality. I met beautiful women and heard their stories. I was blessed by this opportunity, and for this I am grateful.

I pray that Our Lady of Good Counsel continues to watch over the League and guide its work “For God and Canada”, and, as in the New Brunswick Prayer, “May she help us sustain our membership by encouraging all women to join the League.”