2016 Annual Report – Alberta Mackenzie

August 17, 2017

Cathy Bouchard
Alberta Mackenzie Provincial Council President
2016 Annual Report

The presidents of the diocesan councils in Alberta Mackenzie are: Sharon Malec, Calgary; Mary Hunt, Edmonton; Irene Brassard, Grouard-McLennan; Sheila Ryan-Hachey, Mackenzie-Fort Smith; and Kathryn Bourque, St. Paul.

One hundred ten of 166 councils (66%) responded through the online annual reporting system which gave a fairly accurate representation of the councils. The culminating report at each standing committee and executive position provided very interesting information.

In the opinion of parish council presidents, the councils’ top three priorities were membership, community and parish. Presidents commented in general about their council’s priorities:

• Making sure current and new members were welcomed and in-cluded in activities and decisions made by council; making sure members knew what the League stood for, i.e., the mission statement; maintaining membership by ensuring members felt valued and were able to enrich their Catholic faith as sisters in Christ.
• Making sure the council stayed active and visible in the church by serving the parish, Catholic schools and community.
• Ensuring members were informed of League activities at the national, provincial, diocesan and parish levels.
• Communicating with members in a gracious, merciful and kindly manner, inviting and encouraging members to express their ideas and share their talents in service “For God and Canada.”
• Cooperating and collaborating in a Christ-like manner to carry out the various ways in which members served the parish community, while keeping records and samples of various completed activities so members did not have to “re-invent the wheel” while performing various tasks from year to year.

Issues: Parish, diocesan and provincial councils addressed the is-sues of medical assistance in dying, palliative care, the refugee crisis and pornography. An independent seniors’ advocate continued to be a focus. Letters were written to government officials and members met with their local members of the legislative assembly and members of parliament. Representatives of the provincial council met with the minister of seniors and housing, the deputy premier and the minister of health.

Leadership: One of the questions on the online reporting system gave a good idea of leadership development, especially for the president. The past president was the person most often recognized as providing the greatest assistance when the role of president was assumed, but numerous individuals contributed invaluable and much appreciated support and leadership.

“Catholic women are anxious for faith-based opportunities for social interaction, personal enrichment and community service. It is of great value when they are affirmed, encouraged and supported. Those were the moments of greatest assistance to my role of governance.”

Challenges: The greatest challenge presidents faced in transitioning into their role was the lack of previous experience and knowledge of the role and goals of the League. One president wrote that the presidency “has been very rewarding and beneficial to me on a spiritual and social level.”

Resources: About half of the councils have the National Manual of Policy and Procedure. Presidents used the Constitution & Bylaws and the Executive Handbook to assist in presiding at meetings.

Spiritual Advisors: The bishops continued to be supportive and promoted the League. At the parish council level, 81.5% reported that spiritual advisors had been supportive of them; they had at-tended most of the social events but attended few meetings. Councils believed that spiritual advisors were so very important to the life of the League and the success in retaining and recruiting membership. The League needs parish priests to enthusiastically support its work in order that parishioners see and share the value of what members do.

Overview: Councils were in constant transition and growth. Members were looking for positive, faith filled leadership and an increase in knowledge to carry them forward into their spiritual and personal lives. Some smaller councils found the majority of work was the important activity of keeping the council alive. Where this was less of a concern, councils were able to get involved in other issues. Members were aware of their role as evangelizers and the League assisted them in this. The provincial council was truly a very special sisterhood and came together to serve the loving Lord; members doing their best to be His hands and feet.

Women joined and stayed because they wanted a relationship with God and with their spiritual sisters. They needed to be invited to become involved. I continue to believe that the League is a spiritual gift and a gift to be used to develop a Catholic women’s voice in this world. The League is a gift that members want to share with others, a blessing to share time and service with other women.