Communique #7 – Education and Health

November 26, 2019

National Chairperson of Education and Health Faith Anderson, November 26, 2019

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The following reports are from the sub-committee chairpersons of the education and health standing committee. These women offer a gift of knowledge, providing valuable information related to education and health.

Catholic Education – Report by Peggy McNeil, Sub-Committee Chairperson
Members make time to assist in the education of children, help with breakfast and lunch programs, fundraise, volunteer for library duty and take part in literacy programs.

Parish councils remain involved in the religious education of children in the church, beginning with teaching baptismal classes and presenting gifts such as baptismal robes or stoles to parents of newborns. Members coordinate religious education programs for children receiving the sacraments of first communion, reconciliation and confirmation. Members sponsor and facilitate the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program.

Scholarships and Bursaries
Encourage members to enhance their personal and spiritual growth by attending various conferences, seminars and workshops, etc. Financial support is available to members through the National Bursary Fund. Complete information can be found on the national website, cwl.ca. Note the change in the deadline date for applications—May 15, 2020.

Wellness and Sickness/Disease – Report by Dr. Rayleen De Luca, Sub-Committee Chairperson
I recall ten years ago telling graduate psychology students it “appeared” stress was related to major illnesses. Today, my students are taught research confirms stress “is” related to major illness. It is interesting to note women are more likely to report greater amounts of stress than men. In a recent survey, more than one-half of women indicated personal stress levels had increased over the past five years.

Stress is the body’s reaction to harmful situations, whether real or perceived. Every woman experiences stress—though each person handles it differently, some better than others. The body is equipped to handle a small amount of stress, a certain amount of which helps in accomplishing tasks. However, long term chronic stress has serious negative health consequences.

Health symptoms brought about by long term stress include low energy, headaches and migraines, chest pains and rapid heartbeat, insomnia, frequent colds and infections, upset stomach and depression.

The causes of stress in women are complex. Women take on many roles, including family obligations, caregiving of others, etc. As demands increase to fulfill these roles, women can feel overwhelmed and may feel a sense of failure if unable to meet expectations set by themselves or others. Too often, women spend more time meeting the needs of others rather than nurturing their own needs.

Effectively managing stress is critical to a woman’s health. A personal wellness program with goals can be helpful—positive thoughts carry health and social benefits. Focusing on the present rather than worrying about the future or past is paramount. Moreover, it is beneficial to reflect on gratifying aspects of life. Integrating love, work and play and being kind to oneself is essential as well as seeking help when needed. There is growing evidence spiritual practices are associated with better health and wellbeing. Not surprising, prayer has been identified as extremely beneficial.

EnvironmentRita Janes, Sub-Committee Chairperson
People have never been more aware of the moral, ethical and spiritual obligation to care for all creation—especially true among members. Awareness has increased for many reasons, some of which are listed below.

  • According to a recent article, “World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency” in BioScience, a peer-reviewed journal from the American Institute of Biological Sciences, 11,000 scientists representing more than 153 countries have declared a climate emergency based on scientific evidence.
  • Young people around the globe are demanding action on climate change, marching in the streets and challenging adults to join them. As they become leaders and people of action, youth are explaining how climate change affects them, their future children and all people. Young people are expanding our thinking, motivating us to care about ecological issues in a broader context, to consider the moral, ethical and spiritual aspects of the actions that caused these challenges. Pope Francis does the same regularly. Care for Our Common Home is a movement the League cannot ignore. Encourage councils to actively show support for young people who advocate for the earth, especially in raising awareness of the current climate crisis. Convince members to show support and provide hope—it is not too late! Suggest councils take part in marches—members will be impressed by young people’s leadership, organizational skills, ability to make things happen on short notice, the tone and quality of the speeches, and the large turnout of people of all ages.

Thank you for taking the time to consider these messages.

Faith Anderson
National Chairperson of Education and Health