Meet Our Executive
*list updated January 29, 2020
Most Rev. Stephen Jensen, Bishop of the Diocese of Prince George
National Spiritual Advisor
President-Elect & Chairperson of Organization
1st Vice-President & Chairperson of Spiritual Development
2nd Vice-President & Chairperson of Communications
Margaret Ann Jacobs
Past President & Chairperson of Laws
National Chairperson of Christian Family Life
Chairperson of Community Life
Chairperson of Education and Health
Chairperson of Resolutions
Chairperson of Legislation
Alberta Mackenzie Provincial President
B.C. & Yukon Provincial President
Manitoba Provincial President
Military Ordinariate Provincial President
New Brunswick Provincial President
Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial President
Nova Scotia Provincial President
Ontario Provincial President
Marilyn Gay Garvey
Prince Edward Island Provincial President
Quebec Provincial President
Saskatchewan Provincial President
Most. Rev Stephen Jensen, Bishop of the Diocese of Prince George
National Spiritual Advisor
Bishop Stephen Jensen was born May 30, 1954 in North Vancouver, BC. He attended St. Peter’s Seminary in London, Ontario where he received his BA in Philosophy in 1976 and a Master of Divinity in 1979.
He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Vancouver on May 24, 1980. From 1984 to 1998 he was a pastor in three parishes: Immaculate Conception and Corpus Christi in Vancouver and St. Ann’s in Abbotsford.
Since 1984 he has served on the Catholic School Board, overseeing a total of 46 elementary and secondary schools in the Vancouver Archdiocese. He was named a Prelate of Honor in 1996 and Vicar for Education in 1997, assisting with elementary and secondary Catholic schools, as well as adult catechesis.
In 2001 he earned a doctorate in Education, specializing in educational leadership, at the Jesuit University of San Francisco. In 2009, the Most Rev. J. Michael Miller, CSB, Archbishop of Vancouver, named him Vicar General of the Archdiocese.
He was Moderator of the Curia and Vicar for Evangelization and Education, a member of the Archdiocesan Finance Council, Chair of the Steering Committee of the archdiocesan annual appeal, and a member of archdiocesan advisory boards for Catholic cemeteries, evangelization, stewardship and vocations.
On January 3, 2013 Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Bishop of the Diocese of Prince George. His episcopal ordination and installation was conferred by the Most Reverend J. Michael Miller, Archbishop of Vancouver – assisted by Bishops David Monroe of Kamloops and Brian Dunn of Antigonish – at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Prince George on April 2, 2013.
Anne-Marie is a lifelong member of St. Patrick’s Parish, Stanley, New Brunswick, except during university and graduate school. She joined the League in 1977 following the death of her mother who had been an active member of the local council. As Anne-Marie studied League documents she grew to appreciate the organization’s commitment to spiritual development as well as mandates addressed by the standing committees.
Anne-Marie served in all capacities in her small parish council, while being invited to act as chairperson of education and health at the diocesan level. She loved serving the League in a different and wider capacity and has also served as chairperson of communications, spiritual development and resolutions. While she became excited about resolutions, she found that even the word struck fear and trepidation in some members. She noted, “An opportunity was born, to educate and sing the praises of the outcomes that could be achieved by putting our faith into action.” She has researched and written countless resolutions over the years and is pleased to say that the members’ attitudes have changed immensely. Many members now understand that the study and writing of resolutions is a tangible expression of their love of the League and they appreciate the changes that may be achieved. Anne-Marie has given several workshops over the years and has enjoyed meeting her sisters around the province while facilitating programs developed for them by national committees and sharing the good news that is the League.
While serving as liaison for communications for an annual national convention Anne-Marie appreciated the opportunity to meet members of the national executive who she saw as “role models committed to healing a wounded world.” Meeting national presidents during their visits to New Brunswick further cemented her interest and desire to serve wherever she was needed.
Anne-Marie has met many members whose sisterhood she cherishes; and the oral histories of life members, past chairpersons of national standing committees and presidents have taught her to love the League even more. She was honoured with a life membership in 2003.
Coming from a farm family (eight brothers and one sister) that valued education, she received her post-secondary education at St. Francis Xavier University (a bachelor of science degree. in physical education with a minor in English), followed by years of teaching physical education and English, while coaching basketball, volleyball, and badminton teams. Post-graduate study followed at the University of Maine at Orono and the University of New Brunswick (a master of education degree). Following a hiatus from teaching, she continued in the classroom, followed by years as a school guidance counsellor and administrator. A strong and encouraging view of youth is the gift she has received from the hundreds of students with whom she has interacted, leaving her to believe she had chosen the best career in the world for her.
Anne-Marie is married to husband John. She has four grown children and is the proud grandmother of eight gorgeous grandchildren. Anne-Marie continues to believe that “God is good, all the time.”
Fran has been a League member for 28 years. She is married to George, and her son and daughter-in-law have blessed them with two grandchildren. Born to parents of Polish descent, she was born and raised in Chipman, Alberta.
Fran has been national chairperson of community life, national chairperson of education and health, Alberta Mackenzie provincial chairperson of education and health, chairperson of organization at the provincial, diocesan and parish levels, and Edmonton diocesan chairperson of spiritual development.
Special League projects, committees, meetings and presentations Fran has worked on include:
- 2013-2014-worked with the Edmonton Catholic Schools board’s program specialist to create a Catch the Fire! curriculum for high school use and assisted in the delivery of the pilot
- 2010-2012-member of the ad hoc National Leadership Development Committee (Catch the Fire!) and subsequent facilitator for Catch the Fire!
- in the Archdiocese of Edmonton-chaired diocesan council Centennial Gala Committee (2012)
- member of national subcommittee of Christian family life to develop an administration manual for the Catholic Girls’ League. Organized a Catholic Girls’ League at Jean Forest all Girls Leadership Academy (All Girls)
- organized the first university parish council at the University of Alberta
- League representative on committee for (biannual) Catholic Conference in 2008 and 2010
- chaired 2002 Edmonton Archdiocesan World Youth Day Accommodations Committee
- member of Archbishop Collins’ strategic planning committee on “The Definition of Marriage”
- as member of the Edmonton Diocesan Fieldworkers for 8 years, developed and delivered workshops and chaired the group for two years
- started a young women’s group whose mandate was to recruit League membership
- sat on a League liaison committee with Edmonton Catholic Schools board.
In August 2014, Fran accepted an invitation from the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace to nationally represent the League on a solidarity trip to the Philippines with nine others.
Currently, Fran is the manager of the Volunteer Services Department for a large not-for-profit organization with a base of more than 1,200 volunteers. She is a member of the Human Resources Institute of Alberta (HRIA), Leaders in Volunteer Engagement (LIVE), Greater Edmonton Tourism Human Resources Committee and holds a CHRP designation as a Canadian Human Resources Professional. Fran was the manager of training and development and human resources advisor where she is currently employed.
National 1st Vice-President and Chairperson of Spiritual Development
Originally from Nova Scotia, Shari moved to Ontario to attend college. She settled in Waterloo with her husband, Peter, and they now have two adult children.
Shari started her League journey in 1986 at Sacred Heart Parish (Kitchener) when there was a membership drive. Although she had never heard of the Catholic Women’s League, it sounded like something she wanted to know more about. At her first parish council meeting, she was asked to serve as recording secretary, and she became parish council president in 1991. Following that, she served on Hamilton Diocesan Council for 14 years and was diocesan president from 2001 to 2003. While diocesan president, she initiated the first diocesan vocations mass; a mass celebrated in the Diocese of Hamilton each year to profile and pray for vocations.
Over the years, Shari has presented workshops including “Trying to be a Mary in a Martha World” and “Prayer Time and You”.
Once elected to Ontario Provincial Council, Shari served as treasurer, chairperson of spiritual development and organization, and acted as provincial president from 2009-2011. She was awarded her life membership in 2005 from the Diocese of Hamilton.
Shari was elected to the national executive in 2012 and acted as chairperson of resolutions In 2014, she became national secretary-treasurer.
Shari is actively involved in her parish, St. Michael (Waterloo), as a minister of the word. She has served as chair of the 50th Anniversary Renovation Committee Moreover, was involved with the parish confirmation preparation team for five years.
She is a member of the Hamilton Diocesan Finance Committee and is an associate member of the Kitchener-Waterloo Serra Club, an international organization that fosters, promotes, supports and prays for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Shari is a 2014 recipient of the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal.
Being a businesswoman who owns a busy property management company makes for a hectic life, but Shari always has time for the League. She says, “I get so much more out of the League than I could ever possibly put into it.” She is thankful to meet so many intelligent, spiritual women through the League and looks forward to her continued journey
National 2nd Vice-President and Chairperson of Communications
Doreen was born in Kamloops, BC. After graduating from St. Ann`s Academy, Kamloops, BC she took Business Administrative course which led her to work for Weyerhaeuser Canada as an admin assistant to the VP of Human Resources and the VP for Pension and Benefits, and later she worked as a scheduler for hourly employees, retiring in 2010. She graduated from the Christopher Leadership course, a 2 year Lay Enrichment program and many computer courses.
In 1968 Doreen married Bil; they have two married children and eight grandchildren.
Doreen joined the league in 1968. At the parish level she held many Standing Committee Chairs, through to president. She was instrumental in designing the Membership Certificate which the League has modified and uses today. On the Diocesan level she was secretary and introduced computer minute taking, Communications, Organization and President. She produced a CWL cookbook to celebrate 50th Anniversary. She was awarded her Maple Leaf service pin from her Diocesan Council. On the Provincial level Doreen was Secretary, Communications and Organization/President Elect Chair. She has been known for organizing bus trips to enable more members to travel to various conventions. In April 2012, her council lost two of its members and two other members were seriously injured in a tragic car accident on the way to the Kamloops Diocesan Convention. Her council received hundreds of prayers and masses which were comforting not only to the four families involved but to all the members of her council. She firmly believes that we as members do not appreciate the wealth of spirituality the League provides for its members and we need to promote and communicate this special feature of the League. She was awarded her Life Membership in 2011.
In her parish community of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Doreen is very involved. Along with her husband and another couple she put together a weekend retreat for happily married couples entitled “Together Forever”. She is an Associate member of the Congregation of Notre Dame (CND) and was appointed to their Justice, Peace and Integrality of Creation Team which deals with global justice & peace issues. Along with her husband she organized & taught marriage prep for 20 years apoteksv.se. Spirituality and her love for the League are a very important part of her life.
Janet McLean, National Secretary-Treasurer
Janet was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, but raised in Lachine, Quebec, from the age of five. After attending English Catholic public schools, she took a two-year secretarial course.
Janet started work at the age of 18 as a legal secretary for a Jewish legal firm in Montreal and worked briefly in Edinburgh, Scotland. She returned to Canada and earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a major in accounting from Concordia University, while working full-time for her first Montreal employer.
In 1981 Janet married Richard South and had a daughter, Catherine, in December 1984, who joined her heavenly Father at three months of age.
Janet joined the League in 1985, encouraged by her parish priest. She helped on a council committee and then let her name stand for election the following year. Several committed members, now life members, mentored her, and her pastor gave strong support when she served as parish council president.
After reading at a League mass, she became a Sunday lector at her parish and also reads every Monday at the noon mass at St. Patrick Basilica. She serves as treasurer on the board of directors of Birthright Montreal.
At council meetings Janet learned of issues of concern to Catholic women at community, provincial and national levels. Janet notes, “Being a League member gave me the courage to do things I never thought I was capable of doing – speaking to large groups, leading women in prayer, interacting with a broad spectrum of individuals and getting involved in numerous projects. The CWL has enriched my faith with wonderful spiritual services and has been the channel through which I have experienced incredible faith-enriching events, including the 49th International Eucharistic Congress of 2008 and the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations centenary assembly in Jerusalem in 2010.
“As a member I have had the opportunity to practice patience, understanding, listening skills, deal with frustration, and meet amazing and wonderful women.” Other interests include swimming lengths (every day, if possible), Scottish country dancing, vegetable gardening, cross-country skiing, curling and travelling on VIA Rail.
Margaret Ann Jacobs
National Past President and Chairperson of Laws
Margaret Ann is a retired teacher who lives in Elmvale, Ontario. She is married to Michael, who currently publishes a local newspaper from their home, and is the mother of three adult sons. She is also a grandmother to Ethan and Sean, who live in Cochrane, Alberta, and Sophie, Mazie and Porter, who live in Hamillville, Ontario.
Over the years, Margaret Ann has been actively involved in her church as a lector, Eucharistic minister, minister of hospitality and counter. More recent volunteer work includes nursing home visitation, Birthright International, the Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario, and, of course, helping with the newspaper.
As a committed member, Margaret Ann has served in most positions at various levels. From parish level she went on to serve on the northern regional executive and then Toronto Diocesan Council (education and health, resolutions and organization). After serving as Toronto diocesan council president, she served as chairperson of spiritual development, education and health, resolutions and organization, and as president and past president for Ontario Provincial Council. At national level, she has served as chairperson of spiritual development, Christian family life, organization and as president, and is currently serving as past president and chairperson of laws.
Margaret Ann has enjoyed presenting leadership courses and other workshops for the League. She has a passion for liturgy and pursues opportunities to develop her spirituality and journey in faith with other Christians.
She welcomes the opportunity to serve the council and president in a consultative capacity, to learn more about the national archives and history of the council and facilitate and encourage the study and implementation of the Constitution & Bylaws.
Margaret Ann notes “it has been a humbling and challenging experience representing the League at various conferences and official functions. It has been a privilege to meet members from across the country, journey with them in faith and share the good news, ideas and resources that the League has to offer.” She firmly believes that the greatest gift we can give another woman is a membership in the League.
National Chairperson of Christian Family Life
Pat Deppiesse began her “career” in the League as the founding president of St. Piux X Parish Council, in North Vancouver, British Columbia in 1995. Since then, she has held a variety of positions in various levels including secretary, president-elect/organization, 2nd vice-president/resolutions, president and past-president.
Pat was on the original Catch the Fire team presenting workshops throughout the Vancouver diocese. She has written and presented a number of other workshops at diocesan and parish council levels and was honoured to receive a maple leaf service pin. In 2013, Pat received her life membership in the League.
Pat was chairperson of the parish pastoral council and spearheaded the building of an elementary school, planned the structure and gardens, and raised funds to build a beautiful Grotto dedicated to Mary, Mother of the Redeemer. Her love of singing saw her participate in the parish choir for 20 years, and was involved as a lector and religious education teacher.
Pat enjoys travelling, recently returning from a trip to Spain.
She looks forward to continuing her service through the League “For God and Canada”.
National Chairperson of Community Life
Marie Rackley is a member of the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception Parish Council in Saint John, New Brunswick. She joined the League in 1971, and is a third generation member, growing up with her mother and grandmother involved in League activities.
Marie has served as parish council president and held a variety of chairpersons’ positions. She was the Saint John Diocesan president from 1998-2000 and recently completed her two year term as the New Brunswick Provincial Council president. Marie received her life member pin in 2014 at the Saint John diocesan convention. Over the years, Marie has been involved in the annual national conventions held in New Brunswick – Saint John in 1989, Fredericton in 2014 and is currently co-chairperson for the 2023 national convention to be held in Saint John.
Marie is married to her soul mate, Marvin, whom she met while bowling with the Knights of Columbus Friday evening League! She retired from the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) of Saint John in 2016 as controller, a position she held for 31 years.
Marie attributes the League to giving her faith to grow and strength to accept the challenges of today. Many friendships have been formed with members she considers to be sisters to her extended family.
National Chairperson of Education and Health
Faith was born in Grandview, Manitoba and moved to Winnipeg at the age of 10. She is a member of Mary, Mother of the Church Parish Council for 37 years and has been president at the parish, diocesan and provincial levels. Having served in most positions, she found her most challenging and daunting experience as diocesan resolutions chairperson. Faith received her life membership from the St.Boniface Diocesan Council in 2008.
The League has been a source of sisterhood and personal growth for Faith and provides a vehicle of learning. She has been a Catch the Fire presenter, presented several personal growth programs and resolutions workshops for the past ten years. Each challenge Faith encounters enriches her personal development and offers a new way to actively be involved in her faith with this wonderful organization which stretches from sea to sea.
Faith is married to Jim. They had three children – Jason, Janice (passed away in 2004) and Crystal. Together they enjoy travelling to Alberta to visit their son and two granddaughters, and spoil and dote on three grandchildren who live in Winnipeg. Spending time at their cottage in Whiteshell Provincial Park offers the likes of hiking, boating and fishing. Faith enjoys oil painting and sometimes acrylic painting, and quilting and is a member of a writing group, having provided articles for the Prairie Messenger.
It is with much excitement that Faith begins her journey on national council as the chairperson of education and health.
National Chairperson of Resolutions
Cathy Bouchard grew up in St. Albert, Alberta. Married to husband David, they now make their home in Red Deer, Alberta. She became a member of the League in 1978, seeing it as a way to meet other women in the parish and to make friends. Cathy and David are blessed with four children and eight grandchildren.
Both Cathy and David are members of the Third Order of St. Francis, a community of lay Catholic women and men who seek to pattern their lives after Jesus in the spirit of Francis of Assisi.
Cathy is a guest teacher two days a week, especially with Grade 6-9 students. She is also involved in Magdalene House Society which facilitates sage environments for the recovery of persons exploited through human trafficking.
Cathy loves to read and spend time with her husband and family. One big dream is to travel the “Camino” of St. Junipero Serra while visiting his missions in California.
National Chairperson of Legislation
Raised in Ignace, Ontario, Liberina was born as a first-generation Canadian in Dryden, Ontario, as Ignace did not have a hospital. Known as Betty, she has kept her birth name given in honour of her grandfather. The family moved to Fort William, Ontario which amalgamated with Port Arthur, Ontario to become Thunder Bay. In 1970, the family moved once again to Niagara Falls, Ontario and became parishioners of St. Thomas More Church. During the high school years, Betty was able to pursue her love of music as a singer and saxophone player, while joining a local band that performed for dinner dances and weddings. She became a legal assistant working for a law firm in Niagara Falls until her marriage to Nick in 1984. Choosing to build a house on a vineyard owned by the Colaneri family in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, they still reside there today. Blessed with two sons, the vineyard was a wonderful place to raise Nicholas 31 and Christopher 26. Betty and her sister Angie married brothers, making family gatherings very convenient and special. In addition to working for Welcome Wagon, organizing bridal fashion shows twice a year, she helped her husband’s business. Currently, Betty is the marketing manager, event planner and creative consultant for the family owned winery.
Betty joined The Catholic Women’s League in 1986 as it appealed to her as a way to give back to the parish. She became chairperson of several standing committees on the parish and diocesan levels, before becoming the diocesan president for St. Catharines from 2001 to 2003. Betty has served on the provincial executive since 2003 as newsletter editor, chairperson for communications, Christian family life, spiritual development and organization. The highlight of her service at provincial level was being elected Ontario provincial president 2013 -2015 followed by her term as past president. Betty has also served as a sub-committee member for the national council under Christian family life, education and health and community life. She received her Maple Leaf service pin and was honoured with life membership in 2005. Over the years, Betty has volunteered for many organizations and has given presentations and workshops such as “When Life Hands You Lemons, Give Them Jesus Then Lemonade”. She is a cantor, Minister of the Word and a member of the pastoral council at her parish. Presently, Betty serves as community life chairperson and chairperson for the 100th anniversary committee for the national council of the League. She feels that the best part of being in the League, which has been a spiritually enriching and rewarding experience filled with blessings, is having sisters all across Canada to pray with in times of joy or to help carry the cross in times of sadness, walking with her on her spiritual journey.
Kim was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her education and work experience has been varied and interesting. To support herself while attending university, Kim worked at four part time jobs concurrently. She graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Science (Honors) with Distinction in 1988, majoring in genetics. Prior to graduation, she accepted employment with a public accounting firm and committed herself to becoming a Chartered Accountant (CA).
Kim spent five years at an accounting firm performing audits, financial reviews and tax assistance for clients in various industries. Many of her clients were not-for-profit organizations and she thoroughly enjoyed these audits. As a CA student, in addition to receiving practical on-the-job training, she was required to take accounting courses, two of which earned her Gold Medals.
After receiving her CA designation in 1991, Kim found employment in industry where she has been employed as a controller for the past six years. Her responsibilities have included all aspects of finance and administration, giving her the opportunity to develop a keen business instinct.
Kim has volunteered with various organizations over the years, primarily those which support and increase awareness of the mentally and physically challenged. In her parish, she has also volunteered as a catechist and is currently on the school board.
Kim is married to David and has one son, two daughters, and two step-daughters.
Alberta Mackenzie Provincial President
Judy was born and raised in Saskatchewan, beginning her life in Saskatoon with a short sojourn in Bruno. In Regina, she completed
high school under the careful eye of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions. The University of Saskatchewan called her back to Saskatoon where she obtained her bachelor of arts and teaching certificate and met Jim, whom she married in 1969.
Following Jim’s graduation, Judy settled in Calgary. Her career as a teacher was short-lived as God blessed her with three sons, thus beginning her vocation as a mother.
During Judy’s stay-at-home years, she served as a school board trustee for the Calgary Catholic School District, served on The Educational Partnerships Foundation, served as a board member of St. Mary’s University College, was a team manager for Cascade Swim Club, was a pastoral assistant at Holy Spirit Parish and is a graduate of Together Enabling Adults in Ministry.
Judy’s vocation as a married woman ended in 2010 when the Lord recalled her beloved Jim.
Her life as a member began at Holy Spirit Parish Council (Calgary) in 1985 where she continues to be a member. Judy has served at all levels of the League, including as a member of the national resolutions committee. She was honoured to receive life membership in 2018.
If asked to speak of her most important accomplishment, Judy would respond without hesitation, “giving birth and being a mom to three sons, a mother-in-law to three beautiful daughters-in-law and grandmother to five grandchildren.”
Judy believes motherhood prepared her for everything she has accomplished thus far. You may frequently hear Judy say, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it,” because she knows today is the only day any of us have. If we are to build relationships and effect change “For God and Canada,” it must start today.
B.C. & Yukon Provincial President
Born and raised in Germany as the youngest of five children, Gisela experienced what was then a divided country first hand. Her mother was from the East and her father was from the West. At the age of four her family fled to the West leaving many relatives behind.
Gisela met her husband Bill, a Canadian soldier, when he was stationed in Germany. They moved to Canada, and while in the military moved across Canada and also enjoyed two more postings in Germany. In 1985, in Lahr, Germany, Life Member Terri Scott invited her to join the League by promising her a trip to the Alps to attend a convention with the National Council of Catholic Women. Who could resist that?
Since that time Gisela has served in various positions in the League, as communications, resolutions and legislation chairperson, secretary and president, and as B.C. & Yukon provincial president. During the 1990’s she transferred from the Military Ordinariate council to a civilian council while residing in Ottawa.
In 2017, Vancouver Diocesan Council gifted Gisela with life membership, which she accepted with honour. As a military wife, she has lived in different provinces and worked in many different jobs. The last one was as a community health care worker for 17 years.
Gisela and her husband are happily married, have three children and four grandchildren, are retired and live in Chilliwack. At the many parishes she attended she has: constructed banners; coordinated League bazaars, dinners and anniversaries; served with outreach teams, prison ministry and Project Advance; and implemented parish information fairs. In addition she has served on the pastoral council, and has been a choir member for many years, while being active in her own League parish council.
Gisela is passionate about the League. It has tremendously enhanced her faith. She believes, that as members, Catholic women possess great potential for service to church, community and the world.
Manitoba Provincial President
Janet was awarded the maple leaf service pin in 2007 from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish Council (Winnipeg) and recently received her 25 year pin.
At the parish level, Janet served as chairperson of communications, resolutions and Christian family life, and as president and past president. She produced the parish council newsletter three times per year for four years and oversaw same for six more years. She was instrumental in bringing about three parish-wide protests, on child pornography, age of consent and same-sex marriage.
Janet has been active in various fundraisers and functions of all kinds, providing help, baking and support, where needed and as time and skills permit.
On Winnipeg Diocesan Council, Janet served as chairperson of resolutions, spiritual development and organization, president and past president. Before serving as Manitoba provincial president, she served as provincial chairperson of resolutions and organization.
Janet authored six resolutions with her parish council, and supported and assisted in many more, co-authored one resolution at the diocesan level, and served on the provincial resolutions committee for four years. She was chairperson of the planning committee for the League’s 88th annual national convention in Winnipeg.
Within the parish, Janet served on the stewardship committee and continues actively serving on the pastoral council. She is a trustee and on the finance council. Additionally, she serves the parish as communion minister and usher at 9:00 a.m. mass. Other volunteerism includes serving as secretary to the board of the Catholic Foundation of Manitoba, as chairperson of the by-law committee, and as chairperson of the Caritas dinner committee for two years.
Janet’s childhood years were spent on a farm south of Holland, Manitoba. She attended elementary school at the convent in Bruxelles and high school in Notre Dame de Lourdes, Manitoba. She has ten years of post-secondary education in accounting. After 42 years of employment, she has recently relinquished her ownership role in a steel fabrication company in Winnipeg.
Gerald and Janet recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. They have two sons, three grandsons and one little princess who loves to bake with grandma!
Janet shares that her experience with the League has been very positive and uplifting, and one of growth. From her League sisters, she learned of love and learned to hug! She learned it is okay to share of herself—that she will be loved for it, supported and encouraged along the way. She has learned that members can affect change in governmental processes through resolutions and letter-writing campaigns. Finally, she learned that members share a deep bond of sisterhood. “Blood relatives cannot choose each other, but members can. Members love and support each other with a bond that in many instances, is deeper than that of blood.”
Janet is comforted knowing whatever function she attends, she will always find some of her League sisters there and will always be welcomed.
Military Ordinariate Provincial President
Born in Newcastle, New Brunswick, to serving Canadian armed forces members, Tawnya grew up in military communities in three provinces. Her name is the result of a compromise where mom liked the name Tawny and dad liked Tanya. She met and married her husband of 23 years, Chris, in Shilo, Manitoba and they have three children. Currently living in Kingston, Ontario, the family has also enjoyed postings to bases in New Brunswick and Manitoba. Tawnya and her family belong to Holy Family Chapel at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Kingston, where they participate in many ministries. She enjoys music of most kinds, loves going to concerts, likes going to the movies, and enjoys reading.
Tawnya first joined the League in 1996, while living at CFB Shilo. There, she held several positions, the last one being president-elect. Before she could assume the position of president, the family was posted to CFB Gagetown, bringing them closer to her family. During her time there, Tawnya held the standing committees of spiritual development, communications and Christian family life, as well as two presidencies. While her children were little, Tawnya volunteered extensively at their schools. This experience eventually lent itself to paid employment and she was hired to work as an educational assistant.
In 2011, the family was posted to Kingston where Tawnya returned to school to obtain education to match her experience as an educational assistant. She enrolled in the developmental services worker program at Loyalist College in Belleville and continued to work part-time at the Military Family Resource Centre and as a respite worker for a family. She completed her diploma program online and enjoyed work placements in the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board (ALCDSB) and Community Living Kingston and District (CLKD). Upon graduation, she was hired as a direct support professional with CLKD and, within a year and a half, was hired in a full-time contract with ALCDSB as an educational assistant. Tawnya loves her job, especially at a Catholic school where she can share her faith with staff and students. She is dedicated to providing inclusive support to the children she works with and is passionate about inclusivity and access to support for all children.
Tawnya has served on Military Ordinariate Provincial Council since 2008, holding the standing committees of Christian family life, communications and organization. She has enjoyed presenting and coordinating many learning opportunities and workshops. In May 2018, Tawnya accepted the position of president at the 51st annual provincial convention held in Kingston.
Many women have inspired Tawnya and contributed to her faith formation and journey. Her mother’s membership was Tawnya’s first introduction to the League. She maintains membership because it is a huge part of her faith life. It challenges, teaches and provides her the opportunity to grow and develop skills. The League is a gift.
New Brunswick Provincial President
June was born in the community of Barnettville outside the Village of Blackville on the beautiful Miramichi River. At an early age, she moved to Moncton with her parents and grew up there. Years later, she was blessed by the birth of her sister Jill. Although she has lived away from the Miramichi for years, her family still maintains a summer home there.
June’s journey began in Saint John in 1981 as a member of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish Council (formerly St. Joseph’s Parish Council). Who knew that the invitation to attend that first meeting would lead to years of new friendships, love of the League and this great country? Since that time, June has served as her parish council chairperson of communications, recording secretary, president-elect, president (two terms) and past president.
Her time served on Saint John Diocesan Council began in 1996 as recording secretary for a two-year term; then from 2000–02 regional chairperson for Saint John/Kings Co. which turned into two more terms lasting until 2006. From 2006-08, June served as second vice-president and chairperson of education and health. She was first vice-president and chairperson of spiritual development (2008-10), president-elect and chairperson of organization (2010-12) and diocesan president (2012-14).
June has served the provincial council as chairperson of community life (2004-06), treasurer (2006-10), second vice-president and chairperson of communications (2014-16) and first vice-president and chairperson spiritual development (2014-16).
From 2016 to 2018, June served as first vice-president and chairperson of spiritual development and from 2018 to 2019, as president-elect and chairperson of organization. In October 2019, due to unforeseen circumstances, June became provincial president.
June’s other experience includes her time as a “Gertrude” Field Worker (1990-92), and she has presented workshops in Saint John/Kings Co. Region and the Miramichi Region. From 2007-14, she was treasurer of the 2014 national convention planning committee, and in 2012 she was appointed provincial coordinator of Catch The Fire! She helped prepare and presented a workshop on preparing an annual report, and in May 2015, June received life membership.
In her personal life, June is the mother of two adult children. Her working life was spent as a helper in a private kindergarten. She then spent years as a parish secretary at St. Joseph’s Church in Saint John and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Rothesay, a job which brought much gratification to her life. Now retired, June continues to volunteer at her church, where she is a current member of the liturgy committee and the pandemic committee. June is also blessed because her parents are still in their own home and will celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary in June 2021, God willing.
For more than 30 years, June has been a member of a local dance group, Fun’D Cloggers. The group has shared joy and sorrow over the years and has entertained at seniors’ homes and various social gatherings in the area.
Encouraged by mentors, family and friends, the League has been an ongoing learning experience for June. The League of the future is exciting and open to new ideas and concepts.
Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial President
Nova Scotia Provincial President
Glenda grew up on a farm in the small town of Golden Prairie, located in the south west corner of Saskatchewan. Although very small, the Catholic community helped plant the strong roots of faith that were also fostered by her family. Glenda eventually moved to Saskatoon where she studied nursing and met her husband, George. After living in Saskatoon a couple of years, George joined the navy and they were eventually transferred to Halifax, Nova Scotia. The prairies never really left Glenda’s heart as home, as all her family was there, but following the birth of her two children, the small family and the beauty and warmth of the Maritime people cemented the feeling that Nova Scotia was also home.
Feelings of belonging in her adopted province were greatly fostered over the years by the wonderful relationships formed through St. Clement Parish Council, as well as the diocesan and provincial councils. Although her mother had been a faithful member, the League was not particularly on Glenda’s radar as something to join, until she was invited to a meeting by a St. Clement council member. Being a new mother and spending a lot of time alone, as George was often at sea, the invitation seemed like a good thing to try out. The League became the central focus of Glenda’s volunteer work. For more than 30 years, Glenda has served on many standing committees and in leadership roles. League service was often a tenuous balance between a demanding career as a clinical nurse specialist, lifelong studies that led to a doctorate in nursing, and trying to always be there for her family. It was the special Christian compassion of many League sisters, as well as the strong spiritual connection and social justice focus of the League that kept Glenda faithful in her membership.
The significance of League connections became especially evident when Glenda’s mother died during a visit to Halifax. Devastated by the loss, comfort was immediately found through her sisters in St. Clement Parish Council. Her mother’s funeral took place in Saskatoon where the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Council played a major role in providing comfort and solace for a grieving family and daughter, both by hosting the funeral reception and through the many hugs and beautiful smiles given and received. The burial occurred in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. Standing at her mother’s graveside, Glenda looked up. At the edge of the graveyard were three women, lifelong friends of her mother, in League scarves. These women were part of Glenda’s life and faith community as a child. This unique and beautiful cross-Canada spiritual connection of the League will be forever etched in Glenda’s mind and spirit, carrying her forward in faithful service “For God and Canada” for as long as she is able to do the journey.
Ontario Provincial President
Colleen was born and raised in the Ottawa area and still lives there with her family. Her children and grandchildren are the light of her life.
Colleen retired after a 42-year career with Bell Canada, a job she started as a summer position, while originally studying to become a teacher. Her career took her through many technical positions, but she spent most of her years as a trainer and staff manager. Teaching was, after all, what she was meant to do!
Although public speaking has never been her favourite thing, she has never felt uncomfortable talking to members. Colleen loves to speak about her League journey and often talks to complete strangers about the League and its work.
An active member of her parish, Collen joined the League in 2003 when her pastor asked her to help re-establish the League in the parish. That first night she was elected president, later becoming Ottawa diocesan president from 2009-2011. Colleen was elected to the Ontario Provincial executive in July 2011 and served as chairperson of the legislation (2011-2013), communications (2013-2015), education and health (2015-2017) and organization (2017-2019) standing committees. In 2016, she was honoured to accept life membership.
As a focus for her term as provincial president she has asked members to educate themselves and others on the topic of loneliness. It is only by education and awareness that members can begin to alleviate the loneliness suffered by those around them, including themselves.
Colleen leads a simple life of service, caring primarily for her aging parents who are both in their 80s. She enjoys social interaction and that has inspired both her professional and personal life.
The League has provided Colleen with the opportunity to meet many wonderful women of faith, and influenced her life both personally and spiritually. It is her passion, just ask her!
Marilyn Gay Garvey
Prince Edward Island Provincial President
Quebec Provincial President
Rosa Lam was born in Caracas, Venezuela to a Chinese, non-Catholic father and a Venezuelan, Catholic, mother. Rosa is the firstborn daughter in her family and has six siblings.
Fifty years ago, Rosa found refuge in Canada after escaping an abusive husband. She has three children and is the proud grandmother to five grandchildren and great-grandmother to two great-grandchildren, with one more on the way.
With very little knowledge of English, Rosa began her studies at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University), where she earned an honours science degree. Many years later, while raising her family and working full time, she obtained a master’s degree in computer science.
Rosa retired as a professor in the computer science department of Vanier College after 35 years of teaching.
While working as the head of the computer science department at Vanier College, Rosa met a beautiful man that became her husband and pillar for her church and League activities. Rosa believes, “Mike was the angel that God sent me.” The Lord called Mike home to heaven three years ago.
An active member of St. Luke Parish (Montreal), Rosa serves on the special events committee, including as a funeral server, and organizes a biannual multicultural festival.
Rosa enjoys travelling for leisure, pilgrimages and connecting with family. Her travels have brought her to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, parts of Africa, Central and South America, the Caribbean and throughout North America.
As a member for 30 years, Rosa has held many positions in the League at many levels. One of her favourite League activities has been organizing pilgrimages, such as a visit to the Holy Door in Quebec City, and helping to organize retreats at Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal.
Saskatchewan Provincial President
One of the God-filled moments that reinforced Chantal’s faith in God and the value of belonging to a faith-based organization occurred when she met Pope St. John Paul II on September 16, 1984, in Edmonton, Alberta. At the time, her husband, Grant, was premier of Saskatchewan, and they, along with Alberta Premier Mr. Peter Lougheed and his wife, were greeting His Holiness in an official capacity. Minutes before the pope’s plane landed, Chantal left the group and went off to pray. She asked God that the pope’s visit would be a blessing to her family. After deplaning, the Holy Father was welcomed by the premiers, then by Chantal. The Holy Father turned from her to greet the next person in line, but before he did, he stopped, turned, and walked back to Chantal and looking straight into her eyes, said, “God bless your family!” At that moment, for Chantal, the world stood still, and she felt God’s presence!
Chantal was raised in a devout Roman Catholic family with European roots. As a first-generation Canadian, her first language was Luxembourg German. In 1948, her family moved to Belgium, where she started school and learned to speak French. In 1953, she and her family returned to Marquis, Saskatchewan.
Chantal attended Regina Teacher’s College, graduating with a teaching diploma, and later obtained an arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan, majoring in French and English. Her knowledge of the French language served her well in her teaching profession and continues today in her employment with the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools as a French teacher.
Chantal joined the League in 1974. Life came full circle when, in 2002, after living in Regina for 22 years, she and Grant moved to a ranch northwest of Moose Jaw. This enabled her to join St. John the Evangelist Parish Council in her hometown of Marquis, where her mother had been a member for decades. In June 2019, shortly after Chantal became provincial president, she was the guest speaker at St. John the Evangelist Parish Council’s 90th anniversary celebration.
Throughout her lifetime, Chantal has spent many hours volunteering for various organizations. In 2002, she received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, which was followed in 2012 with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. In the ’90s, while living in Regina, Chantal served on the executive of Christ the King Parish Council. In 2008, she joined the Regina diocesan executive and served as chairperson of Christian family life, legislation, and as president from 2011-2013. In June 2013, Chantal was appointed by the bishops of Saskatchewan to the board of the Catholic Health Ministry of Saskatchewan, now known as Emmanuel Care, where she served for six years. During those years, Chantal also served in various positions on the CWL provincial executive. On June 3, 2019, she was installed as provincial president and received life membership in the League. She chose the theme of Inclusion, with a special focus on befriending Indigenous and international sisters, and including girls by introducing the Catholic Girls League (CGL) to Saskatchewan. The first CGL was started at Holy Spirit Parish in October 2019.
In 2018, Chantal and Grant moved to Saskatoon and joined Holy Spirit Parish where she serves in the music and liturgical ministries. Chantal is forever grateful for the many blessings God has bestowed on her family of five children, 14 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.