Meet Our Executive
*list updated September 2018
Most Rev. Stephen, 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
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 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
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.
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. 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, the Out of the Cold program 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. 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 and Christian family life and is currently serving as chairperson of organization.
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 promote the League through the organization standing committee. She firmly believes that the greatest gift we can give another woman is a League membership.
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 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 a 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
Growing up on a farm north of Chauvin (Alberta), June Fuller vividly remembers the importance of attending the local church and the work of the League within the parish. Her mother Alice was a charter member of Sacred Heart Parish Council and inspired, June joined Holy Family Parish Council in St. Albert in 1991. In some small way she felt she could contribute to the new parish and meet other ladies that shared her faith. During her 26 year membership, June has held executive positions at the parish, diocesan and provincial levels for 24 of those years. In 2016, she had the distinct honour of receiving a life membership.
Celebrating 40 years of marriage in October, June and her husband Dave have been blessed with two children Tiffany (Troy) and Darin (Nicole) and two beautiful grand-daughters, Danica and McKenna. She has worked in the medical field for the past 42 years and continues to work full-time as an administrative assistant in diagnostic imaging.
June’s parish roles include coordinator for the usher’s ministry, an extraordinary minister of communion and a member of the liturgical committee. She is also a committee member for the annual “Faith, Fitness & Fun Run” that supports St. Joseph Seminary and Newman Theological College. Recently, June was recruited as the recording secretary for the board meetings of Star of the North Retreat Centre in St. Albert. Over, the years, June has been part of other committees as a League representative. A highlight was serving on the 2012 annual national convention planning committee that was held in Edmonton, and the gala fundraising committee for the 100th anniversary of the formation of the CWL in the diocese of Edmonton that same year.
June attributes her League participation in helping to grow both personally and spiritually, along with the incredible opportunity to travel and meet so many wonderful ladies from across Canada.
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
Rolande joined the new council of Notre Dame de Lorette (Lorette), becoming its first president in 1989-1991, serving on the executive in many other positions over the years. To keep members connected and informed, she initiated the council’s monthly newsletter that continues to this day. An interest in resolutions led her to assist in the research and preparation of 19 resolutions from her parish, five of which have been adopted at national level. In 1993 Archbishop Antoine Hacault (St. Boniface) presented Rolande with the Prix Evangelium award in recognition of her parish service as volunteer coordinator of catechesis and her service in many other parish ministries. As a 27 year member in the League, Rolande was awarded a maple leaf service pin in 2012 and was presented with life membership in 2016.
Dedicated service as recording secretary, resolutions chairperson and as president for the St. Boniface Diocesan Council also saw Rolande co-develop and help facilitate two workshops aimed at League training and leadership training, in addition to co-initiating two diocesan resolutions.
Rolande held the position of sub-committee chairperson of resolutions and was elected to 2nd vice-president and resolutions, 1st vice-president and spiritual development, president-elect and chairperson of organization and is currently serving as the provincial president. She was appointed and served on the national resolutions committee, as a charter member of the Manitoban Association of Parliamentarians and as a member in the National Association of Parliamentarians. She generously shares her knowledge when needed.
The oldest girl (and fraternal twin) in a family of 13, Rolande and her husband Bob, celebrating 44 years of marriage, are blessed with children and grandchildren.
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
Hazel was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and is the sixth of nine children. Influenced by her mother and grandmother, Hazel joined the League in Petawawa, Ontario as part of the Military Vicariate in 1981. After moving to various bases and cities from coast to coast, including four years in Lahr Germany, she and her husband Rob settled in Dieppe, New Brunswick in 1989 upon his retirement from the Air Force.
Her roles in the New Brunswick Provincial Council have been served as chairperson of legislation, spiritual development and organization, as well as treasurer. She became provincial council president in May, 2018.
Hazel has co-chaired the provincial convention in Moncton in 2005 and chaired the 2012 provincial convention in Moncton. In 2014, she was the chairperson of the registration committee for the annual national convention held in Fredericton.
She received her life membership pin in 2014 at the annual national convention in Fredericton, and was so pleased to have her husband, daughter, son and grandson in attendance.
During her working years she was in accounting and administration roles both in the private sector and for the federal government. Hazel worked for 18 years at a minimum security prison in Dorchester, New Brunswick, retiring from there in 2008.
Her husband Rob is very supportive of her roles in the league and continuously assists in many of the duties, especially computer related and photography. She is the proud mother of two grown children Angela and George and two grandsons, Campbell and Quinn.
Hazel has been a volunteer at the Moncton hospital in a pastoral care role for the past 18 years. She assists with the Christmas box campaign at St. Bernard’s parish and has been teaching Catechism to grades 1, 2 and 3 for the past 2 years. In addition, she was on a committee welcoming a Syrian family that recently came to Canada and found this to be a very rewarding experience.
All in all, Hazel is a very busy woman, but so very happy to be part of the wonderful organization of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada.
Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial President
Barbara McGrath hails from Terrenceville, a small community named after a Catholic priest on the south coast of Newfoundland. She was born as the seventh sibling to a large family of seven brothers and seven sisters. After high school, Barbara left her home town to attend Memorial University, completing a bachelor of education degree. In 1975 she accepted a teaching position in Conche, where she met her husband. Eventually, they moved to Labrador City with their children. Barbara continued to work as a substitute, replacement, and, finally, a permanent teacher for the next 37 years until retirement in 2012.
Her League journey began in October 1979 when she joined a parish council in Labrador City, the best decision of her life! As a new resident of the area, a young teacher and mother, Barbara was looking for support, and luckily had League members become part of her family. The love, support and respect she felt from them throughout the years has truly blessed her. Eventually, she accepted the position of secretary and, with the guidance of some very dedicated members, was taught what the League was all about. In 1991, she became president of her parish council and, during her term, welcomed her third child into her family of one daughter and two sons. Of course her CWL family was included, making the baby one lucky boy!
Barbara held a variety of positions until she retired and moved from Labrador City to Holyrood. She joined St. Anne Parish Council in Conception Harbour, becoming president and accepting the position of provincial chairperson of community life. During the provincial convention, Barbara was elected provincial president. She gives special thanks to the many members and spiritual advisors who inspired her to love the League and helped her to grow a deep devotion to Our Lady of Good Counsel.
“Here I am Lord, I come to do your will.”
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
Anne Madden, married to husband Jim for 39 years, lives on a family farm in Godfrey, Ontario. They have been blessed with 11 children and 14 grandchildren. Together, Anne and Jim developed and operated a number of home-based businesses. Her hobbies include sewing, cooking, reading and pursuing higher education.
Anne emigrated from the United States and became a Canadian Citizen in 2011. She earned a bachelor of science in nursing online from the University of Victoria and will be in the inaugural cohort for the Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation’s program. As a registered nurse at the urgent care centre, Hotel Dieu Hospital of the Kingston Health Sciences Centre, her work includes being a triage, charge and staff nurse. Anne developed an orientation program for new employees and acts as a temporary educator. She has been a laboratory and clinical instructor for St. Lawrence College in Kingston and is currently a preceptor for fourth year nursing students completing their consolidation in the urgent care centre.
Anne was gifted with a League membership in 1981 by the late Teresa Murphy, a friend and neighbour at her home parish Sacred Heart of Jesus (Bedford). At that time the council was blended with the mission parish, St. James Major (Sharbot Lake). At the first meeting she attended, Anne was asked to be president! Wanting to learn more about the League, the ladies in Bedford mentored and encouraged her. She became parish president in 1992. Mary Jane Kelly, the immediate past president at the time, continued to assist and mentor her. This was the year that the two councils split and had separate charters. Appointed to Kingston Diocesan Council in 2000, by Barbara Hendry, diocesan president, Anne continued to serve on the diocesan council until 2009 when she was elected to provincial council.
At the provincial level, Anne has held positions in legislation, resolutions, spiritual development, organization, and currently as provincial president. As a past member of the national resolutions committee, she is a resource for developing resolutions in the province.
Anne is actively involved in parish ministry as a lector, server, member and mentor in the League council, parish council finance and social committees. Anne’s other affiliations and volunteer activities include the Ontario Nurses Association, Canadian Nursing Association, National Emergency Nurses Association and Emergency Nurse Certification.
Inspired by the enthusiasm and commitment of members across the country to be the best member she can be, Anne loves the League and all it stands for. In the exciting time of change and growth, she is proud to be part of the League’s future as it transforms into a vibrant, active voice for Catholic women.
Prince Edward Island Provincial President
Shirley grew up on a rural farm in Prince Edward Island with eleven siblings in a home blessed with hard working parents who had high expectations for their children. Religion played a big role in the home life where the family prayed the Rosary every day, the Stations of the Cross during Lent and Night Adoration once a month. Her mom took an active role in the church and taught religion classes for approximately 50 years, and was often the local League parish president because no one else would take the job!
These roles influenced Shirley into her adulthood. Shirley was asked by her mother when she began working and raising a family if I had joined the League. Her response was that she hadn’t because she didn’t have the time. Shirley was told she was missing the “plenary indulgences’’ and her response to that was “I guess I will have to wing it without them for a while”.
Shirley eventually joined the League in Summerside 25 years ago, and served as parish council secretary and coordinator of a few church dinners. She transferred her membership to St. Francis of Assisi Parish Council in Cornwall after moving there 16 years ago. Shirley served as president, treasurer, secretary, and communications chairperson. On provincial council Shirley served as treasurer and president-elect/ organization chairperson. She was on the special events committee which organized many fun events for the 97th annual national convention in Prince Edward Island.
Shirley is married to Bob and they have four wonderful adult children who, along with their lovely spouses, gave them ten darling grandchildren. Many hours are spent supporting their sports and school activities. When time allows she enjoys quilting, cross stitch, playing cards, decorating, travelling and gardening.
Shirley worked in the education system and for the provincial and federal government. In 2008 she retired as the director of communications with Service Canada. She has volunteered for many organizations and currently concentrates her volunteer time to the League, the National Association of Federal Retirees and the PEI Seniors Secretariat.
Shirley is very grateful for all the wonderful friends she has made in her League journey, placing much emphasis on enjoying fellowship and having a good time! She looks forward to meeting many League members and working “For God and Canada”.
Quebec Provincial President
Born in Sudbury, Ontario, Linda Chisholm grew up in the small mining town of Levack, the second of four siblings. The good works of the League were always evident in both the church and community with her earliest memories including events like the annual fair and tea at St. Bartholomew Parish where her mother was a member.
Linda attended the University of Guelph and graduated with a bachelor of science degree, then went on to earn a diploma in computer science. She worked two years in research at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, eventually returning to Northern Ontario to begin a successful sales career in data communications. Travelling throughout Northern Ontario, a chance business trip to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario provided the living spirit of the League at the Ontario Provincial convention. Linda had to request a move to another section of the hotel to get some sleep!
Linda met and fell in love with Peter, a teacher from Quebec, while on summer vacation. They married in 1990, began a new life in rural Quebec and were blessed with two beautiful children Mathew and Tanya, a fourth generation League member, who are their pride and joy.
Following the move to rural Quebec, Linda felt the isolation caused by the language barrier, while missing the closeness of family and friends back home. She sought out friendship in the League and throughout the years has served in every standing committee except for secretary at the parish level, served four terms on Valleyfield Diocesan Council before it disbanded, and was appointed to serve on Quebec Provincial Council as chairperson of the resolutions and legislation standing committees. She subsequently served as chairperson for the community life, Christian family life, education and health and organization standing committees and was elected provincial president in June, 2017. Linda also serves as a Eucharistic minister at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Chateauguay.
Inspired and encouraged by many wonderful mentors, Linda feels the support and friendship of beautiful women throughout her journey has taken her far. Her life has been enriched by women who come together from across Canada to work for a common cause, allowing both personal and spiritual growth. Lucky enough to travel to most provinces in Canada through League events, Linda looks forward to retiring after 20 years of work in education and spending time travelling with her husband, who has been a tremendous support in her work “For God and Canada.”
Saskatchewan Provincial President
Margaret Schwab grew up in rural Saskatchewan, the youngest of four children, just an hour’s drive from Saskatoon where she lives today. Trained as a biological sciences technologist at the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences, Margaret met her future husband on the first day of class! Don and Margaret have been married for 42 years and have one son, two daughters, a wonderful grandson and two beautiful granddaughters. For nearly 30 years, she grew and identified bacteria in a diagnostic setting at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine.
Margaret first ‘became’ a member as a young girl, sitting on the stairs at the family farmhouse, listening to the ladies of St. Anne Parish Council discuss fundraisers, charitable donations and upcoming conventions, among many other things and with lots of laughter and love. It was a natural progression that Margaret would one day join. Surprisingly, Margaret’s mother became a Catholic when she was 60 years old. Her first communion took place at mass before a League meeting with all her friends, Margaret and her sister present. YES, there really is a place for all women in the League!
Margaret first joined St. Peter the Apostle Parish Council 42 years ago. In 1976 she moved to Holy Spirit Parish Council where she continues her involvement in the League. Holding most positions at the parish level, Margaret moved on to Saskatoon Diocesan Council, where she held positions in the education and health, spiritual development and organization standing committees. She was eventually elected president. At the provincial level Margaret held positions in resolutions, spiritual development and organization standing committees and currently serves as provincial president.
In between parish and diocesan activities Margaret has served on the CWL Clothing Depot board, twice as chairperson; was co-chair of the 2003 annual national convention held in Saskatoon; spent six years representing the League on the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools Foundation, one term as chairperson; was involved with Girl Guides of Canada for many years as Brown Owl, guide leader and district commissioner. Her love and passion for quilting and sewing finds Margaret active in the Saskatoon Craft Guild and the Saskatoon Quilters Guild.
Margaret’s greatest pleasure was to take on the position of provincial president. She admires the women, the foremothers, who established the League 98 years ago, which is still strong and vibrant today. There is a place for every woman in The Catholic Women’s League of Canada, where members must work hard to make it known.