Honorary Life Member Mary Matthews (1915 – 2016)

June 06, 2016

Mary Matthews 1974-76

Mary Matthews (1974-76)


National Past President Betty Anne Brown Davidson, Honorary Life Member Jean Mahoney, and Mary at Mary’s 99th birthday in 2014.

It is with heavy hearts we announce the passing of Honorary Life Member Mary Matthews (1915-2016; National President 1974-76).

Mary Matthews was born and grew up in Niagara Falls. She joined the League in 1945 in Ottawa and subsequently moving to Toronto, served at the parish and diocesan levels, being elected Toronto Archdiocesan Council President from 1966-68. Following that, she served as national convener of social action and was chairperson of committees, which prepared League briefs on the “Status of Women” and “Poverty in Canada”. Her election as national president in 1974 in Vancouver was marred by the sudden and tragic death of her husband.

After her term of office as national president, Mary was appointed an original member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity – the only Canadian woman on the council representing the Canadian laity. From 1979-87, Mary was co-opted to the WUCWO board as chairperson of the procedures commission. She was the founding president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Lay Associations (CCCLA) and is stil a member of the board.

In 1979, Mary was one of the four Canadians to receive the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews Human Relations Award. She received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal from the hands of the late Archbishop Pocock at the annual national convention in Ottawa in 1975.

Mary was inducted as a Lady of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in 1982.

If you wish to send condolences, please contact communications@cwl.ca for more information.