March message from National President, Margaret Ann Jacobs
Welcome to March … already! Are you ready for Ash Wednesday and the beginning of lent? The daily reflections for lent provided by Novalis focus on our “sacred journey” and sacred journey it is. However, we would never embark upon a journey, sacred or otherwise, without a destination in mind and the preparation required to reach it successfully. Consider this an opportunity to ponder anew through prayer, fasting and almsgiving the significance of the life, death and resurrection of our Lord. Your destination will be the Easter joy experienced in celebrating “He is risen!”
As you look to the month ahead, several special dates pop into mind: March 8 – International Women’s Day; March 12 – daylight saving time; March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day; March 20 – the feast day of St. Joseph; March 25 – the celebration of the Annunciation.
This year, as we celebrate the 150th year of Confederation, it might be a most appropriate time to initiate, organize or participate in a special event recognizing the patron saint of Canada, St. Joseph. As the devoted spouse of Our Lady of Good Counsel, this would be an ideal time to offer extra attention to him. Check out the Prayer to St. Joseph in our League Prayers leaflet:
St. Joseph, your life was one of faithfulness, toward God, toward Jesus, toward Mary, toward all people.
Obtain for us the grace to be faithful in all things – to God, to Jesus, to one another, and to the church.
Guardian of the holy family, be with us in our trials.
May your prayers obtain for us the strength to flee from error and the powers of corruption so that in life we may grow in holiness and in death rejoice in the crown of victory.
What a wonderful new year I have already experienced! January 7th, I had the pleasure of travelling to Alexandria Cornwall to kick off the new theme Inspired by the Spirit Women Respond to God’s Call. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet and share with such women of faith.
On January 28th, I had the privilege of attending the “Snowflake Gala” in Calgary, a beautifully planned and orchestrated fund-raiser for the national convention in 2019. Music, silent auction, entertainment, dancing and camaraderie framed this most successful event. Then I was off to Winnipeg for their Day of Celebration on February 11th. Besides my workshop, the women were treated to a delicious luncheon, and a presentation entitled “The View” which offered a lighthearted banter by life members who used this opportunity to educate and inform members.
The national executive met in Toronto at the Airport Marriott from February 15-18. Meetings were productive and educational with presentations by Glenn Tecker, chairman and Co-CEO of Tecker International, Neil McCarthy, Director of Public Relations and Communications for the Archdiocese of Toronto, Andrea Donlan, President and CEO of Manifest and Carl Hetu, National Director and Melodie Gabriel, Development Officer for the Catholic Near East Welfare Association. We bid farewell to six provincial presidents who will have elections this spring. We appreciated the fact that Bishop McGrattan was able to attend our deliberations as he was bidding farewell to Peterborough Diocese and leaving for Calgary. Our prayers go with him as he undertakes this new appointment.
My next adventure on February 24th took me to Charlottetown for a tour of the 2017 convention facilities, a meeting with Bishop Richard Grecco and Rector Fr. Floyd. The following day I attended their convention planning meeting, enjoyed delicious homemade soup, tea biscuits and desserts and marveled as the worker bees hustled in sewing machines, ironing boards and reams of prepared material ready to fashion unity scarves for the convention volunteers. It was so exciting to hear first-hand about all of the plans they have in store for us. Come prepared for some down east hospitality!
From Charlottetown I headed for Halifax where Provincial President Peggy MacNeil picked me up to travel to Antigonish and a tour of St. Francis Xavier University. Toosje VandeSande graciously opened her home to Peggy and I. On Sunday following the 11 a.m. Mass at St. Ninian’s, the Catholic Women’s League Council gathered for a delicious roast beef dinner, guest speakers Terry O’Toole, Development and Peace and Dr. Cooper, oncologist at St. Martha’s Hospital and Hospice, and a very special presentation of their “Quilt of Life” (CWL 2020 anniversary project) to Dr. Cooper. They concluded the day’s festivities with their annual meeting, election and installation of their new executive. What a day! Certainly the highlight was the presentation of the quilt and the sharing of the story of how it was designed, created and stitched with love by the members. No doubt they will share this story with you.
You can’t imagine the overwhelming feeling I experienced! Never did I imagine that I would be here in Antigonish, home of St. Francis Xavier University, sharing lunch with Irene LeFort, HLM and Shirley McDougall (who I had the privilege of working with on the Romanow Commission Report) and meeting Kathleen Provost, Associate Director Fund Development & Communications for Coady International Institute. Kathleen gave us a private tour of the Coady Institute where we viewed the tasteful tributes to Rev. Dr. Moses M. Coady, founder of the Antigonish Movement as well as mounted pictures of the many graduates of these most worthwhile programs. How truly blessed am I!
I’ve been privileged to experience such warm hospitality everywhere that I’ve travelled, been gifted with the comfort of members’ homes, enjoyed culinary delights prepared with such love and met so many wonderful friends. Thank you to all … I have indeed been richly blessed!
And in true Irish fashion I can’t miss the opportunity to share this Irish Blessing with you:
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
May God be with you and bless you:
May you see your children’s children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.
May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.
May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you