May message from National President, Margaret Ann Jacobs

May 01, 2017

What a glorious time of year! Finally, the last traces of winter have been showered away and the hope of blossoms and flowers tease us out of doors.

League celebrations for me have been varied but blessed events including celebrations of life for two dear League sisters, an annual parish banquet in Guelph, spring fling and fashion show in Barrie, regional meeting, tour of St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica, Toronto, fund-raising dinner for Catholic Missions In Canada, Vision Mass at Loretto Abby for Our Lady of Good Counsel feast day and presently diocesan conventions. What a privilege it is to meet members from so many different backgrounds and share stories. I regret not attending the Vision Mass taping for May 4 – 12 Hours of Prayer for Palliative Care. Unfortunately, traffic congestion delayed my arrival so I said a rosary instead. A very thoughtful nun who welcomed me at the Abby generously invited me to stay for dinner!

London Diocese hosted the first convention for me this year. Attendees were privileged to capture the local history, celebrate Eucharist in beautifully refurbished churches. An extensive procession of quilts accompanied their prayer service and crowning of Mary. Executive were challenged to choose a woman from the bible who inspired the work of their standing committee. Pamela Bryson-Weaver educated the members about autism and Margaret VanHerk-Paradis led a very moving lectio-divina and personal testimony. The focus of Anne Madden’s workshop was mentoring. It was quite an experience to try to “mentor” a partner on making pastry! The greatest gift this convention offered for me was the affirmation and wise words from their spiritual advisor Fr. Greg Bonin. His acronym for CWL is called, wanted, loved and he challenged the women to bring to the League the woman who is going to be their replacement in the future. Presently I am writing from North Bay where members from Sault St. Marie have gathered for their convention. These northern ladies always plan an amazing event. I wish all councils much success as you gather together. Truly, inspired by the Spirit, women do respond to God’s Call.

Over the past months, your presidents three i.e. Barbara Dowding, Anne-Marie Gorman and myself, with the experienced guidance of Kim Scammell, have been diligently moving forward with early stages for the strategic planning being undertaken by the League. Through teleconference calls, we have evaluated presentations by two firms deciding on Tecker International and the expertise of Donna Dunn as the consultant to guide our deliberations. Four new members have agreed to work on our strategic planning committee: Roxanne McDonald, BC, Pauline Krupa, ON, Ingrid LeFort, QC, and Danielle McNeil- Hessian, HLM. Further training sessions are scheduled and convention plans are being finalized for a presentation by Reginald Bibby on Canada’s Catholics, a town hall session led by Donna Dunn involving the convention attendees with feedback from live feed participants and a follow-up panel presentation by the strategic planning team. We are inviting members from across the country, who may not be at convention, to gather in clusters, access the live feed town hall and respond to the discussion orchestrated by Donna Dunn. We are very excited to be undertaking this most worthwhile exercise at this time in our League history and ask all members to contribute their input in the process.

May offers many opportunities to celebrate a variety of events: May 1 – feast day for St. Joseph the Worker; May 7 – World Day of Prayer for Vocations; May 13 – feast day for Our Lady of Fatima; May 14 – Mother’s Day; May 20 – Armed Forces Day; May 22 – Victoria Day; May 25 – Ascension of Our Lord feast day.  Each of these days have special significance but the anniversary of Our Lady’s appearance at Fatima is worthy of extra special attention as we celebrate its 100th anniversary this year. I will never forget the time spent at Fatima for the International WUCWO conference with all the moving liturgies on such sacred ground.

Thank you for the privilege of representing you and this most amazing Catholic Women’s League. I am constantly reminded about the power of the Spirit at work in God’s people. May it always be so.