Catholic Women’s League
The Catholic Women’s League of Canada is a national organization, rooted in Gospel values, calling its members to holiness through service to the people of God. Membership is based on a parish unit (council) with representatives on Diocesan, Provincial, and National and Regional councils where applicable. Catholic women 16 years of age and over may be members.
The top priority of the Spiritual Development program at all levels of the League is to foster and advance the spiritual growth of the members of the League. The League exists to achieve individual and collective spiritual development; to promote the teaching of the Catholic Church; to exemplify the Christian ideal in home and family life; to protect the sanctity of human life; to enhance the role of women in the Church and society; and much more. These goals are achieved through various standing committees. For further information about the CWL, consult the Diocesan website at Calgary Diocesan Council CWL or the Provincial website at Alberta Mackenzie Provincial Council CWL or the National Council CWL at National Council CWL.
Members pay an annual membership. This organization is widely respected as a strong voice for women with governments on the provincial and national level.
History of Canadian Martyrs Church Catholic Women’s League
The late Bishop Klein, realizing the density of the Catholic population in the area surrounding St. Margaret and St. Francis School, desired that plans for a new church be established and built. The decree for Canadian Martyrs Church was effective September 1, 1967 and the Very Rev. Joseph E. LeFort was appointed as its first pastor.
During the 1967 Centennial Year of Canada, when the parish was established, it seemed fitting that the choice of saints whose heavenly patronage was to guide us be the Canadian Martyrs, who through the sacrifice of their lives, brought Christianity to Canada in the mid-17th century. The first C.W.L Mass was celebrated at St. Francis High School on September 5th. Construction of the church began June 29, 1968 and the cornerstone laid by the late Bishop Paul O’Byrne following the11 a.m. Sunday Mass on December 29th – the temperature was 32 degrees Fahrenheit below zero.
The women were ready and anxious to assume their role in parish development; our C.W.L. was formed and received its charter on September 26, 1967. The first Executive Members to be elected were:
Mrs. Bea Monaghan, President; Mrs. Helen Healy, 1st Vice President; Mrs. Catherine Bean, 2nd Vice President; Mrs. Evelyn Alloro, 3rd Vice President; Mrs. Nora Bakken, Recording Secretary; Mrs. Ruth Connolly, Corresponding Secretary, and Mrs. Frances Pelletier, Treasurer.
The principle activities that first year included the following: community concern in visiting the sick, assisting families at the time of bereavement, conducting regular Sunday Nursery and Kindergarten, and assisting the parish financially through fundraising activities. Our first Membership Tea was held in the rectory at 3315
Carol Drive, the house there served as parish offices, chapel, and rectory until the church construction was completed. Our very first Tea, Bazaar, and Tombola was held on November 16, 1968 and raised approximately $1800.00. Funds raised by our C.W.L. supported many items needed in the establishment of our church, one of the main ones being the purchase of the three beautiful bells which hang outside and can be seen from the interior of the church through the windows at the altar.
The C.W.L. was instrumental in organizing “work bees” for such things as Spring Cleaning during lent. Together with Knights of Columbus and fellow parishioners the pews were cleaned and polished, windows washed, hanging lights dusted, wax and stains from carpets removed, and the whole interior lovingly freshened up for Easter. This was good work done and good fun in doing it too.
The C.W.L. was active in service to the parish community as well as to the larger Catholic community, Calgary community, and world community. For the parish, the C.W.L. helped with social events, coffee, funeral receptions, maintaining the religious articles showcase, the sale of greeting cards in support of Mission Council. The C.W.L. recognized First Communicants and newly Confirmed youngsters. They made shawls for the sick and/or elderly. Fundraising efforts, such as pie sales and annual Tea & Bake Sales, plus the selling of roses for Mother’s Day, enabled them to contribute to the Capital Renewal Project and other financial needs of the parish. The C.W.L. sponsored three children (India and Bangladesh) through Chalice which helps with their education and the family’s household expenses. They also sponsored St. Mary’s University through the George Alloro Scholarship Fund, Foundation of St. Joseph’s Seminary, RC Diocese re: Fr. Lacombe Centre for retired priests, National Family Planning, RC Diocese Project Rachel, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (supplying materials for the program), Catholic Missions, National Voluntary Fund, St. Vincent de Paul, Inn from the Cold, One Rock of Calgary. The C.W. L. participated in World Day of Prayer, helped with service at the Chrism Mass, supported their fellow sister C.W.L. members, and reached out to fellow parishioners. In honour of our parish’s 50th Anniversary, the C.W.L. collected recipes from their members and parishioners to publish a cookbook. This is a tribute to the enthusiastic dedication and participation, over the years, of their members. It is also in honour of the many bake sales, pot-luck dinners, coffee hours, receptions, and the hosting of many events. The C.W.L contributed to the success of the celebration of our 50th Anniversary celebrated in September 2017.
(Currently, the C.W.L. is not active at the parish.)