WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ
New CWL president Gwen Elliott affirms her organization will work as a team.
The new leader of the Edmonton Diocesan Council of the Catholic Women's League plans to encourage recruitment and to reach out to rural members.
Gwen Elliott of Camrose was installed in her post April 20 during the CWL's 91st annual convention in Leduc. She replaces Gladys Brown of Fort Saskatchewan in the position. Mary Hunt of Edmonton was selected president-elect. She will take over from Elliott in two years.
Also elected at the convention were Cheryl Boom of Edmonton as vice president and Bea Salmon, also of Edmonton, as treasurer.
About 200 delegates representing councils across the Edmonton Archdiocese attended the April 19-21 event at Leduc's Executive Royal Inn and Conference Centre.
In an interview, Elliott described herself as a team player who will involve the whole diocesan council in the decision-making process. "We'll work as a team," she said, vowing to do "the best job that I can" as president.
One of Elliott's main goals is to welcome new members into the organization as well as to reach out to members who have been away and to encourage members to continue to belong.
She also plans to reach out to rural councils, large and small, to let them know that the work they do in their parishes and communities is important.
"In some areas there is no longer a parish and they work hard to maintain a Catholic presence in their community," Elliott pointed out. "I think we need to celebrate their success."
Leadership development is also on Elliott's mind as she takes over as CWL president for the next two years. "We need to help develop the gifts that our members possess and encourage them to accept positions on their local councils," she said. "People should let their light shine. If they have a gift, they should use it the best they can for the betterment of the CWL and the community. If everybody did that, this would be a very bright world."
Elliott and husband Keith are members of Camrose's St. Francis Xavier Parish and have three sons, one daughter and two grandchildren. At St. Francis, Elliott serves in music ministry, lector, Eucharistic minister and member of the liturgy committee.
She works as a librarian at an elementary school in Camrose and her husband is a retired teacher. Both pray every night for people that need help.
Elliott joined the CWL in Westlock in 1979 and has been a member of the organization in Edson, Killam and Camrose. "Through all these years I have been mentored by many wonderful CWL sisters and they are the ones I call upon now for assistance and information."
Elliott has served on the diocesan council in various positions, including community life, resolutions and legislation, communications and organization, and president-elect. All these positions, she said, have helped to broaden her knowledge of the league and to prepare her to lead the organization.
"I think it's important that the CWL is a Christ-centred organization and that Catholic women enjoy working, praying and supporting each other," she said.
"League members have a wide variety of gifts and through mentoring, learning about the league and encouragement, these gifts of leadership and action can be developed and shared with council, parish and community."
At the convention, Edmonton seminarian Roger Niedzielski received the Doreen Merton Scholarship for the third time.