WCR PHOTO | GLEN ARGAN
Gladys Brown of Fort Saskatchewan will be the CWL's diocesan president for two years.
Edmonton - Looking forward to the next two years as archdiocesan president of the Catholic Women's League, Gladys Brown says, "I'm excited, I'm nervous."
It won't be a typical two years for the new president. In August 2012, the archdiocesan CWL will host the league's national convention at the Shaw Conference Centre and Westin Inn.
Before that, the league will hold its first-ever fundraising gala in February as well as a liturgical celebration at St. Joseph's Basilica to mark the 100th anniversary of the archdiocesan council.
So perhaps it's little surprise that Brown, who also currently serves as chair of the pastoral council at Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Fort Saskatchewan, wants to encourage other women to assume leadership roles in the CWL.
"I believe we are each called to leadership and it is our responsibility to find the role of leadership that fits us best."
"Others recognize qualities in us that we don't see in ourselves. They bring it out of us," she said in an interview following the CWL's April 8-10 convention.
"With God's help, you can do it."
No one had to coax Brown to join the CWL 28 years ago. She was inspired by the example of then-president Myrtle Paradis in her parish.
"I thought it would be a great organization to belong to," she said.
For 20 years, she served faithfully in her parish, working on raffles, bake sales, the World Day of Prayer and other activities of her council.
Then about eight years ago, she became council president and, Father Paul Kavanagh, diocesan spiritual advisor to the CWL at the time, encouraged her to seek a position on the diocesan executive.
"I was afraid," Brown recalls. But she's been bolstered by "the ladies, our friendship, my faith. I've built wonderful relationships with the diocesan officers.
"And I cannot say enough about (outgoing president) June Fuller. She's an awesome lady to work with."
Brown will be joined on the archdiocesan by Fuller as past president, Gwen Elliott of Camrose, the president-elect, as well as Shelly Barabash (secretary), Cheryl Boom (treasurer), and standing committee chairpersons Athena Born, Mary Hunt, Marg King and Catherine McNiff.
Brown also said she would like to see an increase from the 4,728 CWL members in the archdiocese as of last Dec. 31.
Nearly 230 people attended the league's 89th annual convention at the Chateau Louis Conference Centre.
The convention passed a resolution, put forward by the St. Thomas More council, to support temporary foreign workers to become permanent residents of Canada.
It cited the fact that foreign workers often find themselves taken advantage of by employers or agencies and that they don't often have a path to become permanent residents.
Background information provided for the resolution noted that 57,700 temporary foreign workers lived in Alberta in December 2008, part of the 251,000 across Canada. Those workers need to have their rights protected and have a greater opportunity to become permanent residents.
The resolution has to be approved by the provincial and national CWL conventions before it becomes league policy.
Also at the convention, league members heard reports on several areas of CWL endeavour.
Caroline MacDougall, the education and health chairperson, gave a positive assessment of hospice and palliative care provided at five facilities in the archdiocese.
Elliott, communications chairperson, encouraged parish CWL councils to reach out to their homebound members.
Mable Solomon, legislation and resolutions chairperson, encouraged members to write to senators to oppose Bill C-389 which would increase the rights of transgendered people.
If the bill is approved, Solomon said, men will be permitted in girls' washrooms if they have an innate feeling of being female. The bill "is a danger to our children."
The league also presented its $500 Doreen Melton Scholarship to Roger Niedzielski, 19, a second-year seminarian for the Edmonton Archdiocese who is currently in his second year of philosophy studies at Concordia University College.