Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 2, 2005
CWL president calls for a unified voice
President Mable Solomon plans to broaden CWL's membership search
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Mable Solomon believes unifying the individual voices of Catholic Women's League members will strengthen their ministry.
The new president of the Edmonton diocesan CWL council wants women to understand the Christian significance of their contribution and how powerful it can be whether conveyed over a cup of coffee with a neighbour or by writing a letter to her member of Parliament.
Write more letters
"We need to keep up our letter writing to all political arenas, from local to national," Solomon told the WCR. "We don't always have to be reinventing the wheel coming up with new resolutions, but we need to focus on those we have already set out for ourselves."
Companions on the Journey was selected as the theme for the council's annual convention April 22-24 at Holy Trinity Church in Spruce Grove-Stony Plain. About 300 delegates attended.
Solomon said the journey refers to the importance of Eucharistic communion within its membership and to their service to society. The weak and the strong grow together, she said.
A mother of four grown children, Solomon replaces Fran Lucas as president, describing the Northlands manager as a mentor.
Solomon, with president-elect Cathy Bouchard, will try to emulate the leadership Lucas provided during her two-year term as council president.
"If I could be 50 per cent of what she is, I would be totally happy," Solomon said of Lucas. "Because of her training and her personality, I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed working with her."
"She is very organized and very humble. Tremendous qualities for a leader," said Bouchard, a special education teacher in Red Deer.
Solomon believes her spontaneity will serve her well the next two years. She can read a report or listen to a discussion and quickly come up with several suggestions. She has been a member of Edmonton's St. Francis of Assisi Parish CWL for some 20 years. She is saddened by its imminent closure.
She plans to waste little time tackling issues concerning the trafficking and exploitation of women and children, defending the traditional definition of marriage, public funding of abortions and tax deductions for working mothers who would like to stay at home.
Solomon will seek topical guest speakers for various council meetings who can key in on the contentious issues. She wants the CWL to work closely with the Edmonton Archdiocese and some of its established agencies and activities.
And there is always the issue of membership. Solomon will follow in Lucas' footsteps by continuing with the Bizarre Women's Group - a group of young women who travel the archdiocese giving lively demonstrations to attract new members.
"Over the long haul, we need to increase our membership, not just with younger women," Solomon said. "My children were in high school before I joined the CWL. Forty onward are valuable years because women have more time to contribute."
The Bizarre Women's Group has assembled a membership booklet called Membership is for Everyone that expands as the group broadens its exposure. Based on existing CWL materials, the booklet discusses different levels of involvement with the CWL, from non-Catholic associate members to someone who can become fully involved, to prayer partners. It has been formatted to reflect the group's mission to promote the benefits of joining the CWL.
"The booklet is like an old tire getting some new air," Solomon said.
During the convention, St. Albert's June Fuller was elected vice president; Gladys Brown of Fort Saskatchewan, secretary; Bea Salmon, from Edmonton, treasurer. Solomon has yet to name the council's conveners.
Bouchard says it is important the CWL continue to be active in voicing its opinions on issues concerning Canadian women. "Our new pope talks about relativism and that puts a name on what we are seeing happening with women," Bouchard said. "With same-sex marriage, we know some young people are gay.
"In a leadership position, we are able to clarify our Catholic position and vision for our CWL members versus what they might hear in the public. They can understand why we believe in certain things. We then help them with letter writing campaigns and speaking to their neighbours.
CWL a vocation
"The women are receptive to greater involvement if they find it worthwhile," Bouchard said. "Some needs are spiritual and some are political and the CWL is where they can find their voice. Besides their call to be a Christian woman; a mother; a wife, this is a call as well. Women consider their role in the CWL more seriously than another group they might be involved with because it is a vocation."
Bouchard described the CWL as "sacrament to each other. God comes to us in a way we can see and touch; people we can laugh and cry with or share our story with."
Bouchard said it is vital CWL members maintain a combination of both the working Martha life of mother and wife with the contemplative Christian life of Mary.
The CWL's annual Doreen Melton Scholarship was awarded to first-year seminarian Michael Schumacher from Villeneuve.
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