Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 6, 2005
CWL cornerstone honoured for 70 years
Denise Bastide promoted league tirelessly
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
My mom never let grass grow under her feet," Louise Mitchell said.
For her 70 years of dedicated service to the Catholic Women's League, Denise Bastide, 89, was honoured last month by Our Lady of Assumption council during its annual dinner social.
"Mom joined the CWL in 1935 but really became involved in 1970 until 1995 when she had a heart attack," Mitchell said. "She was a president and vice-president; secretary, treasurer and was always key to increase CWL awareness and membership."
Council president Emily Rowan said they wanted to honour Bastide in a special way.
"Mrs. Bastide is such a grand lady," Rowan said.
"Denise inspires the ladies when they look at her accomplishments," said Mable Solomon, president of the Edmonton diocesan council. "She dedicated herself to her vocation of CWL service. She is a good example for her community."
At the dinner, Bastide was presented with a bouquet of freshly cut flowers that Mitchell said delighted her mother. Many of the 80 people at the dinner gave Bastide a warm hug, including her great-granddaughter.
"We were worried my mother might not be well enough to attend," Mitchell said.
Bastide joined the CWL in 1935 and became a founding member of St. Anthony's council in 1939. She went over to St. James about 1997, then to the Assumption council as a silent member because her health prevented her from active service.
Bastide also served as president of St. Joseph's Auxilliary Hospital. She could be found helping residents make crafts or celebrating birthday parties. She was always happy spending time with them in their rooms.
She served at funeral lunches, held card parties and was a Eucharistic minister, bringing the Blessed Sacrament to shut-ins. She organized bazaars and bake sales and started coffee Sundays, all to support her CWL sisters.
"God only knows where she came up with all the ideas, but we were raised that it never hurts to smile and show kindness to anybody," Mitchell said.
"My parents told me and my three brothers if we were pouting, that there was always someone else worse off than us. They told us to pick up our bottom lips and smile."
Bastide's influence on her daughter runs deep. Mitchell has been an active CWL member for nearly 25 years. She was one of the first parishioners of Holy Family Parish in St. Albert and joined its CWL council when it began. She is also a Eucharistic minister.
"Mom made us feel that if you sit around for a day, it's a day lost. There is always someone you can help," Mitchell said.
Bastide was a friend of former Catholic Social Services founder Msgr. Bill Irwin. She volunteered making sandwiches for people helping out during CSS's Sign of Hope campaign.
Mitchell said one of her mother's tactics to increase CWL membership was to turn to women in church when offering the sign of peace saying, "I don't think you are a CWL woman. We are having a meeting soon so why don't you come."
"Something mom instilled in me is that we do not go to church to be a spectator. We participate," said Mitchell. Her brother Ernie, a fourth-degree Knight of Columbus and Eucharistic minister at Assumption Parish, takes the Eucharist to his mother on Sundays who now lives in an assisted-living facility.
Mitchell said her mother showed her that going to church is like visiting your closest relatives.
"Seeing other CWL members at church makes it feel like a family because you have met them before. You know their names," Mitchell said.