Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 30, 2007
CWL president has concern for global, environmental issues
'We need to be concerned with rights of workers,' says Cathy Bouchard
- WCR photo by Ramon Gonzalez
Cathy Bouchard will serve as archdiocesan president for the next two years.
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
A Red Deer Catholic teacher with a social conscience has been installed as president of the archdiocesan Catholic Women’s League.
Cathy Bouchard, a junior high teacher concerned about environmental and global issues, took the reins of the organization from Edmonton’s Mable Solomon at the council’s 85th annual convention at the Dow Centennial Centre April 20-22.
Bouchard has a strong concern with fair trade issues. Most of what we consume, including the coffee we drink, comes from developing countries where people live in misery despite long hours of work, she said.
“We need to be concerned with the rights of the workers who provide the things that we consume,” she said.
“So much of what we enjoy in our diocese is on the work of other people that isn’t fairly compensated. We need to educate, we need to become aware and we need to share those issues not just as women but also with our families, with our workplaces.”
Due to the labour shortage in Alberta some children have joined the workforce and Bouchard says that’s unacceptable.
“It’s a concern to me that junior high students are working because if they are working, they can’t be learning,” she said. “It’s okay for a 16-year-old to be working a part-time job but any younger than that and you don’t have time to play with your friends and you don’t have time with your family and you don’t have time to do your school work.”
Bouchard, a mother of four and member of Red Deer’s Sacred Heart Parish, wants CWL members to be aware of “how they can use resolutions and legislation to let people know about concerns and how we can make action happen on those concerns.”
Issues she would like to see tackled include the overuse of plastic bags to carry groceries and the heavy consumption of bottled water.
“It’s not saying we shouldn’t carry a bottle of water with us but the idea that they are all ending up in our landfills along with the plastic bags is unacceptable,” said Bouchard. People should also be encouraged to use cloth bags carry their groceries.
“We also need to be aware of what kind of water is in those bottles,” she continued. “Often it’s just the same water we drink out of our taps. But I think the more we are aware of our water the more we become aware of the water situation in other countries, where they don’t have clean water, and then we can take action on that.”
Born and raised in St. Albert, Bouchard studied education at the University of Alberta and joined the CWL in Estevan, Sask., in 1978 — the year she married her husband Dave. She has been a member of the CWL’s council at Sacred Heart Parish since the couple moved to Red Deer 19 years ago.
She now teaches religion, math and social studies at St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School.
As a Secular Franciscan, Bouchard has “a prayer life and a way of life” that’s similar to that of St. Francis.
“I can’t get through a day without praying,” she said. “So the discipline of praying first thing in the morning with my husband is a requirement in my life like breathing and eating. And then I can face the day.”
At the convention Bouchard, who sits on the archdiocesan planning committee for the International Eucharistic Congress to be held in Quebec in 2008, asked CWL members to pray for a faith-filled congress and requested that the official congress prayer be recited at each archdiocesan meeting.