Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 25, 2007
Tireless worker honoured by CWL
Dolores Martens served her league for 52 years
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"I just lived my life and did what I thought needed to be done."
- Dolores Martens
"I made many dear friends in the dishpan," she quipped. "I learned to bake a cake that someone would actually buy and I learned the skills to be council president."
She also said the personal and spiritual growth the league offered her goes far beyond what any school or job could have ever offered her. "I believe it is because I was amongst women united in faith and a deep desire to serve God and Canada."
Born Nov. 7, 1929 on a farm near Bowden, Martens and her parents moved to Calgary after the war where she met her future husband Samuel Mackwood. The couple married in 1949 and moved to Bowden where they had seven children - four sons and three daughters.
In 1969, when Samuel was unable to work due to illness, Martens studied nursing at SAIT to provide for her family. She worked for a year at Innisfail Hospital before joining the staff at the Associate Clinic in Innisfail where she worked for more than 18 years.
Martens began her CWL journey in 1955 as a charter member of Our Lady of Peace Council in Innisfail, where she served on the council's executive committee for 28 years, including two terms as president.
Martens divorced her husband in 1979. The marriage was annulled in 1981.
In 1985, she moved to Red Deer .
A year later, she married Frank Martens and added his five children to her already large family.
In Red Deer, Martens immediately joined Sacred Heart Parish Council and in no time found herself on the executive committee. In 1987, when the council was experiencing difficulties, she reluctantly accepted the role of president. She has been on Sacred Heart Council's executive committee for 21 years, serving twice as president.
"She gives life and hope to those she meets on the journey."
- Council's nomination paper
From 2003 to 2005, Martens also served as treasurer on the Edmonton diocesan council, and from 1997 to 2000 she served as Zone 7 coordinator, visiting CWL councils throughout central Alberta and organizing zone meetings.
Over the years, Martens has also served in many parish and community ministries, including cantor, reader and acolyte. Her Elsie Yanick's nomination paper says she was in the music ministry until her voice gave out.
In addition to serving on the Sacred Heart Parish pastoral council and on the regional pastoral council, Martens has been involved in the pastoral team that visits hospitals and seniors' homes to distribute Communion.
Martens was professed a Franciscan of the Secular Order in 1993 and served as a Franciscan minister for two terms. Today she mostly acts as a sponsor to people journeying in the Franciscan order.
At one time Martens was active in palliative care, accompanying the dying in their homes and at the hospital. She also offered respite care to needy families. She is a founding member of the David Thompson Palliative Care Society, the organization behind the establishment of the palliative care unit at Red Deer Regional Hospital in 2003.
In 2004 Martens travelled to Zambia with a group from the Church of Christ to do mission work. There, among other things, she taught sewing to young women at an orphanage. Today she continues to send large quantities of layettes to the orphanage. Over the years she has also donated her embroidery work to the CWL, the parish and many individuals.
Martens is known as a mentor in her parish and her CWL council. Under her presidency, the Sacred Heart Council began attracting younger women. Today the council has 147 members and is a vibrant force in the parish and community.
"Dolores is a true companion in the journey," says her council's nomination paper. "She gives life and hope to those she meets on the journey."
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