Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 28, 2008
CWL Life members continue to give
- WCR photo by Ramon Gonzalez
Ardis Beaudry, Anne Laskosky and Connie McBride are life members of the Catholic Women's League.
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
They are experienced, wise, faithful, well versed in women's and social issues, and politically aware. These women are well liked among members of the Catholic Women's League. And with good reason.
Life members, as they are called, are veteran CWL leaders who have dedicated much of their lives to serving the league. Twelve are listed in the convention book of the Edmonton archdiocesan council.
With few exceptions, most life members have held leadership positions at all levels of the CWL, including parish, diocesan and provincial levels.
But even though they have done their share of service a lot more is expected of them. As the CWL's national manual on policy puts it, "Life membership is not intended to be a reward for years of service or a retirement gift."
The league requires active service from its life members, be it as advisors, mentors, lecturers or experts. "They are invaluable to us," said archdiocesan CWL president Cathy Bouchard.
Life membership in the CWL is a major honour. In addition to recognizing a woman's effort and dedication, it gives recipients a few perks and rights only they have. For instance, life members have a permanent place on the national council, the same voting privileges as accredited delegates at an annual meeting or convention, a voice in its affairs and eligibility for national appointment.
"We get reserved seating at conventions and banquets (and rarely have to line up for food)," life member Connie McBride said with a smile at the CWL's 86th annual archdiocesan convention.
McBride, who joined the league in Calgary in 1974, became a life member in 2003 after completing a term as provincial president. She had previously served as Edmonton archdiocesan president.
The CWL is her life and she's never for a minute regretted joining, despite the late nights and the busy weekends. "The CWL is my way of serving the Church and that's where all my closest friends are," she noted. "And that's where you can promote change."
One of McBride's favourite periods in the CWL was her tenure as Edmonton Archdiocesan president from 1994 to 1997. She likes that period because that's when she was most active. "I was so proud to be diocesan president," she said. "I liked it because as diocesan president you can effect the most change."
Ardis Beaudry, a league member since 1950, became a life member in 1980 after having served both as diocesan and provincial president. In 1986, after having completed a term as national CWL president, Beaudry automatically became an honorary life member. For the next nine years she represented the CWL on the board of the World Union of Catholic Women's Organizations.
Beaudry, a mother of four who initiated the shelter movement for battered women in Alberta, recalls joining the CWL at St. Anthony's Parish after moving to Edmonton from Viking. She was newly married. "Nobody approached me," she said. "I went all by myself because I didn't know anybody."
Anne Laskosky served as archdiocesan and provincial president before becoming a life member in 1992.
That was her proudest moment as a CWL member. "Up to that point I didn't feel I was on the right track."
Laskosky, a mother of five, joined the CWL in 1965 after she and her husband moved to Camrose. "I was approached by two members of the Camrose council - the largest in the archdiocese with 250 members - and I decided to attend."
Since then, the league has always been "a great way to grow in faith" for Laskosky. "I really enjoy being among other Catholic women." As a life member, Laskosky gives talks about the league throughout the archdiocese.