Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 16, 2008
Fran MacLellan honoured by CWL
Dedicated volunteer receives Elsie Yanik award
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Fran MacLellan is a busy woman. A member and leader of the St. Maria Goretti Council of the Catholic Women's League in Devon, MacLellan raises funds for the church, serves as Eucharistic minister and welcoming minister, delivers Communion to the sick and the elderly, helps with the hot lunch at the local school and still has time for family and friends.
In recognition of her dedication and commitment, the Alberta-Mackenzie Council of the Catholic Women's League awarded MacLellan its Elsie Yanik Award at the CWL's convention banquet June 7.
The award commemorates the leadership and service of Elsie Yanik to the Catholic community in the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith and is awarded to a league member every year.
"It's just such an honour, very humbling," MacLellan said of the award. "The thought of receiving it never crossed my mind."
CWL provincial president Donna Prevost said MacLellan "is dedicated, she is committed, she shows the love of God and her parish priest says she is a great asset to the parish in every way."
MacLellan, a former nurse, and her husband Joe, a former school administrator, retired to Devon in 1996 after living in several communities across Alberta and the Maritimes.
Doing God's work
She joined the CWL in Drayton Valley in 1979 and said she is glad she did. "I've gotten many wonderful friends and a real feeling of satisfaction at doing God's work."
MacLellan attends daily Mass and along with her friends she formed the coffee gang at the parish a couple of years ago. They stay for coffee after Mass and put the cost of a cup of coffee in a jar. Since January 2006, the group has raised $3,000, which it donated to the parish's mortgage fund to help pay for the newly renovated church.
Just recently MacLellan, a mother of four and grandmother of 12, became involved in the newly opened Catholic school in Devon, helping regularly with the hot lunch program and volunteering with Rainbows, a program that fosters emotional healing among children grieving a loss from a life-altering crisis such as death or divorce.
While doing her ministry of welcoming new parishioners two years ago, MacLellan learned that several Catholics living in the local seniors complex were no longer able to attend church. After bringing them Communion a few times, MacLellan arranged to have Mass celebrated in the complex's recreation area. When a priest is not available, MacLellan leads the Liturgy of the Word.
So many tasks
"In addition to organizing the monthly Mass and weekly distribution of Communion, Fran now spends one whole day a week visiting with the people in the hospital and at Discovery Place (the seniors residence)," reads a tribute to MacLellan printed in the CWL convention program. "One of the residents whom Fran brings Communion to fell and broke her pelvis. Fran spent many hours with her in hospital to help feed her and generally be of assistance."
At the banquet MacLellan credited the Formation for Pastoral Service program at Newman Theological College for giving her the necessary skills to serve her community.
"This learning experience fortified my confidence and encouraged me to persevere in my efforts to help others," she said. "I have participated in various projects and activities which have taught me a great deal. I have received much more than I have given."