August 20, 2012

EDMONTON – CWL member Sandra King describes some of the various ways the CWL has extended support to Newman Theological College and St. Joseph Seminary over the years.

"Provincially we did some fundraising and provided some books and so on. But in the early 90's I knew I was coming up to presidency and we were going to have our convention in St. Albert at Holy Family Parish. So I arranged for some tours in 1995 of Newman College."

In the meantime, King received a call from Bill Lerner of The Foundation for Newman Theological College and St. Joseph Seminary asking if the CWL could raise money to computerize the library. The women approved it at their convention.

"But the interesting thing was because they had toured the poor quality of the library at Newman College, there were women who voted in favour of helping them financially because they had seen the library," explains King. "So it was an interesting providential experience."

The commitment was to raise $75,000, but in 14 months they anted up $85,000. The computerization enabled the college to be accredited, says King.

Another request for funds. This time the kitchen. "It was in quite bad shape and pots and pans were rusty," remembers King. So the CWL raised $15,000 to $18,000.

The new seminary wing needed bedding. "There were things they didn't necessarily have in their rooms – a crucifix, lamps," says King, "and we voted as a diocesan council to donate money to provide a crucifix in every seminarian's room.


"We put the challenge out to the members in our councils to provide bedding, shower curtains, towels."

The CWL also collected monies for a $500 annual bursary to a seminarian, the choice of the beneficiary being left to the rector.

The women's organization also gifts the seminary and college in several other ways. The secret to their fundraising success is that the decisions are never that of the president or officers of the diocese, says King.

"We always take it to the members; we always take it to a diocesan meeting or convention. The women and the councils have a say in whether they are taking part in it or not.

"No matter how we do it, the fact that they vote on it is the reason we are so successful."