Velma Harasen

August 20, 2012

Edmonton – CWL national president Velma Harasen says she is satisfied with the progress made by the league during her two-year mandate.

"Absolutely," Harasen said in a brief interview Aug. 12. "I'm very proud. I feel I've done my very best and I feel very much at peace with what we have accomplished."

Harasen from Regina was elected president two years ago. She focused the work of the league on poverty alleviation under the theme of Faith and Justice.

"The work that they have done in their parishes and in their dioceses to alleviate poverty in their communities has being overwhelming," she said.

Harasen and others were in Jerusalem for the World Union of Catholic Women Organizations Conference in 2010 and "we experienced not only the poverty but also the injustices in the Holy Land."

As a result, the CWL started a project called Velma's Dream, whose purpose is to raise money to help a centre for needy children and youth in Jerusalem. Their goal was to raise $16,500 for the project, but raised $21,000.

Harasen said the CWL will continue supporting projects in the Holy Land.

The CWL has also worked with the homeless in Edmonton and, after the fire in Slave Lake, Alberta CWL councils were first in line to help. During the recent Thunder Bay flooding, "it was the Catholic Women's League and the local Church that ended up being the centre where people could gather and get help," Harasen noted.

The best thing about being a national president, she said, "is meeting the wonderful women across the country who are so joy-filled and faith-filled."

Harasen has being a league member for 50 years. The mother of three and grandmother of five is also active in parish ministries, including Eucharistic minister, lector and prayer line participant. Harasen also enjoys the weekly Bible study group in her parish.