KINDERSLEY, Sask. — The 83rd annual Saskatoon Diocesan Convention of the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) was held April 23 at St. Joseph Parish in Kindersley, with 196 attending the daylong event.
Parish elegates, spiritual advisers, provincial and national leaders, and a number of special guests participated in the convention, which included the election of a new executive, discussion of a proposed national strategic plan, guest speakers, and committee reports, as well as mass with Bishop Mark Hagemoen and a number of priests from across the diocese. A banquet concluded the event.
The convention theme was “Inspired by the Spirit, Women Respond to God’s Call.”
MC Paula Haubrich opened the day with words of welcome, and outgoing Saskatoon Diocesan CWL president Marlene VanDresar called the meeting to order.
Darlene Possberg, chair of the spiritual development committee, led morning prayer. A number of special guests brought greetings, including Rev. Emmanuel Azike, OP, pastor of St. Joseph Parish, as well as representatives of local government, the Knights of Columbus and the ecumenical community.
Regina diocesan president Marilyn Schuck and Prince Albert diocesan president Shirley Lamoureux also brought greetings. Saskatoon diocesan president VanDresar and CWL provincial president Margaret Schwab each provided a report to delegates.
VanDresar described a number of initiatives undertaken during the past year, including a CWL workshop held in five locations across the diocese, and news about anniversary milestones for various councils. Concluding her term as diocesan president, VanDresar urged members to “step out of your comfort zone. It is truly amazing how each of us can affect our councils and our community for the better, if we just have the courage, like Mary, to say yes.”
Schwab reminded members of the upcoming provincial convention June 3 - 4 in Regina, and the national CWL convention to be held in Winnipeg in August.
Former national CWL president Barb Dowding led a strategic planning workshop, gathering feedback about a national effort to chart goals and concrete steps for the Catholic Women’s League at every level.
Rev. Emmanuel Mbah gave a brief presentation about his new book, Living in Dominion. Mbah described how the idea for the book began several years ago when his home diocese in Nigeria chose “living in dominion” as its annual theme, based on the passage from Genesis in which God gives Adam and Eve dominion over the earth, calling on them to nurture creation and to live in balance.
“After some months in Canada, I discovered that what I am trying to address cuts across cultures,” he said. “This book is about integration. This is what Living in Dominion is all about: striking a balance.”
Guest speaker Carla Carlson of Swift Current, Sask., shared experiences from her life and career that demonstrated how “everyday grace” breaks through in ordinary encounters of life — offering stories and examples from her work as a social worker as well as her current law practice.
Offering insights recorded in her book Everyday Grace: Finding Your Extraordinary in Ordinary Events, Carlson urged her listeners to be present, to be open and to be positive. This conscious effort provides a way to be attentive to the workings of grace, and to keeping God in the forefront. “We must put things in perspective, the good and the bad,” she said. “We must maintain our heavenly focus.”
A number of standing committees delivered reports, covering such areas as organization, spiritual development, Christian family life, community life, communications, health and education, and the operations of the CWL Clothing Depot.
A motion calling for every CWL council in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon to write letters to government expressing concerns about the legalization of marijuana and the minimum age of consumption was also passed.
As the business portion of the convention drew to a close, diocesan spiritual adviser Claire Heron spoke on behalf of the CWL spiritual advisers in attendance, and a lively group of organizers invited members to next year’s diocesan CWL convention to be held in Watson on May 11, 2019.
A new diocesan CWL executive was elected to conclude the convention, and members were commissioned and blessed by the bishop at the celebration of the eucharist.
The new executive includes president Ingrid Eggerman of Watson; past-president Marlene VanDresar; president-Elect Edna Hodgson of Bruno; recording secretary Margot de la Gorgendiere of Holy Family, Saskatoon; and treasurer Connie Chrichton of St. Mary, Saskatoon; as well as committee chairs Audrey Zimmerman of Englefeld; Mary Kehrig of Holy Family, Saskatoon; June Gorgchuck of St. Peter the Apostle, Saskatoon; Wendy De Sa of St. Patrick, Saskatoon; and Paula Haubrich of Kindersley.