Catholic Women's League of Saskatchewan

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Communiqué #4 - Past President

Chantal Devine, Past President and Chairperson of Archives

May 2023


“Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” Mother Theresa


In the National CWL Policy and Procedure Manual, on page 75 under the heading of Past President, I found the following:

“Be responsible for reviewing biannually the council’s manual of policy and procedure for any needed additions, deletions and corrections; all changes must be brought to the membership (for parish councils) or the executive (for diocesan and provincial councils) for approval before amending the manual.”


This statement assumes that all CWL councils have a policy and procedure manual, but unfortunately this is not the case. For the past two years, Past National President & Chairperson of Laws, Anne-Marie Gorman has been encouraging us to formulate a policy and procedure manual in every parish council. While provincial and diocesan councils have a manual, only a small percentage of parish councils have one.


When speaking to parish council presidents, many feel there is no need for a manual as most members have been with the council a long time and know what is expected of them. Unfortunately, members pass away, memories fail, and precious time is lost questioning and debating past council procedures. A parish council policy and procedure manual is an invaluable aid in guiding, not only all existing members, but most importantly, a new president and her executive as they begin leading the council.


The objective of this communique is to ask ALL councils to organize a meeting to strike a committee to put together a manual of policy and procedure. Councils who already have a manual should bring it for display, to the provincial convention on June 4th & 5th at Holy Spirit Parish in Saskatoon. These completed manuals may help other parish councils in preparing their own.


To help you get started, I’ve attached a PowerPoint presentation by the Vancouver Diocesan Council entitled Preparing a Parish Council Policy and Procedure Manual. This PowerPoint could be presented to your membership prior to striking a planning committee as it outlines the reasons why a P& P is important and offers guidelines in what to include.


Another source for information was mentioned by Anne- Marie Gorman in her October 3, 2022, communique.
She invited us to review “How to Prepare a Parish Council Manual of Policy and Procedure” in the Handbook for Organization Chairpersons. I hope you will reference both the handbook and the power point to begin your manual as soon as possible.


May God bless you as you continue to do “the small things with great love” in your councils, while living out our theme in being Catholic and Living It!


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Communiqué #3 - Past President

Chantal Devine, Past President and Chairperson of Archives

January 2023


“Spirituality is our effort with grace to become what we have been created by the Lord to be; we must grasp who we truly are in order to know what we are to become.” Fr. Richard J. Hauser, In His Spirit


The first object of the League is “to achieve individual and collective spiritual development”. How fortunate we are to have the support of our sisters in the League in this faith- based organization to aid us in developing our spirituality! This is an ongoing process which requires us not to “rest upon our laurels” but to continually strive forward with God’s grace to draw closer to Him in our spiritual life. We should carry out our responsibilities as past presidents in a similar way. On page 6 of The Canadian League Winter 2023, Anne-Marie Gorman, National Past President & Chairperson of Laws writes, (the past president), “In her role, she focuses on supporting her council by looking forward while also being the keeper of the council’s story.” The emphasis should be placed on “looking forward”; we should build on our past experiences to motivate our councils to welcome change and to look to the future with hope.


One of the duties as outlined in the Handbook for Past Presidents is to “facilitate and encourage the study and implementation of the Constitution & Bylaws. In conjunction with this forward-thinking approach, I would like to draw your attention to the up- coming changes that will be voted on in our parishes. Please note the following notice on page 17 of the latest issue of the Canadian League magazine.


Notice of Motion
Notice of Motion is hereby given that an amendment to Part XIV, Sections 2, 3 and 4 has been proposed as follows:


  • Replace Section 2(f) with “The parish executive and parish council may meet virtually when circumstances preclude meeting in person.”
  • Replace Section 3(d) with “The diocesan and provincial executives and diocesan and provincial councils may meet virtually when circumstances preclude meeting in person.”
  • Delete Section 3(e)
  • Replace Section 4(d) with “The national executive and national council may meet virtually when circum-stances preclude meeting in person.”
  • Delete Section 4(e)


The motion will be voted on by voting delegates at the 103rd national annual meeting of members of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada in Saint John, New Brunswick on August 15, 2023. Every member has the right to cast a vote on the matter with her parish council. Members are urged to seek out and attend their local parish council meeting where their vote may be cast in favour or against the proposal.

At your next general meeting, please present these proposed amendments to your members so that you’ll be ready for the vote. May God bless you in your ongoing quest in developing your spirituality and your purpose as visionaries in the League


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Communiqué #2 - Past President/Archives

Chantal Devine, Past President and Chairperson of Archives

October 2022


The National Convention of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada was again an overwhelming ex-perience. Seeing old friends, making new friends, and essentially being together in person, was a bless-ing after two years of virtual meetings. Thank you to my sisters on the provincial executive for sup-porting my attendance at this historic convention.


As a follow up to the 102nd Annual National Convention, I’d like to remind you of what National Past President, and Chairperson of Laws Anne- Marie Gorman, reported in her oral report. She announced that all eight amendments except one were adopted at the national convention. Amendment II (Patroness) was the only one lost. Most provinces voted to retain Our Lady of Good Counsel as our patroness. Thank you to all parish councils and diocesan councils who persevered during difficult times and participated in the instructed vote.


Anne- Marie Gorman also informed us that the changes to our constitution had been sent for review to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. After their approval a new publication of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada Constitution & Bylaws will be published by December 2022. Compli-mentary copies will be mailed to each parish council president and secretary. Additional copies of the booklet can be purchased from national office for parish, diocesan and provincial council executives. The changes will also be made to The National Manual of Policy and Procedures.


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Communiqué #1 - Past President/Archives

 Chantal Devine, Past President and Chairperson of Archives

July 2022


After navigating through the troubled waters of a pandemic in most of my three years as provincial president, I feel as though I have reached the tranquil waters on the distant shore as I begin my term as past president in charge of archives. I’m looking forward to this new opportunity to help grow the League, and to become even more knowledgeable about its history in our province.


While I was reviewing the past president’s information I’d received, I came across a letter postdated in Regina on February 24 at 10:30 PM 1948. The letter was simply addressed to Mrs. Mulreenna, Assiniboia, Sask. with no return address. The one- page type written letter was a “Notice of Meeting” sent by the convener of the Provincial CWL Committee, Ellen M. Drake and she wrote,


  “Notice is hereby given that a meeting for the purpose of organizing the Sask Provincial Council of the 
   Catholic Women’s League of Canada and electing the officers of the provincial council will be held at
   Rosary Hall, Saskatoon on the 12th day of March 1948 at 1:30pm. o’clock.”


What a treasure to find the original letter that propelled the members of the CWL in 1948 to form the first provincial council in Saskatchewan! Thanks, to former past presidents for submitting and conserving this and similar information. To read the complete history of this historic event, check out the CWL archives located in Regina.


If you are new to this position, I strongly encourage you to read through Appendix 5: Archives Guidelines for League History Provincial, Diocesan and Parish Councils in the National Manual of Policy and Procedures page 202. This will give you a complete explanation and outline of your responsibilities as past president in charge of archives.


The duties of past president are also summarized on page 4 of the Handbook for Past President, and I quote only the highlights on that page,


  1. serve her council and president in a consultative capacity.
  2. be responsible for the archives and history of her council.
  3. facilitate and encourage the study and implementation of the Constitution & Bylaws.
  4. submit an annual report to the next level (parish to diocesan, diocesan to provincial, provincial to national), summarizing her years activities.


The conscientious work you do today in preserving the work taking place in your council is a gift for future generations of CWL members. Just as the letter I found, written nearly a lifetime ago, helped to motivate me in embracing my duties as past president, I pray that the Holy Spirit will inspire our work so that we may also motivate future members in their responsibilities as past presidents.


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