Reposting an article from B.C. Catholic.
New member’s expectations shattered after attending first convention
By Winetta Lee
Friday, 18 September 2015
As a young adult at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, I have been asked many times to join the Catholic Women’s League. To be honest, every time I was asked, I refused because I did not feel connected to the group.
I had an impression the CWL baked cookies and cakes and managed the annual craft fair, two things that I’m not very interested in. However, all of this changed after attending just one CWL convention.
My co-worker, Megan Siy (the youngest CWL member I know), had asked if I would be able to volunteer for the national convention taking place at the Hyatt Hotel. Having a soft spot for event planning, I automatically said, “yes!” to volunteering.
Not long after that, I discovered there was a catch: I had to be a member of the CWL to volunteer! A member?
I love the excitement of helping out at major events, but I really did not want to become a member, let alone to be active at the parish level.
My best friend suggested I first ask my director at work if I could even take time off to volunteer at this conference, and if he said yes, then I should decide accordingly. I asked, and, what do you know? Time off was not an issue!
Moreover, my director convinced me that CWL ladies do a lot of work behind the scenes, besides baking cookies and making coffee. Next thing I knew I was speaking to the president of the council at my parish, asking if I could become a member. I attended the convention as an opportunity to learn more about the CWL and to get a broader perspective on the league.
The morning session opened after Mass. There was a keynote address by Dr. Josephine Lombardi, speaking on the theme, “One Heart, One Voice, One Mission.” What really struck me about her talk was her ability to speak to my “heart” as a woman. I felt empowered, and it’s not very often that I get to attend an event targeting females.
“It takes great courage to know ourselves,” Lombardi said. “We have to examine every day what is needed of us in that moment.”
“A good leader is a leader who has order in his/her own life,” she said. “Don’t be surprised that you can become a better version of yourself, after the pain.”
Her words hit home for me, and for the first time, I felt proud to be a woman. It sounds strange, but it’s something that I either take for granted or am burdened by when faced with the problems affecting women today.
I thought the talks were enough to get me hooked, but the sessions on resolutions caught me by surprise. Suddenly the whole hall came alive as the business sessions were called to order. I heard women from several provinces speak their minds, and I was impressed.
The questions they asked, the concerns they raised; these were voices to be reckoned with! I discovered that the CWL works closely with the community, actively voicing opinions on issues, reflecting Christian values.
I was drawn to the league. My admiration for these women grew each day as I saw them in action, and I felt my heart yearning for female mentoring. I had never realized that the fellowship and mentoring of the Catholic Women’s League is what a young lady like myself is yearning for.
Certainly there is no lack of female role models in the league. These ladies take these issues to heart and aggressively work to meet their goals.
Not only do they work hard, they also know how to lighten up and have fun! At the end of Dr. Josephine’s address the ladies started a conga line around the room.
Being at the convention was really humbling for me. Now I see these CWL ladies in a different light. I look forward to being a voice among the 90,000-strong CWL across Canada with One Heart, One Voice, One Mission.
Lee is the administrative assistant of the communications office at the Archdiocese of Vancouver.