Christa Grillmair

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“Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen to me today that you and I together can’t handle.”

Christa Grillmair was born in Vienna, Austria, and immigrated to Canada with her parents when she was ten years old. For her, it was an adventure, but for her parents, it was a very difficult time. That's why she understands our newcomers – you arrive with dreams and expectations, and then the reality of life hits you because you left behind family and friends, and you don't understand the language or customs of your new home. But children adapt quickly, and it didn't take her long to become 'Canadian'.

Christa is a Catholic woman; a wife for almost fifty years; a mother to two amazing people and a mother-in-law to their spouses; a grandmother to four young adults, three of whom are attending University, with one graduating next year; and a friend to many. At work, she specialized in marketing and training and she now spends many hours as a professional volunteer’.

Our new president is an only child, so family and friendships have always been very important to her. When Christa first joined the Catholic Women’s League, she really didn’t know much about it. But she soon realized that going to meetings every week became something she looked forward to … and actually needed! Speaking of her CWL sisters, Christa says, "They are my friends, my sisters-in-Christ and my ‘family’. I became most interested in the difference we can make in our parish, community and country through living our lives as active Catholic women."

Christa joined the CWL ten years ago while living on the Mainland. She's not sure why she waited so long (it can't be because she was shy!), but travelling for work meant that she was out of town most weeks. As soon as she retired, she jumped in with both feet – and we are so thankful she did. The Council at St. Clare of Assisi was very active and after serving two years as Organization Chair, Christa was President. After moving to Nanaimo and joining St. Peter’s, she served on Resolutions, Communications, Organization, and as President. She's had some amazing mentors: there’s Roxanne McDonald who encouraged her to take on leadership roles; Barb Dowding, who by her example continually shows her what is possible; Agnes Geiger, who is always there to listen, guide and help. "There are many, many more women who have helped me along the way. And, I now have the privilege of being Diocesan President," she says.

Christa's main goal is to listen and learn from her team. The CWL Diocesan Council has an amazing team of dedicated women who, collectively, have hundreds of years of experience. At a recent planning session the team took a good look at what’s working, what isn’t, what the opportunities are, and how best to overcome obstacles. At the Interim meeting on October 1 at Our Lady of the Rosary in Langford, ideas generated at the session will help to form plans for the coming year.