On April 25, 2019, St. Patrick’s Council in Campbell River celebrated two long-serving women of the CWL during their Our Lady of Good Counsel Dinner.
In the 5th century, during the reign of Pope Sixtus III, the town of Genazzano, about 30 miles (48 km) south of Rome, had contributed a large portion of its revenue for the Roman basilica now known as Santa Maria Maggiore. In appreciation, a church, called Santa Maria, was built in Genazzano and was later entrusted to the Augustinian Orderin 1356. Numerous cures were said to have taken place there. The Augustinian friars were invited to minister to the spiritual needs of the pilgrims. They continue to serve there to this day.
For the past 40 years, the ladies at the Nanaimo Ecumenical Centre, home to Trinity Catholic have diligently worked to be of service to their parish and community as a Ladies’ Group. This served the parish well for many years but interest was declining and in the spring of 2018, the group disbanded. This left a void in the parish. So, in March 2019, some ladies met to discuss starting a Catholic Women’s League council and by the end of the two-hour meeting, an executive team was chosen and Trinity Catholic applied for a charter.
I’ve heard the names many times; I thought I knew the basic history of the CWL. Yet, as I read the book offered to me by Blanca Stead, Except the Lord Build the House, A History of Social Concern, I realized how very little I knew of the reasons for the birth of the CWL, or of the eloquent Montrealer who would pursue federating all the existing CWL organizations and become the first president. Nor did I know how many issues of 100 years ago would be mirrored today.