by Laura Esposito, Past BC & Yukon CWL Communications Chairperson
There was never a dull moment at the 71st BC & Yukon Catholic Women’s League Provincial Convention held in Whitehorse, Yukon from June 21 – 23, 2018. The Convention began with the Eucharistic celebration, Thursday evening at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Concelebrating all Masses with Bishop Hector Vila (Yukon) and Father Slawomir Szwagrzyk, Rector of Sacred Heart Cathedral, were: Father Edwin Kulling, outgoing BC & Yukon Spiritual Advisor; Father David John, incoming BC & Yukon Spiritual Advisor; diocesan and parish spiritual advisors; and several visiting seminarians.
Carol Vanderbyl, Sacred Heart/Yukon President, and her Convention committee (although small in numbers) exuded hospitality, friendliness, grace and diplomacy throughout the Convention.
The Resolutions Dialogue was extremely well attended. Animated dialogue was evident as six resolutions were perused, discussed and edited. For many, this was their first resolutions dialogue and they remarked that it was a very positive learning curve. All six resolutions were presented on the Convention floor and were passed. Five of them will be forwarded to the National CWL Council for consideration at the 2018 National Convention in Winnipeg. BC & Yukon Resolution 2018.03 Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity 123 (SOGI 123) will be dealt with provincially.
The Convention business sessions opened on Friday, June 22, 2018. Evelyn Rigby, BC & Yukon Provincial President, welcomed everyone and stated that speakers would be addressing issues from both ends of the age spectrum and everything in between to fit the Convention theme of Leading With Courage. Maria Campos-Mendez in Immigrants with Faithspoke of no longer feeling like a foreigner when she stepped into a church. For God there are no strangers. She invited us to find the inspiration and be the inspiration; to lead with courage. Mary Wagner’s video Defense of Lifeshowed a profound testimony of her passion to protect life at the beginning stages. She quoted Gandhi, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Alex Shadenburg, of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, in his presentation Caring, Not Killing, explained how his organization has evolved. The documentary The Euthanasia Deceptionwas the first film produced. Participants watched a part of Fatal Flaw, a new 80-minute documentary which will be available soon.
Jenny Shaw spoke of an Amazing Sisterhoodwhere she, with her sister, toured, hiked and camped in the Yukon a few years ago. Their journey, experiences and adventures were a lure for others to venture forth and also explore in sisterhood.
Father Edwin Kulling spoke on Peace of Heart. In the busy and hurried times we live in, we often find ourselves restless. We need to put God first, have prayer as a priority and we will attain peace of heart and mind. Father David John spoke on The Strengths and Weaknesses I Bring to the CWL. Father David believes that God uses our weaknesses as gifts for others. He asked us, “When did God last speak to you directly?” and “When did you last see a miracle?” God chooses to work miracles in plain sight—always and anywhere—but we don’t often see them.
Margaret Ann Jacobs, CWL National President, spoke on two occasions. She began with a League Update, outlining some initiatives from National office: On the Spot; Palliative Care; focus on Mental Health; update on the donations for the National Voluntary Fund, Cody Institute; and CNEWA, to name a few. Her second presentation was on leadership. We need to pray to the Holy Spirit for constant guidance. She spoke of being a servant leader, of learning to listen, really be a good listener. Servant leaders are visionary leaders and more are needed. A challenge was given to delve into and recognize our leadership potential and then put it into action.
Bishop Hector Vila graced the Convention with his presence at each Mass, parts of the business sessions, and at the banquet.
On Friday evening a buffet and the lively dance routines of the Snowshoe Shufflers were enjoyed by all. Jigging instructions were given by Rev. Martin Carroll and his wife Ruth, and the Yukon Ramblers entertained with music. Outgoing Provincial Spiritual Advisor, Father Edwin Kulling, and outgoing Provincial President Evelyn Rigby, with much humour and affection, were duly roasted by their Provincial Executive.
The liturgy booklet, created by Agnes Geiger, Provincial Spiritual Development Chairperson gave us spiritual nourishment. ThePrayer for Mental Health, theEarth Day Prayerservice and the Prayer for Reverence of Lifeaptly fit the theme of the Convention and elaborated on the messages given by all speakers.
Saturday afternoon, the Provincial election was held. At the closing Mass a full slate of officers was installed, including the new Provincial Spiritual Advisor, Father David John, and new Provincial President, Gisela Montague.
The Convention concluded with a banquet at which several awards were presented. Linda McClinton, outgoing Education and Health Chairperson, presented the Molly Boucher award to Emma Kalin from Armstrong, BC. Accepting for Emma was Kamloops Diocesan President Dorothy Hruby. The BC & Yukon Life Members’ Fine Arts and Culture Award was presented by Barbara Jarvis, BC & Yukon Life Member Liaison, and won by Theresa Milbers from Vancouver. Accepting the award for Theresa was Angelina Stiglich, Vancouver Diocesan President. The banquet speaker, Geraldine VanBibber, MLA for Porter Creek in Whitehorse, told her life story which was a tribute to courage. Geraldine has received the Order of Canada and always follows her motto of Laughter Heals All.
The 101 delegates and guests enjoyed a very successful, informative, spiritual and fun-filled Convention. Invitations were extended to attend the National Convention in Winnipeg, August 12 – 15, 2018, and the Provincial Convention in Nanaimo, June 12 – 15, 2019.