Tips and Tools

Parish Organization memo Fall 2019

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DATE: September 30, 2019
FROM: Fran Lucas, National president-elect and chairperson of organization
TO: Parish council chairpersons of organization

To all presidents-elect in small and large parish councils across this beautiful country, I wish you renewed energy and passion for your work as we begin another year in our beloved League!

Parish councils are where it all begins—they allow for success in all we do. With recruiting of new members, each council needs to look at ways to ensure members renew their membership every year. And, if they do not, find out why and work to eliminate that from happening in the future.
There will always be attrition; however, there are many instances where member action or lack of action contribute to that result.

Leadership Development
Presidents-elect are instrumental in ensuring the parish council, and in turn, all levels of the League, have members well oriented to the League. They should be aware of the basics — who we are, how we got started, that spirituality is our cornerstone, and the list of social justice actions undertaken within the community. They need to know about diocesan, provincial and national levels and the reasons for them. How great if they knew the names of the diocesan, provincial and national presidents. Only with a solid knowledge base can they feel fulfilled, do well in their position, and say “yes” to moving to other chairperson roles and even to the next level. I am confident you have read the Executive Handbook and Handbook for Organization Chairpersons.
Leading the League is a comprehensive teaching manual that makes delivery of an orientation session easy. With a wealth of other information, it is worth its weight in gold! Have your council purchase one today.

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Certificate of Merit

The certificate of merit was introduced in 1974 to afford recognition to anyone, League member or not, Catholic or non‐Catholic, male or female, who has aided the work of the council generally or with a specific project. This certificate, bearing the League crest on a gold seal, is mailed to the council and the presenting council completes the details.

Council Anniversary Certificate

Introduced in 1988, the council anniversary certificate is awarded by diocesan councils to parish councils in recognition of years of service.

Scholarship Certificate

Introduced in 1994, the scholarship certificate is used by councils awarding scholarships to students.

All of these certificates can be ordered from National office.

Source: National Manual of Policy and Procedure


Life Membership

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In The Catholic Women’s League of Canada, life membership gives to the recipient, in addition to the honour, a permanent place on the national council, the same voting privileges as accredited delegates at an annual meeting or convention [C&B, Part XIV, Section 2 (c)], a voice in its affairs and eligibility for a national appointment. A life member receives notice of the annual national convention and, at her request, a copy of the minutes, plus copies of all relevant mailings from national office.

Life membership is not intended to be a reward for years of service or a retirement gift. There are appropriate ways of honouring members for their dedication to the League. Privilege entails responsibility. National council requires support and active service from its life members.

Only diocesan and provincial executives are entitled to submit applications for life membership in accordance with the established criteria. The notice of nomination must be approved by the diocesan/provincial executive by motion at an executive meeting indicating support for the nomination. The responsibility for making the application is with the submitting diocesan/provincial executive as it knows the individual’s record of service. The national executive verifies that the criteria have been met and approves the application for life membership. Provincial and diocesan executives should consider whether or not they wish to add requirements in their own policy and procedures manuals, provided these additions do not contravene the national criteria.

life member nomination package


Honorary Life Member Pin
An honorary life member pin is awarded to each retiring national president at the termination of her term of office.


Bellelle Guerin Award

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Bellelle Guerin was the first president of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada.  This National award is presented to a member who has kept the vision and the dream of Bellelle Guerin alive in Canada and the world by dedicating herself to the work of the League in her parish, diocese and/or province. The Bellelle Guerin Award & pin started in in 2007. The motion creating the award and pin was adopted at the annual pre-convention meeting in August of that year.

Nominees must be exemplary members of the League who are not now, and will not ever be eligible to provide service to national council as a life member. 

The nomination form can be found on the National website at  If you are nominating a member, please let your Diocesan President know so this award can be presented at a diocesan meeting or convention.


Elsie Yanik Award

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Elsie Yanik was from Fort Chipewyan and dedicated her life to her church and community. She was ordained a Roman Catholic lay minister to serve the community when Fort Chipewyan had no priest, and also served her local CWL council as Spiritual Advisor.  The Elsie Yanik Award was initiated in 1997 to commemorate the leadership and ministry/service of Elsie Yanik to the Catholic community in the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith. 

This award is a top honour from the Alberta Mackenzie Provincial Council of the CWL and is presented to a member of Alberta Mackenzie who has shown leadership and ministry/service in an area or areas of need in a parish or community.  A nomination form must be completed and forwarded to the Alberta Mackenzie Provincial President Elect, who will present the nominations to the Provincial Council Awards Committee.  Nominations must be submitted by December 31st of each year, and can be found on our Provincial website at


  1. This award shall be presented annually, if applicable, at the discretion of members of the Alberta Mackenzie Provincial Council Awards Committee, which consists of the President, President-Elect, Spiritual Development Chairperson, and Spiritual Advisor.
  2. The recipient shall be a CWL member living in Alberta Mackenzie.
  3. This honorary award shall consist of an individual plaque presented to the recipient; and a permanent plaque, which is inscribed with the names of all recipients. The permanent plaque shall be kept with the recipient’s council for display purposes until the following provincial convention.
  4. Nomination of a member must be submitted by a Parish or Diocesan Council.
  5. Deadline for submissions shall be December 31 of each year.
  6. The Committee shall notify the recipient by February 15.
  7. The recipient shall have her transportation, registration, room, and meals paid to attend the annual provincial convention to receive the award.

Criteria for Eligibility
The nominee must:

  1. be a League member in good standing (has paid her membership fee in the current year);
  2. portray a leadership role;
  3. have demonstrated a commitment to ministry/service in an area or areas of need in a parish or community.


Maple Leaf Service Pins

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There has been much discussion about the criteria for the Maple Leaf Service Pins. Below is an article that Carol Schlachter wrote on the subject when she was President of the Calgary Diocesan CWL Council. We hope you find it helpful:

There have been many questions with regard to the Maple Leaf Service Pin and I feel there needs to be some clarification.

The National CWL Policy & Procedure Manual states:

The maple leaf service pin was introduced in 1971 for members who have served the League in an exceptional or meritorious manner. This pin must be ordered by a council as a presentation item. It is the responsibility of the council to determine criteria for the awarding of the pin. Suggested criteria:

  • be an active members for a minimum length of service of 7 to 10 years
  • have performed specific outstanding League service on a one-time basis or over several years

That’s it! Apparently some years ago, national discussed the possibility of a more complete criteria but it was impossible for them to create anything additional to the above.

Number 1 – Each member and each council is unique. So the specific criteria decision remains with the council itself. What is it that your whole group (your membership, not just your executive) see as being exceptional or meritorious? A brainstorming session and a written policy regarding the Maple Leaf Service Pin for your individual council would be very advantageous now and in the future for new members and officers.

From experience we have realized that a member or a group of members in a council see a specific member as a deserving recipient of the special award. Either a member or a group of members nominate their choice. There should be a letter of nomination written up with all of the reasons the nominee should be considered for the Maple Leaf Service pin. This letter should be signed by those who are making the nomination. The nomination letter then is given to the president or organization chair who is obligated to bring it to the “entire” council. A vote is taken and majority rules should the nominee receive the award. Sometimes we are required to do this in a secret fashion to keep a surprise for the recipient.

Keep in mind that there is a form online from national that must be filled in to order the Maple Leaf Service pin. This form must be sent to the ordering clerk at the national office. The form was merely created to prove that a council is ordering the award for a deserving member.

It must be understood that the Maple Leaf Service pin although in the catalogue, is not an item that can be purchased for oneself.

Hopefully this clears up some of the questions or misunderstandings.

Carol Schlachter


Organization memo Fall 2018

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I love coffee! So, brew a cup (or tea if you prefer) and have a read on some aspects of the position I would like to share with you. Think about adding new twists and fun to any of my ideas and suggestions when promoting them.

I look back at my 30 plus years as a member and wonder how the time has passed so quickly. I am thrilled and privileged to be the national president-elect and encourage members to continue to pursue activities in the League. It too could happen to you! See where the Lord takes you in years to come. Be open to His calling! Organization chairpersons are needed during this especially exciting, though not totally free from trepidation, time for the League. In the future, you will be able to say, “I was there when the League had the foresight to see the need for change and embraced it with faith, knowing that it would make a positive difference!” You will have been part of the impact on continuing the growth and vital presence of the League in a world looking so different to what it did upon first joining.

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Organization Fall Workshop

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Calgary Diocesan CWL Fall Meeting/Workshop
Saturday, September 22, 2018
St. George's, Hanna, AB

Faith – Service – Social Justice

Organization/President-Elect Report


“What You Are is God’s Gift to You –
What You Become is Your Gift to God”

Hans Urs von Baltha

Dear Sisters of the League,

This report will hopefully assist you in reaching your goals as Organization chair for your council.

Recruit & Retain Members:  Many of us have heard Judy Look's presentation on "Three Cups of Tea", which is based on relationships.  I can't stress enough how we need to build relationships as League sisters.  Approach women in your parish personally, (age 16 and over), and invite them in.  Your 1st cup of tea will be an invitation to meet for coffee for the first visit and perhaps not even talk about the CWL.  Follow up with a phone call or a personal invite to attend a CWL meeting or special event.  This will be your 2nd cup of tea.  Keep in touch and mentor her as she becomes familiar with the CWL and makes new friends, builds new relationships.  She will then realize that she wants to join the CWL, and become a part of the sisterhood.  This is the 3rd cup of tea.     But, it's also important that we keep in touch with every single one of our members.  If members don't have email, be sure to have a phoning committee or a visitation committee to reach out to our sisters.  Members need to feel welcome, cared for, and feel that they are still a part of the sistershood and the council.

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Organization Memo 2017

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2017 Organization memo from Anne-Marie Gorman, national president-elect and chairperson of organization:

Greetings to all parish council chairpersons of organization and presidents-elect. Thank you for taking on this responsibility in preparation of becoming president. As a second year chairperson, your confidence level has increased after having digested the literature and responsibilities of what your continuing role and your future role as president will be. For those recently elected to the position of organization, you will have two years to become knowledgeable about your role. God is good all the time. With the intervention of Mary and the calling upon of the Holy Spirit, you will be ready. Use your given gifts to support the League in your community and to promote new ways of doing things.

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ABMK Provincial CWL Organization Chair Communique 1

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Download the September 2017 Communique

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Hi! Let me introduce myself. I am Judy Look your new president-elect and chairperson of organization. My home council resides in Holy Spirit Parish Calgary where I have lived out my entire CWL life. Each new committee I served on gave me the opportunity to grow in the knowledge of CWL and self- knowledge. Each gave me the opportunity to strengthen my relationship with God as I would say, “Help me Lord. What have I done to myself?” Each time I would hear the same answer,” Don’t worry, you and I will handle it just fine. Put your trust in me and turn to my Mother and we will do great things together.”

So here we go - all of us doing great things together.

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Renew, Recruit & Retain

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Click here to download Renee Spohn's 2015 Fall Meeting presentation.

Renew Recruit and Retain – Calgary Diocesan CWL Fall Meeting September 2015 – Renee Spohn
Succession Planning – Respect and Empowerment for all Generations – Mentorship and Working Together on our Journey – Membership it is not about Numbers it is about People – One Person at a time – One Great Leader or a Great Follower – Wanting to Serve.
We can achieve our succession plan by remembering:

  • Renew: On our Journey - This is the Perfect Day to Serve – Let us be Glad and Rejoice in it
  • Recruit: You are the Perfect Age to Serve
  • Retain: You will Plant the Seed then it is God’s Way

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© Calgary Diocesan CWL