This week has been a real eye-opener, no mistake, for me as I participate in the 84th Annual National Convention of the Catholic Women's League of Canada in London, Ontario. Oh, I've known about the League for decades, but I realize now that I didn't really know the League. The realization kind of sneaked up on me, as I arrived and observed an ever wider range of women with different appearance, personality, education, competence, experience, age, and so on. I came on the train with a group of women from the Montreal Archdiocesan Council and other neighboring dioceses, and on arrival we were met by a not quite middle-aged woman with the appearance of a body builder. I discretely asked her, after a few minutes of chatting, whether she might be a farmer or athelete. She gladly admitted to being a farmer now, and had been an athlete in her youth. Well, that was just the beginning.
At a meeting of Spiritual Advisors, mostly priests and a few bishops and religious women, we discovered that the legislative resolutions that the League puts together, votes on at these conventions, and presents to the various levels of government in Canada, tend to be the kind of ground breaking stuff that finds its way into federal and provincial legislation and services as far as ten or more years later. It seems that the League is leading the way, by carefully researching issues that are raised by women who deal with those issues directly. The input of intelligent, resourceful, and deeply committed and involved women across Canada turns out to be a resource that even Cabinel ministers ignore at their own political peril!
What an amazing service that these women render to their sisters and to all of us in this land! I never realized that it was possible in Canada for ordinary people, and women, to have such a strong voice and position from which to lobby our political process. Some words I spontaneously said to the Montreal Archdiocesan Council a few months ago are turning out to be truer than even I had dreamed: the CWL is perhaps one of our Canadian Church's best kept secrets. Well it's time we get the secret out!