After more than 100 years, the women of the Catholic Women’s League are still making a difference. Members of the CWL council at St. Patrick’s in Markham, Ont., help out at a fundraising fun fair. Photos courtesy CWL

CWL still making impact, 102 years on

  • April 20, 2023

Catholic women of faith from across the Greater Toronto Area will gather at the Ajax Convention Centre April 24-25 for the 102nd annual Toronto Diocesan Convention of the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) of Canada.

Under the national theme Catholic and Living It, 300 women are expected to join in fellowship, reflection and celebrate accomplishments. Going strong after more than a century, the CWL is also celebrating the opening of a new parish council in March at St. Charles Borromeo Church.

Sue Lubowitz, who begins her tenure as president of the Toronto diocesan council, looks forward to coming together to build friendships, welcome new leaders and show support for all those keeping the CWL alive across the archdiocese.

“It’s nice to see the desire to get together in faith, fun and fulfilment is still present after 100 years,” said Lubowitz.

During the two-day event, members will reflect on the convention theme through the celebration of daily Mass, prayer services and encounters with their sister delegates. In one of his first official assignments, Archbishop Francis Leo is expected to deliver the keynote address.

A Youth Awards event will be held on the first evening which will feature a speaker from the chaplaincy team at the University of St. Michael’s College. And this year’s two CWL scholarship recipients will be announced. Since the 1950s the diocesan council has been providing a scholarship to St. Michael’s College to a young woman entering her first year.

On April 25, Kaitlyn Ranasinghe of BridgeNorth, an organization committed to ending sexual exploitation in Canada, will address online luring as it relates to human trafficking and its rise during the COVID-19 period.

The CWL continues to be one of the largest organizations of women in Canada with more than 60,000 members across the country and over 6,000 in the Toronto archdiocese in almost 100 parishes.

After so many decades of impact, Lubowitz says making a difference remains the organization’s top priority.

“We started a hundred years ago at the behest of the bishops at the time because there was an influx of refugees from Ukraine,” said Lubowitz. “Last year at our convention, we presented the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League with a cheque of over $14,000 to help with the newly arrived refuges from Ukraine. Time passes but sometimes it comes full circle.”

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