Wednesday, 25 July 2012 12:56

What We’ve Been Up To…

Written by  Jewell Start and Trish Joyce
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Halfway through 2012, our theme ‘Things both New and Old’ seems to have infused much of our work and put a spring in our steps! New initiatives are underway and our members, both old and new, continue to put out their ‘hands to strong things’. (Proverbs 31:10-31)

We are currently making a concerted effort to increase our membership. Our new website and social media endeavours have certainly helped us to connect with younger women who are looking to become more involved with social issues etc. We are also receiving an increasing number of enquiries about membership through our website. At the recent Anima Conference, we were delighted to have 8 women become League members, with others showing great interest.

Robyn Fahy represented us at the Australian Catholic Media Congress held in Sydney in May. Monsignor Paul Tighes’ keynote address, ‘The Challenge for the Church in a Digital Age’, reinforced to us the need to embrace the new communication technologies. We have witnessed a dramatic rise over the past few months in our social media engagement. Our Facebook page has 5,816 likes and our weekly reach (i.e. the number of people who see content from our page each week) is now 534,953. Our Twitter followers now number 2450. More importantly, it has been really heartening to see how many people have taken the time to share, comment on or ‘like’ our Facebook posts and ‘retweet’ us. Our Governing Body continues to work closely with Robyn to ensure that we understand, and are effectively using social media to share the light of the Gospel and build a culture of life and love.

Our new caretakers, Greta and John, have settled in and quickly adapted to the regimen of running Mary Glowrey House. Our previous caretakers, Helen and Leon, have been suitably recognised for their wonderful contribution at MGH over many years. Thankfully, Leon’s health continues to improve.

One of the main aims of the Catholic Women’s League has always been to support and assist women and children most in need. This aim finds practical expression through special works such as the Social Questions Committee, the Missions and Welfare Committee, and also in the many ways in which individual branches support women and children in their local communities. With this purpose in mind, for the last two years the League across Victoria and Wagga Wagga has taken up a collection in July. From July, this special collection will be known as “The General President’s Collection for Children Most in Need” and funds raised will be given to an appropriate organisation or agency.

Branches participated individually in the WUCWO Day of Prayer for Asia Pacific Region on 13th May with the theme for this year: “Go now you are sent forth”.

Our Diocesan Annual Conferences have been underway over the past few months. Our members travel long distances to attend these events which is a testament to their generosity of time and effort in support of the League. Planning for our Annual General Conference in Wangaratta in August is well advanced. The keynote speakers have been well chosen and it is hoped the work put in by the Sandhurst Diocese will be rewarded with a good attendance.

The Sandhurst Diocese hosted their annual retreat at Harrietville in April. This was a wonderful three days with three priests—Fr Brian Carey, Fr Tony Hill and Fr Tony Shallue—giving talks. These faith-filled men, with a deep love of God and the Church, put all participants at ease and brought real meaning and affirmation to the participants’ Catholic faith.

The League’s Melbourne Archdiocese Health Awareness Committee hosted a very successful fund-raising brunch at the RACV Club on 8th May with the proceeds to go to ovarian cancer research. A young ovarian cancer sufferer, Jessica Bo, from Geelong was the guest speaker.

On Saturday July 7th, our Social Questions Committee co-hosted, with Anima Education and the Caroline Chisholm Library, a book launch and lecture by Fr Aidan Nichols OP. Fr Nichols is a lecturer at Cambridge University, and this was a rare opportunity to meet one of the most prolific and original Catholic theologians in the world today.

We have won two scholarships from Pro Bono Australia valued at $2620 to attend the Associations Forum National Conference in Brisbane from 24th to 26th July. The League was randomly selected by a computer program (we believe it was Divine Providence!) after ‘Liking’ Pro Bono Australia on their Facebook page. Jewell Start and Anna Krohn will be representing us at this conference.

The League in Ballarat has organised an Anima Education weekend seminar, ‘Apocalypse Now!’ from 21st to 23rd September at Nazareth House. Information about this seminar, as well as the upcoming ‘Catholicism’ course at Mary Glowrey House, is available on our website.

It was wonderful to hear that Madge Fahy had been awarded the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, the highest award a Catholic lay person can receive from the Holy Father. Congratulations to Madge! What a fitting tribute to a deeply committed Catholic who has devoted so much of her life and energy to the pursuit of social justice for the betterment of all.

Keep well, stay warm during the cold winter months and continue the great work of Catholic Women’s League!

Jewell Start (General President) and Patricia Joyce (Minute/Assistant Secretary, Governing Body)
CWL Victoria & Wagga Wagga