For many people the notion of the Catholic Women’s League evokes baking, food, funeral receptions, and fundraising. For others it is powerful advocacy, presentations to the federal government, and resolutions.

Both of these are components of the CWL, which has withstood many challenges, circumstances, and world events in the last 99 years. As the League prepares to celebrate its centenary in 2020, there is much to rejoice about.

The single underlying foundation that has kept the CWL alive and well for so long continues to be its foundation. The sisterhood and spiritual connection between members is so strong it overshadows all else.

Over the years, women joined the CWL fundamentally for the spiritual development and community of faith. This remains true to this day. The bond of solidarity grounded in faith is what gives strength and determination to CWL members across Canada. 

This was evidenced at the funeral of longtime League Life Member Ann Dobie, of Star of the Sea Parish in White Rocks. CWL members from across the Archdiocese of Vancouver and the rest of the province came together to celebrate Ann’s life and legacy. Cards, emails, and words of sympathy have been pouring in with tributes and examples of the impact of Ann’s words and actions affected others.

One past national president said, “I always felt good about myself after spending time with Ann.”

So many remember small events, a word, or some other act of affirmation that was Ann’s style. She was the epitome of what it means to be a Catholic woman and leader, with her sisters all across Canada. It is this sisterhood that stands the test of time and distance. It is what League members mean to one another, offering hope, comfort, and joy while they share in sorrow and loss. 

The CWL is undergoing change and looking for new ways and strategies to adapt to the signs of the times. These things take time and there is no quick fix. But one thing remains certain – the spiritual connection, the faith component, and the amazing sisterhood nurtured and developed over time and at all levels of the League will continue to be the foundation on which all else will stand. It’s a characteristic exemplified by Ann Dobie.

Ann received an Archdiocese of Vancouver Stewardship Award in 2015. Her award description read:

Past president of the CWL at Star of the Sea, a life member and an active member for over 48 years. She has also shared her talents generously while leading committees both at Star of the Sea School and Holy Cross High School as well as multiple parish committees. With her welcoming nature, she invites and encourages others to become involved in the church community. She is known for reaching out to others at meetings and for making sure new members feel connected. She works hard at creating and strengthening personal relationships, continually challenging others to a higher level of excellence. Individually and collectively, she builds others up by recognizing and drawing out their special gifts and talents. Her nominator says, “Ann is an inspiration to so many as a spiritual leader, teacher of the faith, great mentor and friend.”