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Kingston Diocesan Council History

Chartered January 21, 1922

President: Nancy Richer
Spiritual Advisor: Rev. Dale Wright


I was privileged and honoured to serve as Diocesan President in Kingston from 2019 – 2022.  The National Theme was Care for God’s Creation.  The Provincial theme of Loneliness was a fortuitous theme as we had three years dealing with the Covid 19 pandemic and not being able to meet in person.

In 2019 we welcomed Archbishop Michael Mulhall as our new Archbishop.  At the convention we learned about “Journeys to Justice” by Joe Gunn. In July we saw the completion of all the hard work across the diocese in hosting the Provincial Convention.  Our annual retreat was held at the Providence Spiritual Centre, the theme “Honouring the Mystic in You” presented by Sister Lucy Bethel. A binder was created with how the councils worked with the Provincial Theme of Homelessness.

In February of 2020 at our President’s meeting we had Friar Ed DeBono talk about St. Francis of Assisi and Laudo Si.  In March of 2020 with the start of the pandemic we had to cancel our convention and switch to zoom meetings instead of in person.  The different climate that the Covid 19 pandemic has forced upon us has shown that councils can continue to pull together, through teamwork and a willingness to help and support each other as we dealt with the many unusual issues that often disrupted our plans and pushed us into taking a different route to achieve our goals. 

In 2021 with the restrictions that the pandemic brought, councils everywhere needed to rethink how to keep their councils functioning.  Using the technology available to keep in communication with their members.  We lost life member Carol Richer in April but celebrated life member Barbara Hendry who turned 90.  We held our annual general meeting using zoom with three people in person, the instructed vote for the increase in per capita fee for the Kingston Diocese was approved from $4 to $5.50.  Rosaries and Stations of the Cross were offered to all members via zoom, created by Lyne Tuepah, Spiritual Development.

In 2022 we celebrate our 100th Anniversary as a Catholic Women’s League Diocesan Council.  To celebrate we created a prayer booklet, had our Life Members “perform” our history, a pictorial slide show and presented the history book from 2013 to 2022.  The convention was live streamed for the first time so every member in the dioceses could participate.  Our key note speak was Robert Mundle, discussing about loneliness.  The National Instructed vote was presented at the convention.

Over the three years we had two councils disband Deseronto and Elgin.

I am thankful to the dedicated and prayerful support during these past three years of our Spiritual Advisor Father Dale Wright as well as the executive officers.

May Our Lady of Good Counsel continue to bless and guide us.

2017 – 2019
President: Maureen Vincentine
Spiritual Advisor: Rev. Dale Wright

In 2017 – 18, I represented the Kingston diocesan council at the Provincial convention in Thunder Bay and the National convention in Charlottetown. Both had excellent speakers and liturgies. I also attended my first provincial meeting under the direction of then Ontario president, Anne Madden. She introduced her provincial theme of homelessness. In February, 2018 I attended the OPC winter meeting. I held our Fall diocesan meeting in Oct. 2017. Mark Brinknall was our morning speaker on the topic of the Gladue Report and its acceptance in the Belleville area courts. At the presidents’ meeting, we introduced the theme of homelessness and suggested that councils learn more about homelessness
in their area Fund. We suggested they have speakers or visit organizations and talk to people in their area. In February, I held the winter diocesan presidents’ meeting. Terri Lee Dunford, of Cornerstone Landing, talked to the presidents about youth and homelessness. In April we held our development day focused on writing a council Policy and Procedure. Our convention in May, 2018, was planned around the theme of homelessness.  Presenters from Providence Care spoke on the various aspects of mental health and homelessness. Attendees brought backpacks and other items to be donated to those in need. Anne Madden represented provincial council and Anne Marie Gorman represented the national council.
Jan Sosiak, from Kingston diocese was awarded the provincial social justice award. Two Belle Elle Guerin awards were presented in 2018 to Bev Maloney and Also Stephanie Spinelli received her life Membership pin.

Since Kingston is hosting the OPC convention for 2019, meetings have begun. Bernadette Burgess and Kathy Huffman are the co chairs. I represented Kingston diocese at the provincial convention 2018 held in Toronto and the national convention held in Winnipeg. Both were excellent, informative and inspiring.
In the summer of 2018 Patricia Purdon Irwin was suffering the final stages of cancer. Her strong faith was an inspiration to all of us.  Lyne Tuepah replaced her on our council. Our web master had to leave us so Lyne took this on and has maintained both our web page and has introduced a facebook page which is keeping us focused and informed. 

We have held retreats in 2017- 2019 term. The first was presented by the Sisters of Life, it was held in November 2017. In November 2018 we held a presentation and reflection on “Women in the Bible”. This was combined with a presentation of the strategically planning wororkshop provided by National.
In March, 2019 a retreat was held in the spirituality centre, Kingston. Its theme “Honour the Mystique in You” was very well presented and received. At the February 2019 presidents’ meeting, Marilyn McLean of Kingston Street Missions was our speaker. Ladies marveled at her devotion to the homeless
in the Kingston area. We participated in the Provincial Warmth and Comfort project. 

We facilitated the Strategically Planning workshops in 2018 and 2019. At the beginning of May 2019, Archbishop Brendan O’Brien retired. At his retirement I was invited to express gratitude on behalf of the Catholic Women’s League and on behalf of the laity of the Kingston archdiocese. I felt very honoured personally and felt the Catholic Women’s League was also honoured to speak for the laity of the diocese. Soon after, Archbishop Michael Mulhall was installed. I was invited to bring greetings and a welcome to Archbishop Mulhall at the Mass of installation. Again, I represented the Catholic Women’s League and all the laity of the diocese. Once again I felt very honoured. Diocesan convention 2019 was successful. Joe Gunn, author of the book Journeys to Justice was our main presenter. Tara Herford did a short presentation representing Development and Peace. Linda Squarzolo represented OPC and did a presentation on CWL mix. This was very well received. The 2 Catholic Girls League groups attended on Sunday and had their own presentation facilitated by Nadia Gundert. As it was an election year, an new executive was installed.

2015 to 2017
President: Margie Royle
Spiritual Advisors: Rev. Brian McNally;
Rev. Dale Wright

The Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy and national’s theme of One Heart One Voice One Mission: Hospice and Palliative Care were the driving force behind 2016’s activities. As well, the life of Blessed Klara Szczensa was chosen to guide and influence our annual work, in response to the project initiated by provincial council to mark this Jubilee year. 

Convention speakers included Fr. Shawn Hughes, Rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Kingston who presented Palliative Care, Hospice, and the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. Ontario Provincial Council 1st Vice President, Colleen Randall, delivered a workshop on preventing burnout and Helen Dowdall, as executive director, spoke to us of free services offered by Hospice Quinte. Nancy Stevens spoke of her Kenya Help project, which encourages self sustainability for orphanages and the Women’s Empowerment Centre, a place where girls are taught vocational and leadership skills. Posters were displayed of parish works emulating the life of Blessed Klara. A pilgrimage was made through the Holy Door at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

Member Alice Gazeley was the recipient of Ontario Provincial Council’s Social Justice Award. The Catholic Girls’ League from St. Mark’s Prescott was featured in Salt & Light’s documentary Woman on a Mission.

National’s theme, Inspired by the Spirit-Women Respond to God’s Call, ushered in 2017. Convention speaker, Anne Shore Department of Theology, Assumption University delivered ”Inspired by the Spirit-Women Respond to the Challenge of Mission”. Shari Guinta, National 2nd Vice-President and Chairperson of Communications facilitated a workshop “Trying to Be a Mary in a Martha World”. Special Lap Quilts were blessed and presented to Hospices. Members, for the second year, enthusiastically embraced national’s initiative 12 Hours of Prayer for Palliative Care. The process began to add Kenya Help to our Diocesan Voluntary Funds.

2013 to 2015
President: Stephanie Spinelli
Spiritual Advisor: Rev. Brian McNally 

In keeping with the Year of Faith’s focus on the ‘New Evangelization’, the 2013 Fall Diocesan Retreat featured Father Thomas Rosica’s exploration of the papal document Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization. Throughout the year, Catch the Fire! Presentations were the main conduit for League development. The 92nd Annual Diocesan Convention theme We Have Seen the Lord-As People of Faith and our social justice project aimed at “Reducing the Stigma Attached to Mental Illness” were the focus of reports, and presentations, one of which outlined the Providence Care Method of Mental Health Treatment based on Catholic ethics, with the second by Anne Jamieson based on Pope Francis’ exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel. 

Sister Jocelyn Monette, nds, facilitated the 2014 Diocesan Retreat centered on “The Four Messianic Miracles of Christ”. The spring Development Day focused on Resolution ON.14.02, “Feathers of Hope-Empowering First Nations Youth”, and brought awareness of Aboriginal struggles. National President, Barbara Dowding elaborated on her theme, One Heart, One Voice, One Mission at our 94th Annual Diocesan Convention and Michael Way Skinner’s presentation, “So Help Me, God! Being a Catholic Family in Trying Times” aligned with Pope Francis’ expressed need for solidarity of Church and family. Continued emphasis on education regarding Mental Health Issues was met with a presentation on Dementia and Alzheimers’ Disease. In recognition of the Year of Consecrated Life, Prayer Cards were created and distributed to honour sisters and religious life organizations within the diocese. 

2011 to 2013
President: Kathy Huffman
Spiritual Advisor: Rev. Brian McNally

Centred on Faith & Justice –Led by the Spirit was embraced and became the focus for 2011 League endeavours. Honourary Life Member, Vivian Bosch addressed spiritual poverty at our annual November Retreat. League Development was accomplished by means of Presidents’ Education/Sharing Meetings and attendance at parish council meetings by a Diocesan Executive Team. Pauline Krupa and Anne Madden, Past Ontario Provincial Council Legislation and Resolution Chairs, facilitated a Development Day Workshop in May. The 90th Annual Diocesan Convention theme, Centred on Faith & Justice-Dignity for All, was reflected in keynote addresses; Bridget Campion’s Catholic Perspective on Organ Donation and Nancy Steven’s introduction of her “Kenya Help” project that provides life’s necessities to African communities. A Poverty Symposium highlighted the many facets of this social ill and its effects locally and globally. Hosting the 2012 Ontario Provincial Convention was undertaken with joy and enthusiasm. 

The “Catch the Fire!” campaign kicked off with fall training of facilitators and subsequent parish presentations. Sister Jocelyn Monette, nds, brought to life six women of the Bible, “Mentors for Today” at the annual Fall Retreat. Speakers at the 91st Diocesan Convention focused on the theme, We Have Seen the Lord- As People of Faith, the ‘Year of Faith’ and the New Evangelization. Father Thomas Lynch provided insight into putting our faith into action with “60 practical ways to evangelize”. Dr. Josephine Lombardi, PhD., guided us through “Rediscovering the Lord’s Prayer-In the Year of Faith” and author, Eleanor Glenn shared her insights on “Servant Ministry”. 

2009 to 2011
President: Carol Richer
Spiritual Advisor:   Rev. Shawn Hughes

‘Sharing Meetings’ for parish council presidents began in the fall of 2009, allowing presidents an opportunity to openly share concerns and ideas.  

Keynote speaker at the 2010 convention, Sarah Jardine spoke on “Women of the CWL in Ontario; On a Journey of Peace, Hope, Faith and Service”.   Sharon Preston reminded us in her presentation that “It’s the care that is palliative, not the patient”.  A beautiful ‘Our Lady of Good Counsel Banner’  was created by the ladies from Gananoque. Diocesan council was gifted with a beautiful statue of Mary and a Life Member Cloth by two generous members. The Year for Priests was celebrated with a ‘Tribute to Clergy’ at the convention banquet.  Anne Madden was elected to Provincial Council as Legislation Chair, and Geraldine Canning was elected as Communications Chair for the 2009 – 2011 term.

In 2011 we welcomed two Catholic Women’s League members from our twin diocese in Kingston, Jamaica, and learned that they face similar challenges in their League work and in meeting the needs of the poor and underprivileged.   As ‘Women of Peace and Hope’ councils focused on projects ‘Centred on Faith & Justice’ looking beyond the comfort of our own lives to help foster peace, hope, faith in the love of Christ, and the growth of a just society for all.  We bid farewell to Rev. Shawn Hughes as Spiritual Advisor, and welcomed Rev. Brian McNally.  Anne Madden was re-elected to Provincial Council as Chair of Resolutions, and Carol Richer was elected Recording Secretary for the 2011 – 2013 term. 

2007 to 2009
President: Anne Madden
Spiritual Advisor: Rev. Shawn Hughes

The national themes Love One Another and Women of Peace and Hope provided an excellent backdrop for these two dynamic years. St. Francis Xavier Parish Council, Brockville and St. Mark the Evangelist Parish Council, Prescott co-hosted the 2008 convention. Love One Another was made evident through presentations by Sister Rosemarie Kugel and John Johnson from University Hospitals Kingston Foundation; Debra Lefebvre, Buy-A-Net; Eleanor Glenn’s Servant at the Supper; Shirley George’s Celebrate What’s Right with the World; and Maria Hawkins’ rousing presentation on Love One Another.

Belleville councils, St. Joseph, St. Michael the Archangel and Queen of the Most Holy Rosary co-hosted the 2009 convention. The provincial sub-theme Rooted in Faith, Growing Through Service was added to the national theme, Women of Peace and Hope. Directors of our Catholic School Boards, Michael Schmidt, Algonquin & Lakeshore Catholic District School Board and William Gartland, Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario, gave a joint presentation on Catholic Education. National President, Lorette Noble and Ontario Provincial President Elect, Shari Guinta, presented a workshop World Peace, A Family Recipe. The highlight of the convention was a presentation by Senator Sharon Carstairs on Palliative Care. Two resolutions were presented: Palliative Care Education Awareness, from Sacred Heart of Jesus Council, Bedford; and Financial Assistance to Grandparents of Family Member Caregivers of Children, from St. Edward the Confessor Council, Westport. A new council was organized at St. John Bosco Parish, Brockville.