Linda was born in Timmins and raised in the town of Schumacher. After graduating from North Bay Teacher’s College she moved to Sudbury. She taught several grades and special education in the Catholic schools over her 28-year career. While teaching she earned a B. A. from Laurentian University, a B. Ed. From Nipissing University and two educational specialist certificates. She married Tullio in 1970 and they have two sons, a daughter and eleven wonderful grandchildren.
Linda joined the League in 1975 at St. Paul the Apostle Parish and served as president, president-elect, vice-president, secretary and chaired the standing committees of resolutions, legislation and education. She was awarded the Maple Leaf Service Pin in 2007. She was appointed to the Sault Ste. Marie Diocesan Council in 2002 to chair the resolutions and legislation standing committees. She later held the positions of regional chair, recording secretary and chaired the standing committees of organization, spiritual development and historian. While on the diocesan council, she worked on four resolutions, one of which was approved at a national convention. She served as diocesan president from 2011 – 2013. She has developed and presented several leadership workshops. Linda is the archivist for the Sault Ste. Marie Diocesan Council. On the provincial council, Linda has chaired the standing committees of legislation, resolutions, Christian family life and organization. She also served on the Restructuring Working Group, part of the national strategic planning. Her greatest thrill was being part of the delegation from the Ontario Provincial Council to visit Queen’s Park and personally express the League concerns to members of the legislature.
At the present time, her daughter, mother, granddaughter, two sisters and mother-in-law are al League members. She is a member of Holy Redeemer Parish in Sudbury.
Linda is a breast cancer survivor for over 20 years. Her favourite pastimes are reading, knitting, embroidery, travelling, spending time with her grandchildren and doing League work.
Linda was awarded a Life Membership on a Lucky Friday the 13th in 2016. She is currently the president of the Ontario Provincial Council.
Most Reverend Bishop Thomas Dowd
Motto: “Cor Et Anima Una”
Thomas Dowd was born in Montreal on September 11, 1970, and ordained a priest on December 7, 2001.
Following his theological studies at the Grand Seminary of Montreal, he did pastoral work in numerous parishes in the Archdiocese of Montreal. He also served as a hospital chaplain and taught theology at Concordia University, McGill University and the Grand Seminary of Montreal. He served the Archdiocese of Montreal as Associate Director of the Office for Pastoral Personnel and later as Director of Formation.
On July 11, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI named Fr. Dowd as auxiliary bishop of Montreal. He served as Episcopal Vicar to the English-speaking faithful and later as Vicar General for Economic and Administrative affairs. He obtained his licentiate in Canon Law in 2018 from the University of Strasbourg. On October 22, 2020, Pope Francis named him the seventh Bishop of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, and was installed at the Pro-Cathedral of the Assumption, in North Bay, on December 17, 2020.
Follow him on social media: http://thomasdowd.ca/social-media
Colleen was born and raised in the Ottawa area and still lives there with her husband John and her family. Her children and grandchildren are the light of her life. Colleen is retired after a 40-year career with Bell Canada.
Colleen loves to speak about her league journey and often talks to complete strangers about the league and its work. She leads a simple life of service, caring primarily for her aging parents who are both in their eighties.
Colleen is an active member of her parish. Colleen joined the Catholic Women’s League in 2003 when her pastor asked her to help re-establish the CWL in the parish. That first night she was elected president. She was Ottawa Diocesan President 2009 -2011. Colleen was elected to Ontario Provincial Council in July 2011 and has served as Legislation Chair (2011-2013), Communications Chair (2013-2015), Education and Health Chair (2015-2017), Organization Chair (2017-2019) and President (2019-2022). Colleen was honoured to accept Life Membership in the League in 2016.
Colleen enjoys social interaction and that has inspired both her career and her personal life. The Catholic Women’s League has provided her with the opportunity to meet many wonderful women of faith. The League has influenced her life both personally and spiritually. It is her passion, just ask her!
Colleen Martin grew up part of a large family, in a small town in northern Ontario, Atikokan. She attended Carleton University in Ottawa, obtaining a Bachelor of Commerce with Honours in Accounting, then returned to the north to Thunder Bay where she met her best friend Bruce. She and Bruce married in 1987 and have a family of two children, Tamara and Jarred, their partners Jeff and Lexy, and two handsome grandsons Noah and Billy.
Colleen has been active in the church her whole life. She joined the League in 1992 through an invitation from another League member who she continually thanks for that gift. Colleen has held all the elected positions, apart from Legislation, through her parish, diocesan and provincial journey so far.
Colleen’s personal career has led her through a journey with First Nations for nearly 25 years and one of her passions is to bring understanding of, and compassion for, the challenges faced by First Nation peoples through awareness of history and Indian legislation. She currently works on this through appointment to the OPC Truth and Reconciliation Working Group and, since 2016, is the national representative of the League in the Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle, a coalition of Catholic partners focused on renewing and strengthening relations between the Church and Indigenous people in Canada.
Colleen’s goal for the next two years is to focus attention on services and development opportunities for members of the League in Ontario.
Directive: Spiritual Development
Wilma was born and raised in St. Catharines. She is married to Robert, and they have two children and one grandchild. Wilma joined the League in 1987. She served at her parish council as Health & Education, Communications, President-Elect/Organization and President. She received the Maple Leaf Service Pin in 2011. She became a member of the Diocesan Council in 2002. While on the Diocesan Council she chaired the standing committees of Spiritual Development, Health & Education, Resolutions, Organization/President-Elect and became President in 2012. Wilma has been on the Provincial Council since 2015 and has chaired Community Life, Education and Health, Resolutions and presently Spiritual Development. Serving on the Provincial Council is an honour and a wonderful opportunity to get to know members across the province. She became a Life Member is 2016. She has developed and presented several leadership workshops for the Diocese and a Resolutions workshop for the Provincial Council in 2020. Wilma was a co-leader for training and presenting Catch the Fire. A lifelong parishioner of Star of the Sea, she serves currently in the ministry of hospitality. In 2001, she completed the Diploma in Ministry program from St. Francis Xavier University. Her joys are her family, reading, travelling, and spending time with her sisters in the League.
2nd Vice President
Directive: Community Life
Karen is a single gal who was born and raised and lives in Sudbury, Ontario. She obtained a B.A. (Hons) degree in Law & Justice from Laurentian University and has worked as a legal assistant since 1990, the year she joined the CWL. Karen is an avid sports fan, enjoys gardening and being outdoors, cherishes her time spent with special friends, and loves a challenge! Karen credits her grandmother and mother for her faith and love of the League. In 2002, Karen was president-elect of her council when it amalgamated with a ladies auxiliary to form Our Lady of Hope council of which she is a proud member. In 2015, Karen was honoured to receive the Maple Leaf Service Pin from her council. In 2020, she was honoured to receive her life membership. Active in her parish, one of her greatest pleasures is singing ‘alto’ in the choir. Karen co-chaired the 86th diocesan convention in 2006 and was appointed to the Sault Ste. Marie Diocesan Council that year. At the diocesan level, Karen chaired the spiritual development, resolutions and organization standing committees, and served as treasurer, Sudbury regional chairperson, president and past president. Karen presented League workshops across her diocese including Leadership and Public Speaking, Knowing the League, and Catch the Fire! Elected to the Ontario provincial council in 2017, she is blessed to have been chairperson of legislation, education and health, and is currently community life chairperson. Karen enjoys the personal interaction with members and feels blessed to serve through her League involvement.
Marie-Theresa has been married to Larry, ordained a deacon in 2011, for the past 52 years in November 2021. They have three children and four grandchildren. She worked at the Bank for 8 years, then moved on to Chrysler Canada where she held various positions of increasing responsibilities. She retired after 30 years in 2003, worked at home doing book-keeping, then worked as Pastoral Minister for the parishes of St. Joseph and St. Ursula in Chatham from 2008 to 2014.
Her ongoing formation includes attending University of Windsor and receiving her Bachelor of Commerce in 1994, her Masters in Business from Central Michigan in 1996; certificate in Pastoral Ministry from St. Peter’s Catholic Foundation in 2010 and Masters in Religious Education from Assumption University, Windsor in 2014. Marie-Theresa has been a member of The League for 31 years and has held various positions at the parish level and the diocesan level and has facilitated at many of the workshops. She has had many roles in the convention planning for diocesan, provincial and national conventions. She received her Maple Leaf Service pin in 2015 and was elected to Provincial in 2017, as the Communication Chair. She received her Life Membership in 2019. The League has been a gift and a blessing to her! She has had the opportunity to put many of the objects of the league into practice by reaching out to others in Christ Centered love. She has served as Treasurer since 2019 and has just recently completed a 3-yr term! She was re-elected in July 2022 for another term as treasurer. She considers herself blessed to serve on the Ontario Provincial Council!
Directive: Recording Secretary
Anna and her husband, John, were married in 1971 and have raised three adopted children, now all in their early forties. She was a medical secretary before leaving the work force to raise her family. After the children were in school, she became Parish Secretary, a position she held for 20 years until her retirement in 2006. Both Anna and John are now retired and their best days are spent visiting their 12 year old granddaughter, Hayleigh, in London ON. They are both true northerners and look forward to spending summers at their log cabin on Lake Talon, just outside North Bay ON, where they have lived since 1980.
Her love of scripture led her to become a Lector in 1983 and since then she has developed and facilitated Lector Workshops, annual Days of Reflection for the CWL and earned a Diploma in Theological Studies from Newman Theological College in 2009. A CWL member since 1967, she didn’t become active until 1981 when she was invited to become Communications Chairperson in her home parish of St Peter the Apostle, from whom she received her Maple Leaf Service Pin. She served in several positions on the Sault Ste. Marie Diocesan Council, including North Bay Regional Chairperson, and thoroughly enjoyed ‘birthing’ Catch the Fire! in her diocese before assuming the role of Diocesan President. When not busy fulfilling her League duties, Anna likes to knit, make chocolates and spend time at the cottage. In 2017 She was re-elected for a second term to the Ontario Provincial Council as Spiritual Development Standing Committee Chairperson, in 2019 she was appointed as Administrative Assistant, and now she is thrilled to be elected as Recording Secretary in July.
Directive: Administrative Assistant
Rebecca and her husband Buz were married in 1974 and have 2 adopted daughters whom have blessed them with a family of 6 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. Buz went home to the Lord shortly after she became London Diocesan President in 2018. Rebecca is thankful for her CWL sisters who carried her through the shock of losing her life partner.
Rebecca’s passion is with Resolutions and Legislation. She has worked with her committees to have several resolutions passed that have gone on to change laws within Canada. She has sat on the London Diocesan Council for 22 years and on the Ontario Council in 2007 – 2009, and 2018 – 2021. She has been active in various committees of the League at all levels. Her husband, children and grandchildren have accompanied her to many diocesan, provincial and national conventions. Rebecca enjoys time with her family and traveling.
Emma Rose Rayburn
Emma was raised in the small village of Monkland, with her six older brothers! The small community along with her parents influence was the perfect background to instill her love for being involved in all things community oriented.
Emma has been a parishioner of St. Anthony’s/St. Michael’s all her life and made all her sacraments there; obviously in no rush to make the remaining sacrament! In September of 1992, she and Kevin were married at her home parish, now theirs, and they have been and continue to be involved in many ministries. Their daily lives are busy as self-employed entrepreneurs. Emma enjoys many hobbies and has turned scrapbooking, cardmaking and quilting into her little business called Auntie Em’s Scrapbooking and Quilting.
The Catholic Women’s League has been Emma’s blessing in disguise. Upon joining the League she was quite content at attending meetings here and there and oh yeah, even said yes to being St. James council’s organization chair – having no idea what it was all about. Her first convention was the game changer! Oh the things she learned! The more she learns the deeper she falls in love with the League, the works and the many blessings received. Plus now she has more sisters then she could have ever dreamed of!
Her mantra has been – If it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you.
Mary was born and raised in Toronto. She has been happily married to her husband Vincent for 44 years. They are blessed with a son Michael, daughter-in-law Shannon, daughter Kathryn and three beautiful grandchildren, Nico, Selina and Noelle. She retired in 2011 after working for Bell Canada for 36 years.
Mary joined the CWL in 1992 at her home parish of Nativity of Our Lord after hearing an appeal from the pulpit during an annual membership drive. Shortly after joining she was elected as the Spiritual Development Standing Chair. She attributes this position for changing her relationship with God, moving Him from the back seat in her life to be her driver and constant companion. Mary continues to serve her parish as a lector and member of the finance committee.
Mary then went on to hold various standing committee chair positions at the parish level before serving as parish president 2000-2001 and received her Maple Leaf pin in 2003. She went on to hold standing committee chair positions at the regional and diocesan levels including serving as the Toronto diocesan president 2013-2015. In 2015 she was appointed as the Provincial Newsletter Editor and a member of the National Resolutions Review Committee. She was also appointed as the Toronto Representative on the Capital Campaign Cabinet for the Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation.
Over the years Mary has led the Leadership Public Speaking Course throughout the diocese, rolled out the Catch the Fire initiative and delivered the Diocesan Parish Executive Training Course fondly known as PET; she co-chaired numerous Toronto Diocesan Conventions, was part of the organizing committees for the 2005 and 2009 Provincial Conventions and the 2011 National Convention. In 2017 Mary was honoured to receive her Life Membership as well as her 25-year service pin. In 2018 Mary co-chaired the Ontario Provincial Convention and she is currently the co-chair for the 2025 National Convention which will be held in Toronto. Mary currently chairs the Training and Development using Technology working group, part of the national strategic planning initiative.
Mary has served on the Board of Directors for the Toronto Catholic Children’s Aid Society for 6 years. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Catholic Charities and is the chairperson for the Social Justice Committee for the Archdiocese of Toronto.
In 2017, Mary was elected to the Ontario Provincial Council as Recording Secretary. In 2019-2021 she was the Community Life Standing Chair and now she is honoured be serving as the Resolutions Chair.
Christian Family Life Chair
Directive: Christian Family Life
Betsy joined the League with her mother’s encouragement in 1993 and has held several executive positions in her home council at St. Jerome Parish in Sault Ste. Marie. In 2011, she was appointed to the diocesan council and has served terms at that level as recording secretary, first vice president / Sault Ste. Marie regional chairperson, president, past president/historian, and is currently spiritual development standing committee chairperson.
As president Betsy chaired the 98th and 99th annual Sault Ste. Marie diocesan conventions in Sudbury (2018) and Sault Ste. Marie (2019). She participated in a very successful diocesan-wide food drive and many other projects which addressed the 2017-19 provincial theme of homelessness. She was blessed to present a CWL Life Membership, 2 Bellelle Guerrin Awards and the Ontario Provincial Social Justice Award to some sister CWL members in the Sault Ste. Marie diocese.
She has presented workshops on the Objects of the League and Health Care Ethics (Informed Consent, Substitute Decision Making & Privacy). She was a facilitator for Catch the Fire! and presented a “discernment” workshop as an introduction to the “S’Mores” program.
On a personal note… Betsy was born, raised and still lives in Sault Ste. Marie, ON. Her legal birth name is Elizabeth, but she was always called by her nickname “Betsy” since she was a toddler.
After graduating from Mount St. Joseph College, she was married and had two children, Trish and Stephen. When her children were in school for a full day, she returned to Sault College and then Laurentian University and graduated with a diploma and then a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing. She also earned a certificate from St. Michael’s College in Toronto in Education and Healthcare Leadership. After being blessed with a wonderful career of bedside nursing, teaching and management she retired in 2011. She and husband, Steve Larocque, have a blended family of three adult children, six beautiful grandchildren ranging in age from fifteen to thirty-eight, and two great-grandchildren.
She enjoys volunteering at the Algoma Residential Community Hospice (ARCH) and loves nature and camping in the RV all summer at the lake. She is also an avid reader and motorcyclist.
Education Health Chair
Directive: Education and Health
Hilarion is thrilled to be serving on the Ontario Provincial Council 2022-2024 Executive as Education and Health Chair.
She is from the Toronto Diocese and served a 3-year term 2019-2022 as Diocesan President during the historic 100th anniversaries for national (2020) and the Toronto Diocesan Council (2021). The term was transformative with the evolving COVID-19 pandemic which required the ability to adapt using virtual and livestreaming to engage members when in-person gatherings were not possible. Hilarion is now serving as Past President/Historian.
At the diocesan level, she also served as President-Elect/Organization, 2nd VP/Spiritual Development, 1stVP/Resolutions, Legislation, Christian Family Life, Peel Regional Chair, various committees and relaunched the Leadership & Public Speaking Course (2017). Hilarion was national CWL Catch the Fire Spark for Ontario (2012-2014) and member of the Strategic Plan Working Group Embrace Diverse Cultures and Ages (2020-2021). Hilarion received her Maple Leaf Service Pin in 2009. Hilarion joined St. John Fisher CWL Council in Brampton in 1998 on her mother’s advice. She credits the League for the influence in raising her family, Catholic values, professional life and the importance of volunteerism. Hilarion is a lector at her parish.
Hilarion is married to Glen for 27 years and they have three sons. She is a late convert to football with her youngest son in the CFL. She is a Registered Dietitian and promotes healthy eating throughout the lifespan. She likes to cycle and take long walks. She grew up listening to Desiderata and maintains that “God is in Control”. Hilarion strongly believes that the CWL is an excellent organization for Catholic women.
Joanna Sisk was born in Ottawa and raised in Arnprior and Ottawa. She is the eldest of five siblings. Growing up, she was involved in the Girl Guides and has been involved in the parish activities her entire life. She studied at the University of Ottawa and obtained a Degree in Nursing Science and also studied at St. Paul University in Ottawa. Joanna, as a registered nurse, worked at Sault Ste. Marie General Hospital, St. Anthony’s Hospital in Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and with the unstably housed in downtown Ottawa through Street Outreach. Joanna has been a CWL member since 1974 and has held numerous positions at parish and diocesan levels. In July 2017, she was elected to the Ontario Provincial Council as the community life standing committee chair. She was awarded her life membership in 2020. In 2022 she was again elected to the Ontario Provincial Council and looks forward to the challenge of serving as the legislation standing committee chair.
Born and raised on a dairy farm in Kincardine Township, as the youngest of five children, Joyce Cotter fondly remembers making mud pies, building forts in the hayloft, and calling the cows in for supper. Through Junior Farmers, Joyce met her husband Paul and they have been married for 34 years. They are blessed with two sons Brent and Shane, daughter–in-law Karla and granddaughter Millicent.
Joyce was confirmed in the United Church but joined the Catholic Church in 1991. Joyce sings in the choir, is part of the collection counting team, and St. Vincent de Paul. She has been a member of The Catholic Women’s League for 28 years at St. Joseph, Fergus.
At council level, Joyce served as resolutions/legislation chair, president for 5 years, and past president. Joyce held the position of Kitchener regional chair, and was elected to diocesan spiritual development chair, 2nd vice-president and Christian family life chair, president-elect, and organization chair. She is currently serving as Hamilton Diocesan President.
Joyce has worked with the public for over 27 years as a cashier at Zehrs. She loves to read, watch movies, listen to music and is a football fan.
Joyce feels privileged to be a part of The Catholic Women’s League. Her life has been enriched by the gifts of friendship, of purpose in serving the Lord, and seeing Christ through member’s action. She believes all members can make a difference and hopes to inspire and encourage you to share your gifts and faith within your council, parish, and community.
Kingston Diocesan President
Lyne was born in Ottawa, Ontario and grew up in a French Catholic family, the oldest of six children. She worked at Bell Canada for 37 years; during that time met her husband Dale, who also worked at Bell. They were married in 1990, lived in Tamworth, moved to Ottawa, then moved Kingston for 14 years before returning closer to home in the summer of 2020. Both Lyne and Dale are now retired in Carleton Place and spend their time volunteering and at Ottawa Senator games.
Lyne coordinates the Faith Formation ministry at her parish, St. Mary’s and is the editor of their ‘Living Our Mission’ newsletter.
Lyne found The Catholic Women’s League late in life, likely due to belonging to a French church growing up. There is no CWL in the French churches, at least not hers. While living in Kingston and attending St. Paul the Apostle church, she discovered the CWL and joined in 2014 where she immediately accepted the role of President-Elect. Lyne served her term as President and halfway through her Past-President term, was asked to accept the Communication role in the Kingston Diocesan council. She also took on the webmaster accountability for the Diocesan website. She then was elected as 2nd Vice President / Spiritual Development and now serves as Diocesan President. She feels blessed that she found this wonderful organization and so many new faith-filled sisters.
Hearst-Moosonee Diocesan President
Born and raised in Brower, Ontario which is a small rural village near Cochrane, Ontario.
Nancy and her husband Norm will celebrate 45 years of marriage this September.
Nancy and Norm have a daughter and son who have blessed them with 5 Grandchildren ages 9-17 and the family loves to spend quality time together on camp outs and sharing family meals together.
Nancy was a convert from the Anglican faith when she married into the French-Canadian Bouvier clan. This has given her more drive to be an active member in her home parish of The Transfiguration. She serves her parish as lector, eucharistic minister, Parish Pastoral council member, baptismal preparation helper and fund-raising aid. Nancy & Norm were also a Marriage Preparation Lead Couple for 25 years.
Nancy’s CWL journey started 21 years ago as she became an “empty nester” and needed to fill her time. From the get-go she started as recording secretary for her Parish Council (Our Lady of Fatima), treasurer, president and eventually became involved at the Diocesan level as treasurer, education & health, recording secretary, president-elect and got to where she is today as president in May 2023.
Nancy retired nine years ago after working for 35 years with the Ontario Public Service in various capacities. She loves to cross country ski and snowmobile in the winter months and garden and go camping in the summer. An interesting trivia fact about Nancy is that she was a stock car driver in the 1980’s and so she is ready to tackle the challenges and bumps along the road as a new Diocesan President.
London Diocesan President
Mary was born in Stratford, the oldest of 4 children born within a span of 4 years. Her father died when she was 12, leaving her mother, a woman she admires for her courage and strength to find a job to support her family.
Mary attended Teacher’s College, and, while teaching, received her B.A. in English from Western University in London. She taught for 33 years in Huron-Perth and has been retired now for 22 years.
She has been a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Women’s League for a little over 50 years, having served as president there on two separate occasions. On the London diocesan council she has served as Spiritual Development chair, Recording Secretary, Resolutions chair, Education and Health chair and Organization chair. She has co-chaired the diocesan convention twice and the OPC Convention in 2016.
Mary continues to serve as a team member of the RCIA for the Avon-Thames Catholic Family of Parishes. She is a Lector in her parish.
She looks forward to serving as President of London Diocesan CWL.
St Catharines Diocesan President
Lisa lives in St. Catharines, Ontario. She has a Business degree from Brock University with a minor in Political Science. Her degree took her to a career in finance, both in financial advising and managerial positions. Lisa has been married 33 years to Geoff, and has two grown daughters, Kendra and son-in-law Matthew and Laura.
She was Parish President for 4 years, has held webmaster, corresponding secretary, communications, and organization chair positions on the Diocesan before becoming president. She is involved with different ministries and events at Star of the Sea in Port Dalhousie where her family have been members for 32 years.
Lisa became an active member of the Parish CWL and has never looked back. Lisa truly never knew what was missing from her faith and life, until her involvement grew with the CWL. Her love of Christ and our Blessed Mother grew exponentially through her Spiritual Adviser, Spiritual Development Chair, and the works of the CWL.
In the last 5 years, Lisa has taken the Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation Course, is now a board of director for the CWLF, handling communications. Lisa also took the Laudato Si’ Animator’s course. She is on the National 5-year Strategic Marketing Group, Effective Communication Marketing Group, and the website redesign ad-hoc committee. She is also on the sub-committee for the Ontario Communications Chair The Beatitudes and Corporal Acts of Mercy are lived very evidently through the actions and involvement of the CWL.
Ottawa-Cornwall Diocesan President
Melina was born in Ottawa, but her family moved 9 times before she started high school – from Ottawa to the Toronto area, to Timmins, back to Ottawa, and finally settling in Russell. For her Confirmation, Melina was gifted with a book on St. Elizabeth of the 3 Crowns, which sparked her love for adoration. Adoration grew her love for mass and for the rosary, and she has a great love for both Jesus and Mary, and for sharing her faith.
Todd and Melina were married in 1991, and have only lived in 3 homes. They settled in Finch in 1992, where they have successfully raised and homeschooled 11 children. They now boast of 7 grandchildren. Their kids have scattered to Ottawa, Toronto, Smiths Falls, even New Brunswick, with one heading off to school in London in the Fall. Melina did work as a clerk for the City of Ottawa until the birth of their oldest. They are blessed to live in their parish’s former rectory. Can’t get much closer to Church than that!
Pembroke Diocesan President
Annette was born and raised in Kitchener-Waterloo Ontario. She has a Bachelor of Science from University of Waterloo and is retired from Chalk River Nuclear Labs in the beautiful Ottawa Valley. She has been a member of the CWL for 6 years, 5 of those as a parish president. She loves the CWL, and all things Catholic. She enjoys playing Bach on the piano, and spends as much time as she can hiking, cross country skiing and stand-up paddleboarding. She is involved in the music ministry at mass in Deep River. She has been married to Ken for 41 years and has 3 children and 3 grandchildren which keep her happily playing.
Peterborough Diocesan President
Maria (Battaglini), was born in Shifnal, England, of English and Italian parents. She came to Canada in 1952 with her parents and brothers, Gio (Fr. Gio – deceased) and Kevin. Her father was hired a farm hand. By 1962, their family of five was operating a 450 acre dairy farm.
Maria graduated from Campbellford District High School 1966.
As a winner of a Vocal Music Festival Scholarship when 12 years old, she began piano lessons. Winner of nine more vocal/piano scholarships, she achieved Gr X piano in five years.
She attended Peterborough Teacher’s College – 1966 – 67 where she met her future husband, Brian and later completed her B.A. at Trent University, M. Ed.-OISE, Principal Courses, and Specialist School Music courses.
She was hired to teach by Peterborough Separate School Board. One week before school began, she was crowned the 1967 Ontario Dairy Princess at the provincial finals at the CNE and became the Ontario Milk Marketing Board 1967-68 ambassador in the U.K, France, U.S. and Canada. (Met Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth 11, Prince Phillip and Princess Margaret and several Heads of State). It was during this year that she overcame extreme shyness as she completed many guest speaking engagements at Service Clubs, youth groups, and completed many radio, T.V. and press interviews. – a springboard for what the future would hold.
While employed by the PVNCSSB 1968-1999 as a classroom teacher and Music Consultant, she developed and implemented a Kdgn. to Gr 8 Vocal music program.
The many highlights of her music career include conducting a 500 voice SATB Grade 6,7,8 choir on the stage of the Peterborough Memorial Centre during Education Week and assisting as conductor and cantor of the Cathedral choir.
Maria was awarded the Bene Merenti Papal Medal in 1989 and joined the CWL to live up to this award. “Here I am Lord, I come to do your will” became her motto. She became President of the St Peter in Chains Cathedral Council in 1995 and served in all executive positions. She received her Maple Leaf pin in 2014.
On the Diocesan Council, she has served as Secretary, Education and Health Chair, Resolutions and Legislature Chair, and Pres. Elect and was the CWL representative on the Faith and Equity Cttee of the school board.
Bishop de Angeles appointed her as Diocesan Rosary Prayer Program in the Schools Director in 2009. By 2019, the program had been implemented in 23 schools with 127 volunteers.
Her hobbies include knitting, tatting, crocheting, puzzles, gardening and laughing.
She presents herself as an active, committed, team member of the CWL who has acquired good leadership and organizational skills and a great sense of humour, all of which she is prepared to share in accepting the responsibilities and time commitments to meet the needs of the Diocesan council.
In August, Maria and her husband Brian, will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary with their two sons, daughters-in-law and four cherished grandchildren. Their Mass will be one of thanksgiving for blessings and friendships received.
Sault Ste Marie Diocesan President
Lisa was born in North Bay and is retired from the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Lisa had always been involved in her parish mostly volunteering in youth ministry and one day decided it was time to join the CWL, a group her sister-in-law’s were a part of. Coming out of church one day, she saw a dear friend she hadn’t seen in years, who was selling raffle tickets for their CWL bazaar. She chatted with her for a bit and then was invited to help sell tickets and the rest was history. One person’s warm, welcoming invitation was all it took to be bitten by the CWL bug. From there, she was invited to sit on her home council executive at the Pro-Cathedral of the Assumption, North Bay as Resolutions & Legislation Committee Chairperson. Following that, she stayed on for consecutive terms as Corresponding Secretary, Membership & Organization and eventually President. At the Diocesan level she has served as Communications and Education & Health chairperson, North Bay Regional chairperson and then Organization chair before becoming President.
She was recently a part of the CWL Implementation Committee tasked with carrying out the implementation of the National Strategic Plan which is scheduled to finish in 2023.
She has been married for 34 wonderful years to the love of her life, Arthur Henry. She loves cooking, travelling, but most of all, spending time with family, friends and her CWL sisters!
Thunder Bay Diocesan President
Judith was born and raised in Kirkland Lake, Ontario. Married for 43 years to her husband Michel with 4 grown children, and 11 grandchildren.
After moving to Schreiber, Ontario in 1979 she started attending different churches only to feel more at home at Holy Angels Catholic Church. After being baptized December 19, 1999 in Schreiber she was given a gift of membership to CWL.
She started the kids’ choir which covered the Saturday night mass and became a lector.
In 2000 her husband was transferred to Chapleau, Ontario, which brought much more involvement in the Scared Heart Parish. She felt the need to welcome parishioners before the masses which gave her the opportunity to meet new people. Joined both the English and French Choir, served as lector, Eucharistic Minister, and became the CWL President within a year of arriving and continued her journey as Hearst Diocesan President.
With her love of the people, she started the Prayer Shawl, bringing comfort to many.
After moving to Kenora in 2010, she quickly got very involved in her Church community and Kenora CWL, serving various positions and bringing the Prayer Shawl comfort with her.
She was honoured with the Maple Leaf pin, for her great work.
Since 2015, she started a Palliative Care program, making quilts to comfort people in their final days and promoting 12 hours of prayer. She has given approximately 500 quilts to the local hospital, 2 local long term care homes and people that wish to die at home.
Judith feels truly blessed with the gift of friendship and love to serve.
Timmins Diocesan President
Shirley was born in Englehart Ontario and raised on a farm in the area. She graduated with a degree in Physical and Health from Ottawa University. After receiving a Bachelor of Education degree in London, she returned to the north to begin her teaching career at the secondary level. She married her husband Gerry in 1977. They have two daughters and two grandchildren.
Shirley has been a CWL member for 44 years in the parish she grew up in. She is active in the liturgy ministry and performs sacristan duties at Holy Trinity Parish. After retiring from teaching, she became more active in CWL activities. At the Parish level she held chair positions in Spiritual Development, Organization, Resolution and Legislation. At the Diocesan level she has chaired Resolutions, Legislation and Organization before becoming President.
Shirley appreciates the opportunities and challenges that the CWL has offered. She was the Resolution Chair when the Timmins Diocese developed and presented the resolution: “Utilizing Health and Physical Education Specialists in Elementary School”. With the increased use of social media, Shirley was tasked with creating and maintaining the diocesan website.
Shirley enjoys being busy and fills her days with family, faith, fitness, and fun.
Toronto Diocesan President
Sue has been a parishioner at St. John Chrysostom Parish in Newmarket since 1988. She is married to John and together raised four children. They are now grandparents to two little boys. They celebrated forty years of marriage in 2021.
Sue’s journey in the CWL began in 2006 with a personal invitation from a member at her local council to help with a presentation to the local town council on a proposed water aquifer by-law. At the parish level, she held the positions of Community Life, Resolutions, Legislation and President. Her council has presented resolutions to provincial and national council.
In 2013, after election to the diocesan council, Sue served as Christian Family Life chair. Other positions held at the diocesan level were Resolutions, Education & Health and President-Elect/Organization. Serving as Organization chair during the COVID-19 pandemic presented many challenges but the use of technology provided an opportunity to reach more parish councils, more often. The monthly virtual CWL Wednesday was offered with many popular topics.
While diocesan resolutions chair, Sue also served as sub-committee chair for the Provincial Legislation chair and helped work on the “Legislation Scavenger Hunt”. As diocesan President-Elect/Organization chair Sue participated in the Year One Working Group (Reorganization) for the implementation of the Strategic Plan. This group was mandated to streamline the standing committees to align with the core values of faith, service and social justice.
As Toronto Diocesan President, Sue and her executive will help councils lead though the changes coming as councils adjust to the new format of the League. She is looking forward to her continued service to God and Canada.