RED DEER – A year into her two-year term as president of the Edmonton Diocesan Council of the Catholic Women's League, Gladys Brown seems remarkably relaxed, although she admits to been busier than expected.
"It's been exciting but very busy," she said in an interview at the CWL's annual convention April 20. "There is a lot going on, especially with our centennial."
The CWL leader enumerated a long list of activities the League has planned to mark its 100th anniversary and others, including a fundraising gala in February, an April 26 liturgical celebration at St. Joseph's Basilica, the opening of the CWL archives at the Provincial Archives of Alberta and the national CWL convention in Edmonton in August.
About 800 delegates from across Canada are expected to attend the convention at Shaw Conference Centre.
"I didn't expect it to be this busy but I have enjoyed it; I really, really have enjoyed it," Brown said. "It's an honour to be president at this time because of our 100th anniversary."
Brown, a member of Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Fort Saskatchewan, presided at the CWL's annual convention at Red Deer's Holiday Inn Hotel April 20-22. Some 175 delegates from across the archdiocese attended the event.
Guest speakers at the convention included Deacon Paul Croteau on burials and cremation, lawyer Solomon Rolingher on wills and estates, and theologian Moira McQueen on bioethics.
In her annual report, the president said she was amazed with the works each council accomplished in 2011. "Big or small, each council has contributed and continues to work diligently in supporting their parishes wherever they are needed."
The Adopt-a-Seminarian program has been embraced by many councils, Brown reported. Under this program, councils adopt a seminarian and support him with prayers, invite him to parish functions and provide him with financial assistance.
At the convention, the CWL awarded the $500 Doreen Melton Scholarship to seminarian Roger Niedzielski, 20, of St. Joseph Seminary. This is the second time Niedzielski has won the scholarship.
Councils are also busy building Mary's Gardens and getting involved in the program Women Against Poverty, Brown noted.
"Also councils participate in assisting at the Marian Centre, Hope Mission and putting together the refugee bags for new immigrants who have arrived in the Edmonton area."
The St. Albert Council played a big part in the 150th anniversary celebration of their parish that honoured the Oblates and the Grey Nuns for their dedicated service to the parish and community.
"Our activities are varied and numerous," Brown said in her report. "Through all of them we have shown our love for God through the league."
As of Dec. 31, there were 4,853 members in the Edmonton Diocesan Council.