CWL-crest
September 5, 2011
LUC RINALDI
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

TORONTO — Taking aim at preserving human embryos and providing support for aboriginal children whose mothers are missing or have been murdered were just two of the resolutions the national Catholic Women's League has vowed to take on this year.

More than 600 delegates came to Toronto Aug. 14 to 17 for the 91st annual CWL National Convention, themed "Centred on Faith & Justice."

The four-day conference presented four new resolutions that will be initiatives of the League in the coming year. The resolutions include prohibiting practices involving the destruction or manipulation of human embryos, providing support for children of missing and murdered aboriginal women, creating a national organ and tissue donation and transplantation registry, and mandating caffeine warning labels on energy drinks.

"I'm always amazed with the resolutions dialogue," said CWL National President Velma Harasen. "

While the resolutions dialogue took centre stage throughout a large part of the convention, the four days were also filled with "faith, fun and fulfilment."

Members also heard from keynote speakers Nancy Reeves, psychologist, spiritual director and author; Linnea Good, a Catholic musician; and Sr. Sheila Fortune, CSJ. In addition to business meetings and annual reports, city excursions and a day trip to the Martyrs' Shrine in Midland, Ont., were also available to members.

Participants gathered this year not just as CWL members, but as Women Against Poverty, the name of a campaign the League has begun.

In an attempt to tackle poverty, CWL members from across Canada have organized a collection of different initiatives, including parish "change for change" collections, raffles and even a group of members who dressed as homeless people and begged outside their parish.

"(Poverty) seems to be a focus that all councils can latch on to," said Harasen. "Poverty is everywhere."

That focus on poverty carried into the convention as well. During the meeting, members donated more than $3,000 in an impromptu African famine relief effort.