Newfoundland Beginnings


(This information was taken from the 25th Anniversary book prepared by the Life Members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Council)


Newfoundland joined the League in 1974 and claimed the honour and privilege of completing the Catholic Women’s League of Canada from sea to sea.


In the ensuing years from 1974 to 1978, councils were formed in St. Anne’s Parish, Harbour Breton, Mary Queen of the World, Mount Pearl, and St. Kevin’s Parish, the Goulds.


During November 1978 the National President, Ruth Cooney and the National Convener of Organization, Dorothy Brocklehurst traveled to St. John’s to attend the organizational meeting of this province’s first Diocesan Council. Thus was another step forward in the League’s effort to have Newfoundland become a full-fledged member of the National Council.


The first Archdiocesan Council convention was held on May 12, 1979 at the Presentation School in St. John’s. The first President was Mrs. Mary Lake and the first Spiritual Director was Father L. J. Fischer, S.J. The theme for this convention was “The Child – A Supreme Gift”.


During the National Convention held in Calgary, Alberta in August 1979, Mary was warmly received and welcomed as the first Newfoundland Accredited Delegate.


On May 10, 1980, the second Archdiocesan Council convention was held at Fermeuse Parish Hall. His Grace, Archbishop Alphonsus Penney was in attendance. Mary Goss was the newly elected President of this council.


Following this convention, in consultation with the National Executive and Archbishop Penney, it was decided to raise the Archdiocese Council to the status of Provincial Council.


Thus on October 25, 1980, the Newfoundland Provincial Council was formed with Ms. Mary Goss the first Provincial President and Father L.J. Fischer, S.J., as the first Spiritual Advisor. Dorothy Brocklehurst, the National President was in attendance for this history-making occasion.


Highlights During the Years


1981: First Provincial Convention was hosted by Mary Queen of the World council, Mount Pearl.

1982: Members gathered in St. John’s for provincial workshops focusing on convenerships

1983: Bishop J. Faber MacDonald of the Diocese of Grand Falls appointed National Spiritual Director

1984: First workshop outside of the St. John’s Archdiocese held in Grand Falls.

1984: Three councils from Labrador voted unanimously to join the Newfoundland Provincial Council. These three councils had been in the League for twenty years as part of the Quebec Provincial Council. 

1984: 64th National Convention of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada was held in Newfoundland

1985: Provincial Council received from the National Council, a Certificate of Merit for the most new councils      established for that year across Canada.

1987:  Provincial Convention held in Labrador for the first time

1989:  League councils were encouraged to participate in the Canadians for Decency WRAP Campaign

1989:  His Grace, Archbishop James MacDonald was appointed National Spiritual Advisor and in 1991      became Archbishop of St. John’s

1991:  Provincial Council began its “Book of Life”

1993:  Regional Councils were formed

1996:  Following an Instructed Vote, members decided to withdraw the Regional Councils

1997:  Newfoundland hosted the National Convention of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada

1999:  Bishop Douglas Crosby, OMI from the Diocese of Schefferville-Labrador was appointed National      Spiritual Advisor

2002:  Provincial Council set up the “Elizabeth Project”, twinning parish councils as support for each other

2003:  Provincial Council set up a “Life Member Mentoring Programme





These are only a few of the highlights in our book “Companions on the Journey, 25th Anniversary


In the book you will also find:

v  Life Members Memoirs

v  Parish Councils Established Since 1974

v  Bursary Recipients

v  Contributions of the Mercy and Presentation Sisters

v  Archdiocesan and Provincial Spiritual Advisors

v  National Subcommittee Members

v  Archdiocesan and Provincial Presidents

v  Life Members