by KAY BLACKBURN
In mid-February the 14 member board of Catholic Women’s League Aotearoa New Zealand met at the
Home of Compassion, Island Bay, for its first board meeting of 2015.
The focus was “The Joy of the Gospel”, and this was evident in the prayer liturgies, which wove a thread through our sessions.
Sr John Bosco Kendall, RSJ, led members in a challenging workshop on leadership where we revisited
the vision of our founder, Margaret Fletcher. Margaret dreamed of a body of Catholic women, enthusiastic about their faith and committed to bringing a Christian and Catholic dimension to what the suffragette movement was trying to achieve for women of the time. In discussing whether this vision is still relevant in 2015, we were reminded that “great leaders don’t tell you
what to do . . . they show you how it’s done”.
Sue Devereux, Adviser on Family Life for the archdiocesan Pastoral Team, shared some findings from
the 2014 Synod on Families, introduced us to the new questionnaire and encouraged us to answer it.
Mrs Devereux shared some insights into the difficulties faced by families she works with, and programmes available in the archdiocese.
At our CWLANZ National Conference in Auckland in 2014, Aotearoa New Zealand Religious Against the
Trafficking of Humans (ANZRATH) was the recipient of one of our special funds. Sr Gemma Wilson, SM, informed us of the work they undertake and the challenges facing the group.
Our international secretary attended a WUCWO assembly in Fatima in 2014 at which a resolution on
trafficking was presented and passed for worldwide action among Catholic women’s groups. CWLANZ has made a decision to support ANZRATH.
Raising awareness among members and our communities is the priority, but we set ourselves several
actions to work on before our July meeting.
In our final liturgy we were reminded by words from Pope Francis in The Joy of the Gospel that, “Challenges exist to be overcome! Let us be realists, but without losing our joy, our boldness and our hope filled commitment. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of missionary vigour.”
Kay Blackburn is the national president of Catholic Women’s League of Aotearoa New Zealand.