Community Life Tips and Tools

Community Life - Fall 2020 Memo

DATE: October 9, 2020
FROM: Marie C. Rackley, national chairperson of community life
TO: Parish chairpersons of community life

My dear League sisters,

I pray this memo finds you and your council ready to start another year of service for your community. It will be completely different from previous years, but we can still reach out and help those in need. COVID-19 has certainly upset the world as we knew it, but we are thankful for living in such a wonderful country.

Day of Prayer for Christians in the Holy Land
On September 21st, members celebrated the League’s first annual National Day of Prayer for Christians in the Holy Land. I received many positive comments from members across Canada. Below is one of the e-mails forwarded to me by national office.

Read entire memo

WINning: The Trials, Tribulations, and Triumphs of Opening a Women’s Shelter

Are you looking for something to read? As reported by National Life Member Liaison Ann Doucet, Honorary Life Member Ardis Beaudry and Life Member Rose-Marie McCarthy have published a book entitled WINning: The Trials, Tribulations, and Triumphs of Opening a Women’s Shelter about the early founders of one of the first women’s shelters in Canada.

The book is described as one that “tells the story of how a disparate group of women (and a few men) saw a need to help women and young girls coming to Edmonton with no place to go, and found a way to address that need through pure determination in the late 1960s/early 1970s, at a time when the concept of a women’s shelter was an unknown entity. Four of the early founders, Ardis Beaudry, Rose-Marie McCarthy, Phyllis Ellis and Lynn Hannley formed a committee to produce the book in conjunction with author Marsha Mildon. The book chronicles the 50-year history (1970-2020) and the stories of the people and organizations who founded, funded, volunteered, and stayed at Edmonton Women's Shelter and the subsequent shelters, WIN House I, WIN House II, and WIN House III (Carol's House).”

The book pays tribute to the founders, church groups and secular agencies, volunteers and staff who created and continue to provide safe shelters for women in need. For more information and book orders, visit or e-mail .


Non-Medical Face Mask Initiative

Canada's chief public health officer now recommends that Canadians wear non-medical masks or face coverings in all public places where a two-metre physical distance cannot be maintained. Masks are not a substitute for other personal safety precautions and are to be used “in conjunction with” frequent handwashing, minimizing hand contact with your face, and physical distancing. Though the personal benefit is yet unproven, people wearing properly fitted masks can reduce the spread of their own infectious respiratory droplets to others. This is especially important for vulnerable people, as asymptomatic carriers can unknowingly spread the virus. In fact, over 40% of positive cases in Canada involved people who showed no symptoms.

More Information and Guidelines – The following government websites explain the rationale for non-medical masks and offer guidelines on making and wearing them.



Call to Action:

The Initiative – The Catholic Women’s League is well positioned to provide masks that are “sewn with love and given in kindness.” Sewers and non-sewers alike are urged to participate in this worthy initiative. Some members could donate supplies for others who contribute their sewing skills.

In Parishes – When churches gradually reopen amid Alberta’s phased recovery, safeguards such as gathering restrictions and mandatory face masks could be requisites. Contact your parish priest and ask how your council could assist in providing reusable masks for parishioners.

Cultivating Community Outreach – Explore the need in your community, as many private and public entities require everyone on their property to wear a face mask: residents, workers, visitors, students, etc. For example: two organizations in Calgary need at least 70 masks: “Louise Dean Centre” – a junior and senior high school exclusively for pregnant and parenting teens; and “Elizabeth House” – a family-oriented home that welcomes at-risk pregnant and parenting women who need a safe place to live. Joy Gregory* (St. Peter’s, Calgary) is collecting masks for organizations like these that serve vulnerable people. Contact Joy at: 403-547-2611 or by email.

Exemplifying Core Values – This initiative shows how members embody the League’s core values in their work: Faith…living the Gospel in word and action; Service…reaching out to others; and Social Justice…aiding the vulnerable. It also supports the Diocesan theme, “Care for Our Common Home, Stewards of Creation.” Fabric masks express members’ “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” attitude! They can be made with fabric scraps and recycled linens and clothing (sheets and scrub tops); and can be reused multiple times, thereby reducing waste. Reusable masks also help to ensure that the specialized models are reserved for medical professionals.

Let me count the ways...  Community Life Chair Lorraine Clark is collecting data for this project to determine the extent of involvement in our diocese. Please notify Lorraine by August 1st with: 

  1. number of masks made by your council, and
  2. name/s of the organization/s that received them


DIY resources:

Download initiative document


Ideas from Arizona

Geraldine Clarahan reports from St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Casa Grande, AZ, on "40 cans for 40 days", a great Lenten project to help the poor. Boxes are set up at the back of the church to collect the donated cans (or boxes / bags) of food, and all can participate.

The other Lenten Project by the women's organization of the parish, Catholic Daughters of the Americas, is that they gave a "little Black Book" to all members of the parish. "The Little Black Book" contains six-minute meditations on the Sunday Gospels of Lent.  Very simple and beautiful way to pray during Lent.

The parish has a money collection is called "rice bowls" and you pick up a box and put money in it during Lent.


Comfort Bags Project

St. Mary's Council Brooks provided Comfort Care Bags for people in need at the local nursing homes mid-March. Members sewed beautiful bags and filled them with Body Wash, Shampoo, Detangle Combs, Teeth Cleaner, etc. 


Parish Community Life memo Fall 2019

For years I have enjoyed and welcomed the month of September as it brings me back to reality and helps me focus on current issues and future endeavours. I begin to focus on activities of several organizations I belong to, but especially my parish council meetings, which bring me in contact with my League sisters as I catch up on their news. What a wonderful way to share the love of God and the love of Our Lady of Good Counsel as we start another year of service to God’s people and Canada.

Many things have occurred which we must continue to monitor. I know you have heard this information before, but we cannot let it rest until we are satisfied with the results of our labour.

Read more ...

H.U.G. Packages

On behalf of the Centenary Committee, I would like to extend our sincere thanks to the members from across Canada that contributed their immigration stories for this year’s Centenary project.

What an amazing feeling to see all the stories and pictures on display at the national convention in Winnipeg!

As we reflected on the stories of the immigrants that came to Canada with only the clothes on their back or one suitcase in hand, it spearheaded the project for the 2019.

The project will be H.U.G. (Helping, Understanding, Giving) Packages put together by members for distribution at local women’s shelters in your areas. The women and children who seek refuge in shelters will sometimes arrive with little more than the clothes on their backs. Providing a family with items of toiletries and clothing during their stay can make a big difference. The items can help her family get back on their feet after leaving shelter. It can make a huge impact on those who are seeking shelter from their storm.

The following are some examples of items that can be put together. You can also check out your local shelter’s website or contact them to find out what items they are most in need of at any given time.

Read more ...

Parish Community Life memo Fall 2018

It is hard to believe that the summer season has come and gone, and school has begun. Goodbye to the lazy days of summer blessed with beautiful weather and lots of sun. As the fall season changes the forests to many vibrant colours, please take a moment to remember the Province of British Columbia struggling to recover from the devastating fires.

As your new community life chairperson it gives me great pleasure to extend a warm welcome and introduce you to the sub-committee chairpersons who have agreed to work with me during the next two years:

  • Life Member Dorothy Johansen (Alberta) – Dignity and Rights of Person
  • New Brunswick Provincial Council 1st Vice-President Madonna Clark – Refugees, Immigration and Citizenship
  • Prince Edward Island Provincial Council Past President Irene Gallant – Social and Economic Justice

You will hear more from these ladies in communiqués over the course of the next two years.

Read more ...