The Way Forward…

The CWLF has been encouraged by the wonderful stories of personal growth and development from participants of the Leadership Program at St. Paul University, and has for some time considered exploring additional avenues for leadership training for Catholic Women in Canada.  Many ideas have been advanced, including options for everything from additional certificate programs, to shorter content-specific courses or webinars, and even day or weekend retreats, virtual or otherwise.  However, the CWLF was bound by the fairly particular rules of operation of its original federal charter documents.  In 2020, the CWLF submitted an application to federal governing bodies to change its corporate character to expand the nature of its operations and the ways in which it delivers educational programming.  We are thrilled to announce … that our application has been approved!  Moving forward, the CWLF will be permitted to offer a broader range of leadership training options of varying lengths and forms.  Stay tuned for exciting updates as we follow this new and wider path, and continue to help Catholic Women create a just, merciful, and compassionate world nurtured by the genius of women.

Board members undertook a two-day strategic planning workshop held on February 28th and 29th 2020 in Vancouver BC. We identified five priority areas with goals under each. Through subcommittee initiative and collaborative board work by our dedicated volunteer board and subcommittee members, we are pleased to report that we are making consistent progress in several priority areas with others to be addressed in succession.


Our Priority areas and goals are listed below:

Priority Area 1 – Governance and Organizational Structure
Goal: Ensure CWLF governance structure will support our vision and mission

Priority Area 2 – Engagement and Collaboration
Goal 1: To become the leading authority in Canadian Catholic women’s leadership
Goal 2: To cultivate the relationships to enhance engagement and collaborations

Priority area 3 – Branding
Goal: To increase awareness of who we are and what we do.

Priority area 4 – Revenue Development
Goal: Ensure financial sustainability to achieve vision and mission

Priority area 5 – Program Development
Goal 1: To develop diverse programs and activities which will enhance the voice of Catholic Women
Goal 2: To build capacity for program development


Tidings of Hope, Peace, Joy, & Love

As the season of Advent draws to a close, may you rejoice in the miracle, the gift, and the promise of Christmas.

Thank you for your generous and prayerful support of the Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation as we inspire Catholic women leaders who will make a difference in the world and witness our values as Catholic women.

May God bless you and your loved ones with Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love this Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

Board of Directors of the Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation


Spiritual First Aid for a Virtual Community

Spiritual First Aid for a Virtual Community: Stronger Together While Physically Apart

Josephine Lombardi – April 2020

Many of us are missing the fullness of our Church experience: attending mass and receiving sacraments, praying with others and sharing our faith experience when we gather and worship in community.

So many of us have experienced an emotional roller coaster during these last five weeks, feeling hopeful one day, discouraged the next. I pray some of you might benefit from these proposed steps on Spiritual First Aid. A simple on-line definition of first aid tells us that first aid is the “help given to a sick or injured person until full medication treatment is available.” Let’s apply this to our current situation: I’m defining Spiritual First Aid as the help given to a discouraged person until the fullness of our Church experience returns, including the reception of the sacraments, daily and Sunday worship. If a participant finds these steps helpful, they can continue to use them along with other spiritual resources available to us.


Testimonials from Past Leadership Program Participants

I came away from the program forever connected to the “13 sisters” I journeyed with over the course of the year.  The leading-learners were gifted individuals who journeyed with us but also challenged our opinions, stretched us to view issues from different lenses, and invited us to be a part of the community. The ‘experts’ they connected us to challenge our belief systems and encouraged us to apply new learnings in our home communities. The best part however was being witness to others’ stories and feeling gratitude for the sharing and trust amongst the learners and the leaders.

Sue Ross (Harding) - Participant 2018-19

The CWLP [Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation Program) had nurtured the Catholic Leader in me. It ignited my passion and fully equipped me to pursue my calling. I am blessed to be a part of such a mission.

Forever grateful …

Liz Meneses - Participant 2019-20

It was a true blessing to study leadership from a Catholic perspective and to meet women from across Canada from many different business settings who want to lead with Christian values. The leading learners encouraged us to open our hearts and minds to listen in a manner that opens new possibilities for how we lead in our world. 

 “To be on a spiritual journey we have to be engaged with the world.” Dr. Heather Eaton. When we contemplate that we are a member of the earth, which is only a small part of the Milky Way and the universe, all of which God created, it changes our image of the Divine to be both larger and more intimate. 

The week that we all came together in Ottawa made a profound influence on my life. I have never been in a room full of women, who connected so quickly and so intimately. I felt welcomed by women from all walks of life and all over Canada, all there to be transformed by this experience. 

Belinda Halbach - Participant 2018-19

The Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation gifted me the ability to understand transformational leadership while engaging with other people in dialogue and critical thinking.  I thoroughly enjoyed our small group sessions that met online monthly to listen and discuss issues while learning how to decern. This experience has been invaluable and has taught me what spiritual leadership is all about. 

Michelle Khatib - Participant 2019-20

The Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation program was so much more than I had ever hoped for.  I learned how to reach deep into my soul and base my leadership from a perspective of faith and integrity.  I have learned to be more understanding and open to the resistance people experience with change and reflect on how to help them evolve.  Until the program, I never realized how my leadership style was based on the corporate culture I worked in.  

One other huge benefit from the program is the bond you share with the women in the program.  We may live all across the country, but we have a deep friendship that celebrates the highs and help through the lows.  This program was one of the best experiences of my life.

Lisa Fillingham - Participant 2019-20

I wanted to grow as a professional but wasn’t wanting to pursue another degree or designation.  I work in the field of Education, with my Master’s degree in Theology.  So I feel most alive when faith blends with practice. I was excited to hear about a program where I could grow both professionally and spiritually while meeting other like-minded women across the country.

Our week-long sessions were part retreat, part conference, part university lecture, part liturgy – all in the best sense of these terms.

One of the best parts of the program for me has been meeting and getting to know such wonderful women across the country.  I have received encouragement from them in my role as a women leader but also in my role as a mother.  We share books that we’re reading or ways of praying and living out the sacraments that are helpful to us.  So the training, while very beneficial to our work, is also beneficial to our life.

Rachel Ng - Participant 2019-20

Call for Candidates for the 2021 Catholic Women’s Leadership Program

We are pleased to announce that we are accepting applications for the 2021 cohort of our Leadership Program, scheduled to begin in April 2021 facilitated by the Providence School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality, Saint Paul University, Ottawa.

The program is open to all Canadian Catholic women, from all walks of life who have a genuine interest in making a difference in their communities and places of work.

A candidate must be a Catholic woman, at least 21 years of age, demonstrate oral and written English language competencies, have a genuine desire to cultivate her gifts of leadership, and have made a previous contribution to her community in some capacity.

The Program is a 13-month Certificate program with an ongoing mentorship once the course work is completed. Throughout the Program, participants will be guided by professional facilitators from Saint Paul University. The Program is specifically designed to integrate faith and life, personal and professional leadership development. Spirituality and a Catholic faith perspective are the foundation of all activities; prayer and reflective practice are core elements integrated throughout the program.

The Program will have an introductory get-to-know-you online module in April 2021; a five-day intensive component is planned for May 30, 2021 to June 3, 2021. This is scheduled to be through ZOOM, and you will be expected to participate in every session.  All other modules are online and consist of videos, readings, personal reflections, and discussion forums. 

The final face-to-face residency component is scheduled for May 1 to 5 2022 in Ottawa.  To assist with your planning, an announcement will be made by January 8, 2022 about whether this will be online or in person.

Details of the content of the different components and timelines can be found on the website at

If you are or know of a Catholic woman who wishes to be a transformational and influential leader, we invite you to complete the application process by November 20th, 2020 which can be found at