Women have always had a significant role in the Catholic Church. Historically, women held roles as educators, philosophers and doctors in the Church. Others have had a tremendous impact on the world through their service of the sick, poor and hungry. Biblically, stories of women range from acts of charity, hospitality to spreading the Good News with the Apostles themselves. Today, Catholic women are at the forefront of the Church – serving in administration, engaging in speaking events, involved in social justice – and spreading their faith in the workplace, their home, and the world.
Over the past few decades, we have seen a growing need for Catholic women to fill leadership positions – roles where they are able to share their values, gifts and talents in powerful and meaningful ways.
The Sisters of Service of Canada, as they look to their legacy, approached the Catholic Women’s League of Canada (League) with a gift and a challenge. Inspired by the shared mission of a just, merciful and compassionate world nurtured by women, the League and the Sisters of Service had a vision to transform the leadership landscape through the world-class education and training of Canadian Catholic women to service in leadership capacities. This vision led to the formation of the Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation. Together these groups provided the initial funding to launch this exciting endeavour – agreeing that they would match each other’s contribution.
The founding board was established in January 2015 and began the organizational work necessary for a new public foundation. The League had provided $100,000 seed money to assist in the incorporation, registration and first board meetings of the foundation. The Sisters of Service contributed a generous $500,000. In August 2015, the League membership, at the League’s National Convention in Vancouver voted to donate $400,000 to the Foundation – matching the Sisters’ gift.
The Board has developed founding bylaws, researched various educational institutions and existing programs, established a budget, identified the financial needs of the Foundation and related initial fundraising plan.
We are excited as we look to the future and most grateful for the courageous vision and generosity shown by the Sisters of Service and the Catholic Women’s League of Canada.