Our Leadership Program


Inspiring Catholic Women to be Transformational and Influential Leaders Where They Live, Work, and Volunteer!

Thank you for all of the applications to participate in the next Catholic Women’s Leadership Program 2021-2022. The next group of participants will be announced soon.

In meeting the vision of the Catholic Women’s Leadership create a “just, merciful, and compassionate world nurtured by the genius of women”, the Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation, in partnership with the Providence School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality at Saint Paul University in Ottawa, has developed a yearlong leadership certificate program to help Catholic women strengthen their leadership skills in an environment which integrates faith and spirituality.

This Program provides an excellent opportunity for Canadian Catholic women from all walks of life, who are committed to making a difference in society, by developing their leadership skills.

The Foundation is seeking women who meet the following criteria:

  • A baptized Catholic woman, at least 21 years old who can demonstrate a genuine desire to cultivate her gifts of leadership.
  • Has made a previous contribution to her community in a leadership capacity
  • Demonstrate a commitment and plan to further her role as a Catholic leader on completion of the Program
  • Competency in both oral and written English skills
  • Commitment to complete the entire Program which includes online learning sessions and two in-person residence sessions in Ottawa
  • Embrace the core elements of prayer and reflective practice which are integrated throughout the program

Program Outline

The 13-month Certificate Program consists of an in-person residency program at Saint Paul University in Ottawa and online modules guided by trained facilitators as follows:

  • Online introductory module 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 1-5, 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.
  • The 5 online study modules, which are about 20 hours each, include videos, readings, personal reflections, discussion forums, and coaching sessions

The Program will explore the following major themes:

  • What Does It Mean to be a Catholic Leader Today? Inspirational Catholic Women Leaders
  • What Do We Mean by Transformative Leadership and Reflective Practice?
  • Spirituality and Emotional Intelligence: Its Place in Transformative Leadership
  • Transformative Leaders and Well-Being
  • Catholic Social Teachings: Bioethics, Care of our Common Home; Moral issues for Leaders
  • Bringing our Faith and Life Together: Our Ecological Responsibility

Highlights of this Program

  • Spirituality and the Catholic faith perspective are foundational in all activities
  • Prayer and reflective practice are integrated throughout the program

The Leadership Program is developed to accommodate women who may be working full time. It will be based on adult learning principles and will be women-centered. The program will feature numerous networking opportunities and a mentorship plan designed to strengthen each woman’s ability to grow.

After completing the Program, women will have the skills they need, whether they are speaking on behalf of an organization, fundraising for a local community group, making decisions that affect the health and well-being of people, serving as a director of a major organization or a government agency.

The Impact on Women and the Community

The impact of the Leadership Program is far-reaching for both the community and the Catholic Church. In the quest for Catholic social justice in society:

  • Women will gain valuable leadership skills;
  • Trained laywomen will be capable of providing succession in the area of Catholic social justice currently championed by the diminishing numbers of women religious;
  • Registered charities will gain additional skill sets and knowledge, resulting in more effective promotion of their missions to create a just and compassionate society;
  • Local parishes, committees, and dioceses will be strengthened by the feminine genius as women take on more leadership roles;
  • Governments at all levels will be encouraged by a constituency of women not afraid to advocate on behalf of those without a voice.

Further, graduates will:

  • Establish long-term relationships with like-minded women, encouraging one another;
  • Gain the tools necessary to speak confidently about and act on contemporary social issues in corporate and social settings;
  • Benefit from an increase in economic and career opportunities as they gain additional skills, indirectly enhancing influence within their personal spheres.

Program Fees

While the total cost of the Program including travel, meals, and accommodation at Saint Paul University in Ottawa is $10,000, each participant is only responsible for paying a Program fee of $1,000.

How to Apply

Applications for the 2021 program are now closed. If you have any questions regarding the Leadership Program, please email


Click here to access more testimonials.

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

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 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

This has been a truly enlightening journey for me. Through the modeling and guidance of wonderful instructors, I have learned to become so much more aware of my spirituality and how it helps to enhance and transform my leadership as a Catholic and as a woman, in all interactions be it work related or personal.

Thank you, Rita and the foundation!

Betty Morris

It’s been an awesome learning experience — one where I get to have a good illuminated view of my blind side, become more self-aware, become a better listener, deeply reflect on “stories” and make meaning, learn to connect to the Source of my being, and repeatedly ask myself what God wants me to become as a member (and leader) in His big family. Been such a blessing!

It has been a very supportive learning environment! I feel fortunate to be a member of such a diverse group of women with similar goals.
Alison Power

This program has been a journey of self discovery. I have grown in self confidence and have discovered an interior relationship with my Lord and Saviour. I have met amazing Catholic Women from all over Canada, who have given me a renewed sense of hope for the role of women in the Catholic Church.
Courtney Duckworth