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Past President / Archives Communiqué #5


Margaret Schwab, Provincial Past President / Archives Chair

June 2021


We are heading into summer; hopefully a different one than last year. There is hope on the horizon that we will be able to spend more time in closer contact with friends and family. Today is a very warm June day which makes it difficult to think about what needs to be done for the fall.


It is possible that as September comes, we will be able to have in-person gatherings. It is going to take an extra effort for councils to entice members to attend. As past presidents, we need to help the president with planning as well as assisting in reaching out to members and, at the diocesan level, to councils that may have been inactive for over a year. We need to present a positive outlook for the year ahead which will be filled with many new incentives and ideas coming down from the national strategic planning committee.


For some, the fall will be a time for going through records and making lists of those eligible for election. Many executives have stayed in their positions for three years and will be looking forward to moving on to new positions or perhaps, taking a break. As I mentioned in my last communiqué, we will still be working with a full executive as the changes to the executive format will not be voted on until August of 2022. Finding leadership is not an easy job. It is important to really address the needs of the position with those to whom you are talking. Our words must always be positive; and our explanation of the ‘job’ must be honest. A person who is thinking of taking a position on a diocesan or provincial council must understand that there are certain expectations, such as writing communiqués on a regular basis and keeping up with information coming from national.  Too often, in the eagerness to fill a position, the actual needs of the position are glossed over, and people take on something they are not comfortable with. This always leads to discouragement and frustration by all.


We are in a technological time as seen from our many online meetings held by almost every organization this past year. While we look forward to in-person meetings, there will still be a place for the GoToMeeting or Zoom formats. When we are looking for new leadership, the ability and more importantly, the willingness to use these technologies will be an important part of the conversation with would-be executive members.

As past presidents, we must be prepared to share our experiences with candidates and encourage them by sharing what we have learned as we have moved up through the League.


It is important to remind your council past presidents to keep up their archiving. Archiving is often mistaken for just taking pictures. This past year, having few opportunities for taking pictures, there is a need for good written reports about what has gone on in a council during the pandemic. Most have managed to keep very busy without meetings and all of these activities need to be recorded.


As we approach the fall and discussions about the changes to the Constitution and Bylaws as well as a per capita fee increase, there is a place for past presidents to get involved in these discussions. Be prepared to present good information in a positive voice regarding the need for changes. Often, parish councils feel a ‘disconnect’ with the national council and may feel either very much against change or quite disinterested in the whole process. Past presidents should be prepared to answer all questions from the membership as well as listening to their comments and concerns.


This is an exciting time to be a CWL member. The League after 101 years, is taking on a new direction; one that will hopefully bring renewed enthusiasm from existing members as well as presenting our councils with new members.           


May God continue to bless the works of the League.



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Past President / Archives Communiqué #4


Margaret Schwab, Provincial Past President / Archives Chair

Feb. 2021


I am writing this on February 17th, Ash Wednesday.  It is the beginning of time for reflection and prayer as we prepare for Easter. It is also a time to reflect on the future of the League.


Our national officers have spent many hours working within the rules of the pandemic, trying to advise us on all levels how to proceed without in-person meetings. As past presidents, it is our job to make sure that councils are aware of what will be happening and how things should precede going forward, especially with conventions (meeting of members) and elections.


As you are aware, all councils have received the instructed vote for amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws as well as for a per capita fee increase.  Due to the pandemic, councils are not as able to meet as before and there was a great concern that this would hinder the ability of members to have a say in the changes being proposed.  So, the National Executive have delayed the voting on these issues until 2022 with the final voting being done in August of 2022 at the National Convention.


These are some of the issues which we, as past presidents, can advise on:

  1. It is possible that some councils may have already taken their vote with their membership and sent in the completed forms to the national office. If that is the case, their vote will be held at the office until August of 2022. Those councils will not be voting again on these issues.
  2. In the event that the executive of a council changes at the end of this year with a new president taking over in January of 2022, it is very important that the paperwork sent out with the information and forms for the instructed vote gets passed on to the new president. Sometimes in the transfer of positions, things are forgotten or misplaced. The instructed vote packages will not be resent from the national office, so it is crucial that they are kept in a safe place.
  3. As many executives have lengthened their terms because of the uncertainty of the pandemic, I am sure many will be anxious to hold elections for a new executive as of January of 2022. The proposed amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws, should they be accepted, allow for only 3 chairpersons. Please be aware that these amendments are not to be used in advance of the vote at National in August 2022.  We may choose to assume that the vote will affirm the amendments, but until they are, we must abide by the Constitution and Bylaws as currently written. In cases where there are not enough leaders, my advice is that chairpersons may need to take on more than one of the existing standing chairs. This is especially important at the diocesan level as those chairpersons are expected to impart information to the parishes from their counterparts at the national and provincial levels. Also, if the diocesan council uses the ‘new’ format, many councils will assume that it is okay to do so. If the proposed amendments are accepted, then the existing council executive can ‘reform’ themselves into the appropriate number of chairpersons with any ‘extras’ working as committee members under faith, service and social justice. It is exciting to see the proposed changes and as past presidents, we must be prepared to answer questions about how councils will be affected. It is important that we keep up on current information while spreading enthusiasm to our sisters in the League. These are truly exciting times!


May God continue to bless your work in the League.




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Past President / Archives Communiqué #3


Margaret Schwab, Provincial Past President / Archives Chair

Sept. 2020


Here we are in the fall of the year; who would have thought that the last six months would have been as unusual as they have been?  COVID–19 has changed many things in our world but the League is working hard to adapt. I am sure everyone is familiar with the directives from the National executive requesting that executives at all levels do not change at this time. It is important that we as past presidents are available to support and advise our executives, especially our presidents who undoubtedly are feeling quite burdened during these trying times.

In some parishes, meetings have resumed abiding by provincial laws (no more than 30 socially distanced attendees) while others are waiting to see what the fall brings with children back in school, flu season arriving, and other unknowns.


At the diocesan and provincial levels, it is really not possible to have face to face meetings with all of the presidents and limit the numbers to 30. Please keep in mind that the provincial council has purchased a subscription to ‘Gotomeeting’ which can be accessed by diocesan councils as a way to keep in touch with the parishes.


This is the time, when there is less activity happening, to make sure the archives are up to date and your council Policy and Procedure is reviewed. It is very important that this COVID-19 ‘event’ is documented in your archives. We may assume that we will never forget what happened this year (or possibly longer). The League is 100 years old – many things happened in the first years that we only know because of good record keeping. The first year(s) of our new CWL century began with a pandemic; will people remember that 50 years from now?  We must make sure that our archives have that story recorded. Also, it is important that decisions made by email or by phone calls are documented and recorded just as minutes would be. Executive lists for all years need to be documented in archives as well and could be accompanied by the temporary amendment to the National Constitution and Bylaws as found on the National CWL website under News Releases – Response to Covid – 19 Pandemic – Deferral of 2020 Convention Business and Extension of Term of Office, June 12, 2020.

We will survive these times. Our God did not promise life would be easy, but He did promise that we would never be alone.



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Past President / Archives Communiqué #2


Margaret Schwab, Provincial Past President / Archives Chair

Jan. 2020


I hope that you all have had a joyful Christmas season and are looking forward to all the CWL events to come in the year ahead.


It is the beginning of a new decade and a new year. It is common for us to feel that we need to clean house – in with the new and out with the old. However, as keepers of council archives, we must take care when we are throwing out the old.


The National Manual of Policy and Procedure has very good direction regarding keeping archives under Appendix 5 Archives Guidelines for League History –Provincial, Diocesan and Parish councils (pages 202 to 204).


The above article is very complete so I will ask that you read it and use it as your guideline for your council archives. One thing I would like to remind you is that it is imperative that there be very accurate, complete inventory lists made each time an entry is put into archives. As you will read, there should be three copies of this inventory: one is kept with the archives, one in your past-president’s binder and one copy given to the president and noted in the minutes. These inventory lists are very important so that there is always continuity as executives change and new people take on these roles.


One other reminder is that while it is very tempting to keep information from conventions and gatherings held at other levels of the League, unless it is something to be used by your council, there is no need to keep these documents as each level of the League has their own archives.


As past-presidents, you are probably in the midst of compiling names of those willing to stand for election. Please refer to Chairperson of Laws, Margaret Ann Jacobs’ Communique #5 which is on the website. It outlines very completely the process for council elections. That being said, I know that most of our councils have a very difficult time filling these positions. Our elections have been mostly by acclamation rather than election. So, we do what we can to still keep in accord with our bylaws. If an entire slate of officers is being acclaimed it is not necessary to do each position individually. The motion to accept must be made by a voting delegate and must be voted on only by voting delegates. Accredited delegated do not vote on elections.


A reminder that as past presidents, we are all ‘Chairpersons of Laws’ so it is our responsibility to keep our councils on track as much as possible with the National Policy and Procedure and the Constitution and Bylaws. We accept the fact that sometimes certain factors cause us to have to make allowances which are necessary for the survival of our councils. However, as long as we are aware that there are standard, accepted procedures and strive to get back to those when circumstances allow, we will not lose the strong foundation that is the Catholic Women’s League of Canada.


May God continue to bless your good works.



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Past President / Archives Communiqué #1


Margaret Schwab, Provincial Past President / Archives Chair

June 2019

After completing my two year term as president, I am looking forward to a bit slower pace as I take on the duties of past president.  That is not saying that the past president should take life easy, but rather can concentrate on her duties in accordance with her own time frame.


The national Manual of Policy and Procedure is updated every year at the winter national executive meeting. The changes are submitted by the provinces by the end of the year and voted on at the winter meeting. Therefore, they are available on line in the early spring. I am not sure that our parish councils are aware that they should be looking for these changes and adding them to their manuals at the same time removing outdated material as directed. On the website, the updates can be found ‘to organize’ 600 series, manuals. Each year of updates is listed there from 2015 to 2019. It is important for councils to have updated copies of this manual. The Policy and Procedure is the accepted guideline for all councils across the country. By following it, presidents will find that they do not have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to handling many situations. It actually makes the job of leadership must less intimidating. As past presidents, it is our job to inform councils about the importance of using the National P&P.


Each provincial, diocesan and parish council should also have their own policy and procedure – this document must be in compliance with the National P&P, but will reflect the activities within each individual council.  Information on preparing a policy and procedure manual is available on the website under 800 Series Workshops – 812 How to Prepare a Parish Council Manual of Policy and Procedure.  A reminder from National Past President, Margaret Ann Jacobs: “Manuals of policy and procedure are complementary to the Constitution & Bylaws (C&B) and must be consistent with the C&B.”


It is also the responsibility of the past president to review the council policy and procedure annually. Changes to this policy upon review must be passed by the parish members, if the p&p is at the parish level or at the diocesan/provincial level, must be passed by the executive. When reviewing, please make sure that all wording is clear and concise. 


The National P&P, pages 202 to 204, has very precise information on archives – what to keep active and when to archive. Of particular interest in this time of technology is that paper copies are still the best way to keep archival material. We have seen the rise and demise of the ‘floppy disk’ and most newer computers no longer take cd’s, so it is likely that our beloved memory sticks will find themselves replaced in the future. Paper is still the go-to standard.


May God continue to bless your work in the League as we journey toward our 100th year.




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Past Communiques


Past President / Archives Communiqué - June 2015

Past President / Archives Communiqué - June 2016



Past President / Archives Communiqué - June 2016


Marge Szabo, Provincial Past President / Archives Chair


Greetings to all past presidents,

I hope you’ve had time to unwind from your president’s position. Upon receiving this communique, your councils would be taking their summer break. Diocesan conventions are over and now we are focusing on our National Convention in August. Since this is an election year, it is always interesting to see who takes the various chairs on the new executive for 2016-2017. We pray that good choices are being made. All candidates are very committed members of the League. It is the solemn duty of the Provincial Presidents to cast their instructed ballet at the national convention. 


Our provincial CWL elections will be made next June 2017. As a past president, you are on the election committee for your diocesan elections as I as past provincial President will be on the elections committee for the coming year.


As elections chair, here are a few guidelines to help you recruit members to be part of an executive.

  • Watch for leaders all the time, those that participate and show interest.  Do not wait till a month before elections to start recruiting your elections roster. No one is too old or too young to serve on the executive as long as they are willing to give of their time and talent.
  • Involve potential leaders in your activities, and give them some task to fulfill. Invite them to conferences and workshops.
  • Talk to them personally, giving them the reasons why you feel they would be good on the executive. Sometimes, they don’t see or realize their own abilities.
  • Give them time to consider their leadership, but talk to them again (and again)
  • At nomination time, ask if you can nominate them.
  • In a small community, encourage each member to take a turn for the president’s chair. Some members may need a co-president to help them along. (I have not met a president yet, who hasn’t realized the sense of success in their achievements and responsibilities. All kinds of skills are developed in taking a leadership role.) We strongly discourage a president to stay more than two terms, if that is necessary.


Have you thought about doing a S’Mores Development Workshop on topic #1 - " Discerning a call to service” ?Approximate time required is only 40 minutes. The program is completely prepared, including prayers, questions and hand-outs. If your council president feels that she can’t do it, contact your diocesan president and she can refer you to the S’Mores Workshop team and they will come out to your council.

I look forward to talking to you about serving on the Provincial Council for the next term. It is a time to learn more about our organization and how important it is to be an active member in your council as an executive member. If you have any questions, please call me.


Let’s open the pages of some of our archives. What good are archives, if we don’t peek into our pages of history and learn more about our roots of this great organization of Catholic women. 


  • In 1957, Saskatoon, there was a Civic Action Committee as one of the standing committees. They were involved with blood donor’s clinic, poppy day at the post office, canvassed for mental health and March of Dimes and Red Cross. Members attended Civil Defense courses in the city and at valley centre.

  • Saskatoon hosted the National Convention in October 19-24, 1958. It is the first time that the convention has been held in Saskatoon. 602 delegates attended.


  • Civic Action Committee also looked after birthday parties at St. Ann’s Home. The ladies  received a rose bowl and card and the men got cigarettes and a card.


  • Many tea parties and coffee parties were held to raise money to buy a variety of items for charities, such as drapes and curtains for the seminary, decks of cards for the old boys’ club, piano, cups and saucers, cake plates and teaspoons, two steel coat hangers, duplicator machine, and the list goes on.


  • Annie Tomczak, Chairman for Civic Action states that they are the only one in Saskatchewan and 24 throughout the country.


  • In 1949, our magazine was called The Canadian League. It contained commercial advertisements on the inside and outer cover, mainly from Montreal companies. It  was printed in Berthieville, PQ


  • In 1949 -- “Enlist now in the Biggest Press Campaign in the history of The C.W.L. Nation-wide Crusade in support of  “The Canadian League”  When will it take place?   During the months of April and May, 1949. What will be the official slogan? EVERY MEMBER A SUBSCRIBER .   (A national trophy will be given to the province with the best showing in the campaign.)       



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Past President / Archives Communiqué - June 2015


Marge Szabo, Provincial Past President / Archives Chair


As we pass on the torch of leadership to a new president, we are in the wings to lend a hand whenever asked. Official word might be “consultant” and to advise when asked. Yes, we are still on the executive list for this 2 year term.


We are also responsible for the archives of the Provincial council, likewise each diocesan past president should do for their diocesan records. Do you know where your archives are being kept? Often diocesan past president will have to deal with council and church closures. Try to keep the council archives kept with the church records in a safe place.


Provincial Archives are stored at Saskatchewan Archives, 3303 Hillsdale Ave., Regina SK. They stipulate what materials can be placed there. Photo albums are not submitted, so they should be stored in a plastic container to prevent water damage and other. It is not a safe guard against fire.


Photos are especially great to reminisce over at council anniversaries. Always identify people and date picture. Oh, how we change! Be selective about your pictures. 5 pictures of the anniversary cake are not necessary. Use acid free paper and file folders, then backup photos on a disc.


Minutes – Past minutes are archived after 6 years. They should be in dated binders and signed by the secretary and president.


Each communique I will include a highlight from the Constitution and Bylaws book or the National Manual of Policy and Procedure, also a bit of archives information


Pin Protocol – Our League pin should be worn on the left side as a symbol of service “For God and Canada”. Good taste and discretion on the part of the member should prevail.


The pins are ranked as follows:

  • Honourary Life Member pin
  • President pin and Past President pin
  • Life Member pin
  • Bellelle Guerin pin
  • Maple Leaf Service pin
  • Presentation (years of service) pin
  • League insignia pin


Archives – Saskatchewan Provincial Council, organized in 1948

  • First president – Mrs. F. Drake, Regina
  • First director- Most Rev. P.F. Pocock, Saskatoon
  • First Vice President – Mrs. R.F. Koob, Cudworth
  • First Secretary – Miss Genevieve Curtin, Regina
  • First Treasurer – Mrs. J.J. Stewart, Regina


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