Catholic Women's League of Saskatchewan

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Education and Health Communiqué #4 - June 2021 


Margaret Schwab, Provincial Education and Health


National Chairperson of Education and Health, Faith Anderson, frequently shares information from the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute. Her latest report from the institute highlighted the COVID-19 outbreaks that are happening in a First Nations area in Northern Ontario due to overcrowding. Some are living with 3 or 4 families in a house, causing the disease to spread not only among adults but children as well. There is also an article about the global south and how they are not receiving the vaccines as readily as we are in our comfortable Canadian provinces. We need to urge our government to step up and assist those countries unable to afford this life saving vaccine. The CCBI can be found at On their site, you can also sign up to­­­­­­­­­ ­­­­­­receive their newsletter. There is lots of good information to be found.


The provincial CWL executive ­­has had Palliative Care and Pornography Hurts postcards printed for councils to mail to government officials. Each diocesan president will receive the cards for the councils in her diocese and can distribute them however she feels will be the most efficient manner. We ask that all of the cards be in the hands of parish presidents by the end of August with the goal of sending the Pornography Hurts cards to government in September. That means that councils would have them for their September meeting and can distribute to members. The Pornography Hurts cards can be mailed to the Prime Minister, and members of Parliament.


In the month of October, we are asking that the Palliative Care postcards are sent to federal Minister of Health, Patti Hajdu, provincial Minister of Health, Paul Merriman and the Prime Minister. Mail being sent to federal MP’s does not require postage. Mail to the provincial Health minister will require postage.


As diocesan Education and Health chairpersons, you can help your president with getting these postcards out and encouraging your councils to get them sent. I will be contacting all councils by email to explain when and where they are to be sent.


We have gone through a very difficult time in the last 16 months and are not sure if the pandemic is really coming to an end. I am sure we will feel the effects of it for a long time to come.


I hope that you are able to spend time this summer with family and friends while still maintaining safety.


Thank you for your service to the League and, may the Lord bless the works of your hands.



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Education and Health Communiqué #3 - May 2021 


Margaret Schwab, Provincial Education and Health


It is my pleasure to finally be preparing my first memo as education and health chairperson for the provincial council. Finally, in spite of the lingering cold weather, the trees are budding and plants are pushing through the ground indicating that spring is here.


May is a very busy month. 


May 2 to 8 is National Palliative Hospice Care Week. I hope parishes have taken the opportunity to download the prayer services available on the national website. Because of the ongoing pandemic, it is quite appropriate for councils to encourage their members to pray some of the service in their home. Perhaps, councils can pick one day and have their members praying on the same day.  Please encourage members to find the information on the website as there is a lot of good reading there. Also, encourage members to sign up for the national webinar entitled A Practical Discussion about Palliative Care being presented on May 8th.


The provincial council is purchasing postcards on palliative care for all councils to send to government officials. They will be arriving soon and mailed to the diocesan presidents for distribution to councils.


May 3 to 9 is also Mental Health Week and members can access a toolkit at


The deadline for applications to the National Bursary fund must be postmarked by May 15, 2021.  As described on the National website: “The bursary fund is used to provide financial assistance to members pursuing studies, courses, seminars, workshops and diploma/degree programs in areas of, spiritual growth, adult faith formation, youth ministry, ministry to patients in palliative care, ministry to shut-ins, parliamentary procedure and literacy tutoring.”  Sometimes members forget the many possibilities this fund covers.


While our difference provinces celebrate education week at different times of the year, World Catholic Education Day will be celebrated this year on May 13th.  We must keep our teachers and students in our prayers during this very stressful time.


Care for Our Common Home Initiative: This has been extended until June 30th. Please encourage councils to keep track of some of the goals of this initiative; trees planted efforts to eliminate the use of paper bags and straws, participation in community clean-ups, etc. Don’t forget that we would like to see pictures of these endeavours on the provincial website.




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Education and Health Communiqué #2 - June 2020 


June Gorchuck, Provincial Education and Health


This is a very difficult time for everyone. COVID-19 is affecting more than one million plus all over the world. To reduce the risk of spreading the virus, we are asked to wash our hands, stay home, social distance and keep in touch with family and friends. This can all be very challenging. We have to be creative on how we spend our time and how to keep in touch. Our body, minds and spirits must be kept healthy during this time.


As you probably all know by now, all conventions are now cancelled. We are unable to have our CWL meetings in our parishes. We must try to keep in touch with our fellow members. A phone call is very uplifting and lets members know they are not forgotten  at this time.


Schools across the country are closed and many students have been provided with materials that can be used at home for their studies. Rhe Canadian Catholic School Trustees' Association indicated on March 26, 2020 in a unanimous decision, Saskatchewan's highest court has upheld the right of Catholic Schools to receive provincial funding for non Catholic students.  Parents have the right to choose a faith-based education for their children.  The CCSTA also stated, “Although this ruling is based in Saskatchewan, it speaks to the rights of all Canadian students and their parents.”


During this pandemic, we are thankful for all the health care workers and other essential workers for the job that they are doing to help us at this most difficult time.  We must have faith. This too will pass. We will probably have to adjust to a “new normal” after this and come to realize just what is important.


Please continue to pray that a cure will be found for this pandemic.

God Bless!




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Education and Health Communiqué #1 - June 2019 


June Gorchuck, Provincial Education and Health

Welcome to all who are new to this convenorship, and welcome back to those who have been with this before. This convenorship covers a wide range of topics and should be an exciting and learning time.

I am the new Saskatchewan Provincial Standing Committee Chair of Health and Education – getting excited about what lies ahead for me.  I’m also on the Saskatoon Diocesan Executive as Community Life Chair, and Secretary on our Parish Council.

I’ve been a member of the CWL for 29 years, and have learned a lot!

One of my concerns is health care for senior citizens, since that’s where I am, especially end of life options, including palliative care.  Educating people about what is available, and how to get it, is needed.  This is something that we must try to make accessible to all who need it.  

Another of my pet peeves is the abortion issue.  This does not seem to go away!  Educating women and girls about the life long side effects of abortion, not to mention the end of a life of one of God’s children, is necessary. Life begins at conception.  What about “thou shalt not kill” don’t they understand?  This applies to Medical Assisted Suicide, as well.

I am concerned about the lack of Catholic teaching in the schools.  I have been told that this is up to the parents, but this is not happening.  

These are just a few topics that I’m concerned about. 

Please feel free to contact me about what concerns you and maybe we can make a difference.

Hoping you all have a lovely summer and will come back in the fall with some great inspirations for our Convenorship.

God bless.



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Previous Communiqué





Education and Health Communiqué #6 - January 2019 


Marian Zsombor, Provincial Education and Health

Literacy and Continuing Education:

Many of our religious education programs are affected by changes to the school curriculum, lack of teachers and school closures. If this happens to be the case in your area encourage CWL members to reach out to assist parish and /or school religious programs.


To promote our Catholic Faith and share in the mission of evangelization, consider offering assistance by providing guest speakers, organizing scripture studies, and retreats or consider 

being a member of the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). 


CWL councils are encouraged to make contributions to the National bursary fund. The Bursary awards provide financial support to members wanting to expand personal knowledge through courses, workshops and a variety of degree programs


Canadian Blood Services for Life

 I mentioned in my last Communiqué that CWL Councils can join the Canadian Blood Services             Partners for Life. .Donations by League members, friends, families and co-workers are credited to   The Catholic Women’s League of Canada account through an ID number. The ID number is    CATHO11269   For more information please visit

To see how CWL is doing go to the website scroll down to: See how your team is doing.  Prairies Partner Report. You will notice that only Manitoba is listed so far. Let’s put some numbers in for Saskatchewan.

This website provides information on community, social, non-clinical health and related government services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Visit Saskatchewan 211 for information relevant to our province..



The new Canada Food Guide is now available. It provides information under five different categories:  Food Choices, Eating Habits, Recipes, Tips and Resources .The study from 2015-2018 continued to review and access emerging evidence and links between food, nutrients and health.

The new Food Guide has been developed to be relevant to all Canadians as well as be inclusive of Indigenous Peoples.


Registration is available if you wish to keep up to date and be informed: Consultation and Stakeholder Information Management System, at the ’areas of interest’ select Canada’s Food Guide/Nutrition.


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Education and Health Communiqué #5 - November 2018 


Marian Zsombor, Provincial Education and Health


Literacy and Continuing Education:

Encourage CWL members to check with schools in their area to see if they could volunteer at the library or with individual reading programs. There are students who may require additional help to develop or improve their reading skills. The rewards are great. Interaction between our young people and senior adults may develop lasting friendships in some cases. This is great for everyone involved as it is good for our mental health.



In order to help the environment we need to continue to use items that are biodegradable and environmentally friendly. Try to refrain from using plastic straws and Styrofoam cups. Flushables must be biodegradable otherwise over time they will plug up our sewer systems. There is a resolution regarding a standard for products marked as “flushable”. I encourage you to write letters regarding this resolution: details are in the Canadian League magazine pages 18 &19.


Wellness and Sickness/Disease:

Encourage physical activity in your group and community; participate in sports, walking or an exercise group, anything to keep active at your own skill level or level of mobility. This is great for our physical bodies and our mental wellness.


There is no longer an upper age limit if you wish to donate blood, or if you have not donated before you can start donating anytime after your 17th birthday. Councils can join the Canadian Blood Services Partners for Life program, just as Manitoba provincial council has since 2010. Donations by League members, friends, families and co-workers are credited to The Catholic Women’s League of Canada account through an ID number. For more information please visit


Palliative and End of Life Care:

We must continue to pray for and support Palliative and Hospice Care, End of Life Care.

There is the International End-of- Life-Doula Association that offers training to be an end of life doula. This training helps with individual personal growth on issues of death and dying. They offer supports and help guide families and friends when they face death.


The Catholic Health Association of Saskatchewan has a booklet “Faith Based Advance Health Care Directive” if you have not seen one I encourage you to do so. I also encourage you to make others aware of it as well. It gives an individual the opportunity to state their wishes regarding their health care should they be unable to make those decisions for themselves at a later time in their lives.


The booklets are available: e-mail: or website

Phone: 306 955 2427 (Saskatoon)

The cost of the directive is $5.00



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Education and Health Communiqué #4 - June 2018 


Marian Zsombor, Provincial Education and Health


This year we are stressing the importance of recognizing mental health issues in children, adults, mid-years and seniors. I have covered mental health issues in children, adults and mid-years in the past communiqués.  Here, I will focus on issues in the aging population, seniors. Diagnosis and treatment become more complicated in the aging population, because of the prevalence of the multiple chronic conditions, multiple medications often prescribed by multiple doctors, drug interactions, social isolation, limited mobility, and increased emergency visits with poor follow up.


The most prevalent mental health issues in seniors are: anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, borderline personality disorders, major depression disorders, dissociative disorders, obsessive compulsion disorders & post-traumatic stress disorders (PSTD).  You may ask, how is mental illness treated in this age group?  The most commonly used therapies consist of:  psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, self help or support groups, stress management techniques and medications like antidepressants.  We must remember that every individual is unique so treatments will vary.  How can we be supportive of a loved one with mental illness?


Encourage them to exercise within their ability.  Physical activity is an effective drug free, low cost treatment for depression and other mental disorders.  If possible, accompany them to their doctor appointments. Use only one pharmacy since this helps as all prescriptions are on file and it helps to prevent drug interactions, duplicate subscriptions and minimizes allergic reactions.  Encourage them to seek the right kind of social support. A good support network is crucial to the mental health of older adults. The greatest asset is a positive attitude.

Maybe you can help; if you see that someone is struggling with anxiety, depression, or loneliness; do not ignore the symptoms, be a good listener and offer support if possible.  You may just be the person that can give them a positive outlook on life, making a difference for them.


This summer as we are enjoying the outdoors, our families and our vacations, let us be thankful for God's many gifts as well as our challenges, trials and tribulations.  We are woman Inspired by the Spirit responding to God's call.


God Bless each and every one of you and have a great summer!!




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Education and Health Communiqué #3 - February 2018 


Marian Zsombor, Provincial Education and Health


Most of the information found in this communiqué has been summarized from Fran Lucas's communiqués #7, 8 and 9 who is our National chairperson of Education and Health.




We are encouraged to take part in the 12 hours for Hospice Palliative Care again this year.  The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association is holding a Hospice Palliative Care week from May 6-12, 2018. Consider a day that week that suits your members to pray for this very important need.  There will be more information launched on the National website in two stages February 28 and March 09.  Please check for more information on those dates.  There is a book by Nuala Kenny: Rediscovering the Art of Dying. How Jesus' Experience and our own stories reveal a New Vision of Compassionate Care.  Dr. Kenny spoke on this subject at the National convention in Halifax two years ago.




May 7-13, 2018 is Mental Health week.  As we continue to focus on Mental Health, I encourage you to engage guest speakers at meetings and share local community resources. 

Mental Health issues continue to grow effecting all ages, children and teens are affected; some are not as resilient as others.  We have to teach children and teens coping skills, build confidence, believe in their abilities and competence by knowing how to handle situations effectively.  We need to allow them to control the outcome of their decisions and actions.

Discipline is used to teach and not to punish.  A good resource book is Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings by Pediatrician Kenneth R Ginsburg.


The other age group to consider is the Mid-Life years are people in their 40s and 50s.  Many may be faced with the challenge of caring for young adults going to high school or university, young parents needing mom's and dad's advice.  There may be hardships due to job loss, poor or declining health, divorce, loss of a spouse, or the responsibility of looking after aging parents.  If we have not acquired good coping skills in earlier life these challenges may be overwhelming.  These circumstances could lead to a decreased size of the social network leading to feelings of isolation.

Ways to cope and get through these situations is by having a positive attitude, finding a resilient role model, surrounding yourself with positive people, and facing your fears.  Your self esteem can be raised by facing your fears.  Develop active coping skills and nurture a supportive social network.


We gain strength from close relationships with people and organizations such as church.  We need to attend to our physical wellbeing, look after ourselves.  Exercise has positive effects. 


We cannot go through life without any challenges; how we deal with them has a direct impact on our mental health. The way we deal with mid-life challenges has an effect on how we will be impacted in the senior years both physically and mentally. Dr. Dennis Charney, American biological psychiatrist and researcher and co-author of the book Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life's Greatest Challenge sets out a resilience prescription. In it he lists ten things common amongst people who have gotten through horrific traumas and challenges that many of us face today.




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Education and Health Communiqué #2 - October, 2017 


Marian Zsombor, Provincial Education and Health




12 Hours for Palliative care

Many issues come to mind in this area. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are topics in the news.  We must continue to make people aware of the alternative which is palliative and hospice care. We need to continue with the 12 hours of prayer for palliative care which has been designated in May, and encourage as many members and non-members as possible to take part in this initiative.


End of Life

The Art of Dying website ( set up by the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales gives us insight into the questions asked by those nearing death. The episode 2 podcast deals with palliative care.


Our focus this year is on mental health regarding children and youth, the middle years, issues pertaining to seniors and those facing retirement. A special look will be given to immigrant and refugee populations and the mental challenges that they face.


Partners for Mental Health will cease at the end of November 2017. With the support of financial sponsors, volunteers, and supporters, they have nurtured two world class programs. Not Myself Today and Right By You have brought mental health conversation in our places of work and in our homes.


The workplace mental health program, Not Myself Today, was transitioned to the Canadian Mental Health Association in July 2017. CMHA is Canada's largest and longest serving mental health charity. The Right By You is a support of youth mental health and will be transitioned to in November 2017. has extensive experience mobilizing young people both digitally and face-to-face volunteer opportunities, speaking engagements, and events.



"Access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights." ~  Pope Francis


We have many communities that have a boil water advisory and many reserves have water that is medium to high risk. There is more information regarding this concern on the National CWL website under Education and Health in Fran Lucas's Communiqués 05 & 06. You will find them HERE.


We are encouraged to write letters concerning health issues to Honorable Ginette Taylor, Federal Minister of Health and Honorable Jim Reider, Provincial Minister of Health.


How many of us are influenced by celebrities, athletes or the media by what we put into our bodies? 


Timothy Caulfield, is a Canada Research Chair in Health and Law Policy, a professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. He spoke at the Alberta Public Health Association Annual General meeting. He believes that as a society, we have come to tolerate a false balance in health that we do not in other areas: we allow anecdotal results to undermine scientific evidence. Those results come from family and friends, but increasingly they come from celebrities and their social media. He feels that we need to use critical thinking when making healthcare decisions rather than relying on the advice of non-medical advocates of products or treatments or even celebrity medical practitioners who stand to gain in some way.


Caulfield wants to debunk bad science and medicine by getting people to think more critically and to look to medical research before embarking on some of these products that have no evidence to support their claims.  There was an article published in the Edmonton Journal on Tuesday, September 05, 2017; topic is: U of A Professor welcomes renewed scrutiny of Paltrow's lifestyle products.




In Saskatchewan, all Catholic and non-Catholic students can attend Catholic schools.  Premier Brad Wall invoked the notwithstanding clause of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


The Saskatchewan Catholic School Board will appeal the recent decision in the Theodore court case.


The National Bursary Fund needs assistance as funds have been dwindled due to the low interest rates.  National is asking us to encourage our councils and members to send in donations to National office to help build up the fund.



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Education and Health Communiqué #1 - July, 2017 


Marian Zsombor, Provincial Education and Health


I have been a CWL member for 38 years. I have been president of St. Agnes CWL in Pilot Butte for 12 years. We are a small council and do not have all the different convenorships that a larger council would have. However, we are visible in our parish community by providing food hampers at Christmas and offering communion on Sunday mornings to Catholic residents at our carehome in Pilot Butte.


I have been on the provincial council as chairperson of Christian Family Life the last 2 years and am looking forward to being the chairperson for Education and Health and getting to know more of my sisters in the league.

My husband, Ed and I have 3 daughters and 5 grandchildren.




The Health and Stroke Foundation of Canada has released its 2017 report on the health of Canadians entitled The kids are not alright. The food marketing industry is targeting children between the ages of 13 to 17 years of age with their advertising and marketing schemes.


Television markets foods high in fat, sugar and salt. Most foods advertised are high in one or more of the ingredients. On average children watch about 2 hours of television per day viewing about 4 or 5 of these foods or beverages per hour. Marketers know that 90% of food and beverage purchases are driven by children.


The food industry is targeting our children. Today, one in three children are overweight or obese. Obesity increases children's risks for heart disease & stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression and other health problems. This is attributed to the amount and type of food consumed. Many diets today consist of nutrient-poor processed foods, sugary drinks, foods high in fat, sugar and salt. Advertising is not the only factor in consumer choices. Many times it may be lack of education of healthier food choices, cost or availability. If we can educate the teens and children to make healthier choices, by making their decision based on reading food labels or being exposed to health and fitness magazines and materials, they will mature into healthier adults with fewer health issues.


To read the complete report go to:


Health Canada is considering a sweeping ban on junk food ads aimed at children and teens.

This brings to light two of our resolutions:

2016.02 Eating well with Canada's food guide

2011.04 Caffeine in Energy drinks


We are encouraged to write letters to bring these changes about in the interest of our children.

Contact info:

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, 80 Wellington Street , Ottawa, ON., K1A 0A2; E-mail:
  • Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice, House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6; E-mail:
  • Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6; E-mail:


(NOTE: Mail may be sent postage-free to any MP)



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