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At the Heart of Women - Celebrating 100 years of Catholic Women's League Sydney
Discover 100 years of faith, friendship and fun in celebration of the 2013 Centenary of Catholic Women's League Sydney
CENTENARY 2013
In 2013 Catholic Women's League, Sydney celebrated 100 years of service to the community. This remarkable achievement was recognised with the following three major events:
 
In 2013 Catholic Women's League, Sydney celebrated 100 years of service to the community. This remarkable achievement was recognised with the following three major events:
  • Centenary Mass, St. Mary's Cathedral & NSW State Parliament House Luncheon
  • Centenary Reception, Sydney Town Hall
  • Spring Garden Party, NSW Government House
 
 
The story of CWL Sydney's 100 history has been captured in the Documentary DVD 'At the Heart of Women' which is available for purchase below. This DVD has been added to the Catholic Education Office Sydney Archdiocese Secondary School Resource List and we encourage all school libraries to purchase a copy.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
AT THE HEART OF WOMEN DVD- NOW $20
 
To celebrate the Centenary of Catholic Women’s League Archdiocese of Sydney a documentary DVD was released in 2013.
 
This is a story of courage and conviction, a story of the women of the Catholic Women’s League Sydney who for 100 years have worked tirelessly for church and society.  In two world wars, during the biggest economic depression the world has ever known and in the good times these women of faith have promoted family values and been staunch defenders of those exploited and manipulated.
 
We trace the League’s foundation history and look at its work in justice education, support for projects in Australia and overseas and its parish connections. We chronicle their proud history of nurturing and developing women through engagement in emerging and innovative roles both in the church community and in wider society.
 
Bonded by a friendship and support network in Sydney, throughout the State, nationally and internationally, League members demonstrate they are women of extraordinary strengths and talents. This story shows that the League is a conduit for women to connect, build stronger relationships, increase a sense of belonging and engage by collaboration with others. It allows us to tap into their dreams and see them made real.
 
Through justice, community, faith and church they come together to reveal what is “At the Heart of Women”.
 
You can purchase the DVD online for $20 via the 'BUY NOW' button. For information to assist you when purchasing please open this document: DVD PAYMENT METHODS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CELEBRATING CWL SYDNEY PRESIDENTS
 
Esther Cannon
Esther Cannon
First President 1913
Dame Mary Barlow
Dame Mary Barlow
1914-16, 1916-1934
Miss Kate Egan
Miss Kate Egan
1934-1942
Mrs G S Mackinnon
Mrs G S Mackinnon
1945-1948
Mrs Kathleen Burrow MBE
Mrs Kathleen Burrow MBE
1949-1958
Mrs Wal C Chandler OBE
Mrs Wal C Chandler OBE
1959-1973
Dame Monica Gallagher DBE
Dame Monica Gallagher DBE

Act Pres. 1972-1974, Pres. 1974-1980
Mrs Esther Doyle AM
Mrs Esther Doyle AM
1981-1986
Mrs Patricia Morrisey OAM
Mrs Patricia Morrisey OAM
1987-1992, 1997-1998
Mrs Joan Carolyn
Mrs Joan Carolyn
1993-1996
Mrs Mary Harrold
Mrs Mary Harrold
1999-2002
Mrs Moya Potts
Mrs Moya Potts
2003-2008
2011- 2013
Mrs Loretta Chester
Mrs Loretta Chester
2009-2010
2014 -
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Celebrating Centenary
 
JOIN OUR JOURNEY
 
To help celebrate this exciting time why not take a trip down memory lane and enjoy some snippets from historical and archival material.
 
 
'Truly Feminine, Truly Catholic', by Hilary Carey
(1987) Robert Burton Printers
 
 
“Kate Egan took some time to find her feet as president of the CWA, yet it is interesting that one of her earliest initiatives was to try to resurrect the idea of establishing a meeting place for members in the city.  This had been high on the agenda at the inaugural meeting of the CWA in 1914, but welfare work and the need to make time, money and space available for the Catholic Women’s Hostel had driven the project into the background. 
 
 In February 1936, Egan wrote to Bishop Kelly that, since taking over as president, she had seen the necessity for a more convenient location for the meetings of the CWA:
Also a Catholic centre was needed where Catholics could meet informally in pleasant surroundings and also where visitors from abroad might be received in a manner befitting the Catholic position in Sydney.
 
After much searching, a suitable site had been located in the Australian Catholic Assurance Association’s new building at 66 King Street.  A meeting was held, attended by about 260 women, and this was enough encouragement for Egan to proceed with her plan. 
An annual subscription was fixed at one guinea per member, and the premises were quickly furnished.  The Catholic Women’s City Club Rooms, as they were called, proved to be a considerable success.  Besides the CWA executive, many Catholic organisations including the ex-students’ unions, The Grail, and the charity branches affiliated with the CWA used the central rooms for meetings.” Chapter 4, pg 42
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“The CWL has always felt confident to speak out publicly on issues relating to the family, but in the late 1960s and 1970s it became increasingly vocal and eloquent on issues that most directly affected values cherished by the organisation.  In short, the CWL became a subtle, persistent and efficient lobby group. 
 
There was the old problem of whether it was appropriate for a Catholic organisation, especially one run by women, to participate in politics, but these objections were easily overcome.  President Mrs. Chandler defined the problem neatly at a council meeting in 1969 when there had been some worry in the branches about signing a petition:  Catholic women’s League is definitely non-political, but that does not mean it cannot approach the Government when the need arises.
By 1969 the League was providing representation to ten different bodies ranging from the Road Safety Council to Austcare and to its own National Council.” Pg 158
 
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"In Sydney, Lady Strickland became the first President of the CWA and later the first patron of the NSW branch of the Red Cross, besides having an active involvement in the Australian Council of Women...Strickland was able to bestow 'Vicarious Stature' on the CWA, as well as allowing them to retain links with the wider community at a time of severe sectarian division between Catholics and Protestants." Pg 13
 
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"Although Mary Kate Barlow ('Queenie') had taken no part in the inauguration of the CWA in April 1913, she was unanimously elected chairwoman for the year 1914 at a meeting held on 5 January 1914. From this time until her death in 1934 Barlow was to be the driving, uniting force behind the successful establishment and growth of the CWA." Pg 15
 
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'The Catholic Women's Review' (December 15, 1936)
 
"The work of the Association for 1936 has exceeded that of many of the previous years. Much has been accomplished, but the work is never—ending, and there is still much to be done within the confines of the Catholic Women’s Association there is a field for labour and progress infinitely vast, but we must have the labourers willing and zealous to carry on.
 
At the Catholic Women’s League Conference in 1935, Rev. Father Phillips, C.M., made an appeal to the Association for its active interest in adult deaf mutes. Monetary assistance was immediately forthcoming for the picnic, then being arranged. At the December meeting of the C.W.A committee, a sub-committee was formed to make plans for regular entertainment of Catholic deaf and dumb– pending the formation of their own club.
 
The Hospital Visitation Committee is happy to record that 12 hospitals are visited weekly, and Waterfall Sanatorium monthly. 1928 articles of clothing were supplied 27 patients were given boots, shoes or slippers and a number were supplied with toiletries.” pg 2.