The Martha of the gospels appeared in today’s super-grans at a recent archdiocesan Catholic Women’s League conference.
Guest speaker, Erin McMenamin, told members of the ‘busy worker’ Marthas in today’s society. This group of women helps young families with a variety of skills—some as simple as cooking a meal, shopping on a budget and making healthy snacks for children. In the case of immigrants, super gran Marthas can be seen helping them to settle into NZ life by teaching them basic household skills and budgeting.
Erin McMenamin said some young people have difficulty caring for their babies. ‘Super grans give them all the support we give to our own children. These people have only the super grans. Clients have to ask for help.’
The other guest speaker in the two-day April conference, Lorraine Wilson, took Mary from the same gospel (Luke 10/John 11) for contrast. Mary was a great listener, a people’s person, she was the person to whom you would tell your problems. Mary took the time to be quiet and listen to the Lord. She teaches us the value of quiet time to feed the soul in our busy lives. ‘God gave us two ears and one mouth for a very good reason,’ Lorraine said.
We need to pause, ‘just notice the wonder of God around us—breathe in the wonder of God; it feeds the soul,’ Lorraine said. We need both women in our lives—solve the problems with Mary and then join Martha in the kitchen.
Sister Mary Gordon developed this theme in spiritual and reflective liturgies.
The Lower Hutt branch hosted the annual conference at the Angus Inn on April 12 and 13 where a request from women in the Solomon Islands for help to get to a retreat on the main island raised a spontaneous $1,000—women helping women.
The conference heard that giving to missions and to the home appeal has risen in the past year with members supporting World Youth Day and Samaritans.
The liturgy of the deceased was very moving with each branch lighting a candle and saying the names of members of their branch who had died. These included three well known tireless workers for CWL: past National President, Geraldine Scott, Kitty Vidal, and Maureen McBride.
Concerns about Easter trading, leaky homes, the Serious Crime Bill, stem cell research, pre-birth testing, energy efficiency, conservation, the use of food crops to make bio fuels, and the availability of party pills to vulnerable young people have kept league members busy lobbying their MPs during the year. The national social concerns convenor, Pat O’Neil, encouraged members to speak out on all these issues. And local convenor, Ethne Wyndham-Smith, said members needed to try to solve the reasons for these concerns.
National Mission Convenor, Maureen Kerr, spoke of her recent trip to Samoa and of how much the people appreciate all that the CWL does for them.
Maureen congratulated members on their Mission giving—up again this year. The national mission fund went to Chanel Home of Compassion in Fiji to replace roofing and spouting. She asked all members to keep praying, writing and giving to the branch missions.
Archbishop John Dew’s message was about the balance of prayer and deeds. He read from Joy Crowley’s book Come and See on Mary and Martha. He said we are all very good at action but not so good at ‘sitting and remaining in his prayer [love]’.
Many reports were read and discussed and remits and recommendations for the July national conference in Hamilton drew heated discussion.
The St Bernard’s Barbershop Quartet provided welcome after-dinner entertainment on the Saturday night while delegates relaxed with friends.