The Karori branch of the Catholic Women’s League celebrated its 50 years at its Christmas party in December with a reminiscences of what was happening in 1963.
Browsing the CWL minutes and branch reports as well as photos and press clippings, I noticed in particular three things:
The fashions of the 1960s – hats, gloves, handbags, dresses, fur stoles, court shoes – perfection in every way. Not a pair of trousers in sight. The Catholic Women’s League was the group of choice and the place to be. Even on the bus to Seatoun in 1967 – everyone is immaculate.
The second was the devotion and commitment that continues today, of a loyal group of Karori women.
In 1987 Anne Joyce, President of the Wellington Archdiocesan CWL, with the support of Anne McIntyre, Ethne Wyndham-Smith, Cassie Devlin and June Cannons (RIP). Mary Lowe (RIP), Anne Lumb following on in later committees; all either at national, archdiocese, regional and branch level. Working with the World Organisation of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WOCWO), National Council of Women; local parish/community involvement, the Mission Projects.
The third was that the CWL was never shy at speaking out and/or supporting and promoting some controversial issues. For example:
- In 1977 Stratford CWL Conference ‘Child Care Centres Opposed’ The CWL archdiocese conference came out against Catholic women establishing or helping with child care centres or child-minding groups.
- Wel-Com April 1987 ‘Women to seek share in all church decisions’ Remit proposed by president elect Anne Joyce to the Wellington Archdiocesan Conference.
- In 1999 the CWL/Wgtn Archdiocese wrote to Hon Nick Smith supporting a bid for continued funding for the He Huarahi Tamariki school for teenage parents in Porirua. This also supported by Sr Marcellin.
- The 2011 CWL ‘At Home’ Appeal raised $10,112 for ECPAT New Zealand (Child Alert – Preventing the sexual exploitation of children).
Our Jubilee Party was a tribute to those past and to celebrate the present.
The evening started with a Remembrance Prayer, led by Fr Robert Devlin SM, a list of deceased CWL Karori members was read; Jubilee messages followed from: Archbishop John Dew, Frs Thomas O’Brien and Peter O’Connell, Br Robert Johnsen SM and former president Cecily Wheeler; lay pastoral leader Mary-Anne Peetz proposed a toast to absent friends; presentations to previous presidents: Anne Joyce, Ethne Wyndham-Smith, Anne Lumb, Julia O’Connor and current president Janet Lowe. Christine Murdoch gave Janet an extra gift because it seemed unfair that Janet should have bought her own present!
Entertainment was provided by two Rock ‘n Roll dancers and the audience participated in the Gay Gordons. The evening continued with cutting the cake, Christmas singalong and parish priest Fr Seph Pijfers led a final prayer before supper.
More information, photos, jubilee messages and Archive speech in full can be found on the CWL website.