Pictured: The First Leadership Cohort (May 2018 to April 2019) of fourteen women came together to begin a journey of learning and sharing, inspiring them to be transformational and influential leaders where they live and work.
Inspired by a shared mission of a just and compassionate world nurtured by women, the Sisters of Service and the Catholic Women’s League, brought to reality a vision to transform the leadership education of Catholic Women. They provided the initial funding to create the Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation which was incorporated in 2014 and later registered as a charitable organization.
In 2015, the Foundation Board was established with the responsibility to develop women’s leadership capacity-building programs of the highest quality and consistent with Catholic values by establishing and maintaining partnerships with key educational institutions.
In 2018 the vision of the Sisters of Service and the Catholic Women’s League of Canada became a reality! The Foundation partnered with the Providence School of Transformational Leadership and Spirituality at Saint Paul University in Ottawa, and the first program took place from May 2018 to April 2019!
Giselle Marion, who lives in Behchoko, Northwest Territories was one of these fourteen amazing women. She is an Implementation Facilitator, Communication and Special Projects, Tlicho Government. Giselle was gracious enough to share her story of the past year.
“I have been on an amazing journey. I am humbled to have been among talented women with diverse backgrounds from across Canada. As we near the end of the first cohort of the Catholic Women’s Leadership program developed in partnership with Saint Paul University’s Providence School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality, I can clearly say it was transformative!
I reflect on my statement in my application: ‘I have always found my faith to be a comfort as a child to adulthood. Much comfort came from knowing strong spiritual people. With their guidance, I grew up with confidence in myself and my faith’. I believe, through the program, that I can help others with their spirituality and emotional intelligence. In turn, I can contribute what I have learned to the people of my community, workplace, family, and church.
I have reached my goal and learned “teachings of guidance” to live a purposeful life in a meaningful, valuable, and spiritual way. All of this happens in the context of relationships in this wonderful circle of learning.
Living in an isolated northern community on Tlicho Territory, my home, I was grateful for the opportunity to absorb teachings such as bioethics to conflict and social change to name a few. I learned to stretch my mind and my view of Catholicism and what it means to be a Catholic woman in today’s world.
Tom Harpur, in his book Living Waters, states ‘we forget that the global picture is a projection on a large scale of what is going on inside every human beings living heart. Every truly inspired prophet, poet and visionary have made it plain that the causes of and solutions to every human problem, whatever is the scale might be, lying in the heart and mind of each individual member of our species’.
This is God’s call to us. What can our hearts offer plainly and simply? What solutions can women offer? Our holy father tells us ‘women make the world beautiful, they protect it and keep it alive’ (International Women’s Day). The Catholic Women’s Leadership program is a beautiful and inspiring example of shared purpose, in relationships, be it in care of our common home; our communities or families.”
The Leadership Program is open to all Canadian Catholic women 21 years-of-age and older who have a genuine desire to cultivate their gifts of leadership, and demonstrate key leadership qualities like vision, determination, compassion, creativity, optimism and a positive and collaborative work ethic.
The call for 2020-2021 Program applications and an opportunity to hear more from participants will be available in the fall 2019 edition.