The Roman Catholic Parish of Lady, Star of the Sea, Weymouth, Dorset, UK
Catholic Women’s League 2012
Margaret Fletcher set up the Catholic Women’s League in 1906 for the education of women. The League still offers members the opportunities to develop and learn new skills, and use them for the benefit of the church and especially their local parish. Belonging to CWL is a journey of prayer, faith and friendship.
Our Patron is St Margaret Clitherow, Martyred at York on 25th March 1586, canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1970.
Whether it is providing coffee and biscuits after Mass, helping with catering at other parish events, fundraising for national and local community charities, our parish CWL members show unity in prayer and action.
Interested in joining us? Speak with committee members Janet Newington (Chairperson) or June Rust (Secretary). You will be welcome!
The Catholic Women's League has a hierarchical organisation. At the top is National, then there are regional Branch groupings and at the local level there are Sections, such as the Weymouth Section and Dorchester Section.
Weymouth Section is hosting a Branch meeting on Saturday 23rd February, 2013, in the new Parish Hall. Section officers will attend and ordinary members are invited to come along as well.
The Dorchester Section, in their turn, will be hosting the Branch Annual General Meeting on Saturday April 20th at the Holy Trinity Parish Centre.
At these events members get to meet their regional counterparts and exchange ideas.
The next Weymouth Section meeting is on Tuesday 8th January at 2pm in the new parish hall.
The following Tuesday, 15th January, finds the CWL ladies enjoying a social meal out at midday at the Spa, Dorchester Road; it is not all work!
The ladies in the November meeting were very focused on Advent and the Christmas season.
Tuesday 11th December is the next meeting in the parish hall at 2pm. Suzanne Newson is setting up a quiz afternoon and the CWL Dorchester Section will be invited along.
Sunday 23rd December is the parish Advent Service at 5pm. The CWL ladies will be serving mulled wine/fruit juice and mince pies following the service.
As usual, this year Christmas cards will be sent out to housebound and sick members. They are always remembered in the section's prayers.
The "Christmas" meal out this year will be on January 15th, 2013, at the Spa Hotel, Radipole, Weymouth.
The parish CWL fundraises throughout the year to support CWL official national charities and also charities nominated by local members. At the October Meeting it was decided that the members should make their choice of charities to which donations would be given.
Apostleship of the Sea £100
Dorchester Women’s Refuge £100
Soul Food £100
Weymouth and District LIFE Group £100
Mary’s Meals £50
Skate Park £50
Women at the Well £50
One of the ways in which funds were raised was by members manning a Weymouth Carnival Stall, selling official programmes and raffle tickets. The ladies were praised for their sterling efforts on the day.
The ladies will also be making a choice of a different kind by voting for the CWL National President. The candidates this year are Elizabeth Upsher (Brentwood branch), Kate Doyle (Clifton Branch) and Christine Pugh (Westminster Branch). All three candidates are very keen on recruitment of new members. The League is for women of all ages, so the aim is to recruit a new generation.
Due to a change of meeting day following on from the parish’s move to Stavordale Road, the planned talk on “Weymouth through the eyes of Thomas Fowell Buxton, MP for Weymouth and Melcombe Regis, 1818-1837”, has been postponed until Tuesday October 9th in the afternoon at Stavordale Road Hall.
This will be the second presentation to members of the CWL concerning Thomas Fowell Buxton. With the first presentation some 18 months ago, the members had felt connected in that he had voted in parliament for Catholic Emancipation in 1829, despite being aware that his electors in Weymouth opposed the measure, and that it might cost him the next election. He went with his conscience. A direct result of emancipation was the building of the first post-reformation Catholic Church in Weymouth in 1835, St Augustine’s, Dorchester Road.
Thomas Fowell Buxton took over from William Wilberforce in leading the anti-slavery group in parliament. So under his leadership slavery as an economic system in the Empire was abolished in 1833 by parliamentary means. In the USA it needed a Civil War to achieve the same end. The CWL ladies had felt connected also through our diocesan priest, Father Gerard Wilberforce, whose ancestor, William Wilberforce, was mentor to Thomas Fowell Buxton.
Being a very pro-active CWL, the ladies subsequently ran a Jumble Sale to raise funds towards the planned monument to Thomas Fowell Buxton. The money raised paid for the planning application. The application was successful and the monument will be erected on the Manor Roundabout near Morrisons. Well done ladies!
An article in the summer edition of the CWL News by Maureen Anderson illustrates that “The Catholic Women’s League is part of CAFOD’s roots and branches; joined at the hip and heart”.
CAFOD came into being when volunteers from the National Board of Catholic Women, the Union of Catholic Mothers and the Catholic Women's League organised the first Family Fast Day back in 1960.
They were raising money in response to an appeal from a Belgian nun in Dominica asking for help in setting up a Mother and Baby Clinic. The money that poured in exceeded all expectations.
Today the CWL still responds to the Lenten Campaign; the Lenten Lunches organised in the parish. Also there was a donation to CAFOD from our section's funds.
Monthly CWL meetings are graced from time to time by outside speakers. This month Mrs Gillian Penwell was welcomed to the July Thursday afternoon meeting. She is well known for her commitment to the local branch of Cruse, but she was wearing her other hat in giving a presentation on "Carers".
Gillian is a volunteer worker with Carers UK Support. Pre-1993 there was little help for carers nationally. In 1994 the Women's Institute launched a survey on social welfare. The report led to the 1996 Caring Recognition and Services Act. GP surgeries now keep a Carer's Register and relevant carers' information can be obtained from the surgeries.
Carers need support and respite. This has been provided locally at the Lawns and Acorns; this helps to break down isolation. However, the Lawns will soon close. Carer support is available at meetings monthly at the Angling Club, Commercial Road, Weymouth. Support on Portland is provided in association with the St John's Ambulance programme. They meet at Eastham Road Surgery.
There are 1,354 Carers in Weymouth; almost 1.5% of the total population. There are young carers as well as the more usual elderly ones. The Carer's Allowance for those carers of working age is not up to the minimum wage; this is a situation that needs addressing.
Many of Gillian's CWL audience are carers currently, or have been carers in the past. They were able to give concrete examples of past neglect, and also praise some of the present services. Gillian was warmly thanked for her presentation, and a donation given for the work of her organisation.
The Weymouth section of CWL has been invited by their Dorchester counterparts to a Cream Tea on Tuesday 31st July at 2pm. A presentation will be given on the afternoon by a speaker from Duke's of Dorchester on "Antiques". This should prove to be a very popular afternoon out!
The CWL in the parish of Our Lady Star of the Sea does use its skills for the benefit of the parish and beyond. In 2000 member Marie Kathrens brought back to Weymouth an idea from a national CWL Conference. The idea was to use the skills and abilities of ladies of the parish in making textile liturgical banners to beautify the churches of St Joseph's and St Augustine.
The Banner Group would be open to any lady of the parish. Currently all but one of this talented group belong to CWL. Creative design was translated into reality through needlework and appliqué. The results are stunning; my favourite is the altar piece, the Jesse Tree, which at present graces the altar in St Augustine's church. The fame of the Banner Group spread to the Midlands where two schools display liturgical banners made especially for them. However, the group went global with banners requested from the Philippines, South Africa, Kenya and Rwanda; how true that "great oaks from small acorns grow". The Banner Group meets at the Convent of Mercy, Wyke Road on Tuesday mornings.
The "Women at the Well Project" was opened by the Sisters in the red light district in Kings Cross in 2007. Unsupported women are able to come in from the streets for a shower, meal, hairdressing and an opportunity to talk to others. There is provision of a counselling service.
The ladies of the CWL ran a successful coffee morning and Bring and Buy sale after the Masses on Sunday 10th June in support of "Women at the Well". In addition, there is a Seafront Stall planned for Thursday 28th June to further swell the funds. (For further details contact Janet Newington on 787773). The parish CWL adopted this project after a recent talk given to members by Sister Cecily of the Sisters of Mercy.
Thursday 14th June was the date for the annual CWL Cream Tea, held in St Augustine's Hall. This has an ecumenical dimension as ladies' groups from other denominations in Weymouth are invited to come along to the afternoon tea and entertainment. A good time was had by all.
Our parish CWL section has recently organised the Lenten Lunches at St Augustine's, raising £330 for the official national CWL Relief and Refugee Fund. This helps refugees and asylum seekers in need, providing them with food, clothing, shelter and friendship.
The parish Passover Meal was another CWL- supported initiative. Members helping in the organisation of the successful evening were grateful for the catering abilities of Ann Schwok.
CWL members have supported the 2012 Confirmation candidates on their faith journey with a spiritual bouquet of prayer. Also members are contributing to a national spiritual bouquet for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
After a recent talk given to members by Sister Cecily, another initiative that our section is supporting financially is the Sisters of Mercy “Women at the Well Scheme”. This was opened in the red light district in Kings Cross in 2007. Unsupported women are able to come in from the streets for a shower, meal, hairdressing and an opportunity to talk to others. There is provision of a counselling service.
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