• CWLF Canada

2022 Program Group

Updated: 13 hours ago


The Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation Board is honoured to announce the 2022 cohort. Thirteen outstanding, talented women from across Canada will form for the class for the third Certificate program in Catholic Women’s Leadership developed in partnership with Saint Paul University’s Providence School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality.

Thank you to all the inspiring women who applied for the program. The Foundation was humbled to have a pool of women diverse in age, experience, and education from all parts of Canada who demonstrated strong Catholic values and lives of faith in service.

 

Adelaide Dede

Adelaide currently resides in Richmond, BC, but works in Vancouver, as a Registered Nurse (RN). She has been an RN for over 27 years, and more recently has been specializing in Breast Oncology. She considers it a privilege to be able to accompany these women, and men, on their cancer journey.


She and her 3 children and husband relocated from London, England, 12 years ago. She believes God led her to her Parish of St. Joseph the Worker, where she became involved in the Parish community, as a means to make new friends. As she became more involved in parish life, she discovered a passion for serving others, which brought her deeper into my faith, and a closeness to God, which she had never experienced before. Currently, she serves in her Parish, as an Altar Server, Communion Minister, Lector, and Usher (when required). She is also the Altar Server Coordinator, and co-chair of the Social Justice Ministry. Groups that she belongs to, in ger Parish, are the Secular Franciscan Order (she is a professed member since 2016) and the Catholic Women’s League of Canada (CWL) of which she is a charter member, and was President for 5 years, and continue to be heavily involved. Infact, she has let her name stand for election onto the Diocesan Council. It is through the CWL that herstrengths as a leader grew and strengthened, and she feels honoured to have been selected to participate in the CWLF Program, which will open up a whole new world to her, to give back even more.


As, St. Catherine of Siena said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.

 

Chandra Behrenz

I am very excited to be accepted into the CWLF program and am looking forward to what the next year has in store! My name is Chandra Behrenz and I live in Saskatoon, SK. I graduated Saskatoon Business College and have a medical administrative assistant diploma. I have worked as a registration clerk for the Saskatchewan Health Authority for 22 years. I have been married to Cam for 16 years. We have a blended family with my three adult children and Cam’s adult son. Our six grandchildren all live close by so we aim to stay active with them.


We have been attending St. Anne’s Parish in Saskatoon for the past 15 years and we truly love it there. I heard about this course through the CWL and I was immediately interested. I am looking forward to retirement years when I will be more available to assist my parish in a variety of ways. I hope to learn some leadership skills to assist me on the journey.

 

Cristin Dorgan Lee

Cristin Dorgan Lee has worked as a secondary and elementary school teacher and is currently Principal at St. Michael Community School: A Metis School of Excellence in Saskatoon, Sask. She received her B.Ed, B.Music, M.Ed from the University of Saskatchewan and her Master of Religious Education from Newman Theological College in Edmonton. Currently, Cristin is a PhD student through the University of Saskatchewan with a research focus on Indigenous education.

In her local community Cristin is an active participant in her church with her family and she enjoys facilitating a course in Saskatoon Diocese's Indigenous Pastoral Leadership Program. As an Indigenous Catholic woman Cristin is focused on servant leadership and she is passionately engaging in transformative leadership in her community.

 

Jane Waldock

Jane Waldock is married and the mother of 7 children, ages 17 to 31. Born and raised in Vancouver, she moved to Newmarket, Ontario with her husband after their wedding in 1988. She worked as a market research executive and consultant until moving back to Surrey, BC with her family in 2006.


Jane has a MA in Family Studies from UBC with a specialty in developmental cognitive psychology and statistical analysis. Her thesis and subsequent scholarly publications focused on gender identity development in young children. A convert to Catholicism as a teenager, Jane has become increasingly engaged in her faith, especially since returning to BC. In 2010, she completed a Diploma in Catholic Christian Ministry from the St. Francis Xavier University and has worked in parish ministry leadership for over 10 years. Jane is currently Director of Faith Formation at Immaculate Conception Parish in Delta, BC and Parish Religious Education Coordinator at St. Nicholas Parish in Langley, BC.


Since 2008, Jane has been participating in PRH training opportunities. PRH (Personnalité et Relations Humaines) is a school of adult education founded in France. Jane is now a licenced PRH Educator providing individual counselling and workshops which help persons foster their personal growth and improve their relationships. She works with other parish leaders in the Archdiocese, providing PRH workshops as part of the human development component of their formation. Jane is looking forward to participating in the program as part of her commitment to develop as a Catholic leader serving the formation of those who work to fulfil the Church’s mission.

 

Julia Kyplain


Julia was born and raised in Ile-a-la-Crosse, SK. Which is known as Sakitawak in Cree, it translates to “where the rivers meet. “. Julia loves the beauty and sacredness of the North. Her deeply rooted faith and culture has led her to be passionate about serving in many different capacities. Julia is a Kokum (Grandmother) of 2 and a Mother of 3 Adult children. Julia currently resides in Saskatoon, SK. Julia is passionate about mental health and wellness, through awareness of wholistic land-based education and language.


Julia is both thrilled and enthusiastic to take on and learn on leadership, through the CWLF program. In many ways Julia feels that she didn’t choose this program, but it chose her. Julia looks forward to cross the River and see where the rivers meet on this Journey.

 

Kathleen Ancker

Kathleen Marie Ancker is thrilled to join the 4th cohort of participants in the Catholic Women’s Leadership Program at the Providence School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality.


Kathy writes: “In July of 2018, after 25 years of working in the Catholic faith sector, I retired as the National Development Director for Catholic Missions In Canada, an organization that supports the work of missionaries in 25 dioceses. My work each day filled me with a deep joy in the knowledge that I was advancing God’s kingdom here on earth, by providing the financial support necessary to ensure that people could receive the sacraments and knowledge of God in some of the remotest areas in our country. What a unique privilege and gift that was!”


Retirement and down-sizing brought relocation to the Diocese of Peterborough almost four years ago. As well as being a wife, a mother to four adult children and a grandmother to five lively grandchildren, she also became the primary caretaker for her mother. “Being a stranger in my new community, I joined the Catholic Women’s League Council at my local parish, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Grafton, serving first as the Recording Secretary, and later, as the Treasurer. In 2019, I organized a Vocations Subcommittee to actively support vocations in both the children and adults in our Parish and Parish Elementary School. At the Diocesan level, I also volunteered my fundraising skills to Bishop Daniel Miehm, assisting with the Today for Tomorrow Campaign, to benefit the Cathedral of St. Peter-In-Chains.”


Despite being kept busy with her large family and Church activities, “I feel called by God to do more with the many “talents” he has entrusted to me. When a dear friend sent me the “Call for Participants” for the Catholic Women’s Leadership Program, I believe God was asking me to have the courage and strength to trust in Him and respond to the challenges that leadership will bring in the future.”


To Kathy, Catholic and Living It, the current theme for the Catholic Women’s League of Canada, “resonates with the joy that the love of God and the love of neighbour brings.” She continues, “My hope is to continue to grow in faith and love for God throughout a life of service to others. And that plan includes a great deal of joy and laughter mixed in with the hard work, with the ultimate goal that others may also grow in faith and love of God and neighbour.”

 

Laura Wilson


Laura was born and raised in Powell River, a smaller community on the Sunshine Coast of B.C. After graduating from high school, she moved to Vancouver to attend UBC (where she met her husband, Mark, of 31 years!). Laura studied pharmacy and practiced for several years before deciding to be a full-time mother of four and focusing on many different volunteering passions. She currently lives in a small semi-rural community in the Greater Vancouver area.

As all her children were involved in the Scouts Canada organization, Laura became a Scouter (leader) at several different age levels before finally the Group Commissioner for her local community’s Scouts group. Laura was a volunteer in her parish’s Queen of All Saints Elementary School (including team leader for her parish’s Vacation Bible School) before moving on to serve on the Regional Education Committee of the area’s Archbishop Carney Catholic High School for 7 years as the parent participation liaison and as the Vice-Chair. She has served a term as a parish council member and has also taught RCIA. Currently, Laura is busy facilitating faith studies and is a member of the Parish Leadership Team. Laura has been a member of CWL for 22 years and has served on her parish council’s executive in many different roles – currently as President. She also assists the lower mainland’s Domestic Abuse Society by promoting their work and encouraging membership and support from the diocesan CWL members.


In her “spare” time, Laura enjoys camping with her husband, hiking, cooking and reading. In addition to it being a favorite hobby, she sees cooking as an expression of love for her family members! Laura has a passion to help support others in their call to evangelize and looks forward to learning tools that she can use with those that she mentors.

 

Margaret Hitchcock

Margy Hitchcock is a cradle Catholic who has been married for 35 years. She and her husband Andrew have two married sons and one granddaughter.


In her 35-year career at Canadian National Railway in Sales and Marketing, she won several awards including the President’s Award. Moving five times in 10 years from coast to coast, she accumulated a very diverse background of experience and traveled substantially throughout Canada and the US. She acquired many skills including negotiation, strategic planning, public speaking, preparing presentations and proposals, and team building.


After retirement, she enrolled at St. Mark’s College at UBC achieving a Master of Arts degree in Theological Studies.


She has been involved with many different ministries within her parish including RCIA, PREP, and was involved in preparing and presenting lectures for adult faith programs. She is a member of the CWL and continues to be a lector, a sacristan, and a coordinator for the ALPHA program at her parish in Langley, BC.


Her goals are centered around evangelization through adult education programs and activities that help people to discover or rediscover their faith and their charisms with the objective of building strong, faithful communities. She appreciates the opportunity to participate in the leadership program and looks forward to meeting new people and developing a strong network of like-minded women for mutual sharing and support.

 

Marta Piano

My name is Marta Piano. I met the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity in Rome in 1997. The thirst to make God`s love known through the Word of God led me to enter in the novitiate in Mexico in 2004.


I graduated with a B.A. in Sacred Theology at Pontificia Universitas Urbaniana in Rome in 2014 and the 25th of April 2015 I professed my perpetual vows at San Bernardo da Chiaravalle Parish and I continued in Rome in the apostolic community. Now, since September 2020, I have been assigned to continue my dedication to the service of the Word of God in the Diocese of Saskatoon.


Among the reasons for why I join the Program 2022-2023 I would say:

“A dear friend, spoke very well about this Course and really suggested me to take it…

I'm not sure what she saw in myself but I applied…and here I am!”

 

Mary Anna Cimbaro

My name is Mary Anna and I live in beautiful British Columbia, in the city of Kelowna. I have been a Home Economist, teaching in the public school system for thirty years. Influencing young people and being a leader in my profession has brought me much joy and fulfillment.


I was raised in a home with strong family values and where love of God and love of neighbour were central beliefs. These values and beliefs were influencing factors in my choice of profession. As a Home Economics teacher, I taught my students to become independent in caring for themselves and to be supports for their families, through the practical skills of food preparation and clothing care, but also by teaching them to be respectful, kind, good communicators, collaborators, team players and problem solvers. Skills, I believe, that help individuals and families live together more harmoniously in our communities.


My involvement in my local, provincial, national and international Home Economics associations have provided me with opportunities to learn about the world I live in. I have gained a deep respect and appreciation for the diversity of people's beliefs and the cultures they have created - knowledge and understandings that have made me a better person, teacher and leader.


Recently retired, I am excited to refocus my energies towards service in my parish of St. Pius. I am looking forward to putting my sewing skills to use with the Quilters Club and being a member of the CWL. I am thrilled to have been accepted into the CWLF leadership program, as I believe it will make me a better servant of Christ. I cannot wait to meet my cohort and to share with them this journey of leadership development and to get to know some amazing like minded Catholic women.

 

Neysa Finnie

Neysa is the Past Chair of the Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation. She served as Chair until January 2021 and was previously Vice-Chair and Treasurer.


Neysa is the principal of her own firm which in specializes assisting companies in the technology industry with a wide variety of services related to their contracting needs. In addition to being a practicing lawyer, Neysa has an MBA and started her career as a software developer. Neysa is the past President of St. Thomas More Collegiate (STMC) – a Catholic, independent co-educational secondary school in Burnaby, British Columbia.


Neysa serves as a director of Providence Health Care and Catholic Pacific College. She completed the Institute of Corporate Directors Not-for-profit Governance Essentials Program. Previously, Neysa served as Chair of St. Mark’s College at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Corpus Christi College, as a member of the Archdiocese of Vancouver Stewardship council and the Archbishop of Vancouver’s pastoral council. She served as a lay advisor to the Oblates’ Provincial Council. At UBC, Neysa is a guest lecturer in the MBA program and in the leadership program at Corpus Christi College. Internationally, Neysa has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, assisted Computer Aid International (London England), and founded Oblate Mission Travel leading lay people on short term mission trips at home and abroad where the Oblates are ministering. She lived in Tanzania and taught conversational English at a Catholic secondary school.


Neysa was a 2013 recipient of the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal from Pope Francis (the highest honour a lay person can receive from the Pope) and is a dame of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

 

Shannon Bailey


Although I trained as a Psychiatric Nurse and enjoyed working with Seniors in a nursing home for 10 years, my heart was at home and I was blessed to be able to stay at home and raise our children for the last 20 years. My husband Todd and I have been married for 33 years and have 8 children. We have 6 grandchildren living from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island. Our two youngest daughters are still at home and we have been homeschooling for the last 9 years. We recently fulfilled a dream and bought an acreage and are slowly filling it up with animals and activity. Life is an adventure every day!


I have been involved in ministry in our local parish for 28 years in various roles. It was through a personal invitation from our parish priest that I began teaching Children’s Liturgy, and have been involved in children’s ministry and youth ministry in different capacities ever since. I have also been a member of the Parish Pastoral Council, Liturgy Committee, Bible study groups, and serve as a Lector and Eucharistic Minister. I most recently became President of my parish CWL Council, and I am looking forward to the challenges I will encounter.


For the last year I have been participating in a women’s prayer group, and have experienced a new and deeper relationship with the Lord. I know He is calling me to continue serving Him, and challenging me to step out in faith and develop new skills.

I am very excited to be chosen to participate in this Program, and look forward to developing my leadership skills with other women in a program that unites leadership, faith and spirituality. I hope as my faith and skills grow, I can continue to surrender myself fully to God, be an effective servant, and follow where He leads me..

 

Teresa DiFalco

Teresa lives in Stoney Creek, Ontario and has a rich history working in the public, private, not-for-profit and volunteer sectors. Presently, she is serving as First Vice President and Spiritual Development Chair with the Hamilton Diocesan Council of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada (CWL). She has been a CWL member for 42 years, which is part of a five-generation legacy in the League. Teresa loves spending time with family and friends, learning, teaching, serving others, gardening, entertaining, traveling, and peaceful time in prayer.


In her faith-based pursuits, Teresa holds designations in Catholic Theology and Church Liturgy, Marian Doxology, and is currently studying Church doctrine. She has served as Director of Music and Liturgy, an Extraordinary Minister of Communion, a Lector, as well as a Cantor/Psalmist, and an Anointed Vocalist. She is also a published songwriter and musician.


Teresa had a long and fulfilling career as a Senior Executive with the Ontario Government in Queen’s Park, in the portfolios of law, policy, governance, issues management, operations and as a strategist. Her leadership positions included: serving the Cabinet Office of Ontario, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Ministries of Health and Long-Term Care, Labour, Environment, Transportation, and Community and Social Services. Teresa also served as a member of the Correspondence Council of Ontario, and as the Publisher of The Hamiltonian, a media outlet recognized and respected in the City of Hamilton. She is a member of the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre and recently coordinated and hosted a national 8-week Indigenous Educational Series Workshop on Truth and Reconciliation.


Teresa has also been a key note speaker at various forums and conferences, and is a governance consulting specialist. Throughout her work and volunteer history, Teresa has been a champion for social justice issues, helping those most vulnerable in society to find justice, dignity, love and peace. She is also a strong advocate for the environment. She uses her skills, knowledge and God given gifts in service to others. Teresa is a firm believer in Saint Peter’s passage “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful servants of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10.


Teresa was named Citizen of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce and also received the Sesquicentennial Award from the House of Commons for her 35 years of leadership, advocacy, and having a positive impact in the community.


The role of women in the Catholic Church is evolving. Teresa is inspired by Pope Francis’s Spiritus Domini decree, and is committed to inspiring other women to grow in their faith and knowledge, so to “sparkle” God’s ways as beacons of light in service to God and God’s creation.

 


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