Walking by faith, not by sight

Written by Glynnis Grainger

CWL national conference opened.

Professor Celia Hammond, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Notre Dame, with the CWL National president Karyn Kammann.

A procession of banners preceded the opening of the Catholic Women’s League’s 44th National Biennial Conference at the Novotel Langley on Monday, August 31.

The theme of the conference was “Walking with God” with the Scripture excerpt from St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, chapter 2 verses 5-7: “We walk by faith, not by sight.”

Bishop Don Sproxton concelebrated the opening Mass on August 30 at the Redemptorist Monastery in North Perth.

CWL national conference opened.

A procession of banners preceded the opening of the Catholic Women’s League’s 44th National Biennial Conference at the Novotel Langley on Monday, August 31.

The theme of the conference was “Walking with God” with the Scripture excerpt from St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, chapter 2 verses 5-7: “We walk by faith, not by sight.”

Bishop Don Sproxton concelebrated the opening Mass on August 30 at the Redemptorist Monastery in North Perth.

The opening liturgy was led by the National Chaplain, Fr Laurence Murphy SDS, who said: “We are all called to walk with God,” and “Reflect on all the graces and blessings we receive as infants.”

The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, and bishops from Broken Bay, Wollongong, Parramatta, Maitland-Newcastle, Bathurst and Bunbury, sent their best wishes in writing.

WA Governor Dr Ken Michael officially opened the conference, saying “I hope those from overseas and other parts of Australia enjoy themselves here and the work we have to offer. . . for the building of the kingdom of God.”

“It is important to acknowledge and appreciate the contribution that women give to our society,” he told the conference.

He said he and his wife Julie “work as a team together in everything we have done for the past 45 years.

“The CWL offers that camaraderie, support and encouragement to the women of Australia members work at grassroots level to support the work of the League.”

Mrs Julie Michael was presented with a bouquet of flowers.

Professor Celia Hammond, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Notre Dame Australia, based in Fremantle, delivered the keynote address, saying “From what I know, my grandmother did not have an easy life.”

She continued: “I was born into an environment where there was access to education and education was valued – this distinguishes my life from that of my grandmother.

“My great-grandfather was a poor farmer from Ireland; my father is a judge.

“Approximately 55% of all students in higher education are women; 7.7 million Australians have post-school qualifications.

“Women are more likely to have qualifications in management and commerce; women outstrip men in health and education; men are more likely to have post-school education in engineering.

“Before 1946, 18.5 per cent of males had higher qualifications; from 1947-1966, 20 per cent of women had higher qualifications; of girls born after 1966, 28 per cent have higher education qualifications – more than males.

“Women get married later, have children later and have fewer children – 1.94 children; 73 per cent of all women cohabit before marriage; the divorce rate is higher – 49.6 per cent involve children under the age of 14.

“From 1947-1986, women were more likely to be in the paid workforce.

“Young women have almost limitless choice and limitless opportunity.  We need to teach them to be able to make good choices.

“Catholic education is holistic education – education of the whole person.  A Catholic university cannot stop young women from making the wrong choices – it can guide, support and nurture to allow them to reach their maturity.

“Working at a Catholic university I get access to theologians.

“An increasing number of women are in higher education as knowledge is positive if it helps to shed light onto the darkness of life.”

Professor Hammond has three young boys under the age of seven.

National president Karyn Kammann gave her report, including the unsuccessful bid by the CWLA to stop the rules on AusAID being changed to allow overseas development funding to be used to terminate pregnancies in developing countries.

She also spoke about the Asia-Pacific meeting of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO) held in Seoul in October last year, which she attended, and the investment of time, energy and finance into World Youth Day08 in Sydney by CWLA.

Mrs Kammann also mentioned the national executive entered the national newsletter in the annual Australian Catholic Press Association awards. CWLA is a financial member of ACPA.

She said Victoria-Wagga Wagga would be national office-bearers for the coming years 2010-1011 and a new revised constitution was passed at the weekend.

The new National president is Madge Fahy.

Member organisation reports were presented by seven member organisations of Australia and by the National president of CWL New Zealand.

Then Fr Thai Vu, Archdiocesan vocations director, spoke about his life as a refugee from Vietnam and becoming a priest in Perth. He said that he is the new parish priest of Willetton as Fr Greg Donovan is becoming a Benedictine monk.

His parents, who owned a coffee shop in Vietnam, supported him all the way with financial and moral support, to become the priest he is today.

The third guest speaker of the day was motivational speaker and academic, Dr Peter Dingle, who told the conference what they should not be eating: pastries, potato, pasta, pane (white bread), processed breakfast foods and processed oils.

We should eat more fish, fish oil, beans and dark chocolate and drink more water.

He said: “Life is like juggling – it is about ‘throwing’ – take control of your life.”

Published in The Record

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