World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO)

World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO)

The Catholic Women's League Australia is an active member organisation of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO). Catherine McGrath is the current WUCWO Board Member Australia.

Founded in 1910, WUCWO now represents 100 Catholic women’s organisations worldwide with a membership of more than 5 million women. The Board of WUCWO is currently made up of 27 members from the five WUCWO Regions – Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean and North America – each woman representing the Catholic women’s organisation(s) of her country.

WUCWO’s aim is to promote the presence, participation and co-responsibility of Catholic women in society and the church, in order to enable them to fulfil their mission of evangelisation and to work for human development. WUCWO was the first international Catholic organisation to receive UN recognition as an NGO. WUCWO was also a force in the creation and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. In 2006, WUCWO was erected by the Holy See as a Public International Association of the Faithful. In October 2010, WUCWO is celebrated a century of service by women for the Church and society at their Centenary Assembly in Jerusalem.

WUCWO’s ‘juridical personality’ (as a Public International Association of the Faithful) means that it speaks and acts in the name of the Church, as the voice of the Church as well as a voice for women in the Church. Any statement or document drafted by WUCWO is consistent with the teachings of the Church, understandable and without the ambiguous language sometimes used in society (words with dubious interpretations that can be adapted to suit different purposes). WUCWO’s clarity of purpose is vital as it has held consultative status at various United Nations bodies since 1947.

WUCWO has consultative status with the United Nations and is represented at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in New York and Geneva; the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) in Rome; the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva; the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva; and UNESCO in Paris. WUCWO is also present at the Council of Europe. WUCWO’s representatives, working at the highest level of international civic society, enunciate the tenets of the Catholic Church on all matters pertaining to ‘the common good.’

WUCWO’s theme for the next four years is “Love in Action”.

The current WUCWO executive committee.

L to R: Maribeth Stewart, Vice-President  North America and Canada; Rosaline Menga Vice- President  Africa; Joann Hillebrand, Treasurer General; Maria Giovanna Rugierri, President General; Susana Evening, Vice-President Asia Pacific; Monica Santamarina Robles, Vice-President Latin America; Barbara Stitt, Vice-President Europe

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“…Your Union… is present as a voice even in international forums, to insist that every life is a gift of God and deserves to be respected. Working together, you must seek to provide increasing material and moral support to women in difficulty, victims of poverty and violence. Never forget that this important work is rooted in God’s love and will bear fruit to the extent that your witness reveals his infinite love for every human person… .  Catholic women who live by faith and charity and give honour to God’s name in prayer and service have always had a supremely fruitful and indispensable role in transmitting the genuine sense of the faith and in applying it to all life’s circumstances.”
Blessed John Paul II, Message to the WUCWO General Assembly, Rome, 2001