SALT LAKE CITY — The Catholic Woman’s League will hold its annual membership tea on Sunday, April 22 at St. Vincent de Paul Parish. At the event, which will include a light lunch, members, their guests and any woman interested in the League will hear from Rori Phipps, an attendee at last year’s Girls State who will share what she learned there.
Each year the CWL offers Girls State sponsorships to up to two high school juniors from each of the three Utah Catholic high schools – St. Joseph, Judge Memorial and Juan Diego. This year the League is sponsoring Brooklyn Orellana, a junior from Juan Diego CHS.
“Girls who are young women and who will be adults soon need to have a voice in their community,” CWL President Holly Porter said. “Girls State teaches them how to get that voice by getting involved in government. They are exposed to the political atmosphere and can see how communities are run. Hopefully, this experience encourages them to get involved so they know they have a choice too. I often think young girls don’t always know they have a voice.”
Sponsoring Girls State attendees is just one of several philanthropic endeavors the CWL is engaged in.
“Catholic Woman’s League is a non-profit woman’s organization, which works for the interest of Christ, promotes spirituality based on the principles of our Catholic faith, advances literary and educational interest, and assists in philanthropic efforts for the welfare of our community,” its website says.
The organization, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016, was founded by Emma McCornick Bird. Members meet the fourth Tuesday of each month at the St. Ambrose Parish Center. Social hour is at 9:30 a.m. followed by the formal meeting at 10 a.m.
Among the other annual CWL events is the fall benefit luncheon each October, at which the organization awards grants to two charities, usually one Catholic and one non-Catholic, from a group of about a dozen applicants. Last year the two charities that received grants were St. Marguerite Catholic School and the Volunteers of America.
Members of the League have the opportunity to serve on one or more of several committees: Membership, Hospitality, Spiritual Concerns, Community Concerns, Girls State Education Program, Public Relations, Policy and Guidelines, Special Concerns and Budget.
Every month the Community Concerns committee does a drive to benefit a community organization. This month the organization is the Utah Diaper Bank. The Spiritual Concerns committee schedules a First Friday Mass followed by the rosary at a different parish each month. Participants usually go to breakfast or lunch together afterwards. The League also sends out a quarterly newsletter to all its members.
Currently the CWL has 164 members, with 24 honorary members (women who have rendered dedicated service to the League and have been endorsed by the Executive Board). Most of the women have been members 20 years or more.
“We’re definitely trying to increase our membership,” Porter said. “We would love to have younger women become more involved. We want to see the Catholic Woman’s League continue to thrive and be a part of Utah and the Catholic diocese.”
Porter said young women who have busy lives and wonder about the time commitment may not realize how much good the League does.
“Our sole purpose is to give back to the community,” she said. “By supporting Girls State, by having the luncheon and supporting other endeavors, the League is a place to be able to do so much good. … Membership in the League deepens your Catholic faith because you are giving back to your community, but it’s not just about your Catholic faith. You get to know some of the other organizations that can benefit from what the League does.”
The Catholic Woman’s League is affiliated with the diocesan Council of Catholic Women. Along with its website, catholicwomansleague.com, the League also has a Facebook page, Catholic Woman’s League of Utah.
WHAT: Catholic Woman’s League Membership Tea
WHEN: Sunday, April 22, 2-4 p.m.
WHERE: Saint Vincent de Paul Parish, 1375 E. Spring Lane, SLC
All women in the diocese are invited.