By Ramon Gonzalez
Western Catholic Reporter
The new national president of the Catholic Women’s League is a deeply spiritual woman who wants league members to foster a relationship with Jesus.
Accordingly, president Betty Ann Brown Davidson, installed during the 92nd annual national convention Aug 12 to 15 in Edmonton, has chosen a more spiritual theme for her two-year term: We Have Seen the Lord.
“This is because the Church is starting the New Evangelization and we are having a Year of Faith,” she explained. “It’s the idea is that we are resurrection women like the women after Jesus rose and it’s up to us to go and tell the Gospel story.
“That’s what I want them to do — to whisper the Gospel.”
Brown Davidson said the particular focus of the theme, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2013, would not be known until after the CWL national executive meets in October. The CWL’s theme under her predecessor, Velma Harasen, was Centred on Faith and Justice and focused on Women Against Poverty.
“My passion is divine encounter for every member of the league, an intimate relationship with Jesus,” Brown Davidson said in an interview. “If we develop that, he sends us out. He says, ‘Go and tell.’”
The new president says she wants women to foster their relationship with Jesus in daily prayer, in the sacraments and in community. “I would like them to have private devotions to allow the Spirit to work within them.”
Asked if she wanted CWL members to pray more during her term, Brown Davidson said, “Well, not more (but) more richly, in silence, putting themselves in the presence of Jesus and making a habit of it.”
That way, she said, women will be better prepared to minister to people and become Jesus’ hands and feet in the world.
Apart from the spiritual, the new president will also continue to promote leadership development “because that gives us the skills and confidence to go out and be Jesus’ disciples.”
Brown Davidson lives in the small Ontario town of Wellington in the Kingston Archdiocese. She and her husband are retired and have a small vineyard in the town of 1,500 people. They have eight adult children and 21 grandchildren and attend St. Gregory the Great Parish in Picton, Ont.
Elected president-elect in 2010, Brown Davidson spent the past two years learning the ropes as part of the national executive. She was installed in her new position along other national officers Aug. 15 at a Mass at St. Joseph’s Basilica at which Archbishop Richard Smith was the presider.
She joined the CWL in Toronto 39 years ago and did most of her league work there. From 1989 to 1991 she was Toronto archdiocesan president and from 1999 to 2001 she served as Ontario provincial president.
The league has about 52,000 members in Ontario. Across Canada there are 92,000 members.
Installed along with Brown Davidson were the following officers elected at the convention:
President-elect: Barbara Dowding of Port Moody, B.C.
First Vice-President: Mary Nordick of Saskatoon.
Second Vice-President: Cecile Miller of N.E. Margaree, N.S.
Secretary-Treasurer: Judy Lewis of Summerside, P.E.I.
Past-President: Velma Harasen of Regina.
Chairs of standing committees: Anne Gorman of Stanley, N.B., Shari Guinta of Waterloo, Ont., Margaret Ann Jacobs of Elmvale, Ont., Fran Lucas of Edmonton and Peggy Roche of Torbay, Newfoundland and Labrador.