Diocesan Presidents

About the Catholic Women’s League

Kamloops Diocesan
President Dorothy Hruby kamdp@bcyukoncwl.com

Learn more about Dorthy

I have been a member of the Catholic Women’s League for 26 years and am a charter member in Sacred Heart, Tumbler Ridge and Our Lady of the Lake, Blind Bay. (I was instrumental in starting the council in Blind Bay, BC).

I have served on parish level in many capacities and on the diocesan level for many years. I served as a secretary and president on the parish level in the two communities, and on the diocesan level was Spiritual Development, Legislation and Organization Chairs and now as Kamloops Diocesan President. I am retired and live in Sorrento, BC. I am married and the mother of three adult daughters. I am also a grandmother of 3 children and a great grandmother to Brooks.

My career varied from being a middle-school teacher to a secretary in a law firm, and an administrative assistant at a health centre.

I am actively involved in the church as a lector, extraordinary minister of the Eucharist, and a greeter. I am also on a team to serve coffee and goodies for fellowship after mass. I attended lay formation studies for two years in the Diocese of Prince George. I followed that up with a Certificate of Theological Studies from Newman College in Edmonton. I have done workshops on prayer and Mary and have led bible studies in our parish.

I strongly believe in the Catholic Women’s League, to help us grow spiritually, to endorse teachings of the church, and advocate social justice from the parish level to the national level.

Nelson Diocesan
President Debbie Cloutier neldp@bcyukoncwl.com

Learn more about Debbie

I joined the CWL in 2007 and jumped in with both feet, eager to learn all that the League had to offer and then to spread the “good news” to as many ladies as would listen. That enthusiasm earned me the title of BC “Spark” for the Catch the Fire initiative, travelling throughout the province assisting with workshops.

As with many ladies, upon joining I quickly became the parish Organization Chairperson, moving onto President and then Past President. A move to Kelowna and a change of diocese brought me onto the Nelson Diocesan council. Here I served as Legislation and Organization Chairperson before becoming President.

I have been married for 32 years and have 2 grown children. Before becoming a full-time mom, I was a dietitian at a hospital where my responsibilities ranged from running the Food Service Department, clinical care nutrition and outpatient nutrition services. After leaving this job I instructed the nutrition component for the Home Support Program at Douglas College for several years.

A lot of volunteer hours were incurred while my children were in school. I was president of the Parent Guild for many years and active on several committees within the school. Upon their graduation, I was able to indulge in my current passions of sugar cookie decorating and the Catholic Women’s League.

I am looking forward to being part of the changes our League will be experiencing.

Prince George Diocesan
President Gemma Gillis pgdp@bcyukoncwl.com

Learn more about Gemma

Gemma came from England in 1966 to serve as a Frontier Apostle working for Bishop Fergus O’Grady. She began life in Canada teaching in the Catholic School in Fort St James. She married a few years later and despite being busy with small children joined the Catholic Women’s League Parish Council in Fraser Lake. From there the family moved to Vanderhoof and Gemma began to be more active in the League. During her time in Vanderhoof she served as secretary, Christian Family Life Chair, Resolutions and Legislation Chair, Education and Health Chair, Vice-President and President. In 2007 she transferred to Smithers, where she was appointed at her home council to Resolutions Chair and as Secretary. Afterwards, she was appointed to serve on the Prince George Diocesan Council as Resolutions Chair. Upon completion of her term she was elected to serve as Legislation chair, then as Organization chair, Vice-President and is now President of Prince George Diocesan Council.

Gemma spent many years as a teacher in the Catholic school. For the last few years of her teaching career she was principal of St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Vanderhoof. Since retiring from teaching she has volunteered in the English language program, assisting newcomers to Canada with settlement and language. She is also active in parish ministry serving on the parish pastoral council. For many years she was responsible for sacramental preparation in her parish.

Gemma has seven children and fifteen grandchildren and loves to spend time visiting them all.

The League has been part of her life for many years. She feels blessed to be a part of this great sisterhood and all that it stands for.

Vancouver Diocesan
President Angelina Stiglich vdp@bcyukoncwl.com

Learn more about Angelina

Angelina is a second generation CWL member and remembers helping her mother at church events as a child. On her Parish CWL Council in Langley, BC she served as Secretary, Legislation Chair, Communications Chair, President Elect, President and Past-President. In 2011, She was elected to the Vancouver Diocesan Executive and served her first 2-year term as Resolutions Chair. She then went on to be Community Life Chair, President Elect and now President. Over her first 6 years on the Diocesan Executive, Angelina served as a Catch the Fire facilitator and served on the Anti-Human Trafficking Committee for the Archdiocese of Vancouver.

Angelina has participated in Reconciliation events and traces First Nations roots through her maternal grandmother. She has served on the Board of Directors for Domestic Abuse Services, Our Lady of Good Counsel Society and continues to work as a volunteer in the Society Thrift Store and at various fundraising events. Angelina lives in Surrey, is married with 2 stepchildren and proud Aunt and Great-Aunt to more than 30 adults and children. She is a Senior Commercial Credit Advisor and People Manager with RBC and has worked in various positions in banking for 30 years.

Angelina loves the League and the gift of sisterhood it has brought to her life and is always enthusiastically promoting the League whenever she can.

Victoria Diocesan
President Christa Grillmair vicdp@bcyukoncwl.com

Learn more about Christa

Christa Grillmair was born in Vienna, Austria, and immigrated to Canada with her parents when she was ten years old. For her, it was an adventure, but for her parents, it was a very difficult time. That’s why she understands our newcomers – you arrive with dreams and expectations, and then the reality of life hits you because you left behind family and friends, and you don’t understand the language or customs of your new home. But children adapt quickly, and it didn’t take her long to become ‘Canadian’.

Christa is a Catholic woman; a wife for almost fifty years; a mother to two amazing people and a mother-in-law to their spouses; a grandmother to four young adults, three of whom are attending University, with one graduating next year; and a friend to many. At work, she specialized in marketing and training and she now spends many hours as a ‘professional volunteer’.

Christa is an only child, so family and friendships have always been very important to her. When Christa first joined the Catholic Women’s League, she really didn’t know much about it. But she soon realized that going to meetings every week became something she looked forward to … and actually needed! Speaking of her CWL sisters, Christa says, “They are my friends, my sisters-in-Christ and my ‘family’. I became most interested in the difference we can make in our parish, community and country through living our lives as active Catholic women.”

Christa joined the CWL ten years ago while living on the Mainland. As soon as she retired, she jumped in with both feet! The Council at St. Clare of Assisi was very active and after serving two years as Organization Chair, Christa was President. After moving to Nanaimo and joining St. Peter’s, she served on Resolutions, Communications, Organization, and as President. She’s had some amazing mentors: there is Roxanne McDonald who encouraged her to take on leadership roles; Barb Dowding, who by her example continually showed her what is possible; and Agnes Geiger, who is always there to listen, guide and help. “There are many, many more women who have helped me along the way. And, I now have the privilege of being Diocesan President, and will do my best, with God’s help,”

Whitehorse Diocesan
President Carol Vanderbyl wdp@bcyukoncwl.com

Learn more about Carol

The Catholic Women’s League has been a true blessing in her life. The stories of kids asking if they can have the cookie or is it for CWL relate to her own family for sure, but they will tell you they never felt resentful of her involvement, but were proud of her and happy for all the wonderful things she was privileged to do as a member, such as flying in a small plane to Ft Chipewyan in the NWT, or flying with Bishop Tom Lobsinger to Smithers. Carol is married 52 years and has 3 beloved grandchildren. She is retired and enjoys gardening, a little travel, getting together with family and friends. For 16 years she has owned and operated a small but loaded rubberstamping and papercraft shop in her basement where she gives cardmaking classes. Through ‘Stampy Stampertons’ she has made many friends.

Although she’s a homebody, CWL conventions and meetings are worth leaving home for. The liturgies, the speakers, the resolutions, the hugs from old friends, and the resolutions dialogues are all so inspiring.

The women of the League hold her deep respect, admiration and love. The Catholic Women’s League of Canada is changing so rapidly now, and the commitment to a position may seem formidable but she encourages members to consider the numerous opportunities for growth in so many areas. Her ‘team’ has recently hosted the Provincial convention, a huge challenge that turned out so well, with many blessings for the parish, and Diocese.

Carol has had many wonderful mentors and tries to do the same for others. She is a ‘career’ Diocesan President, having that job for much too long. She would love to give one of her Whitehorse sisters the experience of attending mid-term meetings. When the day’s work is done and it’s time to relax and laugh with her sister friends, special bonds are formed that carry you through, and leave unforgettable memories. It is good to know that the women on the Provincial Council are all ‘lifers’ who share the same faith and will hold you up no matter what happens.