Diocesan Presidents

About the Catholic Women’s League

Kamloops Diocesan
President Diane Nadeau kamdp@bcyukoncwl.com

Learn more about Diane

I joined the Catholic Women’s League in 2001, at St. John Vianney Parish in Kamloops, quickly jumping in to fill the vacant position of Spiritual and then have not stopped experiencing the many gifts that the League holds. I continued for the term as Spiritual, followed by Organization/President elect, President, and Past President. My mentors from St. John Vianney hold a special place in my heart. Not only were they there for me as a new member, but again as they encouraged me to move to the Diocesan level. At this level, I have held Resolution, Christian Family Life, Communications, and Organization/President Elect, before being installed as President. After moving last year, I have now become a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Heart council in Kamloops, where the ladies have welcomed me warmly.

My husband, Roger and I have been married 45 years, have 3 married children and 12 precious grandbabies to keep us young. Since becoming Catholic in 1981, my husband and I have continuously been active in the many ministries of the church along with teaching catechism, marriage prep, marriage enrichment, and completing the two-year Lay Enrichment Program. We enhance our spiritual lives with being associate members of the CNDs (Congregation de Notre-Dame).

I have always worked full time outside of the home in administration and bookkeeping, while also keeping records for my husband’s business. Yes, live is busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

The best part of being a CWL member to me is the sisterhood……the soul to soul feeling when you are surrounded by such love for our Lord. It just makes my heart smile. I am looking forward to the implementations of our Strategic Planning with hopes that it will energize our members for another 100 years!

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 Sylvia DeSousa pgdp@bcyukoncwl.com

Learn more about Sylvia

Sylvia became a CWL member in 1992 at the invitation of her very good friend and devoted CWL member, Maria Kotai. Within a couple of years, she was already on the parish executive, serving as organization chairperson, then resolutions, legislation, education and health and eventually president … a few times over.

Four years ago, she accepted a position on the Diocesan Executive as Legislation Chairperson and then Spiritual Development. In April 2019 she accepted the position of Diocesan President.

Sylvia loves the League and what is stands for in the world today; a moral voice, a voice for the voiceless, and a political watchdog. She feels that the CWL promotes and encompasses the mission of Jesus Christ. She wishes more Catholic Women would be enlightened as to all the work that the League does and is hoping to work more closely with parish priests to encourage them to promote the Catholic Women’s League.

Sylvia has a heart for Ecumenism and works closely with other denominations in organizing the World Day of Prayer and the Prayer for Christian Unity.

She is also very involved in her home parish of Christ the King in Kitimat as a lector and extra ordinary minister of the Eucharist, as well as in the New Sanctuary Project.

Sylvia has been married to her husband, Leo for 44 years. She has four amazing children and 4 beautiful grandchildren which keep her busy and on her toes.

Sylvia has recently retired from her job as a Medical Office Assistant where she worked for over 30 years. She loves walking, cooking, baking and hosting luncheons and dinner parties.

Sylvia is looking forward to learning more about the League and is excited about the new direction the League is headed in believing God will breathe new life into the Catholic Women’s League of Canada.

Vancouver Diocesan
President Barbara Renaud vdp@bcyukoncwl.com

Learn more about Barbara

Barbara has been a member of the Catholic Women’s League since 2002 and has served her parish council as President, Secretary, and in the Spiritual Development, Communications and Resolutions standing committees. She was elected to the Vancouver Diocesan Council in 2013 and has served as Resolutions, Spiritual Development and Organization chair before becoming President. She also served as Secretary and Exhibitor’s Liaison on the 2015 National Convention Committee.

Barbara has a passion for resolutions and is the author of two resolutions which she has successfully followed through to national conventions to become League policy. Through her work with resolutions, Barbara has been a member of the Vancouver Archdiocese’s Anti-Human Trafficking Committee since its beginnings in 2013. Her involvement with the AHT Committee has led to many opportunities to give presentations and in 2018, she was invited to present to the Justice Committee’s Round-table meetings on human trafficking.

Barbara is a convert to the faith, entering the Church at the Easter Vigil Mass in 1999. She credits the Catholic Women’s League with helping her to find ways to live out her baptismal call to holiness and service.

She has been married to her husband, Marcel, for 36 years, and they have 4 grown children and 2 grandchildren. They have lived in Maple Ridge, BC for the past 27 years, and attend St. Luke’s Parish. Barbara enjoys spending her time with her grandchildren, with her volunteer work, and enjoying the recreational opportunities in Maple Ridge, especially the numerous bike trails, and kayaking spots.

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.