Diocesan Presidents

About the Catholic Women’s League

Kamloops Diocesan
President Lynne Langley​ kamdp@bcyukoncwl.com

Learn more about Lynne

Lynne was born and raised in Coquitlam and Maple Ridge and moved to Quesnel for “one year” many years ago. She just fell in love with the small-town friendliness and all the opportunities toenjoy nature and never left.

Together with husband, Ray, she shares the challenges and joys of a blended family that includes four children, three grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Her family ranges in age from her 99+ year-old mother-in-law to her five-month-old great-grandson, and it spans most of the province and all the way to Regina, Saskatchewan.

Lynne is a retired professional accountant (CPA, CGA) and worked in both public practice and the forestry industry.She has been a CWL member for a total of 34 years. During that time, she held most positions on her parish council including president, diocesan convention convenor and mentor. On the Kamloops diocesan council, Lynne has served as chairperson of christian family life, communications, community life, resolutions, and organization before assuming the presidency in April of 2022.

In her parish of St. Ann’s, Quesnel, Lynne currently serves as lector. She was active as part of the RCIA team for many years and currently she enjoys participating in the small group format of the “Walking With Purpose” program, a Catholic Women’s Bible Studies series developed by LisaBrenninkmeyer.

Lynne has a long-time love of the League and a deep appreciation of the work it accomplishes and is excited about the proposed strategic updating of the organization. For the Kamloopsdiocesan theme, she chose Serving Together with Love and Joy, and she looksforward to working with all levels of the League, including the wonderful new team of diocesan officers, in doing justthat.

Nelson Diocesan
President Victoria Oppertshauser neldp@bcyukoncwl.com

Learn more about Victoria

Victoria is one of nine children. She was born and raised in Manila and studied at St. Scholastica’s College and St. Paul’s University. She has an Associate in Arts Degree and when the children were teenagers, she went back to school to study Occupational Therapy at SUNY. However, she did not get the degree because the family was unexpectedly sent on a posting to Hong Kong where the same course was taught in Cantonese, sadly a language she did not speak.

The family went on several postings overseas because Murray, her husband, was a Canadian Foreign Service Officer. It was not easy to be uprooted every two or three years, but it was a rare opportunity for the family to study people, their languages, cultures and traditions firsthand. She says she learned more from living in different countries than she would have sitting in classrooms or reading books. She was awestruck when she met Saint Mother Teresa of Kolkata at the Mother House in India, felt fulfilled working with the poor through volunteer work and was captivated by the kindness of people who made her feel at home.

They have been blessed with six children and eight grandchildren and she confides that her life often revolves around them. Murray retired in 2001 so they returned to Canada, made Kelowna their home and St. Pius X their church. She has been lector, RCIC teacher, and coordinator for a diocesan convention. She is currently a eucharistic minister, social outreach coordinator and social convenor for parish council. Murray is a eucharistic minister, an active member of the Knights of Columbus and has held the positions of grand knight and district deputy grand knight.

Victoria joined the League in 2005 and became chairperson for community life, organization chairperson and then president. At the diocesan level, she took the same path and is now deeply honored to be serving as president. The diocesan theme for 2021-2023 is Connecting with Love, a theme she hopes will inspire all members of the League in Nelson to achieve what they can because they care about others.

Prince George Diocesan
President Maria Tejero pgdp@bcyukoncwl.com

Learn more about Maria

Originally from Spain, Maria came to Kitchener, Ontario in 1970. After Maria and Juan married and had their first baby, they moved to Churchill, Manitoba where they lived for six years and had their second child. The next six years were spent in Liberia, West Africa, where their thirdchild was born. Living there was a cultural shock for the family as they suffered racialdiscrimination. In 1981, they returned to Canada and settled in Prince George. Now married for 49 years, Juan and Maria have one grandchild.

Maria graduated as a registered nurse in 1969, specialising in emergency medicine. For the past 30 years, Maria has worked in mental health as manager and counselor. Her passion is sharing her experience in mental health and gratefully the League has given her a forum. An engagingand humorous speaker, Maria can present complex topics in an easy-to-understand manner. She has given workshops in mental health and addictions at both the parish and diocesan level.

A member of The Catholic Women’s League for 15 years, Maria has held several positions in the Christ Our Saviour parish council including president, organization, and secretary. On the PrinceGeorge diocesan council, Maria held the positions of organization for four years and is now president. She is also one of the members of the League’s strategic plan effective communications working group.Now retired, Maria can pursue her many hobbies, including reading, knitting, tatting, walking, hiking, cruising, and fine dining.

Maria’s goal for the next two years is to travel to all parishes, to get to know her sisters inNorthern B.C. and to unite the Prince George parish councils.

Vancouver Diocesan
President Sherray Duran​ vdp@bcyukoncwl.com

Learn more about Sherray

Sherray is number 13 of 20 children, raised by devout Ukrainian Catholic parents on a farm in Manitoba. By age 15, Sherray was involved with the Catholic Women’s League balancing thebooks for her mother as her mom held the position as treasurer.

Sherray trained as a registered nurse specializing in Emergency, Intensive Care and Cardiology and worked in different hospitals in the Fraser Health Authority. Her vocation led her to offer her expertise at many reservations in B.C., on Holland America Cruise Lines and medicalbrigades in Honduras.

Her husband, Rafael is from Mazatlán, Mexico. Sherray refers to him as her greatest blessing. She had the opportunity to live 15 years in Mexico, learning Spanish and experiencing the great humbleness of the Mexican people.

The family moved to the Lower Mainland in 1987. They have three sons, and seven grand children.

Joining St. Ann’s Abbotsford CWL in 2004 was the beginning of a new and exciting journey. Since 2006, she has held an executive position for legislation, organization, president and covered the many empty chairs until other members stepped up to take on the convenorship atthe parish level. At diocesan, she held legislation, spiritual development, president – elect and now president.

During her term as diocesan legislation chairperson, she participated on the provincial legislation sub-committee under Blanca Stead and co-presented a legislation workshop with Gisela Montague. With spiritual development, Sherray offered eight interesting and interactive spiritual exercises at the diocesan general meetings. As organization focuses on leadership, she developed a workshop, “Great Women of the Bible,” which has been presented to 450+ members.

In 2013, Sherray chaired the Vancouver Diocesan Convention in Abbotsford. She was hospitality convenor at the 2015 National Convention in Vancouver.During 2020 – 2022, three Vancouver annual convention books and the 90th Anniversary Book for St. Ann’s CWL were great opportunities for her to write, compile and publish the history of The Catholic Women’s League at the diocesan and parish levels.

Sherray has a love for the League and looks forward in continuing her service for others.

Victoria Diocesan
President Laurel Phyall vicdp@bcyukoncwl.com

Learn more about Laurel

Past President Christa Grillmair virtually handed me the Diocese of Victoria gavel on April 24, 2021.I have served on the Diocesan Council as President-Elect and Chairperson of Organization, Treasurer and Secretary.I am a past president of St. Patrick’s (Campbell River) and served there as President, Treasurer, Chairperson of Spiritual Development and Christian Family Life.

I have been retired for eleven years and before my retirement I was employed for 17 years at St. Patrick’s Parish as Administrative Assistant.

I am married to Doug and we have two adult daughters and three grandchildren.In my spare time I volunteer for the Red Cross in the Health Equipment Loan Program.

I also enjoy golf, cycling, fishing/camping and gardening.

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.