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 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 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 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.