Provincial Executive

About the Catholic Women’s League

Evelyn Rigby

More about Evelyn

After retirement from teaching in 1996, I joined the League to be of more service to my parish. I was immediately appointed Communications Chair, in hindsight a perfect position for me because I knew very little about the scope of League work. By the end of the first year after attending and reporting on every event and project, I became much enlightened, and after the president-elect moved away I was persuaded by my parish president, Eva Dobozy, to take on even more responsibilities, eventually succeeding her as president.

My decision to run for president was strange in that I had vowed many years previously that I would never take on such a role in any organization. As a very young teacher I had been elected president of a local group, and had experienced difficulty running meetings, especially bringing discussions to a successful conclusion. I am deeply indebted to my parish president who by her example and willingness to help influenced my change my mind.

Later with the encouragement of my pastor I ran for office at the diocesan level, where I served as Legislation, Spiritual Development and President-Elect. By the time I became Vancouver diocesan president I had overcome my fear of running meetings thanks to a two-day parliamentary training workshop led by John Noonan, and tips gathered from subsequent meetings of the Parliamentarian Association of BC. As diocesan past president I was tasked with League Development and derived great satisfaction from setting up and/or re-activating seven councils In the Lower Mainland. Elected to the provincial council in 2010, I have served as Secretary, Communications, President-Elect and now President.

I have been involved in many League projects, which without the help and inspiration of my League sisters would not have been attempted. My proudest moment was witnessing the passage of a co-written resolution to restore the religious content to Canadian Christmas postage stamps at the 2005 National Convention. In addition to my treasured Maple Leaf Service pin and Life Membership, I have been the recipient of many blessings: prayerful support during my husband’s illness, friendships with strong women of faith, gentle guidance of spiritual advisors and patient mentoring by many League sisters.

I consider this organization to be one of the best opportunities for Catholic women, and one which provides many and varied ways of developing and using our God-given talents to serve Him, our country and our world.

President-Elect / Organization
Gisela Montague

More about Gisela

Gisela joined the League in 1985 in Lahr, Germany where her husband had a military posting. Since then Gisela has served in various positions in the League; at parish level as communication chair and secretary, organization chair/president-elect, president and past president; at the Vancouver diocesan level as communication and legislation chair, organization chair/president-elect, president and past president. At provincial level she has served as resolution and legislation chair and is currently serving as chairperson of organization.

As a military wife Gisela has lived in different provinces and her and her husband are now retired and live in Chilliwack, BC. They have three adult children and four grandchildren.

When their children were small she was involved with their schools. At parishes she has constructed banners, coordinated several CWL bazaars, dinners and anniversaries, served with the Outreach team, Prison Ministry, Project Advance and implemented the Parish Information Fair. She has served on the pastoral council and has been a choir member for numerous years as well as being active in her own CWL parish council.

Gisela is passionate about the League that has tremendously enhanced her faith life. She believes that as members, catholic women possess great potential for service to church, community and the world.

1st Vice-President / Resolutions
Sharon Geiger

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Sharon was born in Kamloops, raised in Oliver, went to the Notre Dame University in Nelson and received her teacher’s certificate. Married her husband Bruno in 1973 and then moved to Mackenzie where she taught for a couple of years. They have 4 children and have been blessed with 11 grandchildren with another one on the way!

She joined Catholic Women’s League in 1975 in Mackenzie, which was a very good way to meet more Catholic women in the community, and be involved in the church. In 1985 they moved to Salmon Arm and became very involved in the community as well as the church.

Sharon held many positions on the parish CWL executive before becoming president and then Spiritual Family Life and Organization at the Diocesan level before becoming Diocesan president.

Sharon is now working at her home parish as the Faith Formation for Children coordinator, RCIA coordinator, catechist, as well as being involved in adult education. She also directs a choir in her parish.

On the provincial level she has held the positions of the Chairperson of Spiritual Development and Christian Family Life, and now is 1st Vice-President and Resolutions Chairperson.

Sharon recently received her Life Membership for which she is so grateful.

She loves the league and working with people.

2nd Vice-President / Spiritual Development
Agnes Geiger

More about Agnes

Agnes Geiger is a 42-year member of St. Peter’s Parish Catholic Women’s League in Nanaimo.

I have been honoured to serve on the Provincial Executive as Legislation Chairperson for three years, Education & Health for two and am currently in my second year as Spiritual Development Chairperson.

In 2015 I was awarded my Life Membership and became the Life Member Liaison for the Victoria Diocese CWL. I enjoy writing and presenting workshops and presentations – not many people enjoy that!

I love the League and the amazing women I have met over my years of involvement.

Kathy Weswick

More about Kathy

Kathy is a retired nurse, who lives in Victoria with her husband, and sister-in-law. She was married in 1971 and has one child.

Kathy was born in Coleman, Alberta, and grew up as the eldest of 2 sisters and 2 brothers. She completed high school, nursing training (3 years) and a Baccalaureate in the Science of Nursing (1989). She has worked as a nurse in Lethbridge (post-surgical for 1 year), Winnipeg (operating room for 3 years), Brandon (intensive care nurse for 3 years), Duncan (home care nursing for 3 years), and Victoria (cardiac care nurse for 28 years).

Kathy has been a member of the Catholic Women’s League since 1989. She has served as president of Sacred Heart Council, Victoria, and president of Victoria Diocesan Council. She has been on various committees, including community life, resolutions, legislation, and organization. She is currently the secretary of the Provincial Council.

Kathy likes to read, travel, curl, garden, and work for organizations of the Catholic Church especially the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, and the Catholic Women’s League. She proclaims the Word at Mass. She is on the Archives and Finance Committees of the Particular Council of the SSVP in Victoria, and is the representative of the International Twinning Commission Committee for the Americas.

Kathy feels that the League has helped her grow in confidence and ability. She recommends that ladies in the League accept the prompting of the Holy Spirit and accept the challenges and activities that are offered to them.

Suzanne Eng

More about Suzanne

Suzanne Eng was appointed as Treasurer of BC & Yukon Provincial Council in 2016. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and holds a Bachelors degree in Mathematics. She worked in the private sector for many years and together with her husband was the co-owner of a successful commercial greenhouse business for seventeen years.

Since joining the League in 1993, Suzanne has served as treasurer, resolutions chair, and president at the parish level. At the diocesan level, Suzanne served as legislation and communications chairs, as well as two terms as treasurer. While Suzanne served as legislation chair, she worked with the group that has evolved into the Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition see,

Now widowed since 2001, Suzanne enjoys travelling to visit her three grown children, being involved in her parish activities, and going to CWL conventions.

Suzanne has always been involved in the music ministry, singing in parish choirs since about the age of 8. As St. Augustine is quoted, “She who sings her prayer, prays twice”. Suzanne has also served on the evangelization committee and school bursary committee at her home parish.

Suzanne loves attending conventions. It provides the opportunity for members to learn more about the work of the league, not just as ”bake sale ladies”, but makes us known as women who stand for social justice, spirituality, and sisterhood.

Pat Deppiesse

More about Pat

Pat became founding president of her parish council in 1995, signing up 60 members, formed an executive team, and started to attend the diocesan meetings. She will never forget her first diocesan convention when she was exposed to the Resolutions process and how we ladies could really make a difference, and influence the people we had elected to government positions.

Eventually she became past-president and a very persuasive Life Member called and asked if she would run for election at the diocesan level. After much prayerful contemplation, she realized it was time to ‘move on’. She capitulated and said yes – she could possibly run for Secretary, since this was her background and a place where she felt she could be ‘quiet’ and just record the meetings. She eventually became Vancouver Diocesan Council President.

Pat has travelled extensively in Europe with her husband Paul, and when a Life Member organized a CWL pilgrimage to the Marian Shrines in France, Spain and Portugal in 2000, she joined in.

As much as she loved working at the diocesan level, once again, there came the time to move on. After being past president of the Vancouver diocese, she decided that she couldn’t do without the fun and spirituality of the CWL in her life. She was nominated to serve on the Provincial Council and once again, became Secretary. She will never forget the moment when asked to take on the position of Resolutions Chairperson, feeling totally flabbergasted, thinking how on earth could she do it? Well, it turned out to be one of her favourite positions. She has found it an absolute joy to travel all over the beautiful province of BC and Yukon making so many wonderful new friends.

When nominated to run for the position of provincial president-elect, she was hesitant again to make this decision. During her tenure with the CWL, she had also been Chairperson of her Parish Pastoral Council, on the planning committee to build a school plus the usual family issues. She was still working part time at the Archdiocese of Vancouver as the Mission Appeal Program Administrator. When you say you will let your name stand for president-elect, you know you are more or less committed for the next six years, and that, in her position was a difficult decision. After much prayer and soul searching, she realized that she needed her Sisters in the League, their spirituality, their support and their love. She just still needed to ‘actively belong’ and to be involved in the faith, fun and fulfillment that is the League.

She agreed to let her name stand, and went on to become provincial president for 2014-16. Pat knows that God never asks that you be perfect, only that you do the best you can, and that He will be with us always. Now, as past-president, she is looking forward to continuing her work with the League. How? That is for God to decide.

Christian Family Life
Susan Steiner

More about Susan

I am presently Christian Family Life Chairperson on the Provincial Council and an active member of the Catholic Women’s League at St. Andrew’s Parish here in Fraser Lake. I have been a member since 1993 and have served as President, Past President, Secretary, Resolutions and Legislation Chairperson.

At the Diocesan Level I have served as President, Past President, Secretary, Resolutions, Legislation and Communications Chairperson.

I am a retired widow and live on a ranch in Fraser Lake, BC (Northern BC) and am mother of two girls and grandmother of two girls and a boy.

I am involved in my home parish as a Lector and Eucharistic minister. I volunteer as a board member of the Seniors Society in Fraser Lake and my position on the Board is Secretary. I am also a member of the Quilters Guild here in Fraser Lake.

I am so proud to be a member of this great organization.

Laura Esposito

More about Laura

I have been a member of the CWL for 24 years. At first, I could not attend meetings but helped out at bazaars and offered prayers for the success of the League. In 1998, I began to attend meetings and became president of my 1999.

Over the years, I have held most chairs at either the parish or the Diocesan level. I was appointed Provincial Communications Chairperson in 2015 in the middle of a term and was asked to continue in this role at the last election in 2016. I volunteer for a variety of organizations. I am on the board of the Friends of the Library and on my local amateur theatre society helping to put on a variety of plays and productions.

I enjoy a variety of crafts, especially crocheting, knitting, cross-stitching and candle-making. Making crafts is totally relaxing and rewarding. Yearly, I, along with others in my parish, make many scarves mitts, and toques which are distributed to those less fortunate in our community who frequent our weekly soup kitchen. I am also an avid reader. Lately, I have especially enjoyed reading historical fiction, travel books, biographies and autobiographies. I belong to a book club which meets once a month and here I am challenged to read books which are sometimes outside of my comfort zone.

I have had the privilege of travelling to many destinations in the world. It has opened my eyes to the richness of a variety of cultures and a variety of people. The fact that I can speak four languages (Italian, French, Spanish and English) has helped me immensely when travelling.

I am a teacher. Teaching is and never was a job for me, but a vocation. Retired now, I continue to help out in our Catholic School whenever I can, and it is a blessing when I am called in. I am passionate about the League and all it stands for. We, as CWL members, make a very positive difference in our Church, our communities and in the world at large. I am so proud to be a Catholic Women’s League member

Ciao and God bless. Laura

Community Life
Sharon Ciebin

More about Sharon

Sharon is a retired banker who lives in Coquitlam, BC. She is married to Terry and the mother of two adult children and 2 grandchildren.

Sharon has served in her parish council and diocesan council, in many leadership positions, and this is her first term on the BC & Yukon Provincial Council serving as Community Life Chair. She is a Past President of the Vancouver Diocesan Council. While she has created and facilitated many courses over the years, the one that stands out for her is Catch the Fire which she and her team delivered 13 times.

Sharon believes in stewardship and has supported her parish community for many years serving in the ministries of Religious Education, Squirettes Leadership, Lector, Eucharistic minister and RCIA coordinator. She is proud to be a founding member of her home parish, St. Clare of Assisi.

Her most recent activities include being active with three refugee families, Sacristan, member of the board of Talitha Koum Society, and member of the Archdiocese of Vancouver Anti- Human Trafficking Committee.

Sharon realizes she has grown from every leadership role, but finds Community Life fulfils her passion for taking action to assist the marginalized of the world. She credits the structure and vision of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada in providing her with opportunities to make a difference in Canada and the world.

Education and Health
Linda McClinton

More about Linda

I joined the CWL in 1973 in Mackenzie, BC and am a charter member there. I am a mother of 4, Grandmother of 10, and great grandmother of 3.

Over the years I have held most chairs in CWL and appreciate that each chair I have held I have learned so much and more about what a wonderful group we are and how much we do. I have served on Parish, Diocesan and now the Provincial level.

I volunteer for our local Hospice and appreciate all they do for persons during end of life, and for their families. I also volunteer for my parish in the choir and as lector and keep the pews tidy by putting hymn books in its proper place after Mass.

I was honoured to receive the Maple Leaf Service Pin while in McBride and was president there for many years in order to try and keep their council alive. Sadly they have now disbanded.

I continue to encourage all women in my home parish to join the League.

Blanca Stead

More about Blanca

Blanca Stead is the Legislation Convener of the BC & Yukon Provincial Council. She lives in Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island. She is a retired librarian and now volunteers as a part-time archivist for the Cowichan Historical Society.

In 1989, she joined her CWL parish council, and was attracted by the League’s mission statement. Since then has served in most positions. She is also the Immediate Past President of the Victoria Diocesan Council.

By her involvement in presenting workshops for the League, she acts on her beliefs that by educating members about our organization we promote it, and ensures more involvement and commitment.

In her home parish of St. Edward, the Confessor, she is actively involved with Liturgy, assists the Pastor in the Funeral ministry, and is part of the CWL hospitality committee.