Thank you to Diocesan Education and Health Chairpersons who have been gifting their ladies over the past year:
Nelson Diocesan Council – Fran Sutherland
Whitehorse Diocesan Council – Carol Vanderbyl
Victoria Diocesan Council – Pat Carew

Welcome to the new Education and Health Chairpersons of this year:
Kamloops Diocesan Council – Kathy Dahl
Vancouver Diocesan Council – Conchita Bambila
Prince George Diocesan Council – Amabile DalMonte

I am very grateful that you are willing to contribute your time and talent to education and health topics for your member Councils. You are part of the team of Education and Health Chairs for your Diocese. At the end of this communique is a list of the responsibilities of this chair; for more specifics, see the Executive Manual at Organize/Executive Handbook/page EH55.  Please let me know if I can help you in any way with this chair and for your members.

Use of computers in schools is becoming more common. This can be very helpful for your children, but also can open up access to the internet that can expose children to harmful content (porn, hate speech) and dangerous people (child predators, identity thieves, and cyberbullies).

Our Provincial president, Gisela Montague, passed me an article about preparation of your children for use of the computers. It is from a website titled  I have copied some of the article:

Before sending your child back to school, it is critical that all devices giving them access into the digital world are made more safe and secure. Taking the following steps will help prevent your child from online dangers and be more cyber secure.

Use “Tools”, better known as Parental Controls on all internet-enabled devices including smartphones, computers, tablets and gaming systems. Most parental controls allow a parent to set different levels of controls for different children. When used together, these tools provide effective layers of protection. Turn on Parental Control Tools to:

·     Set filters to block inappropriate content, including pornography.

·     Set monitoring/accountability tools to track apps usage, website visits, e-mails, messaging and other internet activities. Monitoring also provides detailed reports on the child’s online activities.

·     Set time limits.

·     Block inappropriate apps or games.

·     Set up parent-approved buddy and gamer lists to limit who your child can communicate with.

It is imperative that you use both Rules N’ Tools with each of your children on all devices they use. As a parent, follow the link here for “Rules” — non-technical measures in addition to the ” Tools” above to help you become a better cyber-savvy parent. A few of the Rules are listed below:

·     Choose strong passwords using letters, numbers and symbols and review them periodically. Passwords should never be shared with anyone except you, the parent.

·     Secure the internet connection when using public Wi-Fi with a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service which provides online privacy and anonymity of private data.

·     Review safe internet conduct with your child including internet safety, online etiquette and cyberbullying.

·     Establish an agreement with your child about internet use at home and outside the home (see “Rules ‘N Tools Youth Pledge.”)


Remember, the best protection you can provide is keeping the lines of communication open with your child about internet use and staying on top of his/her internet access and behaviors.

Our National Education and Health Chairperson, Faith Anderson, wrote in the last issue of the Canadian League, about a focus on water and mental health, with particular focus on First Nation’s issues with water.

First Nations communities in Canada are at a disproportionately high risk for lack of access to clean water. Off-reserve water management is the responsibility of provinces, but reserves are under the jurisdiction of the federal government. We have the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ statement on the right to safe drinking water calling us to action – avoid bottled water, reduce use, protect rivers and lakes, ensure water remains a public good, and make your voice heard that the federal government fulfils its pledge to provide clean drinking water on First Nations reserves.

A few water conservation ideas gleamed from the internet:

  • On average, 10 gallons per day of your water footprint (or 14% of your indoor use) is lost to leaks. One of the most effective ways to cut your footprint is by repairing leaky faucets and toilets.
  • Using a (dishwashing) machine is actually more water efficient than hand washing, especially if you run full loads – 6 gallons vs 20 gallons if hand washing.
  • That quarter pounder is worth more than 30 average American showers. One of the easiest ways to slim your water footprint is to eat less meat and dairy. Another way is to choose grass-fed, rather than grain-fed. A serving of poultry costs about 90 gallons of water to produce.

I encourage you to look for more ideas on the ‘net’.

In regards to mental health, in your reports, you mentioned that you would have liked to receive more information about mental health and the elderly. “Cognitive impairment” is the more common of the mental health issues among the elderly. I thank our Provincial Communication Chair, Sylvia Jurys, for the following article:

Dementia & Alzheimer’s  

Risk Factor #1. Your Age

Age is the highest risk factor associated with dementia. Although there are some forms of early onset dementia and Alzheimer’s, those conditions typically have a large genetic component involved. Overall, the risk for developing dementia increases significantly with age. It is estimated that dementia affects 1 out of every 9 people over the age of 65, and 1 in 3 over the age of 80.

Risk Factor #2. Your Birth Gender

In the year 2019, Alzheimer’s affects 5.7 million people over the age of 65. Women comprise 3.2 million of that total. Studies contribute women’s longer lifespans and genetic predisposition as two possible causes. To help improve the odds of avoiding dementia, women should be proactive by limiting known lifestyle contributors to the disease such as those discussed on this page.

Risk Factor #3. Your Tobacco Use

Smokers are twice as likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and friends and family who breathe second hand smoke are also at higher risk. A 2010 study suggests that smoking more than two packs of cigarettes a day between the ages of 50 and 60 had an elevated risk of developing Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. On the other hand, former smokers did not appear to be at an increased risk.

Risk Factor #4. Your Marital Status

Chances of late-life dementia are six times more likely for a widow or widower. Those who divorce and stay single are three times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than people with partners. Results vary as to the cause of such numbers; though staying mentally active and socially connected have proven to lessen one’s potential for dementia.

Risk Factor #5. Your Body Mass

A healthy BMI (Body Mass Index) helps fight disease, reduces the need for certain medications, and can also greatly lower risks of dementia. Neurologist Dr. Vincent Fortanasce of UCLA studied 10,000 participants for 27 years and found that obesity increased the chances for Alzheimer’s by 74%. In addition to improved cognition, healthy diet and moderate exercise are the best tools for overall health.

Risk Factor #6. Your Family History

A specific form of Alzheimer’s – “early onset” Alzheimer’s disease, which affects those under the age of 65 – does increase the probability that close family members will develop Alzheimer’s. In addition, families with a history of Alzheimer’s may have a variety of contributors such as genetics, environmental factors, and also lifestyle choices handed down from parents to children.

Risk Factor #7. Your Health History

Conditions such as hypertension, heart disease and diabetes increase the chances of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia. In fact, recent studies have suggested that type 2 diabetes may be a factor in the development of brain abnormalities that can lead to Alzheimer’s. The good news is, many of these conditions can be reversed with proper lifestyle choices.

Risk Factor #8. Your Education Level

Experts are divided on why limited education increases chances for dementia, yet, all concur there is a correlation. Studies show that higher education may increase a “cognitive reserve” to help offset symptoms of dementia. Other research states that higher education leading to better jobs with medical benefits can help provide quality preventative care.

Risk Factor #9. Your History of Concussion or Head Trauma

The risk of getting Alzheimer’s increases exponentially with numerous head injuries. Each year in America, more than 1.7 million people will suffer a moderate-to-severe Traumatic Brain Injury. A TBI is considered “moderate” when memory loss is more than 30 minutes but no longer than 24 hours. Patients with moderate brain injuries are reported to have twice the risk of contracting Alzheimer’s.

Risk Factor #10. Your Sleep Habits

Quality sleep plays a significant role in allowing the body to repair itself. In relation to Alzheimer’s, studies show that truly restful sleep (and adequate amounts of it) allow the brain to flush out toxins which are linked to dementia. Sleep-deprived patients with excess amyloid plaque are also known to develop Alzheimer’s more quickly than those without.

Risk Factor #11. Your Alcohol Consumption

Excessive drinking contributes to many serious and well-known health issues. Heavy drinking can also lead to alcoholic dementia and increased possibility of Alzheimer’s. Unlike unavoidable family genetics, alcohol consumption can be modified to help reduce the risk of dementia. Men should limit alcohol to no more than two drinks a day; women, no more than one drink a day.

Risk Factor #12. Your Active Mind

Remaining mentally active improves the brain in both physical and psychological ways. By making the brain learn new things, nerve cells are strengthened. Regular socialization reduces a sense of isolation, which has been linked to depression and dementia.

Risk Factor #13. Your Active Body

A sedentary lifestyle contributes to many avoidable illnesses. Regular moderate exercise keeps weight gain under control and also boosts energy levels. It also helps the brain by increasing oxygen levels and blood flow. Become more active to greatly reduce the risk of vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and more.

September 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day. Let’s give our members more information, and engage them on this topic, to aid them in their health concerns.

Lastly, I encourage you to help members with resources to know strategic plan goals and strategies for this year. Copies of our Strategic Plan are available through our National Council. I ask you to bring to their attention the goals and strategies for year one –

  1. Goal one – Members of the CWL of Canada grow in faith by sharing,  witnessing and developing leadership skills to create positive change.
  • increase awareness about the League within the church through marketing.
  • Reduce the number of standing committees to three to align with the core values of faith, service and social justice – already being done by some parish councils.
  1. Goal two – The CWL of Canada addresses and supports Catholic social         teaching through advocacy.
  • Empower members by providing educational opportunities to learn more about Catholic social teaching.
  1. Goal three – Through outreach and service, members of the CWL of           Canada foster a culture where all life is valued with dignity                             and respect.
  • 1 Address misconceptions about the League.
  • 2 Embrace diverse cultures and ages.
  • 3 Create ready-made adaptable toolkits for use in parishes (to foster outreach and service).
  1. Goal four – Address critical issues.
  • Simplify procedures and reporting processes.
  • Include (leave no member behind) and affirm (make members feel welcome and wanted.
  • Market the League as an association that showcases the strength of Catholic women grounded in faith, ready and willing to act.
  • Position the League as an organization for all Catholic women that encourages and supports their role and responsibility in the church and society.

May God bless you as you care for yourselves and others through your dedication to CWL.

May our Lady of Good Counsel guide you.

Together in Christ,