Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada
(UCWLC) in the Edmonton Eparchy
The history of the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada constitutes an important part of the life’s struggle of Ukrainian women, to ascertain the moral and material values for the Ukrainian Catholic Church, for themselves personally, their families and future generations. Their activities reach the very first beginnings of our immigration in Canada, when Ukrainian pioneer-women, with their dedication and untiring work helped building our church communities. With time, they formed sisterhoods, women’s societies and finally the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada.
The first visible group of Ukrainian women was formed in Edmonton in 1901-the Society of young girl-workers, at the night school of Latin sisters, where they learned English language and religion. In 1903,a choral group, named “Boyan” was formed. Later, in 1917, under the auspices of Narodnyi dim, the sisterhood “Zoria” was founded. That was the oldest women’s society in the province of Alberta . It obtained a substantial sum for the building of St. Josaphat’s Cathedral, raised funds for various social causes and organized Ridna shkola.
In 1931, in Star, Alberta , “Apostleship of Prayer” was formed. In 1938, young women of St. Josaphat’s Cathedral organized the Society of Ukrainian Professional & Business Women. Their task was also to raise building funds for St. Josaphat’s church and to develop more social activity. Those were the days of economic crisis. In 1941, a church affiliated society was founded by women of St. Josaphat’s Cathedral, the so called “Dobra Volia” and the Ukrainian professional and business women joined it. Their aims were to acquaint themselves better with Canadian social environment and with our charitable responsibilities.
Beside Edmonton , other organized centers of Ukrainian women developed in Calgary , Mundare, Vegreville and others. During the World War II, the need arose to develop and strengthen our activities in the religious, cultural, educational and socio-economic aspects. In order to achieve these goals, Ukrainian Catholic women united in 1944 in one centralized national organization – UCWLC – in Winnipeg , Manitoba .
In Edmonton Eparchy, the UCWLC was founded in 1948. It has 30 Branches and 1,300 members. It is a self-sustaining, non-political, non-profit, charitable organization.
UCWL is the foremost organization of Ukrainian Catholic Women in Canada and is a member of Ukrainian Canadian Congress, World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations, World Union of Catholic Women’s Association and other national & international organizations. It works in close cooperation with the Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood (UCBC) and Ukrainian Catholic Youth of Canada (UCYC) and their Eparchial executives.
Governing Bodies: The National, Eparchial and Branch Executives with its own constitution and a special mission:
“The Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada, in its ongoing commitment to the mission of Church, is dedicated to providing the resources, that allow its members to realize their own true vocation and live an authentic Christian life, as contributing members to the Church and society.”
In the Edmonton Eparchy, the activities of UCWLC are worked out throughout individual committees. The following are the main core standing committees.
The Spiritual Committee gives moral support to our Eparch, priests and monastic orders and works with them in full cooperation, especially with Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate. The Edmonton Eparchy’s faithful acknowledge with gratitude Sisters’ catechetical and spiritual input in our parishes. UCWLC supports religious education & Ukrainian publications ; organizes spiritual renewals and seminars of Bible studies, Ukrainian rite and traditions.
The League counteracts with protests against legalization of abortion, euthanasia (suicide with dignity) and aided suicide. Raising values and strengthening of Christian marriage and family – these are the priorities in today’s planning. The committee organized pilgrimages to Mundare and Ottawa in Canada, also to Lourdes in France, and to Hrushiv, Krekhiv, Hoshiv and Zarvanytsia in Ukraine .
The Cultural Committee fosters and promotes Ukrainian language to safeguard and strengthen Ukrainian identity; provides courses of Ukrainian language, sponsors kindergartens and supports bilingual schools in our province. The Ukrainian art is preserved in its own museum at the Cathedral: so are books of historical and heritage value. The Edmonton Eparchy became culturally enriched by the enormous work of the UCWLC Museum Committee.
The Legislative Committee is a fairly new committee. Created to counteract the ultra-liberal influences of education in sexuality, widespread pornography, legalization of abortion, euthanasia, aided suicide and other contrary to our holy faith perversions. If necessary we have to lobby the government.
The Social & Charitable Committee is one of the first established, but lately split into two committees. Was always supportive in defending human rights, family and social justice. This committee is visiting the sick and helping the poor. Since World War II in cooperation with the Canadian Red Cross, UCWLC organized aid for refugees and victims in Europe and Canada. Also, provided help to Brazil; Argentine, former Yugoslavia and presently to Ukraine to aid the enormous need of our Mother Church; orphanages and Chernobyl victims. Social activity is evident also in the Eparchial radio program. UCWLC is instrumental in fundraising for building and upkeep of our churches.
In retrospect of this brief informative resume of the work of the Ukrainian Catholic women in the Edmonton Eparchy, we must emphasize our most important responsibility, that of the Mother. God Himself, bestowed upon the Mother this very mission. No other profession can be equal to the value of the responsible motherhood. Thus, being a good mother and wife merits an important and worthy status, especially in today’s society. The best example for us is The Holy Mother of God, our Patroness.
We pray constantly for Her help in fulfilling our difficult tasks by singing at all our meetings: “O, spomahai nas, Divo Mariye!”
In conclusion, we express our praise and thanks to the Almighty God and His Holy Mother The Theotokos, for guidance and love in strengthening our work for God, the Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Ukrainian people.Facts:
DID YOU KNOW:
The emblem symbolizes organization’s values: Cross – Holy faith; Trident – Ukraine ‘s Coat of arms; Maple Leaf – Canada ‘s emblem.
The Patroness of UCWLC is the Most Holy Mother of God.
The official hymn: O, spomahai nas, Divo Mariie! The official bilingual quarterly: Nasha doroha. The UCWLC Day: Last Sunday in May.