Logo for the Catholic Women's League including cross and motto For God and Canada

History of the CWL at St. John Fisher

This history is written with information from Vera Nolan and the 50th and 55th Catholic Women’s League Anniversary Booklets. If you know of any details missing from our church history, please email them to michellefrizza@gmail.com.


  • The National Catholic Women’s League was formed and the per capita fee was 20 cents.  It was raised in 1922 to 30 cents and in 1933 the membership fee was $1.


  • Meetings were held prior to the council charter date to discuss the formation of a Council at St John Fisher. 


  • February 18: St John Fisher Council received its Charter. Reverend A P Caley was the spiritual director and Winnie McCormack was our first President. 
  • June 21: Our CWL held its first event - a Bake Sale.
  • July: The first Millionaires Night was held. Admission was 50 cents.
  • The CWL worked with the Church Building Committee.


  • June: The CWL membership fee was $1.50 with 175 members.
  • December: Membership grew to 197.


  • The CWL had 250 members and the annual membership fee was still $1.50.


  • April: According to an article, the CWL had 363 members and led the Archdiocese in membership numbers for 1971 and 1972.


  • The CWL had 268 members and the annual CWL membership fee was $2.


  • The annual CWL Membership fee is now $3.


  • The CWL membership is over 300 after a door-to-door canvassing by members.


  • CWL Membership fee is $4.


  • CWL Membership fee is $10.


  • August: Lucille Cullen, our Council president 1967-69, is elected National CWL President for 1990-92.


  • The first CWL Pasta Dinners was held. The 22nd Pasta Dinner was held in February 2020. It is one of many popular social activities of our Parish. Proceeds are donated to the Parish.


  • The first CWL Easter Fair was held. The event was for children aged 3-11 and included fun activities such as face painting, crafts, Easter Parade, sing-a-long, refreshments and ended with an Easter Egg Hunt.


  • September: The CWL celebrated its 40th Anniversary at St John Fisher. 


  • The CWL started the Christmas gift wrapping fundraiser for charities at Le Vie en Rose at Trinity Commons. This fundraiser continues to be a major source of the funds that we donate to local, national and international charities. It continued up to and including 2019.


  • The CWL membership is 120 members strong, and the annual membership fee is $20.
  • It introduced new initiatives such as co-sponsoring a resolution on Reproductive Health and Women’s Fertility Education which went to the Provincial Convention.
  • The CWL donated towards the Sri Lankan Tsunami that occurred on Boxing Day.


  • CWL membership is at 133 members.
  • June: The CWL produced its first annual membership newsletter.


  • CWL membership is at 158 members.
  • May: Carole Pitcher is installed as Diocesan CWL President 2007-09 at the 86th Annual Toronto Diocesan Convention.
  • June 10: The CWL celebrated its 45th Anniversary. 


  • May: Archdiocesan Community Life Project was introduced. A Walk-a-thon was held at Chinguacousy Park and proceeds were donated to the Alzheimer Society of Peel.
  • August: CWL Members participated in the Campaign for Life Demonstration in Ottawa at the Governor General residence on Sussex Drive to revoke Dr Henry Morgentaler’s Order of Canada Award.
  • CWL membership is at 177 members.


  • The CWL had 177 members.
  • May: The CWL held its first Mother’s Day Spa and treated approximately 70 women to nail care, make-up tips, body and foot massages, fitness stretches, high blood pressure check-up and counselling, viewing of I Love Lucy shows and light refreshments all for a cost of only $10. 
  • The CWL Council Resolution, Supporting Canadian Food for Children (CFFC) as a National Voluntary Fund, was presented at the Archdiocesan, Provincial and National Conventions. 
  • December: The CWL sponsored a Walk to Bethlehem for the Advent season for the CWL Archdiocesan Community Life Project. Each participant, including Fathers Grima and Lewis, was given pedometers to wear to track their daily steps and submitted them at the end of each week. Father Grima had the most steps at the end of the four-week period. We needed 11,623,571 steps to reach Bethlehem and the combined total for 4 weeks was 17,314,275. We overreached our target by 5,690,704 steps!
  • Our neighbour church, St Anne's CWL Council held their first annual Women of Faith Luncheon Fundraiser for women in Peel Region who best exemplify the Women of Faith criteria: Catholic women walking with Mary through their commitments as mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends or as volunteers for parish ministries and/or the community at large. Vera Nolan was the first recipient of the award.


  • CWL Membership was at 170.
  • The CWL celebrated the Year for Priests at the annual CWL Pasta Dinner by honouring Father Grima, Father Lewis and Deacon Larry Ouimet with individual commemorative Year for Priests plaques. Altar servers were honoured with certificates for their years of service to our parish.
  • The CWL donated to the Haitian Relief because of the earthquake in January.


  • CWL Membership was at 155.
  • Carole Pitcher received her Life Member Pin at the National CWL Convention in August that was held in Toronto.
  • The CWL donated to Horn of Africa Famine Relief.


  • The CWL annual Membership fee is $25 because of the National per capita fee increase effective January 1st. Per capita fees are now remitted to the various levels of the League National ($13), Provincial ($3), Toronto Archdiocesan ($4), Regional ($1.75), and St. John Fisher Council ($3.25).
  • CWL Membership was at 156, including 11 new members. 
  • Father Grima donated the proceeds from the Annual Pasta Dinner to the CWL 50th Anniversary.
  • May 5: Jeannette Morgan is presented with the CWL Toronto Diocesan Patricia Beattie Annual Memorial Mentoring Award at the 91st Annual Diocesan Convention.


  • CWL Walkathon Chinguacousy Park for the Parish Restoration Fund raised $4,562.
  • National CWL theme 2013 – 2015 was “We Have Seen the Lord”.
  • Lorraine Comeau was the Grand Honouree recipient for the St. Anne's Women of Faith.


  • Resolutions: ON.14.01 Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods originated at St. John Fisher.
  • Donated to the Brampton Ardglen community because of a tragic fire on June 8th.


  • National CWL theme 2015 – 2016 was “One Heart, One Voice, One Mission”.
  • Shirley Christo installed as the 2015 – 2017 President of the Catholic Women’ League, Toronto Diocesan Council which represents over 7,300 women in 94 parish councils in the Archdiocese of Toronto.


  • Participated in the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy through visits to the Holy Door Churches, pilgrimages.
  • Donated to the Fort Murray Fire in Alberta.
  • Hosted the first Wine & Cheese event featuring educational speakers for women of the parish with topics on hearing and diabetes.
  • Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) was legalized in Canada in June after the Liberal government passed Bill C-14 which is against our Catholic teachings. We encouraged members to write letters, sign petitions to elected officials during council meetings.


  • National CWL theme 2017 – 2018 was “Inspired by the Spirit, Women Respond to God’s Call”.
  • February 26: the 2017 – 2019 St John Fisher Executive was installed by Father Regulo Imperial during the 12 pm Mass.
  • A CWL stole was presented to Father Regulo Imperial.
  • The CWL continues to strive to improve members’ participation in taking on executive and active roles and to regain our membership base which continues to decline from 177 members in 2012 to 136 members in 2017.
  • Supporting amendment to Bill 84 that would protect physicians and health care workers who object in taking part in Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) legislation.
  • Hilarion Mitchell is now President-Elect 2017 – 2019 of the Catholic Women’s League, Toronto Diocesan Council.
  • Assisted with hosting the post-ordination 1st Mass at the parish for Father Matthew Joseph McCarthy.


St John Fisher Catholic Women’s League Presidents

1962 – 1964 Winnifred McCormack
1964 – 1966 Lucille Creally
1966 – 1967 Mae Caswell
1967 – 1969 Lucille Cullen - National President 1990-92; Honorary Life Member; died July 26, 2016 (91 years)
1969 – 1971 Teresa (Terry) Laidlaw
1971 – 1972 Mildred O’Brien
1972 – 1973 Susan Robinson
1973 – 1975 Judy Taylor
1975 – 1977 Donna Warren
1977 – 1979 Cathy Williamson
1979 – 1981 Mary Esvelt
1981 – 1983 Judy Taylor
1983 – 1985 Greta Prokopchuk
1985 – 1987 Grace Knox
1987 – 1989 Carole Pitcher - Diocesan President 2007-09; Life Member
1989 – 1991 Brenda Wood
1991 – 1992 Teresa Blaine
1992 – 1993 Bernie Scanlan
1993 – 1994 Carole Pitcher - Diocesan President 2007-09: Life Member
1994 – 1996 Jennie Fox
1996 – 1998 Shirley Christo - Diocesan President 2015-17
1999 – 2001 Eleanor Gott
2001 – 2003 Hilarion Mitchell - Diocesan President 2017-21 (pandemic)
2003 – 2006 Jeannette Morgan
2006 – 2009 Lorraine Comeau
2009 – 2013 Veronica Grant
2013 – 2015 Judy Van Zant
2015 – 2017 Veronica Grant
2017 – Present Mirella Kaman (pandemic)