By Thandiwe Konguavi
Staff Writer

Unplug from technology. Wake up to the angels around you, and plant love in everything you do, says Rev. Jerome Lavigne, a prominent Catholic speaker and video blogger.

“We are part of a generation that has lost the sense of awe and wonder,” Lavigne told members of the Alberta Mackenzie Council of the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) at their annual provincial convention on June 9.

It is the spiritual realm that suffers the most through constant use of smartphones, texting, Facebook and email, said Lavigne, pastor of St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in Calgary and spiritual adviser for the CWL council in that parish. 

“We forget about the presence of the angels that surround us and seek to help us discover the will of God in the midst of life’s busyness and parish madness,” he said.

Over 200 members of the provincial CWL and their spiritual advisers met at St. Charles Parish in Edmonton to hear ideas on how they can make their league grow. Alberta Mackenzie is one of the few provincial CWLs whose membership is increasing, but the league is still struggling to reach out to younger women.

“If young women knew about what we do, they would be so involved,” said outgoing president Cathy Bouchard. “We have so much voice to make a change in our society and young women — all women — Catholic especially, are interested in social justice issues and want to make a difference.”

The league is engaging more young people through social media, by becoming more active in the community, by giving more people the opportunity to become involved in CWL campaigns and through its Catholic Girls Leagues for girls under age 16. 

“These young women in Edmonton are learning about different aspects of the league and then they could share it with their friends,” said Bouchard. “It’s one thing to have a grandmother tell you, it’s another thing to have a peer tell you.”

June Fuller, the president-elect of the Alberta Mackenzie CWL, said she has seen an increase in younger women coming into the league, including at her Holy Family Parish Council in St. Albert. That council has nearly 200 members, including a 17-year-old girl. 

“We have a nice, wide range of ages,” said Fuller. “The ladies are great. We just love being together and sharing and working together, being active and being involved.”

Lavigne supports the idea of reaching out through social media, but there needs to be a balance. 

“We have got to get the message out through the (social media) vehicles but we also need our time with God, which is in the silence.” Lavigne said the key to a flourishing CWL is not about looking for something life-changing.

“It’s about doing all the little things that come to us on an everyday basis with great love and embracing a sensitive feel towards living in such a way that we will make a difference in someone’s life,” he said.

“If you plant love in everything you do and with everyone you meet, you will reap the fulfillment of your mission statement as CWL members.”

The convention also recognized Jeanne LeGuerrier, a long-time spiritual adviser in Fort Smith, N.W.T., with the Elsie Yanik award for individual work in the community.

The Alberta MacKenzie Provincial CWL convention wraps up on June 10.