National President’s Blog 2013-2016

Hello to all Members and anyone checking this page.  I intend to keep you up to date with where I have been and also anything that comes my way that I think may be of interest to you.

Blog 30

My final blog now I have completed my 3 years as National President

My thanks firstly go to the members of the National Executive. This has been a challenging 3 years and at all times working through such a huge workload your National Executive have continued with amazing commitment and dedication, they are to be commended for their constancy and loyalty to the League even under the greatest of pressure

Thanks especially to Jean Clarke for her continual support and availability to skype at any moment. It is her job to receive all emails and this has proved a very demanding task during my time in office.

Thanks to Jeanette your National Treasurer for her tireless hours of work given to keeping the finances of the League in ship-shape and making sure we all understand the responsibility we hold as Trustees in monitoring the work of the League.

Thanks to Bishop Peter for his great support and prayers over the past year. We have kept in touch on Skype and he has been very keen to help us in these times of change.

Thanks to all the Branches that welcomed me to their AGMs and also the sections I visited on their invitation. Also thanks for all their input on the proposals for the future and participation at the Officer’s Annual Meetings. The work tirelessly carried out by members is always tremendous.

Thanks also to the Officers of the League, Family & Health, Parliamentary and WUCWO and the Relief & Refugee committee, special committees OLC and Services who continue to work for the League.

I finished my 3 years at home with my Branch. On 30th August we made a Branch trip to Ingatestone Hall the home of Lord and Lady Petre, staunch catholic family of Essex who carried on their faith throughout the reformation. It was a fantastic day. We ended the day with mass in Ingatestone Church and Msgr David Mansen wore special vestments – the panels were those from the orginial vestments of Saint John Payne who was the chaplain at Ingatestone Hall

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And finally last Saturday I attended my Branch meeting in Brentwood where we celebrated 95 years of the Branch. The cake was cut by Branch President Esther and one of our most senior members Mary Murphy. I must thank my Branch for super support they have given me over the 3 years and for their continued prayers, it meant a great deal to me so thank you all.WP_20160924_002 WP_20160924_004

Thanks must also go to my family who have shared these three years with me and shared me with the CWL without complaint and supported me all the way, culminating with attending the pilgrimage – I was so proud of them and I am sure my mother and mother-in-law would have been bursting with pride to see me taking my part in the day in front of the Cardinal. What an honour for our family and a life event to remember.

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Final thanks to husband John who is always there for me with helpful advice and support. He is my rock and I feel he has been CWL National President as well, given all the occasions he has attended by my side.

 

First picture shows Cardiff Branch Officers with Archbishop Stack, lower picture shows National President Elizabeth Upsher and husband John with the Archbishop. Both photo's taken after Cardiff Branch centenary Mass

National President Elizabeth Upsher and husband John with the Archbishop. Photo taken after Cardiff Branch centenary Mass 2014

Just remains for me to say thank you to all and good bye.

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Blog 29a 19 July 2016

16 July 2016 Catholic Women’s League Pilgrimage to Westminster Cathedral to celebrate 110 years of the League.

What a stupendous day! Over 600 were gathered for mass celebrated by Cardinal Nichols and homily given by Bishop Peter Doyle our spiritual advisor. The weather was glorious, the singing fabulous, the organisation (nearly all the work of our wonderful National Secretary) went like clockwork.  Thank you to all who came and all who helped in any way. I have had several messages of thanks, all appreciating the bottled water and special cupcake provided as refreshments – also the commemorative badge everyone received. Special thanks to my family who came and supported me – it truly was a life event, a memory to cherish. Here are a few photos of the day but there are many more on our Facebook page.

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Blog 29 19 July 2016

A busy 4 months for me but not all CWL work.

31 May I went with the choir to Paris for 3 concerts – one in Notre Dame, Chartres and then with a local choir. A good trip despite the floods in Paris and strikes – here a re a couple of photos

The beautiful Stained glass window of Sainte Chapelle

The beautiful Stained glass window of Sainte Chapelle

 

Rehearsing in the crypt of Notre Dame

Rehearsing in the crypt of Notre Dame

 

Me in Versailles

Me in Versailles

7 June 2016 Margaret Valentine (National President elect) and I went to a meeting with the Catholic Legislators committee of M.P.s and members of the House of Lords. The meeting was attended by just a few but we discussed how CWL could be kept informed of legislation which is coming up and whether we could work as a focus group if needed. Good to make contact and we will follow up.

Margaret Valentine in Westminster Hall

Margaret Valentine in Westminster Hall

And a selfie to  prove I was there

And a selfie to prove I was there

21 June 2016 we visited my sister-in-law in USA to celebrate both couples 30th wedding anniversaries. She lives near Boston so we had a great time exploring Boston and the surrounding area.

John throwing tea into Boston Harbour!

John throwing tea into Boston Harbour!

 

Trinity Church Boston

Trinity Church Boston

 

Enjoying a beautiful day in Gloucester Harbour

Enjoying a beautiful day in Gloucester Harbour

6 July 2016 I was invited to attend a Mass and reception for Cardinal Vincents annual visit to Parliament. The mass was in the Chapel of the Undercroft and was a very intimate occasion followed by a reception for those who attended Mass.

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Cardinal Vincent Nichols, CWL National President and Sir David Amess

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, CWL National President and Sir David Amess

Blog 28 3 May 2016

23 April - Hexham and Newcastle AGM the last of my April visits. Another Branch of members who work so hard for the League. Well done to all and thank you for the invitation to attend.

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Members of the Branch gather for photo

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Branch President Elizabeth Dixon and National President with Bishop Seamus, Branch Chaplain and Parish Priest

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Branch Secretary, President, outgoing Treasurer and incoming Treasurer

Also managed to find time to have tea at The Waldorf in celebration of Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday

Note harpist in the background

Note harpist in the background

 

Round sandwiches as Her Majesty prefers

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29th April I was privileged to be invited to attend Solemn Vespers at Westminster Cathedral to celebrate 800 years of the Dominican order. A wonderful occasion, much plainchant which I managed to sing to a fashion. The service was followed by a reception in Cathedral Hall

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President Elect Margaret Valentine with Past President Doreen Poolley and Michael Valentine

President Elect Margaret Valentine with Past President Doreen Poolley and Michael Valentine

Gathering on the piazza

Gathering on the piazza

Cardinal Nichols getting ready for a photocall

Cardinal Nichols getting ready for a photocall

And to prove I was there

And to prove I was there

3 May 2016 I attended the AGM of the National Board of Catholic Women Trust.

Trust Treasurer, CWL Nat President, UCM National President, NBCW Secretary, NBCW Trustee and NBCW President

Trust Treasurer, CWL Nat President, UCM National President, NBCW Secretary, NBCW Trustee and NBCW President

 

 

Blog 27 continued with April events

I started the Easter season with the Our Lady’s Catechist AGM weekend in Northampton. There were several speakers, Fr Harry Curtis who told us of the changes to the Order of service for Weddings and Confirmation. He then posed the members two questions that they had to consider – What can you do as a catechist in the Year of Mercy? and What can OLC do at assist efforts for the Year of Mercy? These were discussed later during the weekend. Fr Minh reminded members to give a little more time to show humanity to each other and a little less time teaching about God . Open our arms to each other.

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Bishop Peter Doyle spoke on Synod of the family as he had at our officers meeting in Swanwick – Family being the home for the wounded heart. He gave a definition of Synodality – speak honestly, listen with humility and welcome with an open heart

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Canon Michael Cooley 34 years in parish Bermondsey Our Lady of La Sallette and St Joseph SE1 3QP spoke about his individual approach to parish life and teaching of the sacraments. A prime example of where the needs of your parishioners have to come above the strict guidelines of the church – a little leeway is needed.

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9 March – A visit to Middlesbrough AGM for the their 60th year as a Branch. Celebration mass will take place 18th June. Many thanks for the warm welcome and continuing efforts of the Branch and its officers. Wonderful work done by the members – where would the church be without you.

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Had a most enjoyable visit to Dorchester on Saturday 16th. Members made me very welcome and once again their hard work is amazing. So good to see a branch keeping the membership numbers constant – well done Dorset

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Blog 27 18 April 2016 Wow – such a long time since I updated. Several special things happened during the last few months. January was a family time.

My son, Michael, graduated from the University of York with a Master’s degree in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture – very proud of him.

Proud parents

Proud parents

My neice Katy was married the following week in Sheffield. Here I am playing the organ for her wedding as I have done for several family members.

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February  started with a meeting of National Board of Catholic Women Trustees – via skype. Most useful way of meeting to save all the travelling and allows us women to multi task as well (one had the plumber calling and another the electrician so broke off to let them in- we busy women have to juggle our lives as best we can!)

10-11 February – the National Executive met to discuss the results of the vote on changes to our structure. The vote being overwhlemingly for the changes (with comments to take into account) we planned the format for the Officers meeting at the Hayes conference centre in Swannick which took place the following weekend.

The Officers meeting was a hard working weekend with all officers involved in the decision making and we finished the weekend with a structure which is to be sent round all the sections and to be ratified at the AGM in Southport. Here we are working hard!

National President leading the discussions

National President leading the discussions

Members gathered to take full part in the weekend

Members gathered to take full part in the weekend

Updating the structure as we went along - in the bar in full view of members.

Updating the structure as we went along – in the bar in full view of members.

Some time was given over to regional meetings

Some time was given over to regional meetings

We were very pleased to be visited by Marion Jones from Lactation Consultants of Great Britain. Marion dropped by to collect the “knitted boobs” made by members which will be used to assist young mothers to practise breastfeeding before the birth of their babies. Marion was very appreciative of the donations so far. If you would like to help please contact us for the pattern. For more details of the work of LCGB please go to their website.www.lcgb.org

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1st March We were at Lambeth Palace for the re-dedication and installation of the Worldwide President and Trustees of the Mothers Union. A very special occasion and so pleased to have been invited.

A selfie with Archbishop Cramner in the background

A selfie with Archbishop Cramner in the background

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Friday 4th March Women’s World Day of Prayer prepared by the women of Cuba on the theme Receive the Children.  Thanks to all who attended our service especially pupils from St Helen’s Primary School.

Colourful parrots created from the resource pack that came with the service

Colourful parrots created from the resource pack that came with the service

Ladies of the team

Ladies of the team

Pupils from St Helen's School, Westcliff-on-Sea

Pupils from St Helen’s School, Westcliff-on-Sea

The rest of March I was concerned with local activities.

5th March Branch Retreat held in Canning Town section. So welcoming and as always a thought provoking day.

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9th March we attended a meal at the Union Jack club in London where the speaker was Boris Johnson, Mayor of London.

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And of Friday 19th March I sang in an Italian evening presented by my friend Victor Patterson pictured with us above at the meal.

And so to Holy Week which was very busy for me.

In Good Friday we had the usual Stations of the Cross on the Cliffs at Westcliff. This year I took the role of co-ordinating it but I had a super band of people to help so it was a real team effort and we were rewarded with glorious weather.

Stations 1 Stations 2

 

Saturday we bedecked the church with flowers – these do take some upkeep! (although some of them are silk).

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Blog 26 1 January 2016

Happy New Year.

As I find I have a free afternoon I thought I should catch up on a few events during the lead up to Christmas.

29th November 2015 I attended the 90th Anniversary of Ilford Section, Brentwood Branch. A lovely occasion and so good to see the other sections of the Branch who supported the members. Some photos below – unfortunately I didn’t take the ones that featured the members so I will follow them up.

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Tuesday 1 December 2015 I was very pleased to be invited to attend the CAFOD Advent Carols and Readings held at The Crypt, Priory Church of the Order of St John, Clerkenwell. It was a beautiful service and super way to start Advent. I was accompanied by a member of my section, Kathy Hartnett, and we both appreciated the warm welcome and hospitality.

The young singers of the group Voces Santorum who led the singing and sang several choir pieces

The young singers of the group Voces Santorum who led the singing and sang several choir pieces

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Inside the stunning main church at Clerkenwell

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Christmas greetings were sent to all Bishops and we posted this video on Facebook as a greeting to all our members and friends of CWL.

Blog 25 25 November 2015

Such a lot has happened since the last blog.

The National AGM took place in Torquay over the weekend of 16-18 October. A  very busy and challenging weekend all round. A report of the weekend is available in CWL News – latest edition is on the CWL news page of the website. A full photo album is available on our Facebook page. Highlight of the weekend was our ecclesiastical advisor Bishop Peter Doyle skyping the AGM from Rome where he was attending the Synod of the Family. The videos are available on our Facebook page and on Youtube on the following links

Since the AGM we have been receiving a lot of feedback re the proposed new structure for the League and this was discussed at length at the Executive meeting in November with a response sent out to all sections and Branches. Members are being asked to vote in principle on the proposed structure and also for the next National President.

Members of CWL Westcliff section meet to watch the video and discuss the proposal.

Members of CWL Westcliff section meet to watch the video and discuss the proposal.

Margaret Richards candidate for National President

Margaret Richards candidate for National President

Margaret Valentine candidate for National President

Margaret Valentine candidate for National President

Voting forms must be received by 31 January 2016 – make sure you have yours.

7 November 2015 I attended the Westminster Branch Meeting. The meeting was preceded by mass at which deceased members of the Branch were remembered. A lovely lunch was provided and then followed the showing of the video presenting proposed structure changes, which was viewed by the members, with time for questions to be raised.

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Candles were lit in memory of deceased members

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Members watch the video being screened

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Blog 24 30 September 2015.

Been a quiet summer for visits but a great deal of work has been done on proposed new Structure for CWL. One special meeting in July with follow-up and then the National Executive meeting at the end of August. An explanatory video has been made available on USB for all sections, please contact your Branch Officers if you haven’t received it.

The National Executive at a previous Executive meeting

The National Executive at a previous Executive meeting

I have attended the Executive and Trustee meetings of the National Board of Catholic Women. We are trying to firm up the role of the Board and how it is representing all Catholic Women in liaison with the Bishop’s Conference so more about that to come.

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I also attended the inaugural mass of a new Section which is setting up in Custom House parish, Brentwood Diocese. A super event with so many lovely people to meet. All good wishes go to them for the future.

Members of the new section at Custom House, Brentwood Branch

Members of the new section at Custom House, Brentwood Branch

and the food afterwards!!

and the food afterwards!!

Blog 23 4 August 2015

Sorry for the lack of update. Been very busy but not necessarily with CWL work -

So working from the last blog.

Monday 2 June I attended the funeral of our Branch Chaplain Fr Jim McCormack. Fr Jim was a lovely person in all ways and a very great support to the Catholic Women’s League in the Diocese of Brentwood. The church in Clacton-on-Sea was overflowing with people – just showing the great love and regard for Fr Jim that he so richly deserved.

The Priests guard of honour for Fr Jim.

The Priests guard of honour for Fr Jim.

Bishop Alan leads the courtege from the church

Bishop Alan leads the courtege from the church

Wednesday 3 June I attended the Brentwood Branch Pilgrimage to Aylesford Priory in Kent. We were blessed by the weather and remembered Fr Jim during the mass with his favourite hymn and also in singing the Paradisium at the end of mass.

Members gather with the Section and Branch banners before mass.

Members gather with the Section and Branch banners before mass.

Wednesday 17 June John and I attended a lunch at the House of Lords which made a lovely day out with super weather to be on the Terrace.

lovely view from the terrace

lovely view from the terrace

 

Saturday 27 June I attended the National Board of Catholic Women AGM held at Romero House in London. The new president was appointed Mrs Maureen Meatcher. Thanks to Pearl Clarke for all her hard work at President during the past 3 years.

NBCW officers - Out going President Pearl Clarke, President Maureen Meatcher, Secretary Patricia Stoat and Vice President Debbie Cottam

NBCW officers – Out going President Pearl Clarke, President Maureen Meatcher, Secretary Patricia Stoat and Vice President Debbie Cottam

Monday 29 June I attended a reception at Westminster Cathedral Hall given by the Papal Nuncio. Grateful thanks for the acknowledgement of CWL and it’s work in England and Wales and also internationally.

Here I am inside Westminster Cathedral at the mosaic of St Joan of Arc. If you can read the latin on the plaque this was donated by CWL. We attended the mass before the reception.

Here I am inside Westminster Cathedral at the mosaic of St Joan of Arc. If you can read the latin on the plaque this was donated by CWL. We attended the mass before the reception.

In June/July I attended a special meetings with the Accountants and Solicitors and also with the National Executive to discuss changes we would like to propose to the working structure of the League. More details will be available to members after our August Executive Meeting.

20 July I also attended the Communications Team meeting to further discuss events etc which will be of interest to readers of CWL news and also matters which will be reported at the AGM in Torquay.

In between all this I had pupils taking part in the local Music festival, music exams and a fundraising concert for our local Hospices. I also gave two further concerts and have 2 more lined up for August. Lastly I attended my brother’s wedding in Newcastle so here is our photo.

John and I at the wedding in Newcastle

John and I at the wedding in Newcastle

 

 

 

Blog 22 1 June 2015

Sunday 31 May – recovering from such a long day so as the weather was so awful I thought I would make some rhubarb and ginger chutney to add to the other supplies to sell for section funds.

Chutney

Saturday 30 May - Lovely time at Salford  Branch AGM. Great turn out of members and I see they have been training their chaplain well (pouring the tea). Cheque for £1500 was presented to Mrs Christine Joyce on behalf of Grace’s Place Children’s Hospice. Thanks to all for a lovely day and also for the Shower of Roses special Mass enrollment, what a thoughtful gift.

11062728_10153269156440432_5232489776834905925_nPresident Anne Fox presenting the cheque for £1500 to Graces Hospice.

 

 

Branch Chaplain in training with tea pot.

Branch Chaplain in training with tea pot

 

11073803_10153269155805432_6580646596895450705_n11059381_10153269156215432_1057074696395668766_nPresident Anne Fox presenting the cheque for £1500 to Graces Hospice.

Blog 21 19 May 2015

Well sorry it has been such a long time since I caught up with the blog but I have been very busy. I hope I don’t forget anything.

28th March attended Arundel and Brighton AGM. Again as always amazed at how much work is done by the members. Region 6 Officer took the Nominations for Officers and all remained in post. We really need a Secretary for Arundel and Brighton as the President is doing both jobs at present. Anyone interested, in all seriousness, please contact us through the email addresses given on this site.

With Arundel and Brighton Branch Officers

With Arundel and Brighton Branch Officers

A break to do the flowers for Easter and play organ/sing for all Easter Services!!

My efforts for the Easter Garden

My efforts for the Easter Garden

10/12   April  Our Lady’s Catechist AGM in Northampton – Very interesting weekend. OLC is a committee to facilitate distance learning of catechetical courses for adults and children. This committee is providing postal courses for First Communion training for children living abroad or where training isn’t available. As well as this they are doing great work in providing useful courses for education of prisoners in the Catholic Faith.  They have also started a new course on the Rosary which can be used as a study aid for prayer groups and parish groups alike.

Fr Harry

Fr Harry

Group photo

Group photo

Fr Harry Curtis, from Warwick University, talked about Rublev’s icon, the hospitality of Abraham, which depicts the Trinity. He started with a quiz about Abraham. Photo

Where did Abraham meet the Lord and show him hospitality. Oak of Mamray. Genesis 18 1-14. The wording indicates the Trinity, three in one where the guest is referred to as them and my lord. Fr Harry reminded us that an icon is a sacred object unlike  religious pictures of the saints. There is a whole language of icons and great meaning to the format for the illustration.The icon is made in a circular structure with the colour blue common to all three. It is suggested that the figure on the left is God the Father, middle Jesus, right Holy Spirit. We are invited to take our place at the table and join the circle.

Fr John Minh pastor to prison stated how useful the courses are for those in prison who want to study the faith.

The other speaker Harold Riley was too unwell to attend but sent a dvd of the Stations of the cross that he had drawn  and are on display at St Lukes Irlam o th heights church in Salford. He also sent a dvd about his book Seven prayers of Our Lady, one for every day of the week, compiled for the visit of Pope John Paul II to Salford

Hail Mary; Earliest prayer,written on papyrus. We fly to thy patronage o holy mother of God; Regina Caeli from 1090; the night song of the church around 1080 salve Regina; memorare; Virgin of all Virgins Ave Mari Stella; St Bernard’s prayer to Our Lady dearest mother of gods son that was a bitter weed. Bishop Holland (The last priest off the beaches at Dunkirk, past Bishop of Salford) chose the prayers and Harold Riley did the pictures.

18     April      Middlesborough Br AGM in Bridlington. Stayed with my niece in York and travelled to Bridlington for the day. I was very pleased to attend Middlesbrough AGM and priveleged to be asked to sing the psalm for their mass. Good to see a new Vice President coming forward to take office and most impressed with the sinage for their food – warning of additives etc.

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Excellent sinage on the food on show

Excellent sinage on the food on show

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20/21  April   Nat Exec meeting in Coventry. Travelled from York to Coventry so that we could give adequate time to discussions following items brought up at our Officers Annual Meeting. Much to think about and follow up. Also put together Year 2 targets for Sections, Branches and National Executive.

25    April       Southwark Br AGM in West Wickham. Very pleased to see a good representation of members at Southwark AGM. Another chance to hear of the excellent work done by the Branch.

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Retiring Branch President Kath making a point

New Branch President Marie enjoying lunch

New Branch President Marie enjoying lunch

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6    May       NBCW  Trustees AGM – Trustees met to fulfil the requirements of handling a charity account. New Trustees were agreed for the coming year.

9 May Shrewsbury AGM in Chester. Excellent turn out of members and great to see new officers coming forward for the position of President and Treasurer.

New Branch President Julie receiving her badge of office

New Branch President Julie receiving her badge of office

Retiring President Hilary to my right and retiring Treasurer Mary to my left.

Retiring President Hilary to my right and retiring Treasurer Mary to my left.

What a turn out!!

What a turn out!!

11/13 May    UCM England at Hayes Conference Centre Swanwick.

The meeting began with concelebrated Mass with Bishop Alan Williams being the main celebrant. Bishop Alan was not able to stay for the whole conference but wished the members well.

Kevin Lonergan from Galloways Society for the Blind gave a very interesting talk on how to help those with impaired sight and blindness. Catholic publications are recorded for the blind, even recorded onto memory sticks. Monthly Mass was sent out through SVP. Information is available on these resources. Tips for helping included looking at using contrasting colours, size and think of ways to cope eg different badge, brooch on jackets to indicate different colours, good lighting, gadgets to help. Water indicator, bus hailer, large print playing cards, colour detector (spectrumometer). Special glasses for different needs. The session ended with Kevin showing how to lead a blind person

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Kevin Lonergan demonstrating the device for playing the usb recordings

Day 2 began with Prayers and sub-committee reports

Bishop Emeritus Crispian Hollis talked to the conference saying we have to be a beacon of life to others. We are entering a Jubilee of Mercy year from December this year. All mercy will always be greater than any sin. Mercy has to be the foundation of catholic life. Year of prayer is in order to make it possible to contemplate God’s mercy and make it our lifestyle. Lent will be a special time when we can bring to fruition our mission of mercy for those in need. Vatican website has full details of the year, you can also keep up to date on the www.thepopeapp.com.

Bishop Crispian giving his talk to conference

Bishop Crispian giving his talk to conference

Continued with further reports

Day 3 concluded with the installation of the new President of UCM Mrs Val Ward

Mrs Val Ward being presented with her badge of office as President UCM England

Mrs Val Ward being presented with her badge of office as President UCM England

15/16 UCM Scotland AGM – Conforti Institute, Coatbridge. As it was my Wedding Anniversary weekend we took a trip to Edinburgh and I attended the meeting on the Saturday.

These events allow you to meet up with the other guests - here with Rose and Val Presidents UCM Wales and England

These events allow you to meet up with the other guests – here with Rose and Val Presidents UCM Wales and England

I joined the conference as the members were giving their reports of the past year. As for all of us membership is of concern, but the conference was definite that they would not consider closing as a group – as long as there is one or two others we are a point of contact.

President Nan, seated, Secretary Nina to her right and, standing, Pat Vice President

President Nan, seated, Secretary Nina to her right and, standing, Pat Vice President

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There followed a talk by Rachel from Sciaf Scottish International Aid Fund (sister organisation to Cafod). Helping those in Burundi to work together, share land and earn a small living.

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These are images from her talk.

These are images from her talk.

These images were detailing the work they do in Burundi and the importance of what we can do to help combat climate change. So this is what we can do to help walk more, drive less, cycle or use public transport, share your car for journeys. If everyone in Scotland drove just 5 miles each week over the course of the year, that would be equivalent to taking 70,000 cars off the road – food for thought indeed!!

And now a rest until the next and last of the AGMs for this year!

 

 

Blog 20 19 March 2015

So the Officers weekend went well and then I was straight off to Union of Catholic Mothers Wales AGM in Port Talbot 2-4 March. Always a welcoming occasion and I was very pleased to represent CWL at their 25th Anniversary of UCM Wales. Managed to knit my daffodils for Marie Curie on the train so made use of the time.

National Presidents UCM Scotland, England, Wales, CWL and National Board of Catholic Women

National Presidents UCM Scotland, England, Wales, CWL and National Board of Catholic Women

Cutting their celebration cake for 25 years of UCM Wales

Cutting their celebration cake for 25 years of UCM Wales

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And here I am knitting on the train

And here I am knitting on the train

Saturday 7 March I attended Grays section 60th Anniversary celebrations – photo to follow.

Saturday 14 March I attended Northampton Branch AGM in Wendover. Always a pleasure to see how much work the sections and direct members manage to carry out. There was a lovely display from the Women’s World Day of Prayer and the knitting is catching on!

Me with Northampton Branch Officers

Me with Northampton Branch Officers

Women's World Day of Prayer display

Women’s World Day of Prayer display

Beautiful display of articles and the knitting pattern etc.

Beautiful display of articles and the knitting pattern etc.

 

 

 

Blog 19 4 March 2015

Just  a quick update – view this video on youtube for an insight into our Officer’s Annual Meeting which took place last weekend. I will update with more info soon.

Relive the 2015 Officer’s Annual Meeting which took place on Friday 27 February to Sunday 1st March at The Hays Conference Centre in Swanwick, Derbyshire. Click here to watch our short filmhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLQavUgAQBM

And here is my video at the end of day 2. Just copy and paste the link.

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=712383452193036&theater

Blog 18 – 4 February 2015

Been a busy couple of weeks.

14-15 January – I attended the National Executive meeting in Coventry – much to discuss and plan for our Officer Annual Meeting which takes place a the Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick at the end of this month

24 January – Attended my Branch meeting on – the rounds of Section AGMs are beginning so good luck and best wishes to all who are contemplating taking Office and to those who renew their positions.

29 January – Start of a busy few days hopped over to the Isle of Man to visit for their section AGM.

Plaque of St Margaret Clitherow, Isle of Man

Plaque of St Margaret Clitherow, Isle of Man

Isle of Man section members after their AGM

Isle of Man section members after their AGM

31 January attended the National Board of Catholic Women Trustees and Executive meeting in London.

1 February hopped over to Jersey for their Section AGM and wonderful visit to see the island. Go to the Catholic Women’s League facebook page for the full photo album. Here are just a few photo’s of a lovely day. Thanks to Jersey and Isle of Man members for two enjoyable visits.

Jersey members and their spiritual advisor after a delicious meal which preceded their AGM

Jersey members and their spiritual advisor after a delicious meal which preceded their AGM

Here I am at Lily Langtry's grave

Here I am at Lily Langtry’s grave

Nat Pres and Portsmouth Branch Treasurer in the church with Jersey Banner

Nat Pres and Portsmouth Branch Treasurer in the church with Jersey Banner

 

Blog 17 6 January 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR! So I failed to keep you up to date in December but here we are with news for the New Year.

Not a lot happened officially but unofficially I visited York to see my son and met up with members of Leeds and Middlesborough Branch to visit St Wilfrid’s church, Margaret Clitherow’s museum in the Shambles and to view her relic at the Barr Convent. It was a super day and I learnt so much from the visit.  If you would like to visit the convent and see the Relic just contact them and ask permission it is fascinating. Here are some photos:

WP_20141209_008 WP_20141209_010 WP_20141209_014 WP_20141209_032 WP_20141209_037From the top left member’s outside the church after mass; a view of The Shambles; (Middle left) Me outside the Margaret Clitherow’s Shrine, The Chapel at the Bar Convent and bottom left the relic of St Margaret Clitherow’s hand which is enshrined at the convent.  The visit was fascinating and I shall update the Webpage with more photo’s and information.

So now we are back in business I shall keep you updated with my travels during 2015.

Blog 16 2 December

Not too much going on for me at National level but plenty at Section level. We knitted our poppies for the British Legion and were able to send £336 – we got so excited  in our knitting circle that we have made mini stockings to fill with sweets and sell for the Relief and Refugee fund.

knitted stockings

 

Also had several students singing in the local Music Festival last week so I was kept very busy there and this week am preparing for a 10th Anniversary concert with my singing partner Elizabeth Dunlop. That all happens this Friday.

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Blog 15 – just catching up on other items since the AGM.

Friday 10th October Attended the Catholic Women of the Year Lunch, held at the Thistle Hotel, Marble Arch. 4 ladies were awarded for their work Leonie Caldecott, Maura Lydon, Sheila McAllister and Helen Williams. Others nominated included our very own Margaret Valentine.

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18th October attended a family wedding in Shropshire – here is John and me at the ceremony.

John and me

 

After the wedding was the World Assembly and then back home to some domestic work. Making mincemeat and Christmas Cake with my son. Cake in its box ready to be fed with Brandy.

mincemeat Christmas cake

Monday 3 November attended the Relief and Refugee meeting in London

Wednesday 5 – 6 November the new National Executive met for the first time since the AGM.

Friday 7th November attend the Pope Paul VI CAFOD lecture at the Greenwood Theatre, London Bridge, London, given by Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo. The evening was hosted by Julie Etchingham (TV newsreader and journalist). The theme of the talk was Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility – Stabilizing the Climate and Giving Energy Access to All with an Inclusive Economy. The Bishop gave his address and then took questions from the floor. A thought provoking talk but as we know the answers are not easy – getting governments to take a morale view free from the influences of big business!

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Blog 14 to cover the WUCWO World Assembly – the other side of our time in Fatima – the real business report is on the WUCWO page.

Wucwo travelogue

 

Please be assured we attended all sessions and worked very hard on your behalf, this is just my diary of what went on outside the serious business of the conference –

 

Getting to Stansted Airport for 5.30 in the morning is always an effort but if your name is Veronica Cross it is quite traumatic. As you can see from the photo we both made it although she didn’t need to wear a bright yellow jacket to make sure I was awake.

1. Stansted 5.30

We arrived in Fatima at 12.30 pm in nice time to book in to our hotel, very nice, very clean and very helpful staff. I had dressed carefully so shed a few layers, discretely I may add, as the temperature was nudging 30 degrees. After lunch we found the conference centre and registered and then we had time to go on the little road train to Aljustrel to see the houses of the little shepherds. Quite a bumpy journey but glad we saw it to help put together all the pieces of the puzzle.

2 Train trip 3. Lucia's house

Here we are on the train and left a picture of Lucia’s home in Aljustrel.

When we arrived back at the hotel there was an email message for Veronica to say her doctor had received the results of some tests for a minor problem but that the tablets he had prescribed were incorrect and she was to stop taking them with immediate effect. This explained the funny turn she had whilst we were waiting for the taxi at Lisbon airport, we put it down to her being dressed for winter, getting up so early and, maybe, her age?! Anyway we were tasked with getting different tablets which “you can buy at any pharmacy” as if! Fun task for the next day.

8.30 am start, 7.50 am breakfast – you have to be quick and yet we were on time every day. Morning business over we go in search of the tablets. First Farmacia is the wrong kind so the shopkeeper kindly directs us to the right place, where the pharmacist confirms we cannot buy them over the counter, but she is determined to help us so she directs is Clini Fatima where we can get to see a doctor for a prescription. Get to clinic, doctor gone to lunch until 3 pm so we have lunch, the cheapest of our very cheap meals served by a man who was very concerned for us and determined to keep our spirits up.

4. ClinicSo, left photo, 3 pm waiting for the doctor.

All worked out well and task completed, you will be happy to know the tablets were effective. Unfortunately this didn’t stop my roommate from falling out of bed – I heard a few moans and groans followed by a loud boing and then a thud. Tried not to giggle but didn’t succeed. Still she seemed none the worse for wear even having hit her head on the bedside table  – never a dull moment.

Day 2

Chris Bennett and Kathy Hurley from Brentwood joined the conference for the day so we had a leisurely lunch with them.

During the afternoon was time for National items to be sold. The African contingent had a lot of goods including the cloth they get specially printed with the logo of the conference. I had bought a piece the day before for 6 euros – how was I to know that the next day they were selling for 24 euros. I only paid what I was asked for and didn’t haggle. So here is your new Wucwo rep (Margaret Valentine) modelling her latest outfit – I actually bought it to use as a table cloth for the Wucwo display.

5. MV

At the end of the day after mass we had a last drink with Chris and Kathy.  I say a drink, it was interesting to be served a gin and tonic in a glass the size of a goldfish bowl. Too tricky to pick up so had to drink through a straw!

Day 3

8.30 start with the African mass. After lunch we went to the Basilica office and arranged for some masses to be said. I booked one for all my family, one for all my friends, one for all members of Catholic Women’s League England and Wales and one for the new Wucwo Board 2014-18. We posted the request cards in the intentions box at the side of the shrine (photo below)

6 Shrine

After the business of the day it being Doreen Pooley’s birthday we joined the party for a drink. Veronica and I manufactured a present out of a pack of sherbet flying saucers and 3 jelly babies impaled on a toothpick, but thanks to Veronica we did have a proper card.  We were very happy to help with the task of eating the whole cake which we all managed very well.

7 Doreen 8 Cake

Day 4

Sunday outdoor mass on a beautiful day. Immediate Past President found somewhere to sit.

9 Margaret R

 

Before the excursion we found the time to look around the shrine and make a personal visit on behalf of a friend of Veronica.

10 Nativity 11 Basilica 12 Veronica

The first photo is the beautiful nativity scene, the second a view of the Basilica, note the stunning blue sky and lastly Veronica standing by the green.

The optional excursion was a delight. First we visited Batalha to see the beautiful 14th century church of the Monastery of Our Lady of Victory. What a surprise as you come round the corner to see the fabulous architecture in front of you. Very poignant was the tomb of the unknown soldier from WW 1 with Christ of the Battlefield portrayed above. (The crucifix shows Christ with only one hand and no legs below the knee).

12 Monastery 13 Tomb

From there we went to Nazare where we arrived just in time for the beautiful sunset. There is a tiny chapel which houses a statue of Mary suckling the child Jesus.

14 Nazare 15 Chapel 16 Statue

Very swift turn around was required to shower and change for the cultural dinner. The coach dropped us off at 7.15 p.m. from where we route marched to our hotel, changed (room annihilated in the process), taxi back to the coach to go for the dinner reporting by 7.50 only to wait 30 mins for those who were not as well behaved as us – very tardy in my opinion. The meal was good and we were supposed to sing some English/Welsh folk songs but events/other delegates got carried away and we ended up singing them on the coach back to the hotel.

17 CWL 18 others cultural

The CWL contingent at the cultural dinner and some of the other diners.

Day 5 – final full day.

Our Union Jack scarves were attracting a lot of interest – we could have sold them over again so this should be remembered for next time.  Anyway on the 2nd day one of the ladies from Kenya, who happened to be called Elizabeth, asked if I had two scarves, I said no but when I had finished with it I would give it to her which I duly did at the end of business on the last day. She immediately gave me this striking necklace which I duly wore and it is now hanging on my dressing room mirror. You may notice I wore my scarf with a very fetching CWL scarf clip, something from my mother-in-laws collection of CWL goodies.

19 Eliz x 2 20 necklace 21 scarf ring

And so our time was nearly over. Work done we again joined the four musketeers (National Secretary, WUCWO Rep and two past National Presidents) for a drink while they ate their meal. We were welcome because apparently we are quite entertaining! – I expect we are an acquired taste. Anyway the lovely young man, called Pedro, who had been serving them very large gins!!! was talking to us and he said his great grandmother was a cousin of Lucia, the little shepherdess, and lived in the same village just a few doors down.  This tale did seem a lovely ending to our trip.

22 Pedro

Having made the blip of getting out of the taxi at the wrong terminal we quickly rectified the problem and eventually arrived safely back home on terra firm. Hope you have enjoyed reading about the other side of our Fatima trip but don’t forget we did work as well!!

Blog 13 dated 6 October – Had a good week catching up on a few things. Forgot to mention one of our visitors to the National AGM was a lady from Zambia who was on holiday and found out about the AGM from the website. We were able to invite her to join us on the Saturday and she said she was very pleased to be so far from home but find she was here as part of the family – the CWL worldwide family.

Mrs Margaret Kaemba Zambia with National President CWL England and Wales

Mrs Margaret Kaemba
Zambia with National President CWL England and Wales

Spent Friday morning making muffins for our Section cake sale for MacMillan Cancer Support – we were not able to do the coffee morning on the allotted day but raised £100 after the sunday morning masses. Here I am at work!

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Sang with the choir at a Harvest concert in the church at Great Wakering on Saturday evening. Then on Sunday afternoon I was with my friend Elizabeth Dunlop singing for a centenarians tea party held at Nazareth House, Westcliff. This is organised by our local MP and he gets together as many centenarians as possible including his own mother who is 102.

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Also – so proud of myself – have completed my first knitted poppy!!

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Blog 12 dated 1 October – Just going to touch an a couple of other things done since the AGM. Having spent the following week packing my son off to University for a masters degree I then attended the National Board of Catholic Women Trustee and Executive meetings in London.

The following Friday was MacMillan Coffee morning Friday and I attended the coffee morning at Leigh-on-Sea Section and then went off to Great Dunmow.  Photo’s below.

Blog 11 dated 1 October – National AGM

What a lot has happened since the last entry . Our AGM weekend left me full of apprehension, most importantly would members enjoy themselves?? From the responses on our Facebook page and messages received it appears they did.

We started Friday evening with the presentation from the Communications Team which included feedback on the new look CWL Newspaper – please send in articles or you will have to read about me! This followed with a presentation on how to look at the Website – don’t forget the Resources page – it is full of important information you are always asking form –  this is where you can find the info. We then looked at the Facebook page – must have been a good idea as it was very busy with updates on the Sunday – Tuesday. Remember you don’t have to be on Facebook to view the page.

The evening ended with a service of Remembrance for the beginning of the First World War. This was much appreciated and included readings and a duet by National Treasurer and National President (In Flanders Field) which finished the evening.

Saturday – the AGM business was carried out as required. We were very fortunate to be able to welcome the Lord Mayor of Coventry Councillor Hazel Noonan, who joined us for the first part of the day. Also our honoured guests who stayed for the weekend Presidents of UCM Scotland and Wales and National Board of Catholic Women and Vice Presidend UCM England. (below)

Members enjoyed the atmosphere:

We were also thrilled that although Bishop Peter could not be with us he sent us his message – you can view it on our Facebook page. (The file is too big for this site).

Mass was celebrated for us by Bishop Kenny auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham Diocese. We had two talks in the afternoon one from Bob McWilliams appealing on behalf of the “Rubbish-tip Kids” and the other from Fr Harry Curtis chaplain to Warwick University and also to Our Lady’s Catechist, who spoke on the Rosary.

Members were extremely generous over the weekend and in the two collections and raffle they gave around £4,000 – superb!!

Saturday evenings entertainment had to be seen to be believed – members gave their 5 minutes each from their Regions and they did not let us down – it was amazing, silly and fabulous all in one. Photos and videos are on the Facebook Page. Below a photo of the hilarious 5 minute version of Cinderella – looks simple was magnificent.

Sunday – I gave a talk on the 3 Year Plan – all talks and power points can be obtained from the National Secretary and will, in due course, be attached to the website. We also had reports from our Health Rep and the final report from our outgoing WUCWO rep outlining the resolutions to be discussed at the World Assembly in Fatima in three weeks time. We finished with a short open forum followed by mass to finish the conference. Thanks to all who came and all who took part in any way.

 

Blog 10 dated 10  September

Nothing much this week apart from preparing for the AGM!!

Did find time to attend a meal at the Royal Overseas League club in St James’ Place, London where the guest speaker was Lord Lamont ( Norman Lamont the former Chancellor of the Exchequer). His talk was very interesting and well worth the journey.

So we have the menu for the evening, photo of Lord Lamont responding to any questions and a "selfie" of me and my son Michael.

So we have the menu for the evening, photo of Lord Lamont responding to any questions and a “selfie” of me and my son Michael.

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And here we are husband John, me, Lord Lamont and my son Michael

And here we are husband John, me, Lord Lamont and my son Michael

 

Also reporting that I attended Our Lady of Lourdes church, Leigh-on-Sea for  the re-dedication of the window to St Margaret Clitherow.  The window had to be removed from the church to make way for a new doorway, leading to the new parish Hall. The window is now situated on the stairs of the new hall and it certainly looks at home.

Fr Kevin Hale, parish priest, with Elizabeth Upsher and Pat Mansfield, Leigh section chair.

Fr Kevin Hale, parish priest, with Elizabeth Upsher and Pat Mansfield, Leigh section chair.

 

window

Blog 9 dated 28 August 2014

My birthday last weekend – had a lovely afternoon tea at the Milestone Hotel, Kensington High St, and then a little do at home with friends. here are some photo’s

Afternoon tea - scrumptious!!!

Afternoon tea – scrumptious!!!

 

Carefully pouring the coffee and then blowing out the candles - just a token few!

Carefully pouring the coffee and then blowing out the candles – just a token few!

 

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I am looking forward to Saturday 30th, Feast of our Patron St Margaret Clitherow when I shall be attending the re-dedication of the window in the new hall at Our Lady of Lourdes church, Leigh-on-Sea.

Blog 8 dated 20 August 2014

Not too much going on re CWL in August. I attended the Relief and Refugee meeting on Monday 11th where we had 35 cases to consider for help. Quite a busy meeting.

On Friday 15th I visited our spiritual advisor, Bishop Peter Doyle of  Northampton. A very worthwhile visit to update Bishop Peter before our AGM in September. Unfortunately Bishop Peter is unable to attend this year so he was grateful for the catch up on events so far.

Here is Bishop Peter looking relaxed during our catch up meeting.

Here is Bishop Peter looking relaxed during our catch up meeting.

Had a lovely day out with my daughter on Saturday 16th (an early birthday treat for me). We had brunch in London and then went to see “The Importance of Being Earnest” – it had a full star line up and was excellent.

Blog 7 dated 4 August 2014

Again a busy few weeks so the update will have to include a few events.  Last blog finished at the beginning of July so following on from that I attended the Relief and Refugee meeting held on the first Monday of July, again so essential to keep up the aid to those in need. Wednesday and Thursday 9/10th the National Executive met in Coventry, minutes of the meeting are available for members to see – contact your Regional Rep.

Sunday 13 July – Brentwood Branch met together with members from other Branches and other pilgrims at Aylesford Priory, Kent. The weather leaving Southend was appalling but then we got to Aylesford the sun won through and the day was most enjoyable if a little longer than we had anticipated.

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The following week I finished recording the backing tracks for work and then we had a lot of rehearsal for the concert for our local Hospices on Friday 18th.  The concert raised £610 for the hospices, it was very well attended so a good night was had by all despite raging thunderstorms at the end of the evening. Here is a mad video of us practising, some members of the audience think we should be renamed Hinge and Bracket revived. WP_20140711_002 If you want to view the video right click on the link and then open in a new window (it may take a couple of minutes to open).

The hall was packed for the evening's entertainment

The hall was packed for the evening’s entertainment

The finger buffet was well worth waiting for.

The finger buffet was well worth waiting for.

Sunday 20th July saw me at Layer Marney Tower with Gaudeamus. It is a beautiful setting and luckily the heavy rain didn’t quite reach Colchester area until after we had left to come home.

Gaudeamus at Layer Marney Tower

Gaudeamus at Layer Marney Tower

Monday 21st I was helping with music exams and then had a couple of days to catch up domestically until John and I left to take part in the Catholic Grandparents Association Pilgrimage to Walsingham. We were made very welcome and enjoyed being a part of the team.

Teresa Wiseman, Branch president East Anglia, National President Elizabeth Upsher and Catherine Wiley found of Catholic Grandparents Association

Teresa Wiseman, Branch president East Anglia, National President Elizabeth Upsher and Catherine Wiley found of Catholic Grandparents Association

 

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Here I am singing at the procession

Here I am singing at the procession

 

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Journeyed back after the pilgrimage to be home for sunday to play the organ for the two morning masses and then to sing, again with Gaudeamus, at the Bandstand in Priory Park. Again the weather was kind to us.

Here we are at the Bandstand.

Here we are at the Bandstand.

Monday 28th the National Executive met for an extraordinary meeting to approve the accounts for 2013. We were very high-tec with one of the members attending the meeting on Skype to save lengthy travel times. In the afternoon we met up with other members at the House of Lords for afternoon tea which was hosted by DABAL charity that provides aid for education of deaf and blind children in Sri Lanka.

CWL members on the Terrace at the House of Lords.

CWL members on the Terrace at the House of Lords.

So that is it for now I have several weddings to sing at and the occasional funeral so that will keep me busy for the next few weeks.

 

 

Blog 6 dated 6 July 2014

What a busy few weeks I have had so only just loaded the photo’s and got the time to right my blog. I will start in reverse order and bring you up-to-date.

Thursday 19 June saw me and my husband, John, setting off for Cardiff. As we had to be in Cardiff for the centenary celebrations on Sunday 21 we thought we would make a trip of the week to link up with the visit to Ripon Shrine on Thursday 25th.

Friday 20th we had a day to look round Cardiff and what a lovely city it is. We visited the castle and we were both stunned at the beauty of the interior. Decorated by the Marquis of Bute in the 19th century it was exquisite, remembering the Marquis was a convert to Catholicism so much of the decoration had a religious theme – statues, symbols and stained glass everywhere. Well worth a visit.

The Great Hall, Cardiff Castle

Statue of Our Lady on the Roof Terrace of Cardiff Castle

Statue of Our Lady on the Roof Terrace of Cardiff Castle

 

On Saturday 21 we were very pleased to join Cardiff Branch in it’s Centenary celebrations. Mass was concelebrated with Archbishop Stack being the main celebrant. The banners from each section were on display and looked marvelous as a backdrop to the mass. The meal following was well catered and delicious – enjoyed by all. The Branch AGM followed the meal to end a very enjoyable day.

Cardiff Branch Officers

First picture shows Cardiff Branch Officers with Archbishop Stack, lower picture shows National President Elizabeth Upsher and husband John with the Archbishop. Both photo's taken after Cardiff Branch centenary Mass

First picture shows Cardiff Branch Officers with Archbishop Stack, lower picture shows National President Elizabeth Upsher and husband John with the Archbishop. Both photo’s taken after Cardiff Branch centenary Mass

From Cardiff we travelled to Chester for a short stay, unfortunately put my back out (lifting my handbag of all things!!) so visited A&E for some pain relief. Managed to enjoy the following 2 days in Chester and even managed to walk the walls.

Husband John standing by the Eastgate Clock as we walked the 2 miles of Walls on a beautiful sunny evening.

Husband John standing by the Eastgate Clock as we walked the 2 miles of Walls on a beautiful sunny evening.

 

Chester Cathedral, where you can see the only ancient Ecclesiastical Court Room still in existence.

Chester Cathedral, where you can see the only ancient Ecclesiastical Court Room still in existence.

From Chester we traveled to Sheffield via Bakewell – had to have a Bakewell pudding.WP_20140625_001

And so to Sheffield to stay over night with my brother in order to set off early in the morning to get to Ripon Shrine for the service and laying of a wreath to all the service men and women who were served by the CWL Hut, Ripon,  which was working through the first world war. The service was followed by a concelebrated mass led by Bishop Moth, Bishop to the armed forces. From there we traveled to afternoon tea in a 16th century coaching. Another lovely day and splendid organisation. If you have never visited the shrine it is based on the B6265   at the junction of the road from Ripon to Studley Roger.

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Once back from Sheffield, I sang at a wedding the following day, Monday I was working in the studio and so to Tuesday 1 July. I was very fortunate to receive an invitation to the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Alan Williams, the new Bishop of Brentwood. The service was splendid, presided over by Cardinal Nicholls and attended by Bishop’s Roman Catholic, Church of England and Orthodox church. We were awash with diocesan priests and the Cathedral was packed with people to witness the occasion, (34 years since the last Bishop of Brentwood was ordained). I presented Bishop Alan with a card of congratulations from all CWL members.

First photo : Bishop Alan meets the people outside Brentwood Cathedral, next Fr John Harvey greets outgoing Bishop Thomas MacMahon and finally I am presenting Bishop Alan with a card giving good wishes from all of CWL.

First photo : Bishop Alan meets the people outside Brentwood Cathedral, next Fr John Harvey greets outgoing Bishop Thomas MacMahon and finally I am presenting Bishop Alan with a card giving good wishes from all of CWL.

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Thursday I found time to catch up with CWL work, ended the day with some teaching and then rehearsing with my friend Elizabeth Dunlop for a concert we are giving with our pupils and guests on  Friday July 18th in aid of our local Hospices.

Saturday 5th July was an early start to attend Birmingham Branch AGM. It seemed it would be a long day but it flew by and today I am none the worse for it. Very much enjoyed meeting the members of Birmingham Branch and also Bishop Kenney who will be celebrating the mass for us at our National AGM in September. Another lovely mass with special remembrance of members who have died during the year, followed by lunch and then their Branch AGM. Members wore CWL sashes which looked splendid – thought we could encourage people to get these off the internet – what a good advert. WP_20140705_001WP_20140705_003

And so another week beckons and I will update again soon.

Blog 5 Week commencing 9 June

Less CWL National work this week although remembering my roots I attended my Section meeting to plan and prepare our Wine Tasting evening held on Friday 13th!!. It was very successful, tasting Supermarket Specials, and raising funds for us to distribute at the end of the year.

Raising a glass at the wine tasting!!

Raising a glass at the wine tasting!!

On Sunday I attended the Ruby Jubilee of our former Parish Priest Fr Tom Lavin, who is now pp at Lexden, Essex. Fr Tom was in our Parish through the 1990′s and my parents were very busy in the parish at that time so we have happy memories of his time at St Helen’s, Westcliff. I also met up with Fr Anthony Chantry, a good friend of Fr Tom’s who is the General Superior of the Mill Hill Missions.

The Westcliff contingent at Fr Tom's Ruby Jubilee celebrations

The Westcliff contingent at Fr Tom’s Ruby Jubilee celebrations

 

Fr Anthony Chantry MHM with Elizabeth and John Upsher

Fr Anthony Chantry MHM with Elizabeth and John Upsher

Blog 4 Week commencing 2 June

Back to CWL work on Monday I attended the Relief & Refugee committee meeting in the morning. Distributing grants to the needy, this team gives very careful thought to the grants given, 16 applications were given consideration.

Needing to be in London for the evening I met my son for lunch at the Delaunay, Corner of Aldwych and Drury Lane – a lovely place for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea – try it if you like a place with atmosphere. Then went to Covent Garden looking for Christmas presents, I thought I might get too busy near the end of the year so would start early. Met my daughter to give her a gift from Vienna and then met my husband to go to the Royal Albert Hall for a 50th Anniversary concert from “The Seekers”. Yes the real Seekers – they were fantastic. Proper singing and playing with no electronic wizardry except the film clips of their early days. I remember, as a child, being allowed to stay up and watch their farewell concert from “The Talk of the Town” – never dreamed I would be seeing them 45 years later and that they would be so good.  A couple of photo’s attached – they were allowed if you didn’t use flash.

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Blog 3 Week commencing 26th May

Only a week ago but seems like three. I set out on Bank Holiday Monday to Vienna with the choir in which I sing – (name of the choir is Gaudeamus). We were booked to give two concerts  during our 5 day stay. Each one was very well received and well attended. We sang music by Handel, Brahms, Schubert, Strauss ( most of it in German or Latin). The weather was nothing to write home about but we had a good time. My husband and son accompanied me and we visited several good places to eat, lots of stops for “coffee and pastries”

This is Gaudeamus in St Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna.

This is Gaudeamus in St Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna.

And here we are again in the Schonbrunn Palace Chapel.

And here we are again in the Schonbrunn Palace Chapel.

 

Blog 2 Week commencing 19th May

19 – 21 May – Attended the AGM for Union of Catholic Mothers England. Very interesting few days. The presentations from all the representatives were most informative and comprehensive.  Issues pertaining to the Family and family life are clearly monitored. A presentation was given by Father Peter Walters from the small charity “Let the Children Live”. Highlighting the work he does for the poor children of Colombia.

Fr Peter Walters talking about his charity "Let the Children Live"

Fr Peter Walters talking about his charity “Let the Children Live”

Mass on Tuesday was concelebrated with the main celebrant being Cardinal Vincent Nichols

Cardinal Vincent Nichols concelebrates mass at UCM AGM

Cardinal Vincent Nichols concelebrates mass at UCM AGM

After lunch the  Cardinal gave a photo-call to all and then answered questions from members.

Here I am with the Cardinal.

Here I am with the Cardinal.

The guests at the AGM were Pearl Clarke, President of the National Board of Catholic Women (right in the picture below) and Rose Maunder President of UCM Wales (seated in the middle) and me as your National President.

Here are the honoured guests at then end of day 2

Here are the honoured guests at the end of day 2

Once back from the AGM I have been working – teaching students on Thursday and playing the organ for a funeral on Friday before going to London to see Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit at the Gielgud Theatre.

 

Blog 1

Thursday 8th May I attended the Relief and Refugee committee meeting help at Bishop’s Conference.  This team meet monthly to consider applications for immediate relief required by refugees and assylum seekers.  All  applications are sent through recognised charities/orgnaisations and are carefully scrutinised.  Some are referred to the Catholic Clothing Guild where it is believed they could help with clothing and bed linen etc. The team deals with approximately 20 applications at a time.  A very worthwhile and needed part of the work of CWL.

Friday 9th May saw me at Westminster Cathedral Hall for the launch of the Catholic Grandparents Association – more of this later in the year. I do think we could get involved with this organisation, perhaps helping to introduce it parishes.  Also sang a little too loud at mass and got asked to attend their Annual Pilgrimage in Walsingham to be held on 26th July – so that should be a lovely event – maybe I will see some members there.

Saturday 10th May I attended the AGM of Portsmouth Branch – a lovely day out and as there was no organist for the mass I was happy to oblige.  It really is a very beautiful organ and thankfully I managed not to spoil the service.  Portsmouth AGM is the third I have attended and it is always so impressive to hear of the amount of work we do as a group and as individuals.

Portsmouth Branch Officers

Portsmouth Branch Officers, with Region 6 Rep and National President

Here I am seated at the Organ of Portsmouth Cathedral

Here I am seated at the Organ of Portsmouth Cathedral

Wednesday 14th May attended the Annual Meeting of the Catholic Clothing guild as Westminster – there was discussion about the future of the Guild and the meeting brought forward some very positive responses.  Again maybe we can do more to promote this organisation in our parishes.  I shall put this and the Catholic Grandparents on the agenda for the next National Executive Meeting in July.

So a few busy days, also spent Tuesday and Wednesday 6th & 7th assisting with Music exams.  Left at lunchtime on the Wednesday to attend the funeral of a valued member of Brentwood Branch who sadly died rather suddenly over the Easter holidays.

Will add more to my blog and change it as time goes by.  Please do contact me if you would like to raise any issues you may wish us to address

Best wishes to you all and thank you for visiting this page

Elizabeth Upsher, CWL National President