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PENAMPANG – The Catholic Women’s League (CWL) of Stella Maris Tanjung Aru will mark 50 years of existence on 17 August 2017 with a thanksgiving Mass at 6:00 pm at the parish church.
Five hundred guests including Archbishop John Wong and Anita Tunggolou, Archdiocesan CWL Head, will grace the anniversary dinner at the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa after the Mass.
CWL Stella Maris is the first Catholic Women’s League to be established in Sabah in 1968. The idea of forming the CWL was first proposed in 1967 by a monk, Fr J Vivian De Souza, who was temporarily attached to Stella Maris parish then. He saw the need to have a group of dedicated ladies to assist the parish priest in looking after the welfare of the church and in carrying out fundraising activities.
The first formal meeting was held on 26 June 1968 with 29 ladies. At this inaugural meeting, five ladies were elected as committee members, whilst the other ladies were divided into five groups for the purpose of duty assignment. Shiela D’Souza was elected as the first president.
In his message to the CWL on its silver jubilee in 1993, then Bishop John Lee wrote, “The Lord has blessed you abundantly. The fact that you have gone through thick and thin throughout these twenty-five years is a blessing.”
The organising committee headed by Datin Theresa William paid a courtesy call on Abp Wong at his office on June 1. In his remarks, Abp Wong pointed out that the more important part of the celebration is to give thanks to God for all his blessings.
Today there are over 100 groups of CWL throughout the archdiocese.
Initially, they worked independently of one another. However, in 1987, a commission was established to coordinate the activities of the different groups. In 2013 the commission was renamed Kota Kinabalu Archdiocesan Catholic Women’s League under the umbrella of the Archdiocesan Women Commission.