Eganville -- The forecasted rain held off last Wednesday evening as members of the St. James Catholic Women’s League (CWL) gathered to celebrate 100 years of service in the parish and to unveil a monument and dedicate an apple tree to the memory of their first president, Mollie Bulger.
Born Mary Catherine Costello in Brudenell in 1872, Mollie left her home as a young woman to take over the household of her deceased sister, Margaret, whose busy shop-keeper husband was caring for his five young children in Eganville. Eventually, Mollie and the widower, Patrick Bulger, married and had a child of their own; a little girl who sadly died at two years of age with meningitis.
A woman of great compassion with excellent organizational skills and a deep dedication to the parish, it was no surprise that Mollie was chosen unanimously as the first president of the newly-formed St. James the Less CWL in 1921 which went on to become part of the Pembroke Diocesan CWL which celebrated a century of service this summer.
Originally founded in England, the international organization defines itself as a group rooted in gospel values, dedicated to social justice, peace and understanding. It is the largest national organization of Catholic women in Canada and actively promotes interfaith connections as well as lobbying for increased diversity and stronger legislation protecting girls and women from exploitation through human trafficking.
On the local and individual parish level, the CWL is noted for its immense successes in grassroots fundraising through bake sales and noted for their strength as a willing compassionate presence for their parish families whenever and wherever needed.
Johanna Zomers, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader