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Decades in the CWL
Fort Smith's Jeanne LeGuerrier dedicated member of church group

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Published Friday, December 16, 2011

Many years ago, Jeanne LeGuerrier of Fort Smith was looking for a night out each month, so she joined the Catholic Women's League (CWL), and has been a member ever since.

NNSL photo/graphic

Jeanne LeGuerrier, a member of the Catholic Women's League in Fort Smith since 1965, displays some of the religious articles for sale at the group's fall fair on Oct. 29. - NNSL file photo

"I always wanted to belong to the Catholic organization, but I had five kids at the time and I was expecting my sixth one," she recalled. "So I decided I needed a night out with just ladies and the CWL provided me that."

When she joined the CWL in 1965, LeGuerrier was in her late 20s, and she is now 73.

That means she has been a member for more than 45 years and counting.

"I really enjoyed it all these years and I'm still enjoying it," she said.

LeGuerrier likes being part of a big group of thousands of ladies across Canada and around the world.

"It's very rewarding to belong to a big group like that," she said. "We do a lot of lobbying with the government on issues like abortion and child pornography and all that. With so many voices behind us, we need that."

The group's mission statement declares it is 'For God and Canada.'

LeGuerrier said the CWL helps the church and underprivileged people, and fights for the good of Canada.

When she joined, the CWL met just once a month.

"But then it became bingos every week and catering for weddings and whatnot," she noted. "So it was more than once a month, but my husband is very understanding and he was very good and always supported me and looked after the kids when I was busy with the league."

However, the CWL in Fort Smith is not so active now.

"We're not that busy now because we are a very small group in Fort Smith, so we don't do weddings and all that stuff," said LeGuerrier, noting the group now has 11 members.

She is the longest serving member of the CWL at St. Joseph Parish.

LeGuerrier, who is originally from Bonnyville, Alta., arrived in Fort Smith in 1964 and joined the CWL the next year.

Along with seeking a night out, she wanted to get to know people in her new community and to become more active in her church.

During her time in the CWL, she served three years as president and was also the group's secretary at one time.

For about the past six years, she has been the spiritual adviser for members of the organization.

"I haven't had too many people come for advice, because most of the ladies know more than I do," she said with a laugh.

LeGuerrier has made a lot of friends in the CWL.

"Over the years, I've met a lot of ladies," she said. "In the 45 years, people come and go, and I always stay."

LeGuerrier, who after her children were older worked for 20 years as a clerk and then a pharmacy assistant at Wally's Drugs in Fort Smith, is now retired from that job.

However, she said she will never retire from the CWL.

"I never had any thoughts of leaving the league."

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