About CNWE

Become a CNWE member and join the conversation!

Since 1981, the Catholic Network for Women’s Equality (CNWE) has been working for the full and equal participation of women in the Catholic Church. CNWE began as Canadian Catholics for Women’s Ordination (CCWO) focussing on advocacy for the ordination of women. In 1988, we broadened our vision to include working for equality for women in all aspects of church and society and we changed our name to the Catholic Network for Women’s Equality to reflect this wider perspective. In 2015, we added ‘care of Creation’ to our vision, reflecting our understanding of the interconnectedness of all living things and the “New Story” of an evolving universe. We are incorporated in the province of Ontario as a not-for-profit organization.

Our members live in communities across Canada. We gather in person, and increasingly online to pray, learn, celebrate, initiate actions for positive change, and support one another. We meet in person or online conversations in Local Circles and Energy Circles. Local Circles are currently hosted in New Brunswick, Ottawa, Algoma, Greater Toronto Area, and Western Canada regions. We currently have two Energy Circles: i) CNWE Women in Creation and ii) CNWE Women in the World.

After engaging in a visioning process in 2018-19, a Transition Team (TT) was initiated to simplify CNWE’s governance and ensure our sustainability. The TT researched feminist network models and developed a Networking Model based on the seasons:  i) Fall planting, ii) Winter/spring germinating and blooming iii) Spring seed gathering and iv) Summer lying fallow to be rejenated for our fall work. An informal Organizing Circle sets meetings and an agenda for virtual All-Member Meetings in Fall and Spring to share the news of our network. Our National Work Group (NWG) facilitates and communicates the priorities of CNWE that develop out of our annual conference. The NWG functions using a model of collaborative leadership in their processing and decision-making and facilitates an annual virtual retreat and conference. All CNWE members take some ownership for ‘holding the whole’ according to their energy and gifts.

Our seasonal newsletter, The Seed Keepers reflects our stories and thoughts and we also network with one another through an active e-list. CNWE’s Facebook is active and connects us with Catholic reform groups around the world.

Seed Keepers

You are like
these seeds
resting gently
in my palm
Neither can you
be owned,
sold to
the highest bidder.
Like these seeds,
you belong
to yourself,
to the community,
to the whole world
being beauty,
laughter and
food for the people.
Let us be seed keepers,
you and I,
treasuring what is true,
kneading all into
bread for the life of the world.

Rita Patenaude, CNWE Member

The Seed Keepers – Vol. 22, No. 1, Fall 2010