About CNWE

Since 1981, the Catholic Network for Women’s Equality (CNWE) has embraced a vision of a just, inclusive and accountable Catholic church. CNWE began as Canadian Catholics for Women’s Ordination (CCWO). Our founders witnessed the inclusion of women in ordained ministry in other Christian denominations. They also saw women’s equality as consistent with Catholic teaching on the inherent dignity and equality of the person, and the Vatican II vision of the Church as the ‘whole people of God’. As a growing and evolving network, members voted 1988 to broaden the vision to include equality for women in all aspects of church and society. Hence, the name change to CNWE reflects this wider perspective. In recent years, we have added ‘care of creation’ to our circle of concern. The recognition of the interconnectedness of all living things in an ever-evolving universe is a foundational perspective that lends an urgency to our work. As nature teaches us, flourishing depends on systems that respect ‘strength in diversity’ and appreciate the part that each one contributes to the health of the whole community. Our very survival requires the dismantling of all systems of ‘power over others’ (patriarchy/hierarchy/colonialism/classism) and the building up of systems rooted in a Gospel of love.

Our membership is geographically spread out across Canada and members strive to embody CNWE’s vision of “Being the Change we Seek” – both as individuals and in CNWE local groups – in our various communities. New members are encouraged to join existing local groups, or take the initiative to develop CNWE in communities that are not represented. We gather to pray, learn, celebrate, support one another and work for positive change together. Our National Work Group (NWG) is comprised of members from various regions in Canada and together they facilitate and communicate the priorities of CNWE that develop out of our annual conference. They model new forms of inclusive leadership in their processing and decision making.

Our stories and thoughts are reflected in a seasonal Newsletter, The Seed Keepers and we network with and inform one another and our global sisters through an active e-list message board. Bonds are also strengthened by an annual conference, held in varying communities in Canada, where members meet to celebrate, learn and renew the vision!

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