Port Union-Catalina-Little Catalina branch celebrates Women’s Institute Week

Published on March 8, 2017

From left to right, Deanne Hiscock, Joyce Poole, Bonnie Mackey, Clara Duffett, Edith Samson and Genevera Burry gather for special presentation of the Pink Ribbon-Cancer quilt to a local cancer support group for a ticket fundraiser.

©Contributed photo

Women’s Institute of Port Union-Catalina-Little Catalina marked WI Week, Feb. 19-25, with a variety of activities.

They began with a church service on Sunday, followed by a potluck dinner on Monday and a craft day on Tuesday and an open house on Wednesday to show off the handiwork of members.   The annual WI Open House was held Feb. 22 with lots of home-baked goodies, as well as displays featuring crafts and branch activities. Many other local groups were invited to attend, to enjoy refreshments and fellowship.

From left, the branch's oldest and treasured members, Evelyn Dalton and her sister, charter & life member Milley Johnson enjoy WI Week open house.

©Deanne Hiscock photo

None were more thrilled to attend than two of our senior members who now reside at Bonavista Retirement Home.  These ladies were smiling from ear to ear as they entered the building; it was like coming home, with hugs all around.

Although they are somewhat limited in being able to regularly attend  WI group functions, they are not limited in their joy of life.

Active WI members for many years, Charter and Life Member Milley Johnson and her sister Evelyn Dalton enjoyed renewing old acquaintances and making new friends during the Open House. Both are in their 90s, and they are still crafting, which is a lifetime love for the sisters. They are unanimous in saying they craft to keep themselves occupied, while enjoying their pastimes and proud of their creations. Milley’s specialty is crocheting afghans, and she looks forward to selling her beautiful creations at the WI craft shop this coming summer.

Her sister Evelyn keeps her knitting needles in steady motion, producing socks, mitts, and lovely baby sweaters that might just have a cute little bunny in the pattern. She’s generous with her wares, giving away some, selling others and stockpiling the extras for the WI craft shop summer season.

Although Women’s Institutes is not a fund-raising organization, they help out many local causes, and the local branch is no exception. The past year has been an active one, with donations given to the Port Union Lions Santa parade; Breast Cancer retreat, and the Discovery Collegiate Scholarship fund. Members also assisted with the Environmental Day cleanup in the community and donated delicious homemade preserves to the local Fire Department annual auction. In addition to items for hospital chemo departments and local chemo patients, members also made and donated dainty red preemie caps to NL Heart and Stroke Foundation for their February “Red Hats for Special Hearts” campaign.

During the WI Week Open House, a special presentation was made to local cancer support group members, Clara Duffett and Genevera Burry. WI members Joyce Poole, Deanne Hiscock, Bonnie Mackey, and friends Edith Samson and Anne Cunard, were recently very generous in donating fabric and sewing expertise to complete a beautiful pink quilt creation. Emblazoned with the logo “What Cancer Cannot Do” and various supportive phrases, the quilt will be used by the local cancer support group for their  ticket raffle fund raiser.

We operated a very busy craft shop and visitor information center from June to September, with government funding enabling us to employ three full time staff and one part-time student. Visitors came from far and wide to avail of our services and beautiful handcrafts provided by the members.

The local branch, one of 29 in the province, is now into it’s 50th year, formed in October 1967. It was delighted to welcome a big influx of fourteen new members, swelling our membership to our building’s space limit.

Regular monthly meetings are held the third Monday of each month. Anyone wanting more information about WI or help with their favorite craft project, should contact a member of the local branch, or drop by the Log Cabin in Port Union on Tuesday’s for a mug of tea and a warm welcome. You can even check them out on Facebook: Port Union-Catalina-Little Catalina Women's Institute page.



What is the Women’s Institute?


The Women’s Institute was co-founded on Feb. 19, 1897, in Stoney Creek, Ont. by Adelaide Hunter Hoodless and Erland Lee.

Adelaide’s achievements were indeed very substantial, and they signaled a new era of activism for women at the dawn of a new century.

She is credited as a co-founder of the Women's Institutes, the National Council of Women and the Victorian Order of Nurses. Adelaide was a major force behind the formation of three facilities of Household Science. All of her accomplishments have had a profound and long lasting effect on Canadian society, and all of these organizations are still in existence today. In fact, there are approximately 13,000 members in over 1000 branches of WI across Canada.

The present day Newfoundland and Labrador Women’s Institutes is an informal, educational organization for women to work together to expand their skills, broaden their interests, plan meetings, workshops and conferences, and strengthen the quality of life for themselves, their families and their communities. The NLWI is a non-partisan, non-sectarian, non-racial organization. Programs are certainly not limited to crafts, but include agriculture, Canadian industries, citizenship, culture, health, home economics, environment, international affairs, and legislation, with  the appropriate special programs and guest speakers during the monthly meetings.

WI member, Genevera Burry, admires the display of WI projects and beautiful craft creations.

©Deanne Hiscock photo