A tiny seed planted in fertile soil, warmed by the sun, nourished by cool rains will inevitably grow into a healthy flowering plant - or a towering tree.
In 1961, a small group of dedicated women met and the Ukrainian Catholic Women's League of Canada took root in the fertile soil of St. Demetrius Parish, Etobicoke, Ontario. It was warmed by the enthusiastic encouragement of Father John Tataryn and nourished by hard work and prayer. And, yes, it has inevitably grown into a successful, productive organization.
As with most organizations, beginning were difficult - but energy, enthusiasm, dedication, hard work were not lacking. No building of their own, so they held functions in each other's homes, local churches and schools. An empty lot, on which later a magnificent church would rise, became a vegetable garden bringing in funds for the new parish. A parish family spirit was cultivated as the ladies became involved in countless annual social functions such as: praznyks, Easter brunches, Christmas suppers, teas, bazaars, rummage sales, bingos, picnics, and Kolomaya, a popular pavilion in the years of Caravan. And why all this constant fund raising? Certainly not for themselves! All efforts were directed towards the depletion of the church mortgage, to purchase many magnificent appointments for the new church, to support the Ukrainian school, catechism classes, the dance group, the Scouts. Nor were missions in Brazil forgotten and more recently St. John's the Compassionate Mission. And, of course, now that it is possible, Bibles, prayerbooks, vestments have been sent to Ukraine. Currently, the much-needed Ukrainian Canadian Care Centre is the project that has the highest immediate priority.
Fund raising is very necessary, but growth spiritually and culturally is of major importance. These aspects have not been neglected. Annually, ladies make retreats at Mount Mary in Ancaster. They organize pilgrimages. They welcome the Traveling Icon of the Blessed Mother into their homes. During the Millennium Year, they hosted an "Open House", an ecumenical event to which were invited sister-parishes, Catholic and non-Catholic. The guests were introduced to the mystical beauty of icons and stained glass windows, the significance of the iconostas and other liturgical appointments. An annual activity is participation in "The World Day of Prayer", an inter-denominational prayer service. The Branch has strongly supported the Office of Religious Education, particularly in the publication of the Catechetical Series, "God with Us". The ladies also have taught catechism and regularly visit the sick. A chatty monthly newsletter and the friendly "Keeping in Touch Corner" in the parish hall keep members informed and encourage new members to join.
To preserved our Ukrainian culture which they dearly cherish, members have held classes in Ukrainian embroidery, the art of writing "pysanky", and Ukrainian cuisine. The ladies have hosted receptions for many distinguished guests, among them the local hierarchy, and such high-ranking dignitaries as Cardinal Rubin, Patriarch Slipyj, Patriarch Lubachivskyj, and most recently the beloved Metropolitan Sterniuk of Lviv. Prominent political figures, famous singers and artists have also been cordially hosted by the ladies.
Guiding, encouraging, advising the Branch since 1975 has been Father Terry Lozynsky, the Spiritual Director. To his constant support and leadership can be attributed much of the success of the Branch.
St. Demetrius UCWLC has contributed to the spiritual, social, cultural and financial facets of St. Demetrius Church and tremendously enriched the parish community.
In the Centennial Year of Ukrainian Immigration to Canada, St. Demetrius UCWLC proposed to publish the poetry and embroidery designs of Iryna Senyk. It is with great joy and pride that we present this unique volume to Ukrainians throughout the world, but especially to Ukrainians in our free and independent Ukraine.
Lillian Yuryk

Originally Composed: Friday July 17th, 1998.
Date last modified: Monday August 3, 1998.