Palmerston North Diocese

Rae O’Grady – New Plymouth Branch President and Palmerston North Diocesan President CWL.

Rae is a parishioner of the New Plymouth Parish of New Plymouth. She was raised on a farm in coastal Taranaki and attended Sacred Heart College in New Plymouth as a boarder for her secondary education.

She trained as a nurse at the New Plymouth hospital, graduating in 1965. She married Andrew in 1967. After some years as a fulltime mother to their three children, Rae returned to her nursing career. In 2012, she retired from a fulfilling working life as the Nurse Manager of Chalmers in New Plymouth, an elderly care facility operated by Presbyterian Support Wellington.

She joined the League the following year hoping to make a contribution to their important work. She was aware that they were a respected and committed group of women. The opportunity for companionship and ongoing learning available to members was also a reason for becoming a member.

She became the New Plymouth Branch President in 2013. In 2014, she was persuaded to become the Palmerston North Diocesan President.

A steep learning curve continues and the support and encouragement received by members both locally and nationally has been truly appreciated. As an organisation of women she feels we should be very proud of the huge difference we make in such a variety of ways.


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The Catholic Women’s League in the Palmerston North Diocese illustrates the saying “Good things come in small  packages”.  The Diocese

is the newest in New Zealand, being formed in 1980 but League branches have been around much longer than that.  The oldest branch, Napier, was formed in 1942 and New Plymouth, the youngest branch, began 21 years later.

Member contribute greatly to the running of their parishes and their communities, giving freely of their time and their resources.  Within parishes League members are active as  Eucharistic ministers, lay readers and choir members, assisting with funeral arrangements for bereaved families and with the organising of baptismal and confirmation programmes.  In the wider communities members are called upon to deliver meals on wheels, library books, collecting for street appeals, etc.  The League motto of “Faith and Service” is well demonstrated in all these works.

Mission communities in Fiji, Western Samoa, Tonga and the Solomon Islands are supported spiritually through prayer, and financially when a need becomes evident.  Modern technology has made it easier to maintain contact with out communities, and in extreme situations e.g. severe weather events we have been able to assess the situation and respond accordingly.