WUCWO, International,

WUCWO – International Solidarity

Stephanie Swann

World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations International Secretary for CWLANZ

I was born and raised in Invercargill, attending St Joseph’s School and St Catherine’s College. Married for 46 years to Pat, we have two adult sons, a 19-year-old granddaughter, a 3-year-old grandson and a 9-year-old step grandson. We currently live in the historic township of Lawrence, but over the years have lived in Invercargill, Dunedin and Arrowtown. I have been a member of the Catholic Women’s League since 1980, and have held several positions over that time, including Regional Representative, WUCWO Officer, Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President and President for the Dunedin Diocesan Council.

I am currently the International Secretary for Catholic Women’s League Aotearoa New Zealand (CWLANZ), a position I was appointed to in 2012. I have had the privilege of representing CWLANZ at both the WUCWO General Assembly at Fatima, Portugal in 2014, and the WUCWO Asia/Pacific Regional Conference in 2016. In 2005, I completed a Diploma in Religious Studies and Catechetics, and in 2010 completed a two year Dunedin Diocesan adult formation programme. I am currently a Pastoral Assistant for the South Otago Pastoral Area.  I am involved locally with leading Rest Home Services, Combined Church Services, and I represent the Lawrence Parish at the Ministers meetings. I am also the Secretary for the Lawrence Parish Pastoral Council.

In 2016 I was appointed by the Bishop to the Dunedin Diocese’s Faith and Service Council.


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 April-May newsletter


The World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations  (WUCWO) represents 100 Catholic Women’s Organisations world-wide.   WUCWO supports the women of these organisations to address the needs of women, children and families as compassionate carers and educators.

Founded in 1910, WUCWO’s promotes the presence, participation and co-responsibility of Catholic women in society and the Church in order to enable them to fullfil their mission of evangelisation and to work for human development. In 2006, it was erected by the Holy See as a Public International Association of the Faithful.

WUCWO aims to

  • Promote the formation of women to meet contemporary challenges.
  • Foster awareness and respect of cultural diversity.
  • Promote the international dimension within its Member Organisations.
  • Co-ordinate activities of Member Organisations at International level.
  • Present the positions of WUCWO and represent the Member Organisations at international level.
  • Network with other international organisations and Faith communities for the respect of human rights, especially for women.
  • Encourage ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.

WUCWO enjoys consultative status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Human Rights Council (HRC), and is an official partner of the United nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).  

WUCWO is also present at the Council of Europe. the continent’s leading human rights organisation.  The Council of Europe includes 47 member states, 28 of which are members of the European Union. All Council of Europe member states have signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights, a treaty designed to protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law.  WUCWO was a voice in the creation and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

The Catholic Women’s League of Aotearoa New Zealand has full membership with WUCWO and is part of the Asia/Pacific Region, one of 5 Regions representing Catholic women world-wide.

Susana Evening of Fiji is the Vice-President for the Asia/Pacific Region.

In March 2012 WUCWO held an Asia Pacific Conference in Manila in the Philippines.  The text of CWLNZ’s report can be downloaded here – Country Report for Asia/Pacific Conference.

CWLNZ has a WUCWO International Secretary, Stephanie Swann,  and WUCWO officers in all Dioceses.    Stephanie is a member of the National Board and reports on her activities to the twice-yearly Board meeting.  Stephanie can be contacted via the Contacts page on this website.

Stephanie’s report to the February 2014 Board meeting.