JULY 2022 – JUNE 2024

Executive Officers

  • Carol Westlake, President
    St. Kateri, Saugus

  • Mary Lou Barnes, First Vice President
    Holy Redeemer Parish, Montrose

  • SHELiA CLAVERIE, Second Vice President

  • Rosa Palazuelos, Third Vice President
    Santa Clara, Oxnard
  • ANNETTE MANNING, Secretary
    ST. DOMINIC, los angeles

  • Karen Akana, Treasurer
    Our Lady of Lourdes Parish

  • ILEGRA EVANS, Immediate Past President
  • Louversa Dorsey, Parliamentarian

JULY 2019 – JUNE 2021

District Officers and Spiritual Advisors

Districts 1 & 2

Districts 3 & 4

  • Rosa Palazuelos, President
    Santa Clara, Oxnard
  • Rev. Eric Crelencia, OAP, Spiritual Advisor
    Mary Star of the Sea, Oxnard

District 5

  • Rev. Ramon G. Valera, Spiritual Advisor
    St. John Baptist de La Salle Parish, Granada Hills

Districts 6 & 7

  • Marie Urrutia, President
    Incarnation Parish, Glendale
  • Rev. Norman Supancheck, Spiritual Advisor
    St. Didacus Parish, Sylmar

District 8

  • Carol Westlake, President
    St. Kateri, Saugus

Districts 9 & 10

District 11

  • Kathy Prouty, President
    Sacred Heart Parish, Covina
  • Rev. Brian Cavanagh, Spiritual Advisor
    Sacred Heart Parish, Covina

District 12

  • Patricia Lasko, President
    St. Denis Parish, Diamond Bar

District 13

District 14

  • Cherry Montenegro, President
    Precious Blood, Los Angeles
  • Rev. Reynaldo Matunog, Spiritual Advisor
    ACC Marriage Tribunal

Districts 15 & 16

  • Aquilla Levine, President
    St. Michael, Los Angeles
  • Rev. Joel Henson, Spiritual Advisor
    Director of Continuing Formation

Districts 17 & 20

  • Joan Braun, President
    Our Lady of Victory, Compton
  • Rev. George Reynolds, Spiritual Advisor
    St. Cornelius, Long Beach

District 18

  • Maria Aguilar, President
    St. Pius X, Santa Fe Springs
  • Rev. John Cordero MMHC, Spiritual Advisor
    Holy Family Parish, Artesia

District 19

  • Mary Causley, President
    Our Lady of Guadalupe, Hermosa Beach
  • Rev. Alfred Hernandez, Spiritual Advisor
    St. Catherine Laboure Parish, Torrance

ACCW Conference History

“Leadership through Training” was the theme of the first conference held October 14, 1948 in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. That theme has prevailed for 50 years, producing women leaders of integrity, wisdom and fortitude. But the roots of this growth stem from the initial seed planted in the early 1920’s when the National Council of Catholic Women was founded.

Marian Bender, ACCW President, with Archbishop McIntyre, 1948.

Marian Bender, ACCW President, with Archbishop McIntyre, 1948.

In those early years (then) Bishop John J. Cantwell helped organize council members from eight counties with a yearly meeting held in each county. By 1936 the sprawling diocese divided and Archbishop Cantwell headed the new archdiocese of four counties. Re-organization followed and when Archbishop James Francis McIntyre hosted the first annual conference for all members, the group was a strong central core for networking throughout the archdiocese. Speakers at the first conference included Msgr. John Clarke of the CCD and Msgr. Patrick Dignam, superintendent of schools. Some 450 women attended and were challenged to take “their place in parish life and renew their obligation to family, church and community.”

Evidence of the Council’s vibrant impact in the city quickly followed. The very next month the group hosted the ACCW well-known convert, Clare Booth Luce, for a lecture at the Philharmonic to benefit St. Odilia parish school fund. This event would be followed by other countless, outstanding milestones that have formed the organization into one of the largest women’s group in the country.

As the archdiocese grew, particularly in the period following World War II when schools multiplied monthly and 82 more parishes dotted the boundaries from Santa Maria to Orange, the ACCW expanded the initial four districts to meet the demand. Just five years after Archbishop McIntyre arrived, he was raised to the rank of Cardinal, the first one in the western United States. The west coast was thriving.

Helen Walsh, President with Cardinal Manning in ACCW office

Helen Walsh, President with Cardinal Manning in ACCW office

During these years there was also a great influx of immigrants from many countries and the Council was ready to assist in relocation needs and training. ACCW presidents were (and are) articulate, strong leaders, able to perceive change and delegate committees to meet the challenges.

Archbishop Timothy Manning headed the L. A. See in 1970 and in three years was named the second Cardinal of Los Angeles. For 15 years he guided the largest city in the world named for Our Lady through enormous changes — those of the Second Vatican Council — but was always ready to assist in all ACCW events.

The annual conference through the years drew thousands of women who convened to hear outstanding speakers, view multiple exhibits and share in the spirit of unity and service. Among the various speakers from many fields were: publisher Frank Sheed; actress Jane Wyatt; Rosary Crusader Fr. Patrick Peyton; TV news personality Stan Chambers; Fr. Michael Manning; Bishop Sylvester Ryan and many more.

Cardinal Mahony with president Alice Lear in Santa Maria

Alice Lear, president, with Cardinal Mahony in Santa Maria.

In 1985, Bishop Roger Mahony was named fourth archbishop and in 1991 was also elevated as cardinal to head the largest archdiocese in the nation. He continues the support of his predecessors, encouraging the 15 districts in their outreach of evangelization, ecumenism, senior life, United Way, Respect Life, Spanish community and many others.

Article: Fighting Pornography

In 1985, Cardinal Roger Mahoney was installed to head the archdiocese of Los Angeles, and one of his first priorities was to fight pornography; he formed a commission, comprised of a lawyer, several businessmen, four priests, and a professor from USC, whom he appointed as president.

He wanted women represented as well and turned to Alice Lear, the then Executive President of The Los Angeles Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women (ACCW) to find a candidate. Alice immediately chose me to join the Commission as I had already entered the peoples’ battle involving the ACCW in Morality In Media’s “White Ribbon Campaign” to eliminate pornography.
The Commission held meetings and set priorities and it turned out to be very effective having a lawyer as a member of the commission as he was able to write up petitions, etc., that held up to legal scrutiny.

The Commission went out and brought our message to any groups who would invite them to speak. I had a big advantage because I was able to reach the women of just about every parish in the Archdiocese through our ACCW District meetings. I remember two priests laughing about how even their best homilies couldn’t get their parishioners to react like the ACCW members would and step up to the plate to start making a difference.

At one point, a conference was held on a Saturday, in a rented hall, in the mid-Wilshire area of LA. With the help of the Knights of Columbus, we got a very good turn-out. I was appointed to host and began with an opening address from Cardinal Roger Mahoney. Then several experts in the area of eliminating pornography spoke. We felt it was a success, especially the next morning when we made the front page of the Sunday edition of an L.A. newspaper.

The Archdiocese sent several members of the Commission, including myself, to a conference on pornography held by then Attorney General Edwin Meese in Orlando, Florida; this was during the Reagan presidency. The conference featured several interesting speakers who thoroughly explained how pornography started and was assembled, distributed and spread. The final speaker was Attorney General Edwin Meese himself. He explained to us that pornography was a multi-million dollar enterprise centered in Chatsworth, California and that its great financial strength gave it a lot of power in the political arena and made it almost impossible to get legislators to sponsor bills against pornography. He went on to say that an egregious portion of pornography was child pornography and detailed his plan to make this a separate issue and try to pass laws making child pornography illegal.

At the conference, I was supplied with hundreds of petitions to bring home asking our legislators to make child pornography illegal. The ACCW District Presidents became very committed and got the petitions to the women of just about every parish in the Archdiocese; the pastors were very supportive and encouraged their parishioners to sign the petitions at tables manned by ACCW ladies after Masses. (The Mormon church in Los Angeles was also active in this effort).

We feel very confident our efforts were successful because anyone caught with child pornography today is arrested, prosecuted and jailed.

I think it’s very important to tell the story of how a few small groups of people took on the issue of child pornography head-on and were able to finally get it declared illegal. It was a long, hard-fought battle, but finally we triumphed! Thank you, dear Lord!

History of our Website

In 1995, Marilyn Mathers, serving as Communications’ Chair, presented the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women’s Board of Directors with the concept of having an ACCW Web Site. Having nothing but an idea and enthusiasm, she was confident that if we prayed and it was God’s will, it would come into being. We were pleased with all we were able to accomplish using the Internet and now nearly a decade later, again after much prayer, we have three Web Sites which we are updating and improving.

Estelle Vaughn and Mary Pat May were the Executive Presidents at the early talking stages and beginning inception of the attempt to launch an internet presence. Their encouragement and hundred percent backing was an essential element that enabled Marilyn to proceed. Anne-marie Robertson, Ilegra Evans, Nancy Glenn, Judie Perez and all the presidents that followed have been extremely supportive of the website..

The women who comprise the ACCW Board of Directors deserve a great deal of the credit for bringing this web site about. Even though many of them did not have access to the Internet, they shared the vision of the good that could be accomplished by promoting the Lord’s work using the latest of technology. Their greatest contribution, however, was the confidence they had in the ability of prayer to make something happen and the hundreds of prayers offered up for this Web Site. Today most of our women ‘surf the net’ and use email.

Fernando Uribe, President and Executive Producer of Pluribus Media, was the essential element necessary to bring us online. Connecting with Fernando came about in a seemingly miraculous way. A woman in his parish suggested we contact him. We found him to be a man of strong faith and extremely talented as an artisan and technician. The design and technical implementation of this Web Site are the result of his unique abilities, including his courtesy and patience working with us neophytes to the Internet World.

Reviewing a Bit of Our History

Excerpted from “His Eminence of Los Angeles” Volume II by: Msgr. Francis J. Weber 1997


Among the many organizations established in Los Angeles, none was more favored and useful than the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women which traces its roots back to the 1920s. In an address to a national meeting of the broader National Council of Catholic Women held at Fresno in April,1953, McIntyre praised their work for the Church, noting that “the organization found its reason for being in the free adherence to the fixed principles of life represented in the law of God.

He stressed that members derived their strength from the fact that they were “at one in the acceptance of the truth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

In an article for Confraternity Notes, Anne Heffernan stated that the objectives of the A.C.C.W. were “to carry out specific work entrusted by the Ordinary of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, to cooperate with archdiocesan moderators and directors and to implement approved archdiocesan programs through standing committees.” An annual conference was held each year at which upwards of 1,600 women gathered to hear speakers and address problems and challenges facing the greater Catholic community. The role of the A.C.C.W. was that of “cooperating with” rather than replacing existing structures in the archdiocese.

McIntyre used the A.C.C.W. as a means of linking together other activities and over the years he enlisted their assistance in a host of activities such as the annual crusades for The Tidings, efforts to remove Catholic schools from the tax rolls, opposition to Federal Aid to education that would deny equal benefits to Catholics, the encouragement of Mary’s Hour and the establishing of Mission Circles for the support of the lay missionary program.

Late in 1957, McIntyre suggested to the A.C.C.W. leadership that they launch a monthly newsletter, a project that began the following January with publication of the initial copy of The ACCW Newsletter. In the very first issue, McIntyre asked members to continue their apostolate of providing “a strong bond of spiritual accord that will merit God’s blessing and the protection of our Blessed Lady”. The cardinal appointed a chaplain for the organization and he met personally with him prior to gatherings of the A.C.C.W.’s executive board. Each parish was encouraged to establish a branch so that the network could be activated in moments through a telephone linkup throughout the archdiocese.

Over the years Cardinal McIntyre became increasingly displeased with the policies of the National Council of Catholic Women and, after a long series of negotiations, he encouraged the local A.C.C.W. to withdraw its affiliation. On August 8, 1958, a majority of those on the executive board voted to comply with the cardinal’s advice. The Los Angeles organization had long been a dissentient voice on a number of national issues, including the N.C.C.W.’s views on pre-occupation with the United Nations, UNICEF, SFO and other similar agencies. Especially irritating to McIntyre were statements by the N.C.C.W. on the Bricker Amendment, the promotion of the Freedom Agenda, Radio Free Europe, the Catholic Association for International Peace, the sale of UNICEF anti Christmas cards, endorsement of the Genocide Convention and other issues that were misleading if not erroneous.

In their letter of withdrawal, the ladies protested what they considered a “soft approach on Communism” and N.C.C.W.’S “silence concerning the present grave evils of secularism, materialism and atheistic Communism in our midst.” They also complained about the absence of a strong positive program of Catholic Action, the omission of an alert on discrimination in all articles on Federal Aid to Education, silence about UNESCO’s proposed new treaty known as the Convention Against Discrimination in Education” and other positions that were “artfully maneuvered” through the last national convention with little or no discussion.

Interestingly, the Los Angeles A.C.C.W., not only survived its breakoff from the national organization, but thrived and grew to become one of the leading Catholic organizations in the archdiocese. Local authorities pointed to the A.C.C.W. as an example of how decentralization often strengthens rather than lessens the effectiveness of religious agencies.”

Cardinal Timothy Manning followed Cardinal McIntyre as the head of the Los Angeles Archdiocese and thus became our Episcopal Moderator. In the ensuing years, political changes came about in our country that resulted in Cardinal Manning requesting that the A.C.C.W. Executive Board look into reconnecting with the National Council of Catholic Women. A formal A.C.C.W. committee was formed and they met with the leaders of N.C.C.W. which resulted in the two groups becoming affiliated, and that is the status we enjoy today. Our officers attend their Conventions, Congresses and General meetings and have voting privileges.

Coat of Arms, Archbishop Jose Gomez

Coat of Arms
of Los Angeles’ Archbishop José Gómez

Archbishop Gomez with ACCW Members

Archbishop Gómez and ACCW LA Members


Past Presidents

  • 1939-1942 | Mrs. Harry Johansing (Millie) (deceased)

  • 1942-1945 | Mrs. J. Selby Spurch (Estelle) (deceased)

  • 1945-1947 | Mrs. Warren Knieriem (Lucy) (deceased)

  • 1947-1949 | Mrs. A. H. Bender (Marian) (deceased)

  • 1949-1951 | Mrs. R. Calvert Haws (Anna) (deceased)

  • 1951-1953 | Mrs. Joseph Schlarb (Ann Marion) (deceased)

  • 1953-1955 | Mrs. Roland Seidler (Mary) (deceased)

  • 1955-1957 | Mrs. John P. McMann (Nona) (deceased)

  • 1957-1959 | Mrs. K. Cary Clem (Tilly) (deceased)

  • 1959-1961 | Mrs. John O’Grady (Lu Heller) (deceased)

  • 1961-1963 | Mrs. Gilbert Taylor (Ruth) (deceased)

  • 1963-1965 | Mrs. Howard D. Lane (Pat) (deceased)

  • 1965-1967 | Mrs. William Goodwin (Elizabeth) (deceased)
  • 1967-1969 | Mrs. Joseph Dysart (Veronica) (deceased)

  • 1969-1971 | Mrs. James Brennan (Virginia) (deceased)

  • 1971-1973 | Mrs. Louise Paradiso (Margaret) (deceased)

  • 1973-1975 | Mrs. Henry J. Walsh (Helen) (deceased)

  • 1975-1977 | Mrs. Harold Ramsden (Mary Ann) (deceased)

  • 1977-1979 | Mrs. Arthur Rinaldi (Grace) (deceased)

  • 1979-1981 | Mrs. E. Calvin Elshoff (Irene) (deceased)

  • 1981-1983 | Mrs. Bert Siberz (deceased)

  • 1983-1985 | Mrs. Albert Maligie (Betty) (deceased)

  • 1985-1987 | Mrs. George Lear (Alice) (deceased)

  • 1987-1989 | Mrs. Terry Linehan (Patricia) (deceased)

  • 1989-1991 | Mrs. Terry Whittlinger Gil
  • 1991-1993 | Mrs. Otis Tyson (Loretta)
  • 1993-1995 | Mrs. Norman Mathers (Marilyn)

  • 1995-1997 | Mrs. Curtis Vaughn (Estelle) (deceased)

  • 1997-1999 | Mrs. Joseph May (Pat) (deceased)

  • 1999-2001 | Mrs. Arthur Robertson (Anne-Marie) (deceased)

  • 2001-2003 | Mrs. Ilegra Evans

  • 2003-2005 | Mrs. Nancy Glenn

  • 2005-2007 | Mrs. Judie Perez

  • 2007-2009 | Mrs. Connie Perales

  • 2009-2011 | Mrs. Patricia Granja

  • 2011-2013 | Mrs. Elizabeth (Liz) Fan

  • 2013-2015 | Mrs. Jan Kubani (deceased)

  • 2015-2017 | Mrs. Connie Perales

  • 2017-2019 | Mrs. Linda Freundlich

  • 2019-2022 | Mrs. Ilegra Evans

Meeting with Archbishop Gómez – 2018

In 2017 our Executive board decided it was important for us to secure a meeting with our new Archbishop Jose Gomez.  We wanted to know how Archbishop Gomez saw the value or role of ACCW within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and what programs or actions he would like us to initiate or participate in with other departments.

The first response to our request for a meeting with the Archbishop was that we were to meet with Sr. Mary Elizabeth Galt, Chancellor/Director of Pastoral Services.

Connie Perales, who is exceptionally skilled in leadership and diplomacy, was our president and she invited three other past presidents, (Ilegra Evans, Marilyn Mathers, Loretta Tyson) to be involved in and attend this meeting.  Connie assigned Marilyn Mathers (one of the past presidents and current Communications/Media/Web Site Chair) to research and put together as much background information on ACCW as she could find. This turned out to be a sort of “where are we coming from – where are we at – where would we like to be going”. READ REPORT

The meeting with Sr. Mary Elizabeth Galt was very successful and rewarding.  She was generous with her time listening intently to each of us and our experiences and concerns in our areas of expertise.  Sister concluded that we should meet with the Archbishop and put into process for a date to be set.

The meeting with Sr. Mary Elizabeth Galt was very successful and rewarding.  She was generous with her time listening intently to each of us and our experiences and concerns in our areas of expertise.  Sister concluded that we should meet with the Archbishop and put into process for a date to be set.

The date for the meeting arrived and Connie Perales, the three past presidents and our Spiritual Advisor, Msg. James Gehl were at the Catholic Center in the Archbishop’s conference room.  Archbishop Gomez entered the room and immediately won our hearts.  He is so charismatic, pastoral and the twinkle in his eye tells you fun.  The meeting began with Connie giving a report that totally spelled out ACCW’s structure, functions and mission. READ REPORT

She then called on Marilyn Mathers to chronicle ACCW’s history (READ REPORT). The Archbishop told us how he grew up in a family of four sisters and he was the only boy. This gives him a special sensitivity to women’s needs, concerns, skills and gifts. Msgr. Gehl then brought up our place within the Archdiocese and how best the Archbishop could help us.  He suggested a letter go out to all pastors introducing them to ACCW and how we could function and assist their parishes.

The Archbishop then discussed where we could be most helpful suggesting we work closely with the Department of Family Life and said he would write a letter for us and send it to all Parishes and Departments (READ ARCHBISHOP’S LETTER). The meeting concluded, after more than an hour, with the Archbishop approaching each of us individually with a warm goodbye.