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CWL Christmas market returns to Ste-Anne’s Church

Camilla Faragalli
Calumet Island Nov. 19, 2023
After a pandemic-related hiatus, the Catholic Women’s League annual Christmas market was back in full swing at Calumet Island’s Ste-Anne’s Church on Sunday.
“It’s a big church and we try to help out as much as we can with our fundraisers,” said Joan Derouin, president of the Ste-Anne’s Catholic Women’s League (CWL) and lead organizer of the Christmas market.
The event featured 12 local vendors, a bake sale and a draw for prizes including gift baskets, wall-hangings and paintings, with proceeds going to different charitable organizations, as well as the church itself.
“I appreciate that this local event is just for artisans,” said Nathalie Bennett, one of the vendors and the owner of Hodgepodge Artizan. “You get a unique perspective on other artists in the area.”
Bennett was selling her “door jingle-janglers,” which she said bring positive energy and good fortune to the home, as well as a variety of charms, necklaces, and even some decorative Christmas spiders.
“They’re really cute in the bathroom,” said Bennett of her beaded arachnids. “I use them to guard my soap,” she added with a smile.
Bennett’s unique creations were among the many on display.
Local artist Jelly Massee was selling her acrylic paintings and watercolours along with some Christmas decorations made from oyster shells and wood cuts.
“Bryan [Massee’s husband] was eating oysters one night and I didn’t want to waste the shells, so I got the idea to make these,” she said.
Massee explained that she builds the shells up with clay in some places, before painting, varnishing and drilling holes in them to make her decorations.
“It’s been an awesome day,” she said of the market. “Just meeting people and getting my work out there, letting people know I’m here.”
As well as promoting local artisans, Lise Lagarde, the CWL’s secretary, said the Ste-Anne’s Christmas market is about helping people in need.
“We help the homeless, we help local shelters like L’EntourElle and AutonHomme, and we also do baskets for our elderly that are alone or hospitalized at Christmas,” she said.
She added that the rest of the proceeds go towards the church, particularly to help pay the heating bill, or if a member is going through a hard time.
“If their house should burn down or if they are hospitalized or something, we come and help,” Lagarde said.
“CWL stands for Catholic Women’s League, but it’s beyond just a church.” Lagarde said.
“It’s community.”