These women exemplify themselves through Christian living and are involved in and contribute financially to many projects they are the Catholic Daughters of the Americas. Mary is their patron saint.
The members of this organization strive "to be helping hands where there is pain, poverty, sorrow or sickness." They enjoy each other's company at meetings and work hard for their parishes and communities.
There were about 95,000 members in approximately 1,250 courts (local chapters) in 45 states across the country, and in Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Guam and the Virgin Islands in 2010.
Renae Sticka, of Dickinson, state regent of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas in North Dakota, stands with members of Court of St. Elizabeth #140 of Minot. They are, from left, Sticka, Arlene Fiedler, Cathy Deckert and Celeste Perdue.
The first court of Catholic Daughters of the Americas in North Dakota was Court St. Elizabeth #170 of Minot. The court was registered March 17, 1912, with the national organization. The second group established in the state was registered in Fargo in 1915. There are now 23 courts in North Dakota.
Marguerite Frank, of Minot, is a lifetime member of St. Elizabeth's Court. She joined the group in November 1944.
"I have just enjoyed the Catholic Daughters so much. I have met so many wonderful people and serving the church with unity and charity has been great," Frank said.
The 47th biennial convention of the North Dakota Catholic Daughters of the Americas convened Friday and will continue through Sunday in the Grand International Inn.
The theme for the convention is Mary, Queen of Angels.
The guest speaker for the convention will be the Rev. Justin Waltz, of Minot. The Rev. Michael Schommer, pastor of St. Cecelia's Catholic Church in Towner, is chaplain for the North Dakota CDAs.
Court St. Elizabeth #170 of Minot, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2012, is hosting the convention. The group, which held its meetings for many years in St. Leo's Catholic Church, now gathers for Mass, fellowship and its meetings in Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church.
"Unity and charity'
The Catholic Daughters of the Americas is one of the oldest and largest organizations of Catholic women.
The members, through local chapters, donate to charities, administer scholarship programs and strive "to be helping hands where there is pain, poverty, sorrow or sickness."
Membership is open to any Catholic woman age 18 or over.
The CDA motto is "Unity and Charity."
Frank was grand regent of the Minot court in 1947 and has held every office. She doesn't hesitate to admit that at age 93 she is the oldest member of the court.
The youngest member of the Minot court is Katrina Niess. She is 19.
"My mom's been in the court for 25 years and has been really involved so I knew it was something I'd like to do. It's fun to be the youngest member. They don't treat me any different. I don't know everything; but there's a lot to learn," Niess said.
"It would be nice to have more younger members though," she added. "Young people can bring new ideas."
The Minot court has 80 members. They gather the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. for Mass in Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, 707-16th Ave. SW. After Mass the members gather for fellowship in the lower level of the church and then conduct their meeting.
The Rev. Bruce Krebs, pastor of Our Lady of Grace Church, is chaplain of Court St. Elizabeth #170.
Girls and young women ages 8 to 18 may join the Junior Catholic Daughters of the Americas. The adviser of Minot JCDA court is Verla Zimmerman, of Minot.
The Daughters became involved in overseas duty during World War I. They acted as nurses, did clerical work, conducted sewing and knitting classes for the Red Cross and staged parties for the servicemen.
During World War II they bought war bonds and defense stamps, helped to fund chapels, camps and food necessities and again provided entertainment for those in the service. Some members also served as instructors for the Red Cross and 15,061 members made 4 million surgical dressings.
The organization, which was founded by the Knights of Columbus in 1903 in Utica, N.Y., originally was known as the Daughters of Isabella. The order changed its name to the Catholic Daughters of America in 1921.
Bishop Fulton J. Sheen addressed the delegates at the 24th Biennial Convention in 1952 and asked them to consider changing the organization's name to Catholic Daughters of the Americas when courts were organized in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Saipan, Guam and the Virgin Islands. The organization voted to change its name in 1954.
Zimmerman said the Minot court has given money to many charities through the years. Some recipients include Indian missions, Habitat for Humanity, Home on the Range, Catholic Relief Services and the Smile Train, a not-for-profit organization based in New York City with the mission of providing free corrective surgery for children with cleft lips and palates in about 80 developing countries.
Monies are raised through raffles, Christmas Tour of Homes events and style shows/teas.
"We are one, big happy family of Catholic women. We have done so much for the church, the community, the state and the world," Frank said.