Members of the CDA attended the CDA State Workshop in Tyrone, PA, held in November 2020. This two-day event offered great fun as well as learning by everyone in attendance.
Left to Right: Pam Callahan, Lucia Stover, Janet Oesterling
Left to Right: Pam Callahan (Financial Secretary), Shirley Hall (PA State Regent), Lucia Stover (Court Regent), Janet Oesterling (State Membership Chair & Court Member)
Court Reverend Patrick McArdle #448 was instituted January 18, 1920 by Court Ave Maria #399, Lock Haven. Mrs. Odille Mott was the first Grand Regent, and 73 charter members were received. The Court’s namesake was pastor at St. John The Evangelist for 37 years until his death in 1917, before the Court was formed.
To give a sense of unity to the organization, several traditions were followed during the early years of the Court. A password which changed quarterly, was in use until the late 1960’s. Communion was received as a body every 3 months. Classes were organized to go into the rural districts to teach catechism.
In the past, Strawberry socials were a favored activity for the newly formed Court. Euchre parties, box socials and bazaars were common fund-raising events. Contributions were made to Irish Relief. The Charity Fund for St. John’s Orphanage was established in 1921. Today, primary fund-raiser activities have expanded to include bake sales and raffles in the spring and fall, and a holiday yard sale. These support Circle of Love projects, along with many donations made to our parish and local community.
Over the years, the Court has regularly participated in joint community activities such as ecumenical services, World Day of Prayer, and Council of Churches. Other activities include the sponsorship of a Court representative to attend the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., organization of a Pro-Life Prayer Service and baby shower bingo, and monetary contributions to further the cause of Pro-Life.
Initially, a $100 mortuary fund was established by the Court. In the late 1970’s, this was changed to a Mass Fund for deceased members. In addition, members participate in wake services or recitation of the rosary at the funeral home, and an honor guard is formed at the church for the funeral of a member. The Court also prepares funeral dinners for the bereaved families of the parish.
Over many years, the Court has been honored by having 6 District Deputies: Odille Mott, Mary Gray, Josephine Ebeling, Janet Oesterling, Irene DeGraff, and Helen Lowry. Josephine went on to become State Secretary, 2nd Vice State Regent, 1st Vice State Regent, State Regent, and National Director. Janet was appointed State Sub-Chair for the Tutwiler Clinic in the 1st year that it was added as a National Project and is now State Membership Chair.The Court is active on the Diocesan level. We help support a student at Mt. Aloysius through the Altoona/Johnstown Diocesan Scholarship Fund.
Beyond the Diocesan level, pledges have been made and given to the Chair of Catholic Church History at Catholic University and to the Bishop’s Relocation Fund in Washington, D.C. The Catholic Daughters throughout the United States support the Marian Chapels at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in our nation’s capital, and Court members are proud to have taken part in establishing the National landmark.
Annual donations are also made to the North American College in Rome. Several National Projects are targeted each year for contributions, including the Laboure Society, Habitat for Humanity, Holy Cross Family Ministries, SOAR (Support Our Aging Religious) and National Center on Sexual Exploitation. Smile Train is now a charity.
Court Reverend Patrick McArdle #448 is a multi-faceted Court and actively participates in the Circle of Love national program. These activities include, in part: education contests, spiritual retreats, rosary rallies, Pro-Life events, WRAP Campaign, Center for Sexual Exploitation, and scholastic school awards. Serving lunches and dinners for various social events and funerals.
Currently the Court sponsors Girl Scout Troop #40021; participates in the Divine Mercy Rosary for WJVM 903.3 FM radio; works hand-in-hand with the Knights of Columbus for several events in our parish. They are a Food, Fun & Fellowship event in February; an annual Lenten Fish Fry; Senior breakfast for our parish high school graduating seniors and their families. In addition, a Halloween bingo for the children, accompanied by their parents; and a Kids Night In/Parents Night Out each December.
In 2018 the Court published our own “Catholic Daughters’ Favorite Prayers” prayer book which continues to be very popular.
The Court successfully fostered the institution of three daughter Courts - Court St. Rita #523, in Tyrone in June of 1920; Court Blessed Madonna #2521, in State College in September 2003 and Court St. Gerard Majella #2751 in Clarence in November 2018.
The Court membership currently stands at 115, with 5 life members.
Prepared by Josephine Ebeling/Irene DeGraff Amended by Christine A. Surovec/Karen Pipta/Janet Oesterling October 2020