Sixty years ago Kathleen Lester moved to Cortez and introduced a new service club to the Catholic women of St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church. She was so excited about the community service work her organization was doing in her former hometown, that the just over 25 women in Cortez were inspired to create their own chapter and made Kathleen the Grand Regent.
Kathleen has passed but this weekend the women who make up the Catholic Daughters of the Americas Court of the Sacred Heart are celebrating their 60th anniversary. Only two of the original members are still alive. The court membership is close to 100 now and is lead by Regent Mary Sparks of Dolores.
The CDA Cortez chapter shares the anniversary with the Court St. Anthony of Durango which was initiated on the same day in 1952. Catholic women from 18 years on up are invited in to share a love for the community, the Church and a desire to be involved in a social network of Catholic lay and religious women to perform service projects. They are the go-to womens group when someone wants a project thrown together fast and the right way. They have been a part of providing new kneelers for the church, assistance for victims of domestic violence and child abuse, cancer patients, church projects, and charities locally and worldwide. They also sponsor educational scholarships for Jr. High, High School, College and Graduate students of all religious backgrounds. They encourage education through educational contests and the encouragement of other educational funding.
What has become the largest organization of Catholic women in the world was created by the mens Catholic service group, The Knights of Columbus. In turn the CDA created and sponsors the Jr. Catholic Daughters of the Americas and Cortez is the home of the first JCDA chapter formed in Colorado.
This weekend they come to honor their dead, remember the charter members and serve the living. The 60th anniversary celebration is being held at the Elks lodge (Today) Saturday, April 28 in Cortez with a mass preceding it at St. Margaret Mary Catholic church at 11 a.m. The anniversary party is closed to the public but everyone is welcome to celebrate mass.
Mary Ganir is a member of the Cortez chapter of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas.