Junior Catholic Daughters group installed at Our Lady of Mercy
BRIGHTON — A national organization for Catholic women received an infusion of young members during a Nov. 3 ceremony at Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women, where Court Catherine McAuley 931 was installed as an official court of the Junior Catholic Daughters of the Americas. Court Catherine McAuley is the newest of the eight courts of Junior Catholic Daughters in New York state and the only one located within the 12 counties of the Diocese of Rochester.
“We are ecstatic and thrilled to have you with us as Catholic Daughters,” Heather Rave, regent of New York state’s Catholic Daughters, told the teen members of Court Catherine McAuley during the installation ceremony. “We are just so inspired by your presence here today and your willingness to say yes.”
Court Catherine McAuley was formed a year ago during the 2017-18 school year in response to several Mercy students’ shared desire to become Catholic Daughters of the Americas. Most of the students had never heard of the Catholic Daughters until their English language arts teacher, Susan Decker, encouraged them to participate in the Catholic Daughters’ annual education contest, which includes an essay contest. The contest was sponsored locally by Court Nativity of our Lady 931, which is based at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Brockport and is the only court of Catholic Daughters in Monroe County.
Learning about the Catholic Daughters through their participation in the contest prompted a handful of students to want to join the organization, which is for women 18 and older, Decker said. Not to be deterred, the students learned about the Junior Catholic Daughters, which is for girls between the ages of 6 and 18, and with Decker’s help, started to organize a new court.
“It started from the juniors themselves,” explained Donna Glogowski, regent of Court Nativity of Our Lady, which sponsors the junior court.
Several of the junior court’s founding members graduated last year, but the rest are among the court’s 17 active members, three of whom were installed as officers during the Nov. 3 installation ceremony. Earlier this year the Junior Catholic Daughters wrote letters to the founding members who’d graduated and now are freshmen in college.
“That’s one way to keep us connected,” remarked Grace Kurzweil, secretary of Court Catherine McAuley. “I just love the idea of community and bringing everyone together.
Community is one of the main priorities of the Junior Catholic Daughters, which is one of the reasons the organization is appealing to Grace, who is a sophomore.
“Community is the heart of the Junior Catholic Daughters of the Americas. We must be moved to help build community in all areas of our lives. By this experience of community we can better build our families, our neighborhoods and our world,” Rave explained during the installation ceremony.
Service is another priority of the Junior Catholic Daughters, Rave continued.
“The experience of community can only lead to service. Christ gives his people different gifts, not only for themselves, but for others,” she said.
The members of Court Catherine McAuley strive to use their gifts to help those in their community, remarked Anika Fischer, president of the new court. Over the past few months Fischer and her fellow Catholic daughters have written many letters, not only to Mercy alumni but also to men and women in the process of becoming priests and nuns, she said.
“We do a lot of service projects around the school and we tend to the spiritual needs of the school,” said Anika, a senior.
This concern for Mercy students’ spiritual needs ties in the third focus of the Junior Catholic Daughters, which is related to faith and dedication to God’s message.
“The teaching church calls upon each of us to have an active faith in God,” Rave explained during the installation ceremony. “We must not only accept the message of God, but we must also act upon it.”
Court Catherine McAuley members acted upon their faith this year by creating prayer books for Mercy’s new teachers. Each class period at Mercy begins with prayer, but sometimes the task of selecting the prayers can be daunting to new teachers, Anika said.
“We had everyone (in the court) write a prayer, and then we put them in a book and gave them to the new teachers,” Anika explained.
Anika said she and her fellow Junior Catholic Daughters enjoy working to help those in their communities. The enthusiasm and excitement that the members of the new Court Catherine McAuley have shown brings hope to older Catholic Daughters, Rave told the Catholic Courier.
“This new group here brings in youth, which is vital to the strength and future of not only the Catholic Daughters, but our church,” Rave said. “That’s why we’re so enthusiastic. There are so many girls that are saying, ‘Yes, we want to participate in our church and community.’”