From its inception in 1903, Catholic Daughters of the Americas has grown and developed into one of the oldest and largest organizations of Catholic women in the Americas. There are 1,250 local courts in 45 states across the country, and in Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.

The purpose of the organization is to participate in the religious, charitable, and educational needs of the church. Catholic Daughters of the Americas engage in creative and spiritual programs which provide its members with the opportunity to develop their special God-given talents in a meaningful way to positively influence the welfare of the church and all peoples throughout the world.

Mission Statement

Catholic Daughters of the Americas strive to embrace the principle of working through love in the promotion of justice, equality, and the advancement of human rights and human dignity for all.

Dedication to Our Blessed Mother

The main objective of all Catholic Daughters is union with Christ. He is the vine, we are the branches. All that our organization is and does must center on this union with our Lord. We imitate Mary, His Mother, who kept her heart and her eyes on Jesus from the manger in Bethlehem to the streets of Nazareth and Jerusalem, from the foot of the cross on Calvary to His glorious resurrection and ascension.

Court St. Charles History

“An organizational meeting was held in St. Charles on Wednesday evening November 19, 1958 at the (Catholic) school auditorium.  Thirty ladies from St. Charles, Lewiston, and Eyota were in attendance to discuss plans to organize a Court of CDofA.  Mrs. Cynetta Thieves, State Extension Chairwoman, Court Owatonna was in charge.  She was assisted by State Regent Adele Wolf of Minneapolis.”

“The aims, purposes and works of the order were presented in a humorous skit by Mary Arndt of Court Owatonna and Frances Gabiou of Court Sacred Heart, Waseca.  They were ably assisted by Monsignor Layne and Father Fasnacht and Rose Welti, past District Deputy of Plainview.  A lively question and answer period followed which was most  effective in explaining the Catholic Daughter program.”

“Twenty-one ladies signed applications with many more promised.  After the meeting a lovely tea was served by the ladies of St. Charles.  Cream mints with Thanksgiving motif were added by the State Court as a pretty addition to the tea.  The date of the organization meeting was not yet set but was to be left to the discretion of the interested pastors.  The meeting was adjourned.”  (Taken from Court Records-dated 11/19/1958.)

Charter Members include:

Elaine Biers, Marguerite Brogan, Lucille Burke, Bernice Doerge, Emma Duane, Helen Duane, Gertrude Fazendin, Barbara Flint, S. Elizabeth Forestall, Elizabeth Frisch, Fran Goodrich, Vernice Heim, Maxine Kotnour, Helen Kieffer, Margaret Kreidermacher, Julia Kronebusch, Irene Lehmann, Louise Leininger, Verena Ann Mabbutt, Eileen Mathison, Rosemary McCarthy,Elizabeth McCoy, Elsie Motske, Celestine Nessler, Colleen Nelson, Marian O’Meara, Teresa O’Meara, Ethel Reisdorf, Marie Reisdorf, Mildred Roeder, Angeline Rowekamp, Margurite Sellner, Dolores Slavin, Kathryn Spencer, Bernice Strokes, Valeria Traxler, and Peggy Henry (May 1960)

Court St. Charles was established March 3, 1959.  The Installation of the new court occurred on March 8, 1959.  Meeting minutes from the installation were as follows:

“Minutes of the meeting, organizing Court #1791-St.Charles.  The meeting whose purpose was the organizing of Court #1791…was called to order shorty after two o’clock by presiding officer Cynette Thieves, State Extension Chairman from Court Owatonna.  She presented Rose Welti, past District Deputy from Court Plainview, who was honorary installing officer in recognition of her fine efforts in getting this court started.”

“Prayer was offered, the opening ode was sung and the password taken up by Irene Seykora, Court Owatonna, installing Monitor.  The salute to the flag was given after which the installing officers from Court Owatonna were instructed to retire to robe.”

“The ritual was for the most part memorized and beautifully presented.  The installing Monitor, Irene Seykora kept the work moving at a lively pace with a high degree of efficiency and dignity.  A beautiful and inspiring seminar, ‘The Joyful Mystery’ of the Rosary was presented in tableau,with the proper costuming by the Court Sacred Heart of Waseca.”  At the close of the first degree, the Catholic Daughter ladies sextette (sic) from Court Sacred Heart, Waseca presented a beautiful rendition of ‘Ave Maria.’ “

“After a ten minute recess was declared during which coffee was served by the ladies of the newly organized Court.  This fine gesture of hospitality was greatly enjoyed by all present.  The business session was opened…The first order of business was the selection of a name for the new Court.  They were to be submitted to National for final selection.  They were:  Court St. Charles, submitted by Rosemary McCarthy of St. Charles, Court St. Edward, submitted by Irene Lehmann of Lewiston, and Court St. Jasper, submitted by Verena Mabbutt of St. Charles.”

“It was decided by vote to hold the monthly meetings the second Thursday of the month and Father Fasnacht’s generous offer to hold the meetings in a classroom of the new (Catholic) school was graciously accepted.  The matter of the Mortuary fund was then brought before the Court for discussion.  It was decided to organize without a Mortuary benefit.”

“The election of officers was the next matter of business.  The Chairman of the nominating committee, Elizabeth Frisch of St. Charles presented the following slate:” (since there were no nominations from the floor it was moved and seconded for nominations to be closed.  In an unanimous ballot cast by the acting historian.  Motion carried.)

The first Officers of Court St. Charles were:

Mrs. Barbara Flint-Grand Regent

Mrs. Verena Mabbuttt-Vice Grand Regent

Miss Mildred Roeder-Prophetess

Miss Marian O’Meara-Financial Secretary

Mrs. Irene Lehmann-Historian

Mrs. Gertrude Fazendin-Treasurer

Mrs. Frances Goodrich-Monitor

Mrs. Maxine Kotnour-Sentinel

Mrs. Marie Reisdorf-Lecturer

Mrs. Lucille Burke-Organist

Father James Fasnacht-Chaplain

Miss Elizabeth Frisch-Trustee, 3 years

Mrs. Rosemary McCarthy-Trustee, 3 years

Mrs. Vernice Heim-Trustee, 2 years

Mrs. Helen Kieffer-Trustee, 2 years

Mrs. Elizabeth Forestall-Trustee, 1 year

Mrs. Marguerite Brogan-Trustee, 1 year

The newly elected officers were then installed beautifully by Mrs. Ella Schnieder, District Deputy from Court St. Paul.  When the new officers left the assembly room, escorted by the corresponding acting officer who she replaced, she was given her robe to wear for the remainder of the meeting, much to the delight of the members in attendance.”

“Father Fasnacht was introduced to the assembly but preferred to speak at the dinner later.  Delegations of members from St. Paul, Minneapolis, Owatonna, Waseca, Plainview, and Winona were presented.  It was a great source of pleasure and inspiration to the new Court to have so many of their sister courts in attendance.  A flag and banner were then presented to the new Court by Courts Owatonna and Waseca.  Court Minneapolis presented a fine ladies gavel through their Grand Regent, Ruth Brady and State Regent Adele Wolfe with a check for twenty-five dollars from the State Court with it’s best wishes.  The meeting was then closed with prayer led by the State Regent, Adele Wolfe.”

“A fine banquet was served at five-thirty by the ladies of St. Charles to well over a hundred guests.  A short program was presented after the dinner ably presided over by Father Fasnacht, master of ceremonies.  Father Fasnacht spoke to the assembly emphasizing the important role women must play in winning souls for God.  He then offered our thanksgiving for a very inspiring and satisfying day and imparted his blessing for safe journeys to our homes.”  Respectfully submitted: Adele Wolf-State Regent

The first Meeting of Court St. Charles #1791, St. Charles, Minnesota was held on March 12, 1959.  Four guests from Court Owatonna most graciously sat with respective officers to give instructions.  Highlights of that first meeting included:  Checking account had a balance of $176.00, a bill in the amount of $60.80 was presented, committee chairmen were asked to have a calendar of events prepared by the next monthly meeting, travel expenses to conventions by Grand Regent and Vice Grand Regent discussed (the first State Convention being held on April 26, 1959,) and Father Fasnacht spoke briefly and commented on the pictures taken March 8th.  Local Dues were $6/member/year.

Prices from the National CDA Store in 1959:

Gavel $2.50, Treasurer’s Vouchers $0.25 each, 40 Constitutions $4.80, Historian Minute Book $2.50, 40 Members’ Due Book $2.00, 25 Application Blanks $0.50 Ritual Books and 1 Conduct of Meeting Book $7.00.

Court St. Charles Past Regents include: (*denotes deceased)

1959-1961Barbara Flint*   1961-1963Verena Mabbutt*   1963-1966Helen Kieffer*   1966-1969Marguerite Brogan*   1969-1971Peggy Henry   1971-1975Frances Ellsworth*   1975-1977Peggy Henry*   1977-1979Lucille Burke*   1979-1982Cheryl Persons   1982-1985Mary Van Riper*   1985-1987Dottie Jones*   1987-1989MarilyMcGuire   1989-1991Peggy Henry*   1991-1993Karen Wiskow   1993-1995Pam Wolter   1995-1997Deb Rowekamp   1997-1999Nancy Bambenek   1999-2001Denise Sackreiter   2001-2002Bev Puterbaugh   2002-2004Darline Freeman   2004-2006Bev Puterbaugh   2006-2008Fran Henry   2008-2010Joan Welscher   2010-2012Sandy Larson   2012-2014Vicki Gathje   2014-2016Marlys Hinckley   2016-2018Deb Rowekamp

Past District Deputies from Court St. Charles:  Peggy Henry, Dotty Jones, Nancy Bambenek, Bev Puterbaugh, Denise Sackreiter, and (currently) Sandy Larson.

Past State Officers from Court St. Charles:  Peggy Henry and Nancy Bambenek

Our 50th Anniversary was celebrated on Saturday, April 18, 2009 at St. Charles Borromeo Church in St. Charles with Bishop Harrington and Father Callahan presiding at a celebratory mass.  At that time, seven of the 37 charter members remained active court members.


The meeting date of the second Thursday of the month remained the date of our meetings until 2010 when we tried to chose a night that fit into the busy schedules of our members with school-aged children.  Currently, we alternate meetings: the second Thursday evening the months of August-November and April-May with the second Saturday morning the months of December-March to accommodate winter driving conditions and membership availability.

We currently have members from our three Catholic Communities of St. Charles Borromeo (St. Charles), Holy Redeemer (Eyota) and St. Aloysius (Elba.)  Our meetings tend to be mostly in St. Charles but we do hold at least one or two meetings a year at Holy Redeemer and one at St. Aloysius.

Our dues of $6/member/year remained in effect for many years.   The 2016 Court St. Charles Dues (increased in 2012 as a response to the increase in the National dues) are:  $26/year/member payable in January

Distributed as follows:

$15/year/member~National CDA Membership Dues

$1/year/member~National CDA Project

$3/year/member~State CDA Membership Dues

$4/year/member~State CDA Fundraiser

$1/year/member~State CDA Project

$2/year/member~Local CDA Membership Dues


4/18/2009 50th Year Court Celebration.  (Photo on the left-pictured from Left to Right)  Past Regents: Sitting:  Peggy Henry & Darline Freeman  Standing:  Joan Welscher, Nancy Bambenek, Marilyn McGuire, Deb Rowekamp, Pam Wolter, Bev Puterbaugh, Denise Sackreiter, and Fran Henry

4/18/2009:  50th Year Court Celebration.  (Photo on the right-pictured Left to Right) Charter Members: Colleen Nelson, Peggy Henry, Fran Goodrich and Elsie Motske Waechter