By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI
Madeline Walsh, of Wanamassa spent over 50 years giving her time and energy to the Catholic Daughters, Court Holy Spirit, but she along with the other members have decided “it’s time” to close their doors.
Court Holy Spirit has been in existence for 100 years.
“It’s a shame it’s disbanding. I think age has caught up on all of us,” Walsh said.
Current Regent Esther Day, 88, said she is sad to see the club close but is happy they made it to see 100 years.
She has been a member since 1986 and said, “It’s so sad. I hate to see it close…we’re all getting so old.”
Day said she loved the spiritual and religious aspects of the club.
“It was for charity and unity and for religious purposes. We did our part for religious education for the young people. We worked through love, to advance human rights and unity for all,” she said.
Day, a retired social worker, said the club also gave members a chance to be better.
“To use their God given talents in a meaningful way,” she said.
Club members will attend a mass at Holy Spirit Church Sunday and then go out for breakfast at Clancy’s Tavern in Neptune.
The group has been meeting the third Thursday of each month at the Mount Carmel Hall next to Our Lady Mount Carmel Church.
“We were looking to get away and have some adult conversation. I was looking to get away from four little boys,” Walsh said. “We would have a business meeting and then have some refreshments.”
Walsh said younger women don’t have time to join such groups as did the women in her age group who did not work outside the home.
Walsh fondly recalled the good times she had as a member of Court Holy Spirit.
“We had our big summer card party, we were younger and ambitious and collected prizes,” she said.
The group raised money for various charities and every year held a baby shower for the Madonna House in Neptune.
They also donated money to charities during the Christmas season.
Sometimes, they played bingo at meetings.
“It’s sad to see it go. I met a nice bunch of women – I enjoyed it. I felt like I was doing something for the church,” she said.
Walsh recalled her classmates at Holy Spirit School and their mothers belonging to the club.
Walsh said the time is right now that there are so few members attending regularly.
“We are lucky to have nine or 10 at a meeting,” she said. “We used to get 40 or 50. Now if the weather’s bad or people aren’t feeling good…. you know if your legs are bothering you…..”
Doris Carroll, another long time member, said she joined to have a night out with adults while raising her six children.
“It was a night out away from the children….it was a night out to talk to adults. And they usually had an interesting program after the meeting,” she said this week.
Carroll said she is sad to see the club disband, but accepts the inevitability.
“I’m sad, but there’s nobody coming. I was in charge of getting programs, and you’d have somebody come to do a program and nobody shows up,” she said.
But Carroll also has fond memories of her years in the club.
“We had big Christmas and anniversary parties,” she said.
For many years she helped run the annual card party held at the former Elks lodge Grand Avenue. Now the building has been converted to condominiums.
“It was a lot of work,” she says but recalled having help from Rose and Frances Luchi who solicited gifts for the auction and Eunice Keating, who was her assistant.
She laughed as she recalled members having to use a password to get into the monthly meetings which were held on the second floor of the former Knights of Columbus building on Main Street.
The password changed every month and members had a hard time remembering what it was.
“When I first joined we used to have a password to get into the meeting and nobody could ever remember the password. We had to go around asking, ‘Do you remember the password?’”
She also said members would clamor to be the regent, or president, and other officers.
“That’s when we were all young,” she said.
Carroll said with the club closing she will have to find other social outlets.
“Now that I don’t’ have that group, I may join Red Hats. They don’t have to do anything…raise money, there are no officers that I know of,” she said.
And best of all, the local club is made up mostly of Catholic Daughters.