The devotion to Mary, the Mother of God, is a treasured tradition in the Catholic Church. Many people — lay and ordained alike — profess a special connection to the Blessed Mother and seek to honor her through everyday actions.
One local philanthropic group — the Queen’s Daughters — has served the Archdiocese of Louisville for a hundred years, all in the name of the Mother of God. Just as children seek to honor their earthly mothers, members of the Queen’s Daughters seek to find ways to pay tribute to our heavenly mother as well.
The Queen’s Daughters were formed in 1915 when six women in the West End joined Mother Mary Compassion of the Sisters of Good Shepherd in her work feeding and clothing poor families.
An article in The Record April 16 detailed the variety of efforts the Queen’s Daughters adopted over the years in their mission to serve people from all walks of life, all in the name of their patroness.
These women literally served in any way they could. Members of the organization made first Communion clothes for boys and girls, visited the infirm cared for by the Little Sisters of the Poor, served coffee and doughnuts to soldiers stationed at Camp Taylor during World War I, hosted craft bazaars to raise money for the poor, sewed altar linens for various parishes and made surgical dressings for the Red Cross.
In 1924, the Queen’s Daughters undertook one of the ministries with which they would become most identified. At the request of Archbishop John A. Floersh, the members were commissioned to establish and operate a home for unwed mothers and orphans, known as Our Lady’s Home for Infants.
It’s hard to think of a more noble way to honor the Blessed Mother than to offer love, care and support to women whom society largely shunned, all without judgment.
“I love that since the beginning we’ve not been judgmental. We do not ask ‘how this happened’ or ‘why this happened’ (unwed mothers becoming pregnant) or ‘are you Catholic?’ ” Betty Arnett, president of the Queen’s Daughters, said in The Record story.
What a wonderful example of Mary’s love for all of us.
The group aims to serve those in need just as the Blessed Mother would — a model worth emulating. In fact, the group’s original constitution said its purpose was “to work for the good and general advancement of fellow beings in accordance with Catholic principles.”
By naming the service organization in honor of Mary the intent of the group was “to honor our Blessed Mother, in whose name and under whose protection all work was to be undertaken,” according to historical documents of the Queen’s Daughters.
“A lot of women are devoted to the Blessed Mother, she is our patroness. We come into this (group) with blind faith, as she did,” Arnett said. “We have a ‘sense of other’ because that’s what the Blessed Mother is all about.”
Another way the group has honored Mary through their 100 years of service is with the annual May crowning — a service honoring Mary which traditionally takes place during the Marian month of May. They will again host this service May 12 at the Cathedral of the Assumption with rosary at 9:30 a.m., followed by Mass at 10 a.m.
Recently, Pope Francis spoke of his personal devotion to Mary. In a visit to Naples, Italy, in March, Pope Francis said one way to make Jesus the center of our lives is to ask his mother “to take you to him.”
“A priest, a brother, a nun who does not recite the rosary — well if you don’t love the mother, the mother will not give you the Son,” he said, according to an April 16 Catholic News Service (CNS) story.
The same can be said for lay people as well, as witnessed by the work of the Queen’s Daughters.
“All the work, everything that needs to be done, we do it through her, in her honor. For this group to have this devotion does not diminish our love for her son. She is our wisdom, this is our backdrop for all that we do,” Arnett said in a recent interview.
In his official text proclaiming the Year of Mercy — which will begin Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception — the Holy Father wrote, “Mary attests that the mercy of the son of God knows no bounds and extends to everyone, without exception.”
He went on to encourage Catholics to “address her in the words of the ‘Salve Regina” (Hail Holy Queen), a prayer ever ancient and new, so that she may never tire of turning her merciful eyes toward us, and make us worthy to contemplate the face of mercy, her son Jesus.”
Let us, on this upcoming Mother’s Day, recall Mary, our mother, and contemplate ways to honor her and her son, the Savior of the World, as the Queen’s Daughters have done for 100 years.
Record Staff Writer