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LCW History

The League of Catholic Women:

1. Believes in women:

  • Has always tried to find ways to help women reach their full potential, especially against the odds: In 1911 went to Archbishop John Ireland with a request to do what they called “girls” work. With his encouragement, the League purchased  St. Mary’s Hall  at 1344 First Avenue South in1912, a Settlement House for immigrant families in 1913 which included a kindergarten to improve the English of children getting ready to attend public school and in the same year, St. Joseph’s Home for unmarried and abandoned women with infants. All this work and the funding for it was done by women who did not yet have the right to vote!
  • Has always tried to enrich the lives of its own members by hosting presentation by experts in fields of government, the arts, theology and keeping up with changes in their community and the wider world.
  • Has provided affirmation and friendship for members and clients alike. Accepts women where they are and has faith in what they can become. Delights in celebrating life with parties and outings and opportunities to enlarge our intellectual, religious and cultural horizons.
  • Believes in the importance of women bringing the experiences and sensibilities and brain power of women into full partnership in the life of their community, their church and their wo

2. Is willing to innovate and change to meet the needs of the times:

  • Boarding houses and settlement work in the early days
  • Support  for the troops and their families during  World Wars I and II
  • Reaching out to a new generation of students flooding into colleges in the Twin Cites in the 50s
  • During the 60s and 70s, embracing Vatican II with a myriad of programs introducing members and the wider community to a new concept of church (lectures by spiritual thinkers), a new way of  expressing religious ideas through  art  (Sacred Art Exhibitions) and to challenges faced a newly empowered laity. The League is still a Vatican II kind of place with open doors, open minds and open hearts.
  • In the 70s, the League  introduced “Women/Becoming,” an empowerment program initially designed to address the secret shame of women caught in the web of addiction and expanded to become a program to broaden horizons and build self-esteem.  This program continued in the 21st century.
  • The League responded to new challenges of  troubled teens and homelessness in the 70s and 80s with Pathway group home and Emergency House, a temporary shelter for homeless families.
  • In the 80s and 90s came projects for the victims of AIDS, a breast feeding nutrition program, cooperative efforts with Northside Child Development Center, and Jeremiah, and St. Catherine University.
  • First Impression was founded in the late 80s to address the clothing needs of women returning to the workforce. It continues to flourish today, as is “Tuesday Club” for senior citizens, who still are gathering at the League for lunch, bingo and fun twice monthly.
  • In the 2000s, the League began a literacy program giving books to hundreds of children to take home and keep. It also began the LCW Women’s Forum to keep women current on the ongoing struggles of women, especially in our own metropolitan area.
  • During our centennial year the League will be launching two new projects: One will be networking with other areas in the city to build solidarity in making our community stronger, safer and more loving. The other will be an outreach to women veterans.

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The League of Catholic Women 207 South 9th Street Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-332-2649

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