2018 marked the 50th Anniversary of the Ladies of Charity (LOC) of St. Anthony’s of North Beach, MD.
On Saturday, November 3, 2018 St. Anthony’s of North Beach LOC came together to celebrate their 50th year as a member of the National Ladies of Charity with a special Mass celebrated by Fr. Stack and a lovely high Tea. We had a total of 35 participants including two of our recently departed Sisters, Sister Ann Parker and Sister Carol Loughney, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and our pastor Fr. Stack.
We also recognized some mother/daughters and a grandmother/mother/granddaughter combination who are carrying on the traditions of the LOC:
- Peggy Carr and her late mother, Gertrude Walton
- Victoria Curtin and her late mother, Marie Iadarola
- Peggy Edgington and her late mother, Margaret O’Malley
- Debbie Macken and her late mother, Janice Sands and her aunt, Bunny Tate
- Karen Macken and Michelle Stillwagon, Debbie Macken’s daughters, who were also among the first Junior Ladies of Charity
- Lorrie Magerer and her mother, Dolores Simonds
We also had two guests from our Washington DC Archdiocese: Deborah Self, President and Lucy Saunders, Vincentian Spiritual Moderator, participate in our celebration as well.
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The earliest meeting minutes of the Ladies of Charity at St. Anthony’s are dated November 7, 1968. There were 16 members present and the total funds on hand were $484.99. But it’s clear that from the beginning, this small group of women served the parish and the community with amazing energy, generosity, and creativity. Among other activities, they ran a thrift shop, visited sick and homebound parishioners, provided rides to a local clinic and the hospital, and packed and delivered Thanksgiving and Christmas meals to local families in need. (That first Christmas, they reported helping 5 families – we’ve come a long way in 50 years.) We just served Thanksgiving meals to 165 families and are purchasing Christmas gifts for 140+ children for our annual Giving tree.
It’s obvious from reading through the decades of meeting minutes that the Ladies of Charity, along with the Knights of Columbus, were the “go-to” people to get things done at St. Anthony’s. After Monsignor Brooks took over from Father Chodnicki as Pastor in 1969, he asked if he could refer to the LOC the people who came to him at the rectory in serious need of food, clothing, or financial assistance, and two members were assigned to serve as contacts for these calls. He also asked the Ladies to make a greater effort to visit homebound parishioners. The Ladies bought and delivered groceries to families who called the parish for help.
During Father Grace’s tenure, the Ladies were asked to cater the first Volunteer Appreciation Day dinner. And in the spring of 1980, LOC members Margaret O’Malley and Dixie Moran met with Father Grace and the Director of the Associated Catholic Charities of Southern Maryland to establish a food pantry in the North Beach area so that clients would not have to travel to Prince Frederick for their food supplies. At that time, the food pantry consisted of one white cabinet in Padua Hall– but it grew quickly to meet the needs of the surrounding community.
Sister Ann arrived in 1992, and in July of that year agreed to serve as the LOC’s spiritual director and has until her recent departure this past summer.
The Ladies of Charity were strong supporters of the first homeless shelter in the area in Hughesville, and later of Project Echo in Prince Frederick. We also made a strong commitment to Birthright of Prince Frederick, after Pat Kelly made a presentation to us in 1995. There is so much more that the Ladies of Charity have helped with over the years: nursing home birthday parties, clothing and food drives, hurricane relief efforts, school supplies and backpacks for hundreds of children, prayer shawls for sick parishioners, HeartF.E.L.T. food supplies for students in need, baby showers for Birthright, funds for St. Ann’s, Giving Tree Christmas gifts, the establishment of the first Junior Ladies of Charity unit in our Archdiocese, and so much more.
Currently, our member count is 95 Ladies of Charity and 6 Junior Ladies of Charity.