By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
BETTENDORF —While attending a retreat, Jennifer Lynch said the speaker closed the event by asking, “What’s the last thing your parish did for kids?”
The Our Lady of Lourdes director of religious education started thinking about activities her parish could offer that involved faith, fellowship and fun. In her search she came across Catholic Girls’ Club, an organization for girls in kindergarten through senior year in high school. A long-established organization, Catholic Girls’ Club helps girls learn about their faith, specifically Catholic virtues and saints.
The idea for a Catholic Girls’ Club at Lourdes was introduced last spring and invitations were sent to all girls at Lourdes Catholic School and in the religious education program. Last month, Lourdes held its first meeting of the Little Flowers Catholic Girls’ Club for girls in kindergarten through grade five. They gather for fellowship and do activities to earn flower petal badges. Each month’s meeting will include a talk about a new virtue and a saint. With 10 meetings a year, girls can earn 10 petals to make a flower. The cycle is four years, so girls can earn 40 petals total.
Girls in sixth through 12th grades can serve as mentors, helping to plan activities, research the saints and share their stories, Lynch said. Adult leaders reach out to the parish community and families about the club and help facilitate the meetings. Lynch hopes to add fun activities each month such as a bonfire.
Carolyn McFate helped Lynch with the first club event Sept. 13 and provided lunch. McFate’s daughter Erin is a mentor and other daughter Shannon is a Little Flower. Shannon said she participated in the Catholic Girls’ Club when her family belonged to a different parish and she enjoyed the club. When asked whether she brought her mom to the Lourdes club, or vice versa, she said, “We brought each other.”
Anna Derscha said the badges enticed her to join the club. “I wanted to come and I think it will be cool to learn about our faith.”
Sister Judy Herold, SSND, was the event’s guest. The pastoral associate and director of religious education at St. Anthony Parish in Davenport gathered the dozen or so Little Flowers, along with the mentors, to share her story of faith.
“I didn’t always have the title ‘sister’ in front of my name,” Sr. Herold said. She said faith was strong in her family.
“My grandmother was a strong, faith-filled person.” Two other female relatives, one on each side of the family, were religious sisters in different orders.
Sr. Herold noted that Catholics receive the gift of faith at their baptism. “Faith grows because you came here to learn more.” She gave many examples of faith at home and beyond. The girls also saw a tri-fold poster on the table with photos of Sr. Herold from childhood to the present. Some of the photos showed her wearing her black habit before the changes of Vatican II were implemented.
She asked the girls what they did to show their faith. They responded: going to church, being kind, praying at home, helping others.
Sr. Herold advised the girls to ask God to help them grow in their faith, serve God, help others and be a friend to Jesus. “You keep working at that.”
For more information about the Little Flowers Catholic Girls’ Club contact Jennifer Lynch at bettlourdesdre@
diodav.org or call (563) 359-0345.