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Service, spirituality and sisterhood — Columbiettes growing in Delaware as Supreme Convention set for August

Pat Merritt, left, and Kelley Freebery are members of the Columbiettes. Dialog photo/Joseph P. Owens

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The state of Delaware Columbiettes provide women over the age of 18 opportunities to grow spiritually, serve others and develop close connections.

The women will have a chance to demonstrate their commitment to service on a larger stage this summer as the national group comes together in Delaware.

Sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, The Columbiettes are a not-for-profit organization for Catholic women rooted in service and charity, dedicated to honoring their patronesses; the Blessed Mother Mary, Saint Therese the Little Flower, and Saint Joan of Arc.

Calculations show that there are currently over 14,500 Columbiettes in 250 auxiliaries throughout the United States. These auxiliaries span 19 states and Canada. Delaware currently has 337 members in six auxiliaries with a seventh auxiliary set to be formed by the end of March. St. Pius X Columbiettes, comprised of members from the St. Anthony of Padua parish will be the newest auxiliary for New Castle County and is expected to increase the state’s membership to well over 350.

Guidelines to forming an auxiliary declare that each must be sponsored by a Knight of Columbus council, without sponsorship from a knight’s council an auxiliary cannot exist. Working collectively, the ideals of both groups mirror each other in regard to their charitable efforts, community involvement, and faith information.

With hopes of increasing membership within the different auxiliaries in Delaware, Kelley Freebery, immediate past president of the St. Thomas the Apostle Columbiettes in Wilmington, and other Columbiettes invite Catholic women to join their unified group, regardless of having a spousal connection to the Knights of Columbus. She said service is a high priority to the Columbiettes.

Being an organization for women, Pat Merritt, also a member of the St. Thomas the Apostle Columbiettes Auxiliary, highlights the uniqueness the auxiliaries have. Merritt said “We all bring something different. Either it’s something different that we’d like to help support as an individual or just saying the rosary together before a meeting, every meeting. That’s powerful.”

The Columbiettes have a dual role of working side-by-side with the Knights of Columbus, assisting them with activities and projects in addition to planning and hosting their own service events throughout the year. Services within Delaware include aiding the youth, elderly, priests and other vocations, tuition assistance to those in need, Christmas stockings for soldiers, and more. Everything the Columbiettes do is to better serve the community and the needs of others, Merritt said.

The Columbiettes provide their service to “wherever the need is” she said.

The women said service, spirituality, and sisterhood best define the Columbiettes, the work they do, and what they wish to offer other woman.

“I want as many women to be on fire about service as we are,” said Freebery.

The characteristics of their four-part mission includes “promoting spiritual, social and charitable welfare of our members, promoting strength through unity and unity through faith in Catholic women while defending the rights of all our brothers and sisters, working through Mary, the Blessed Mother, to promote the common good through all people, and assisting their brother Knights in the endeavors when requested.”

Bringing some excitement for the summer, the state of Delaware Columbiettes is hosting the Supreme Convention for the first time in 62 years. The Supreme Convention is scheduled for Aug. 14-16 at the Sheraton Suites hotel in New Castle. If you would like more information or have interest in becoming a Columbiette, send an email to DeStateColumbiettes@gmail.com.