In 1967, the Christian Mothers of St. Louis Bertrand in Foreston inducted 55 members into its confraternity. This year that group will celebrate 50 years as a vital parish organization.
Four women who were charter members reflected on their past and present participation in Christian Mothers, which currently has about 140 members.
“The original purpose of the group was to do the work of the church and help each other with the task of raising children,” Maurine Herbst said.
Being involved with the core group was important to her.
“Mothers are like that, not just looking out for family and church, but others as well,” she said.
Shortly after Theresa Roehl moved into the parish, she joined the Christian Mothers.
“I felt this is what God wanted me to do. We were newly married and I wanted to meet members of our parish,” Roehl said. “They became my friends. And after we started having children, they were a help in raising them.”
Ramona Zoeller said, “I’m not a meeting person and we raised a big family — we were busy but we always went to church. I wanted to be a part of church programs, so I served by teaching catechism and confirmation, reading at Mass and helping at funerals.”
To Doreen Galarneault, Christian Mothers was as important then as now. “We serve the parish. All are willing to help,” she said. “Maurine [Herbst] and I searched through boxes and files to find the originalcharter and the minutes of those meetings. The secretary didn’t list our given names — I was ‘Mrs. Joseph Galarneault.’ That’s how they did it before.”
In reading the old minutes, Herbst noticed that Christian Mothers’ work often focused on food. “After funeral Masses, we used to contribute hot dishes, salads and desserts, all prepared at home,” she said.
Now Minnesota regulations require food to be catered or prepared at the church, Galarneault and Herbst said.
And Christian Mothers often lined up teachers. “The education of our children has always been a concern,” Roehl said. “We are beginning to see the need for adult Christian education.”
The values of Christian Mothers are still relevant, all four agreed. Whether it’s recognizing children’s first Communion, serving a meal to high school graduates and their families, making lefse and baked goods for the Mission Bazaar or delivering Meals on Wheels, the group will always be needed.
Galarneault, who served as treasurer for about 20 years, assists at fundraising bake sales and the Bazaar, and at weekday funerals “because so many younger women work out of the home.”
“Until retirement I read at Mass,” Zoeller said. “Now my daughter does, and has taught catechism.”
Herbst will help serve the meal after a healing Mass in October, which draws people from the wider community as well.
“The personal touch of each person in our lives is so important,” Roehl said, “and to know people really care.”
She recalled being hospitalized during the gardening season, and, when she came home, was surprised with a “shower” of home-canned goods from the Christian Mothers.
The funds raised through their events are divided among the Poor Clares; the Crosiers; Sharing and Caring Hands, an organization based in Minneapolis that serves the needs of the poor; and the St. Cloud Diocese.
To celebrate the 50th year of the confraternity, special music is planned at the 8 a.m. Mass Oct. 8. Christian Mothers will induct new members and all mothers will receive a blessing. And the pastor, Crosier Father Jim Remmerswaal, will recognize their charter members. Afterwards they invite others to reminisce over cake and coffee.