Creating Lifelong Friendships
Cathedral Mothers’ Club Celebrates 59 Years
For mothers of incoming, current and former Cathedral students, there is a tradition at Cathedral that has helped shape more than just their children, it has helped shape the school and the community. This tradition brings a diverse group of mothers together that do not know each other and through fellowship, volunteering and philanthropy create lifelong friendships and connections. They call this tradition, the Cathedral Mothers’ Club.
Founded in 1959, the primary goal of the Cathedral Mothers’ Club is “to enhance the Cathedral community through initiatives that benefit faculty, staff, students and parents and which reflect the Holy Cross values.” Today, Cathedral is one of only 15 Holy Cross schools in the country and as such they do not receive funding from the Archdiocese nor the state of Indiana, so all funds raised help the school continue to operate and grow when extra funds are needed.
In addition, Cathedral students come from 130 schools in Marion County and nine other surrounding counties. So creating a community takes on a whole new challenge. The Cathedral Mothers’ Club serves many objectives, but it starts with getting moms connected.
While the mission to serve others through volunteerism and philanthropy is the reason for their existence, the club offers social outings, networking, faith & fellowship and personal growth opportunities through their involvement. Many of the same activities still exist today and many will tell you that the friendships have outlasted long after their children have graduated and some through grandchildren and great grandchildren.
One of the club’s main fundraisers is the clubs’ Bowling League which was organized by Jo Glass at Hindel Bowl in 1972 and provides a social opportunity as well. Jerry Hindel, a second-generation owner of Hindel Bowl and Cathedral graduate, noted that they have partnered with the Cathedral Mothers Club for 46 years — a tradition that brings together bowlers of all ages and skill levels.
Ethel Madden, a mother of 10 children (six of which attended Cathedral), grandmother of 26, the last graduating in 2017, will have a great-grandchild starting at Cathedral soon. Madden has bowled with the League for 20 years, not consecutively she points out. But she does bowl with two longtime friends Jean Hoffman and Dorothy Barbee.
“Back when I was involved, the president title did not exist, I was known as the Parliamentarian, the 89-year-old states,” she says.
She recalled fondly her years as the leader of the Club during the 1969-70 school year. “We were very active back then, we had card parties, dances, we started a bingo, which was fairly successful and we had a lot of fun, she says. “At that time the money we raised went into the general fund.”
For Mary Wasky, Co-President of the Mothers’ Club in 2004-2005 with Cherie Wood, the Mothers’ Club was a lifeline since they moved from Wisconsin at the start of the second semester not knowing anyone. The group helped her get acclimated to the Cathedral community rather quickly.
Wasky and Wood were inspired to start the Grant Program, which over the past 10 years the Mothers Club has been able to award $96,000 to improve the classroom environment and on-campus experience for teachers and students. They have provided camera equipment for photography and STEM students, research-grade automatic telescope for astronomy, athletic strength & conditioning equipment and musical instruments including a portable grand piano keyboard and much more.
The Mothers’ Club facilitates other activities providing support for Open House Night, Lunches and Refreshments for Faculty and Staff Appreciation Events, Sophomore Ring Ceremony, Used Uniform Sale, Prom Parking, Baccalaureate Reception and much more.
Times have changed and today many more mothers work outside of the home and are unable to participate. For outgoing Co-Presidents, Joannie Fuson and Jacque Dall, they realized that working mothers were not able to attend the morning meetings so they provided live-streaming technology and they increased their online presence through their Facebook and Instagram pages to keep everyone in the loop.
“We just really wanted to provide a way for all moms to stay connected,” Fuson says.
In addition to the Bowling League, the club hosts a myriad of social activities including a day trip to Chicago and an annual holiday gathering, activities that help foster friendships and build our working relationships with one another so they can have an even stronger Mothers’ Club.
All Cathedral mothers past, present or future are invited to participate. The group meets once a month and the dues are $19.59, a nod to the Club’s first year. Rita O’Malia, mother of three daughters that graduated from Cathedral, was the Club’s President in 1997-98.
“My goal for the club was for everyone to feel welcome and included at the school,” O’Malia says.
O’Malia has a third grandson coming to Cathedral this year.
“I believe that all mothers need to connect and get involved because more so than ever, with everything that is going on in this world, we need to all be in this together,” she says.
If it is true that traditions represent a piece of our culture, then the 59-year history of the Cathedral Mothers’ Club represents a critical component of Cathedral’s 100-year history. This tradition shapes not just the clubs’ past, but shapes who Cathedral is today and who Cathedral will be in the future.