Forget Denver and Minneapolis, the convention that Mary Nobile geared up this summer for was in Albuquerque, N.M.
The senior traveled to the biennial meeting of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, a religious women’s group, where she met with women more than twice her age. Though Nobile said the CDA has a reputation for being an “old lady organization,” she is on a mission at GW to help recruit a younger generation of women devoted to upholding the teachings of the Catholic Church.
“CDA is pro-life, anti-birth control, anti-death penalty and pro-social justice,” Nobile said. “That being said, we welcome people of all political inclinations, and whatever political views one may hold, that is between them and God and not for anyone else to judge.”
The GW CDA chapter, which was founded three years ago, has grown from 15 to more than 50 members and is looking to expand. Nobile said one way they hope to recruit new members this year is a “Go Roman Week,” a spoof of the Greek-letter community’s “Go Greek” rush events.
The CDA also holds philanthropy events throughout the year like sewing quilts for the Ronald McDonald House, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for local homeless shelters and stringing rosaries for troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.
But the CDA is not all philanthropy. Nobile said they holds frequent social events including mixers with a group of like-minded men on campus, the Knights of Columbus.
Though the women pride themselves in their beliefs of modesty – which includes abstaining from sex until marriage – Conrad Murphy, president of the GW Knights of Columbus, said the CDA women are not much different than the typical GW girl.
“Daughters have a bit more depth than the average GW girl both intellectually and spiritually, which springs from a deeper understanding of their faith,” said Murphy, a senior. “They are joyful, modest and fun to be around.”
Because keeping a vow of abstinence can be tough in the hookup-fueled culture of college, Nobile said CDA ladies escape to the NewmanCenter -the the Catholic house on campus – to hang out with like-minded people who share the same moral codes.
“The Newman Center is my home,” said junior Christine French, a member of CDA. “I am there five to seven days a week and I often spend hours there at once or go back several times in one day.”
She said that while the CDA is similar to a sorority in many ways – including calling themsevles a “sisterhood” – they are still very different than the Greek community. For one, the CDA does not have a selection process like sororities and is open to all interested women.
“I think that members of CDA are sisters in a way,” French said. “Yet there is a big difference in joining an organization that is based around accepting, living and growing in your faith and one that is mainly social.”