Adeste Fidelis in the 1930s

Adeste Fidelis in the 1930s

Miss Emily Klann, one of the Club’s Charter members, presented Adeste Fidelis with the history of the Club…

 “The Adeste Fidelis was organized in October 1930 with seven girls in attendance.  At the present writing May, 1942 there are thirty-seven girls on the roll, twenty-seven of which are very active.

But let’s imagine ourselves back in 1930 pretending to be one of those first seven girls.  We are seated in our Sunday school class, Miss Florence Johnson is our teacher.  We are listening very intently to the lesson when the bell rings.  We all jump up as we usually do but Miss Johnson calls us back.  We all look inquiringly at one another when she invites us to her home on the following Friday evening.  No one knows why we are invited.

On Friday evening we all entered Miss Johnson’s home just as puzzled as we were on the preceding Sunday.  It was on that evening that she suggested forming our Sunday school class into a club.  We all thought it was a wonderful idea, but what would we do each club meeting?  Miss Johnson said we would meet for social purposes only and any good we might do for the church.

Seeing we had only three months left of 1930, Miss Johnson appointed as our President, Lorraine Mathes, and Leona Otteson as Secretary-Treasurer.  We were to elect our regular officers for the year at our December meeting.

Then came the problem of deciding on a name. All sorts of names were suggested.  But when Miss Johnson suggested Adeste Fidelis that topped them all.  We actually laughed right out loud.  Why we never hear of anything so funny, we couldn’t even pronounce it.  Finally when the laughter died down, Miss Johnson explained to us that Adeste Fidelis was a Latin name meaning ‘Always Faithful.’  Well after thinking it over we all wanted to be always faithful to our club and to our church, and that would be rather a ritzy name for it.  So seven heads got together and decided that Adeste Fidelis it would be.

The charter was signed and we all looked at it with a proud feeling.  The names read, Lorraine Mathes, Leona Otteson, Emily Klann, Helen Hoigaard, Elsie Olsen, Dorothy Sorenson, and June Rapp.

December came and with it election of officers for 1931, our first regular officers.  Lorraine Mathes was elected President, Emily Klann, Vice-President and Leona Otteson, Secretary-Treasurer.  After election of officers we packed a box of goodies to be sent to Nachusa Orphanage.  Our first social event for the congregation was a Rainbow Social which was very successful both financially and otherwise.

In October 1933 Miss Florence Johnson resigned as sponsor.  Her work took her to Elgin, Ill. and she obtained a transfer from our church to a Lutheran church in Elgin.

Our club was growing very fast and we were doing more and more for the Sunday school and church and had fewer social activities.

With fewer social doings we were rather pressed for money.  Mrs. Romeis suggested having a cookie sale.  We were to take orders for cookies from anyone who might buy.  Each girl was responsible for ten dozen cookies.  Our cookies were usually delivered on Saturday and the previous evening the girls would go to the church and bake cookies until wee hours of the morning.  We usually averaged around twenty-five dollars profit which helped the treasure considerably. This became an annual event until Uncle Sam decided he needed the sugar for his soldiers and sailors more than Adeste Fidelis girls needed it for their cookie sale.

At Christmas time Mrs. Romeis suggested to invite our mothers to a Christmas party to be held in the church.  Each girl was to make her mother some gift.  Not buy, but make it, the cost was not to exceed fifty cents.  Our Mother and Daughter Party at Christmas is still an annual event.

Mrs. Romeis thought we ought to have some definite project to do instead of just helping here and there.  All of the girls liked little children, so we sort of adopted the primary group of our Sunday school.  By that I mean, we purchased kindergarten tables and little red chairs for the smaller classes.  We also take care of all the primary supplies, which include papers, crayons, scissors, chairs, etc.  This proved very worthwhile and we all enjoyed doing it.

After taking on the primary department we didn’t have a great deal of money left for the church.  However, we managed to buy the bulletins for the special Sundays, such as, Easter, Palm Sunday, Christmas, etc.  We gave the church a donation whenever we felt we could spare the money.

It seems like everything happens to us in October.  We organized in October, Miss Florence Johnson left us in October, and in October, 1936 Mrs. Romeis left us.  Rev. Romeis had accepted a call to a church in California and naturally he took our sponsor with him.

Well we’re stranded again.  The membership is increasing every meeting and no mother to guide us.  We asked a few of the women of the church to be our sponsor but none of them wanted us to be their charges.  I don’t know maybe we looked like a mischievous group but we were really very innocent.  Hmm, I wonder.  Mrs. August Larsen took care of us for a while but she was not a member of our church and she soon left her children stranded.

Then one day a Mr. and Mrs. Corliss Johnson joined our church.  Mrs. Johnson looked like a motherly person and she was also quite young.  We were out canvasing for a sponsor so we all had our eye on her.  Now when a new member joins your church you just can’t walk right up to her and say, “Mrs. Johnson, I’m glad you joined our church and are one of us.  Now will you be sponsor of our club?’  Well, thing just aren’t done that way.

We were still struggling along without a sponsor to guide us and were also rehearsing for two one act plays to be given.  Now we hear from sources unknown that Mrs. Johnson did quite well in directing plays.  Well, this was the chance we had been waiting for.  On November 4, 1938 Mrs. Johnson was asked to visit our meeting and also to direct our plays.  I don’t think she knew the underlying reason for asking her, but maybe she did.

The plays went over very nicely and maybe she was proud of us that night, for she became our sponsor on January 6, 1939.  After those first two plays, it became an annual event with Mrs. Johnson as our director.  Mrs. Johnson took a very deep interest in us and wanted to learn more of the club and asked to read our constitution.  We shamefully had to admit we had none.  So a group of girls were selected and with the help of Mrs. Johnson a new constitution was written and read at our December meeting in 1939.

We had been closing our meeting with the Lord’s Prayer and it was suggested that we have a prayer of our very own.  Caroline Lettmann was our Chaplin at that time so she was appointed to write a prayer for our club.  Mrs. Johnson assisted her in writing the prayer.  In October 1940 (there’s our October again) the prayer was presented to the girls and we have used it ever since.

Mrs. Johnson promoted the idea of sponsoring a primary choir that is the real little tots, ages from five to nine.

We have come a long way since those first seven girls started.  Each and every girl had her own part to play in the twelve years the club has been in existence and everyone has played her part well.  One can see that in the steady increase in membership and the obligations we have assumed in the place of our social activities.

 The Adeste Fidelis owes credit to Miss Florence Johnson who organized the club, Mrs. Romeis who gave us many new and useful suggestions, and to our present sponsor Mrs. Corliss Johnson who has been a real mother to all of us.

Besides our annual Mother and Daughter Party and our annual play we are still buying all the supplies for the primary department and sponsoring a primary choir.  We are also taking a study course entitled ‘The Young Christians in Public.’  Rev. Voorhees suggested our taking this study course for young people which was recommended by the United Lutheran Church.

So from seven members we have increased to thirty-seven members.  Let’s keep plugging girls and see if we can make it forty-seven next year.  The church needs the help of the Adeste Fidelis girls to build that new church on the corner.

The girls of the Adeste Fidelis are known to keep promises that are made.  So when I say we promise complete co-operation to our new pastor, Rev. Weeg, to his wife, Mrs. Weeg, they know they can call upon us at any time and no task will be left undone.”

Adeste Fidelis’ Ending Prayer

“Grant to us, O Lord, we beseech Thee, the Spirit to think, say and do all things right.  Further us with Thy continual help, that in all our works, we may glorify Thy Holy Name.  May we always be faithful, and finally by Thy Mercy, obtain everlasting life through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Our Lord.  Amen.”