Duffy, Mary C.
DUFFY, MARY C.
Catholic laywoman, supreme regent of the Catholic Daughters of America; b. Ireland; d. Sept 24, 1962. Brought to the United States as a child, Mary C. Duffy was a 1907 founding member of a New Jersey group of the Catholic Daughters of America (CDA). From her position as grand regent of Newark's Court Seton in 1911, Duffy rose quickly in the recently-formed national organization, soon becoming the New Jersey district deputy and then state regent for the CDA. Appointed as a national director, she became supreme vice regent from 1915–1923. She then led the CDA as supreme regent for 27 years between 1923–1950.
Duffy moved the CDA headquarters from Utica, N.Y. to New York City and guided the organization into a position of national prominence. During her first year as supreme regent, the CDA set aside a portion of membership dues, both to promote its national programs and to help needy projects and persons. Duffy traveled extensively to build up CDA membership, promoting the establishment of local groups or "courts," and encouraging them to form study clubs, forums, and legislative discussion groups. By 1926 she had established a junior branch of the CDA for young women.
Under her leadership, the CDA encouraged its members to learn about Catholic teachings and then apply them in a variety of relief programs for impoverished persons of the depression era. With Duffy's encouragement the CDA became actively involved in World War II relief projects at home and abroad. After the war it began a European family adoption program in cooperation with the War Relief Services of the National Catholic Welfare Council. Ill health forced her to retire in 1950 to South Orange, N.J.
Bibliography: The American Catholic Who's Who 1962–1963, 30th ed., vol. 15 (Grosse Point, Mich.): 123. Archives of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, located at the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. Note Share magazine editions for the 50th, 60th, 70th, and 75th anniversaries of the CDA. g. j. hebert, A History of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas: 1903–1986 (New York).
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