Past State Regents
by Terrie Vacek
Past State Regents of Texas
Like the Proverbs, these women are the daughters of experience. Past National Regent Grace DiCairano refers to them as “pioneer women who saw no obstacles in promoting the good news of the Catholic Daughters.”
1st State Regent of Texas
State Regent 1917-1919
State Regent 1919-1921(unexpired term)
Mrs. Mary A. Drake joined the Daughters of Isabella Court Louise #209, Fort Worth, as a charter member June 22, 1913. Forty-eight women were charter members from thirteen different parishes. This was the fifth (5th) local court in Texas. The state of Texas was now eligible to form a state court. Mary served her local court as Grand Regent using rare good judgment in the discharge of her duties.
After four years of prayer and planning, and with seven more local courts, the Catholic women of Texas, as the Daughters of Isabella Herald wrote it February 1917, “stepped forward in the march of progress among Catholic women at the first State Convention of the National Order of the Daughters of Isabella held on January 25, 1917 in the beautiful city of Houston” to elect Mrs. Mary A. Drake the first State Regent of Texas.
“Our first venture into the new and untrodden fields of labor, opened up to us by having a State Court, will always stand out pre-eminently in our minds. Our newly elected State Officers are filled with their responsibilities and are overwhelmed with fears that, owing to the fact that we have no precedents to guide us, and our work being so new, we may make mistakes. We are consoled, however, by knowing that the Courts that elected us will be lenient with us, and that our actions will not be criticized in an unkindly manner. We rely upon the big, generous-hearted women of Texas to support us and overlook our shortcomings.
The field for work in Texas is large indeed, and we know our officers, as well as all the members of Texas, are determined that the work shall grow.”
Quote from the National Daughters of Isabella Herald, February, 1917: “It is gratifying to note the progress of our organization in our biggest state and to know the decidedly active, energetic work being done by our sincere and loyal Texas sisters. To our youngest State Court we extend felicitations and best wishes for success and happiness in the noble work of the Daughters of Isabella. To Mrs. Mary A. Drake of Fort Worth, the new State Regent, and associate officers, we offer congratulations and our best wishes for a successful administration.”
A Daughters Litany 1917
To be able to rise with a cheerful heart while the Angelus’ chimes do ring;
To be able to offer thanks and prayers for the blessings the day will bring;
To be able to meet my sisters all with a greeting kind and gay;
To be able to do my duty well through the hours of the live-long day,
Help me God.
To be able to seek and find the good every kindness to be done;
To be able to meet temptation’s lure and make sure that the battle’s won;
To be able to help all those in need, most the timid, poor, and weak’;
To be able with patience, cheer, and love, only Christian words to speak,
Help me God.
To be able to do my daily work with my soul a-singing a song;
To be able to frown away a frown, and to smile when all goes wrong;
To be able to bring some happiness into hearts where ‘tis unknown;
To be able to lighten my sister’s cross while resignedly carrying my own,
Help me O God.
Alice Van Cleve *
2nd State Regent June 19, 1919 - September 25, 1919
Mrs. Alice Van Cleve was a charter member of Court Corpus Christi #246 organized August 23, 1914, in Corpus Christi. She became Grand Regent of her local court and was acknowledged for always being on the watch for earnest, purposeful leaders.
Her value was recognized and at the second Texas State Convention held in Fort Worth, May 19-20, 1919 she was elected as the 2nd State Regent. Ambitious for the Order, untiring in her efforts, charitable in thought, word, and deed, she was highly respected in fraternal circles.
At the Convention, State Regent Elect Alice Van Cleve reported; “The great work which has been chosen as the state work of the Order was launched, namely, the creation of a fund to be used for the education of four young men for the priesthood annually. The fund is to be divided each year among the dioceses of the state. Much enthusiasm was evinced by the delegates over the adoption of this work.”
At the time of her death, Texas had instituted eighteen local courts.
Miss Alice Coleman graduated from St. Ann’s Academy, Fort Smith, Arkansas. She was kind, earnest, ambitious of good, thus giving promise of future achievements of suffering humanity.
State Regent Alice Van Cleve drowned in a Corpus Christi Hurricane, September 25, 1919. A total of 287 people died in the 1919 hurricane, including four members of the Daughters of Isabella. A sixteen-foot storm surge inundated the low-lying areas of Corpus Christi, destroying almost all of the wooden buildings there. Port Aransas was nearly totally demolished. This Great Corpus Christi Hurricane of 1919 remains one of the most intense Texas hurricanes in history.
Newspaper and many diocesan photos were destroyed.
Loretta Yeager *
3rd State Regent 1921-1923
Mrs. Loretta Yeager was a charter member of Court Star of the Sea #228, Galveston, organized February 14, 1914.
The Good Shepherd Home for Girls in Houston was one of her most valued projects. The state membership totaled 2,487 with twenty-seven (27) courts during her term as State Regent.
April 14, 1921 - By an act of the New York Legislature, the Daughters officially changed the name of the Order from the Daughters of Isabella to Catholic Daughters of America.
Ina Marie Poth *
4th State Regent 1923-1931
Mrs. Louis Poth was a member of the forth local court in Texas, Court Our Lady of Guadalupe #206, Yoakum, organized June 1, 1913.
In 1923 she became the fourth State Regent of Texas!
Mamie LeBlanc *
5th State Regent 1931-1952
Mrs. A. J. LeBlanc was a member of Court St. Anthony #214, San Antonio, organized October 23, 1913.
Mamie traveled across Texas instituting New Courts and represented Texas in hundreds of gatherings across the nation through her resignation in 1952.
She held the office of state regent for twenty-one (21) years, the longest reign in Texas CDA history! She had a gain of over 1,000 members her last two years in office.
Betty Rohan *
6th State Regent 1952-1960
Mrs. A. J. Rohan was a member of Court Our Lady of Guadalupe #206, Yoakum, organized June 1, 1913.
“That upon reflection it now seems, in the Golden Anniversary Year of the National Order of the Catholic Daughters, that the ‘Maria Galante’ actually launched nearly nine times as many dedicated women as Helen of Troy launched ships.”
(From the Golden Anniversary program.)
Loretta Knebel *
7th State Regent 1960-1966
12th National Regent 1982-1986
Miss Loretta joined the Daughters as a young woman. She was a charter member of Court Our Lady Queen of Peace #1374, El Campo when it was established in 1945. She served her local court in each of the five officer positions. She served as State JCDA Chairman.
Her commitment to the ideals of CDA and her willingness to work hard was recognized by her sister courts advancing her to the state court serving as State Secretary and State Regent 1960-1966.
In a 1960 state convention report, Loretta said, “The Catholic Daughters in Texas are more than 8,800 strong. Our members are active in almost all charity auxiliaries and have performed their duties zealously in all things charity-wise.”
After six years as National Director, she began to work her way up the ladder and at the Chicago 1982 Biennial National Convention, was elected as National Regent. She said that her "administration at all levels will listen and answer the call of Jesus to do His will."
CDA was her life, she was described as an exemplar of the ‘vocation to the single life.’ Among the many grants of her tenor, was a donation of $30,000.00 to Mother Teresa of Calcutta for her work with the poor and dying.
Knowing the power of film and print media, Loretta persuaded the Daughters to provide a copy of 'Share' Magazine to every court member.
Loretta retired from a local El Campo law firm where she worked as a bookkeeper and legal secretary.
Madeline Schmidt *
8th State Regent 1966-1972
Madeline was a member of Court St. Anthony #214, San Antonio. She held several state offices before serving as State Regent. She loved everything about the Catholic Daughters, and also belonged to seventeen (17) other organizations including the Equestrian of the Holy Sepulchre.
Traveling over 20,000 miles during her reign as state regent, membership increased by 11 courts totaling 104 local courts with 12,438 members. She presented a Bible to Col. James A. McDivitt, Commander of Apollo 9 at Nasa. She hosted a 1970 pre-convention lecture by Reverend Fulton J. Sheen.
Known for being just as strict as they come, she expected of herself and those around her to get things done, and they had to be done right and on time. She was a very knowledgeable woman and was a registered parliamentarian.
Madeline was influential and made a difference in her parish, community and Texas CDA being a role model for her service, dedication, and loyalty to the Catholic Daughters of Texas. An empowering personal message she often shared was, “Works of CDA are wonderful golden deeds.” She remained active in her local court until her death at age ninety-four (94).
Millie Schiurring *
9th State Regent 1972-1976
Mrs. Millie Schiurring was a charter member of Court Our Lady of the Rosary #1596, Nada. As a CDA member for twenty-nine (29) years she touched the lives of many setting an example of how to be of service to others. Millie was a leader in Catholic Daughters and the community.
Millie held every office at the local court level and at her death at age fifty-seven, she was serving as court regent. In all her years of service, Millie never missed a meeting.
Mrs. Schiurring began her journey on the state level serving as District Deputy for six (6) years; State Chairman for Social Involvement for several years; Vice State Regent for six (6) years; and State Regent for four (4) years.
At the time of her death, Millie was the State Chairman of Membership and Extension. Statewide membership of the Catholic Daughters dramatically increased under her guidance and leadership. She was instrumental in organizing thirty (30) new courts, including three (3) in Mexico.
In the giving of her love and time to others, Mrs. Millie Schiurring will always be remembered as a follower of Christ through her unselfish acts Unity and Charity.
Margaret Hosty *
10th State Regent 1976-1980
Margaret was a member of Court Mary Immaculate #1719. At the 1978 State Convention, she said that “the theme of the convention is a “Time to Remember, Time to Grow.” It is good to remember the past since there is much to learn from it, but then we should go on to bigger and better things.
Time to grow. This is the time in the history of the world to open our hearts and gather every Catholic woman into our ranks; this is the time the Church needs us, because the world is moving so fast and so many evils surround us that there is a greater need than ever before for good women who will fight these evils, and what better way is there than through the strong national Order of the Catholic Daughters.
We need to stop being the silent majority, voice our opinions, and let our legislators know that we oppose abortion, pornography which is degrading our youth, alcoholism and drug abuse which are destroying generations, and to speak out with a loud voice against these things we oppose.”
In 1980 Miss Margaret said, “Gratitude is the secret of CDA working together for the love of God and Country while assisting the needy, handicapped and the underprivileged throughout the world.”
At the end of her term, there were 133 courts with a membership of 14,534.
In 1978 the Orders name was officially changed from
Catholic Daughters of America to The Catholic Daughters of the Americas.
Eleanor Treanor *
11th State Regent 1980-1984
Being proud of her faith from childhood, Eleanor joined the Catholic Daughters of the Americas Court Our Lady of Victory #234, Houston. She transferred as a charter member (146 members) of Court Mother of Charity #1713, Houston in 1956. She served her local courts in the office Vice Regent and Regent.
Eleanor was appointed a District Deputy for Houston and Pasadena representing seven courts. She was the State Convention Chair twice. Her journey continued serving the State Board in the offices of Second Vice State Regent, First Vice State Regent and State Regent 1980-1984.
The Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in 1980 as a tribute to the deceased Past State Regents.
L-R – 1983, National Regent Loretta Knebel and State Regent Eleanor Treanor welcome the
courts from Mexico to a meeting in Texas.
Rowena H. Johnson *
12th State Regent 1984-1986
National Director 1986-1990
Rowena was a member of Court St. Michael #559, Weimar. She spent many years dedicating herself to CDA and other civic organizations. She was inducted into the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and a member of the Weimer Library Guild. She will be remembered as an organized, prompt and detailed lady who is always there and willing to help anyone in need. She served the Local, State and National courts with love and joy.
Margaret Cutbirth *
13th State Regent 1986-1988
Margaret was a member of Court Ancillae Mariae #1886, Crosby.
In 2012, twenty fours following her reign as state regent, Margaret was asked for a highlight of her term as State Regent and she replied; "What I remember the most is the amazing way that everyone came together to work as a team. Everything that needed to get done was accomplished by so many women that love God. I miss seeing all of you."
Margaret was said to have an encouraging spirit believing that all Catholic Daughters should attend their local court meetings and attend the CDA conventions. Along with her love for Catholic Daughters and her monthly CDA meetings, Margaret enjoyed playing Canasta and attended daily Mass. She was well known for her wonderful sense of humor!
Mary Dvoracek * "Miss D" West
14th State Regent 1988-1990
National Director 1990 - 1994
Mary Dvoracek joined the Catholic Daughters Court Sacred Heart #829 in 1944. She became an officer in 1945 and served in most all of the offices at the local court level. Mary served as Regent for 6 years.
In 1945 “Miss D” organized the 1st JCDA Court in West with 22 charter members; she served as its charter chairman. Mary’s joy was serving as the editor of the local Court Newsletter from 1957 until 1998.
Mary began her journey with the State Board by chairing the State Bulletin publication; she was awarded several national awards as editor of the State Bulletin.
For six (6) years Miss D was the JCDA State Chairman and organized the first two JCDA State Conventions. She was very instrumental in the first two National JCDA conventions.
Beginning in 1980 Mary began her service as a State Officer; 2 terms as State Secretary and State Regent 1988 – 1990.
Mary served as National Director beginning in 1990.
Miss D Graduated from West High School 1937, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Journalism, and a Master’s Degree in English from theUniversity of Texas. She taught Journalism and Junior High English at West High School for over 40 years.
Born: March 3 1921
Died: November 11, 2001
Cecina Koeijmans *
15th State Regent 1990-1992
State Convention Parliamentarian 2009, 2011
JCDA State Convention Parliamentarian 2007, 2009, 2011
National Convention Parliamentarian 2006, 2008, 2010
Cecina joined the Catholic Daughters Court Mary Immaculate #1719, Dallas, in 1963. She served her local court in the offices of Monitor, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Recording Secretary, Vice Regent and Regent.
She sat in every chair on her journey up the state board ladder; District Deputy, Treasurer, Secretary, Second Vice State Regent, First Vice State Regent and State Regent.
Twenty years later (2012) when asked for a highlight of her term, Cecina replied; "It would be difficult to point out one positive happening of my term. The installation of new courts with all the new CDA members was always an inspiring and gratifying experience. I always felt so grateful when I was the guest in the homes of my hostesses as I traveled to the different courts; they were always so gracious and welcoming. Those two years were truly a blessing for me. Texas CDA members have so much for which to thank God. With the blessing of our Divine Savior, our 'foremothers' had the wisdom and the courage to start something new in Texas, and those leaders who followed, continue to carry the banner of 'Unity and Charity.' CDA has touched so many lives making a positive difference, to which I personally bear witness."
Cecina began her study and involvement in Parliamentary Law and served as Parliamentarian for the Texas State Conventions in 2009 and 2011 and the National Conventions 2006 and 2010. She served as Province Director of the National Council of Catholic Women, Texas State President of the National Association of Parliamentarians, Parliamentarian for these organizations, and local president of Church Women United. Cecina will always be remembered for her convention ‘parliamentary chats’ and for going to the microphone at conventions and asking for “point of order.”
She added the following comments on her life; “I relished my time as a member of the State Board and especially my two years as State Regent. Interacting with members from all parts of the state was quite a gratifying experience. Having been employed as a parliamentarian by many lay organizations has helped me to grow and expand my experiences with numerous groups with varying interests.
During this time, our three sons grew up, attended college, and married giving me nine (9) grandchildren which I immensely enjoy. I am thankful for the life and experiences I have had, including the many friends I have been fortunate enough to make, and the God given gifts bestowed on me by our Divine Maker.” She loved to entertain and cook Italian dishes!
Olivia Garcia “Dolly” Pena *
16th State Regent 1992-1994
National Director 1996-2000
Dolly was a member of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. She joined the Catholic Daughters of the Americas Court Isabella the Catholic #683, Laredo. In 2007 she was honored for 60 years of service to the Order. She served her court in the office of Regent.
On the State Board, Dolly served as District Deputy, State Treasurer, State Secretary, and State Regent 1992-1994. She was elected as a National Director in 1996.
She worked for her father’s Miracle Candle Company and then as a real estate broker.
Dolly and her husband Augusto were married in 1951. They have two daughters, three grandchildren, and one great-grandson. They were members of the Blessed Sacrament Altar Society and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
A servant of the community, Dolly was a member of The Society of Martha Washington, Pan American Round Table, Mercy Hospital Auxiliary, Laredo Business and Professional Women’s Association, and the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Dolly and Augie loved to dance and travel. She had a great zest for life and was known as an optimistic, upbeat, and fun-loving woman.
17th State Regent 1994-1996
Eunice is a member of Saint Edwards Catholic Church, Spring. She joined the Catholic Daughters of the Americas Court Regina Coeli #1959, Houston, in 1968. She transferred her membership becoming a charter member of Court Our Lady of the Pines #2065, Spring, when it was instituted in 1973 and served her court in the offices of Monitor, Treasurer, and Regent. She became a member of Court Kraljica Mira #2308, Spring, in 1993. She served this local court in the office of Regent.
Eunice began her journey on the State Board as a District Deputy of District #25. She served the State Court in the offices of State Treasurer, Second Vice State Regent, First Vice State Regent, and was elected State Regent 1994-1996 at the 39th Biennial State Convention in Dallas. “Back to Basics” was the theme of her term as State Regent. The State Chaplain during her term was the Most Reverend Bishop James A. Tamayo, Auxiliary Bishop, Diocese of Galveston-Houston. The honorary roll call of Past State Regents on the back cover of the State Memorial Scholarship Enrollment card was implemented during her term. Eleven (11) new senior courts and three (3) Junior Catholic Daughter courts were also instituted. The theme of her 1996 State Convention was “When Hearts Speak to Hearts, We are Completely Yours.” At this convention, the first “Outstanding District Deputy Award” was awarded.
Sixteen years later (2012) when asked for a highlight of her term, Eunice replied; "There are so many wonderful things that were accomplished in my term but my most touching remembrance is of an eight your old girl in Corpus Christi at the institution of a JCDA court. All the CDA members and JCDA members were dressed in white, it was just beautiful. I noticed a mother trying to convince her daughter not to leave; she must not have received the instructions to wear white as she was dressed in a precious red dress. I gently told her that God wanted her there and to join JCDA with the other girls, her red dress just showed how special she was, not different. She joined and I will always remember the hug I received.
I traveled with Mary Dvoracek/1988-1990 when she was state regent. We went all over the state holding workshops and instituting new courts. She was a school teacher, very strict with perfect adherence to ceremonial rules. Once, I forgot to pack my white shoes; instead of eating lunch after the workshop, I had to leave and go shopping for a pair of white shoes for Mass. In a lot of ways, I think I took after her during my term as state regent."
Eunice and her husband Joseph were married in 1960. They have four children, eight grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. She worked as a cafeteria supervisor for Spring ISD.
18th State Regent 1996-1998
Amy is a member of Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church. She became a charter member of Court Our Blessed Mother #1731 in 1956. Amy served her court in the office of Monitor, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Recording Secretary, Vice Regent and Regent; repeating each office several times.
She began her journey on the state board as a District Deputy for six years and served the state in each office without moving consecutively from treasurer to regent. She was elected State Treasurer, State Secretary, Second Vice State Regent, First Vice State Regent, and in 1996 she was elected ‘Grand Regent’/State Regent at the State Convention in Houston. Amy received the Bishop Sartoris Membership Award for 1996-1998.
Fifteen years later (2012) when asked for a highlight of her term, Amy replied; "The history of our courts has changed from pomp and ceremonials, and from voting members into a court using the marbles in the wooden box to seeking out new members consistently. During my term, funds were very low, so we were called upon to raise dues and implement a mid-term fundraiser. I am proud that we were able to lay the foundation for the work in leadership and training that the state continues today."
She remains active in her local court and at her 90th birthday celebration in May of 2013, Amy added a line to her bio saying, “I have one wish left for myself, one thing I pray for, to see my first born daughter (Olga Samaniego) elected National Regent of the organization I have loved and served for nearly 60 years.”
19th State Regent 1998-2000
20th National Regent 2008-2010
Libby is a member of Saint Mary’s Catholic Church. She became a member of Court St. Ann #369 in 1983. Libby served her local court in the offices of Monitor and Vice Regent.
She was appointed State JCDA Chairman 1988; elected State Secretary 1992-1994 at the 1992 State Convention in Austin; Second Vice State Regent 1994-1996; First Vice State Regent 1996-1998; then elected State Regent 1998-2000 at the 1998 State Convention in Wichita Falls. The theme for her term as State Regent was “Here I am Lord.”
Twelve years later (2012) when asked for a highlight of her term, Libby replied; "Standing on the shoulders of giants before me made it easier for me to say 'Here I am Lord' during my term as state regent. The greatest accomplishments of my term are those that I still see implemented in the state. The appointment of the first Clergy Consultant, the recognizing of the Top-5 District Deputies, the multidistrict meetings, and the installation of a chaplain are some of the accomplishments that I am very proud to have started during my term. As Catholic Daughters, we move forward as we give from our hearts."
Libby began her journey on the National Board when elected National Director 2000-2002; elected Secretary-Treasurer 2002-2004; Third Vice National Regent 2004-2006; National Regent Elect 2006-2008; and National Regent 2008-2010.
At the 2006 National Convention the titles of the national officers changed to: Secretary-Treasurer, Second Vice National Regent, First Vice National Regent, National Regent Elect, and National Regent. This change provides the National Regent Elect a smooth transition into the office of National Regent at the next National Convention.
Libby became the second National Regent from Texas when elected for the 2008-2010 term at the 2008 National Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The theme for her term as National Regent was “In Him we live and move and have our Being” Acts 17:28. The greatest accomplishment of her term was “Team Work” when they completed the second edition to the Tools of the Trade and updated the bylaws.
Libby and her husband Alfred were married in 1959. They have 4 children and 2 grandchildren. She worked as a reading tutor for Victoria ISD. Libby likes to work outside and spend time with family and friends.
20th State Regent 2000-2002
National Director 2006-2010
Duchess is a member of St. Faustina Catholic Church, Fulshear. She has been a member of Court Saint Theresa of Lisieux #2211, Sugar Land since 1988. She served her local court in the offices of Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Recording Secretary and Regent.
She began her journey on the State Board when elected State Secretary 1994-1996; Second Vice State Regent 1996-1998; First Vice State Regent 1998-2000; and at the 2000 state convention in Corpus Christi she was elected as State Regent 2000-2002. The theme for her term as State Regent was "Love One Another."
Ten years later (2012) when asked for a highlight of her term, Duchess replied; "During the 2000 State Convention, the delegates were asked, 'How does 200 courts by 2002 sound?' The delegates took on that challenge and throughout Texas the work began. Twelve new courts were needed to meet the state goal. On January 26, 2002, Texas exceeded that goal, with the institution of the seventeenth new court, which added 556 charter members to the Order. Together everyone accomplishes more; it's about membership growth and teamwork."
Duchess was elected as Committee Chair to the 2004 National Nominating Committee,was National Chairman for the National Newsletter Contest, National Co-Chair for Campus Courts, and appointed to serve on the National Ceremonial Team. She was elected as National Director 2006-2010 to supervise the states of Arizona, Colorado and Texas.
Duchess and her husband Jim were married in 1981. They have two children and seven grandchildren. She and Jim are members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Jim is a Former Master of the Fourth Degree, Knights of Columbus and Past State Deputy for the Texas State Council; Duchess served at his side as KC First Lady.
Duchess worked twenty-three years for Alief ISD and seven years for Saint Theresa Parish in Sugar Land. She has been a volunteer at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital since 2011.
21st State Regent 2002-2005
Dee is a member of St. Albert the Great Church Catholic Church, Austin. She joined the Catholic Daughters of the Americas Court Our Lady of the Lakes #2220, Austin, in 1987. She served her local court in the offices of Vice Regent and Regent. In 2002 Dee received one of the State Regents Awards.
Dee began her state board journey in 1992 serving as Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Membership and Retention Committee, Memorial Scholarship Chairman, and State Leadership Chairman. She was elected State Secretary 1996-1998; Second Vice State Regent 1998-2000; and First Vice State Regent 200-2002. At the El Paso State Convention she was elected State Regent 2002-2005 for a three year term. The National Bylaws created a change enabling the National and State Conventions to be held on alternating years. Dee and Barbara Brummitt developed and wrote the Officer Training Manuals for court officer training. The theme for her term as State Regent was “Act Justly, Love Tenderly, Walk Humbly with Your God” and her convention theme was “Spirit of God, Renew Us.”
Seven years later (2012) when asked for a highlight of her term, Dee replied; "Congratulations to the brave ladies that had the foresight and courage to institute the Texas State Court; may all the officers that follow them continue their tradition. The building of the first CDA Habitat for Humanity house in Corpus Christi is my most memorable memory as state regent. I also appreciate the State Board for having the foresight to computerize state books allowing your officers to perform their jobs more efficiently and accurately."
Dee received a Dietetics and Institutional Management degree from Lorreto Heights College, Denver in 1960. After thirty two (32) years she retired from IBM. Dee has one son, Christopher. She loves to travel, watch football games, play bridge and dominos, and read.
22nd State Regent 2005-2007
National Regent Elect 2016-2018
Olga is a member of St. Raphael’s Parish in El Paso. She was a member of the Junior Catholic Daughters and became a member of Court Our Blessed Mother #1731 in 1969. Olga served her court in the offices of Monitor, Financial Secretary, Recording Secretary, Vice Regent, and Regent.
She received the 2009 and 2013 State Regents awards. Olga began her journey on the state board finishing an unexpired term as State Secretary; elected Second Vice State Regent 2000-2002; First Vice State Regent 2002-2005. Olga and her mother, Past State Regent Amy Rueda, became the first ‘Mother-Daughter’ State Regents in Texas! She was elected State Regent 2005-2007 at the 2005 State Convention in Austin. The theme for her term as State Regent was “Women of God, Be Not Afraid.”
Five years later (2012) when asked for a highlight of her term, Olga replied; “I was blessed to be able to work with the best women in the world! Together we placed an emphasis on spirituality and instituted seventeen new courts including the first campus court in Texas at Baylor University."
Olga is known nationally for her spirituality and leadership. She began her journey on the National Board in 2010 when she was elected as National Director; 2012-2014 Second Vice National Regent; 2014-2016 First Vice National Regent; and is currently the 2016-2018 National Regent Elect.
She has a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Texas, El Paso, in Secondary Education, English and Spanish. Olga retired from El Paso ISD where she worked as an English teacher, English Department Chair, and Literacy Coach for 33 years.
Olga and her husband Sam were married in 1970. They have one daughter and two grandchildren living in Arizona. She enjoys reading, watching old movies, spending time with her granddaughters and traveling with her family.
23rd State Regent 2007-2009
National Director 2014-2018
Carolyn is a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Wichita Falls. She was a member of the Junior Catholic Daughters and became a member of Court Our Lady of Good Counsel #309, Wichita Falls, in 1978. She has served her court in the offices of Monitor, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Vice Regent, and Regent.
Her State Court journey began when she was appointed as District Deputy 1988-1992. Carolyn served as state chairman for the Leadership, Memorial Scholarship, Education, Court Development, and Outreach committees. She was elected State Treasurer 1998-2000; State Secretary 2000-2002; Second Vice State Regent 2002-2005; First Vice State Regent 2005-2007; and State Regent 2007-2009 at the 2007 State Convention in Dallas. "Together We Are Strong" Ecclesiasticus 4:9 was the theme for her term as State Regent. Carolyn received State recognition as the recipient of the 2007 and 2013 State Regents Awards.
Three years later (2012) when asked for a highlight of her term, Carolyn replied; “The most positive thing occurring during my term was the Habitat Home we built in Wichita Falls in the fall of 2007. It was a joy to see the gratitude and happiness in the eyes of the beholder receiving our gift of love as she said to me, 'Why would someone who does not even know me want to help me get a home I can call my own?' This is what CDA sisters do in giving of themselves to help others. Continue your work for we are all bound as sisters. To quote Maya Angelou, 'I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel'. You have all made me feel like a brilliant star."
She joined the National Board when she was elected National Director 2014-2016 and re‑elected for the 2016-2018 term. Carolyn served as a member of the 2014-2018 National Membership & Court Development Committee, and Chairman of the 2014-2018 Bylaws Committee. In addition, she served as a member of the 2016-2018 Circle of Love Family Program.
Carolyn earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology with a Minor Degree in Chemistry from Midwestern State University. Carolyn and her husband Chris were married in 1971. They have two children and five grandchildren. Carolyn enjoys her farm, yard work, fishing, collecting old money, traveling, visiting her grandchildren and attending their sporting events.
24th State Regent 2009-2011
Sheila is a member of Saint Hyacinth Catholic Church, Deer Park. As a third generation member of Catholic Daughters, Martinka began her journey joining the Catholic Daughters of the Americas in 1991 as a charter member of Court Our Lady of St. Hyacinth, Deer Park. Sheila served her court in the offices of Vice Regent and Regent.
Sheila was appointed District Deputy of District #38 in 2000 and was appointed State Secretary in 2003. She was elected as Second Vice State Regent 2005-2007; First Vice State Regent 2007-2009; and State Regent 2009-2011 at the 2009 Biennial State Convention in McAllen. She received one of the 2002 Top-5 District Deputies awards and in 2015 she received a State Regents Award. “Do Whatever He Tells You” was the theme during her term as State Regent.
One year later, as the Texas State Court was celebrating their 95th Anniversary (2012), Sheila was asked for a highlight of her term, she replied; "The one-on-one time given to our campus courts members when we held the first Campus Court State Retreat/Conference gave these young ladies a chance to bond with other campus CDA courts as they provided the state board an insight into their busy lives; finding balance in their studies, jobs, time to practice their faith through service, and time to help a family build their own home through CDA and Habitat- AND in record time! Pretty cool to have such a great group of women willing to work so hard for such a great cause; helping families not just build a home but a life. I thank God for each and every one of you and the awesome work that you do!"
Sheila earned an Associate’s Degree in Nursing from San Jacinto College in 1987. While working full time at Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, she earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) in 1990 from The University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston. In 2002 she furthered her education at Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, earning a Master’s Degree in Nursing in 2005. Sheila began working in the medical field in 1987 and is currently a Nurse Practitioner in pediatrics, Victoria. Sheila enjoys hiking, kayaking, fishing, the beach, and spending time with her family.
25th State Regent 2011-2013
State Convention Parliamentarian, 2017
Carolyn is a member of Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church. Her first participation in CDA was as a Junior Catholic Daughter. She became a member of Court St. Paul #1604, Shiner, in 1968. Carolyn has served her local court in the officers of Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Recording Secretary, Vice Regent and Regent.
She served the State of Texas as a District Deputy for District #30 and was awarded one of the Top-5 District Deputy awards in 2000. She served as State JCDA Chairman and as Host for the Texas Fun Night at the National Convention in Houston, aka "Minnie Pearl." Carolyn was elected State Secretary, Second Vice State Regent, First Vice State Regent and State Regent at the 2011 State Convention in Houston. "Come Be My Light" was the theme during her term as State Regent.
When asked for a highlight of her term (2015), Carolyn replied; "It was indeed an honor to serve the 16,000+ Texas CDA members during the 2011-2013 term. Being installed as State Regent by my local court chaplain Reverend Bob Knippenberg was very special for me; he was always very supportive of the Catholic Daughters statewide. The wonderful celebration held in the Valley was the first of many special times marking the 95th anniversary of the Texas State Court. Texas Catholic Daughters are an active reflection of the ladies who laid a strong foundation for us. Retreats, officer training workshops, district meetings, special banquets, board meetings, new court institutions and pre-convention meetings kept the calendar very full throughout the two years. The adoption of two new state projects during my term was exciting; the American Wheelchair Mission and the Blue Bus, Houston Coalition for Life. The increased interest in Pro-Life activities and Respect Life activities throughout the state within the local courts was an added highlight. And the last official function for my term, the institution of the new CDA court at Holy Family Catholic Church in Victoria, Texas with 168 members was icing on the cake. The first court instituted with over 100 new members was Court Our Lady of SEAS in San Antonio with 121 members. Another highlight for me was the Habitat for Humanity build in Victoria and the support of Bethany Hamilton, “Soul Surfer”, who attended the Habitat home dedication and presented a Bible to the new home owner! It was definitely a very busy and full two years, and most fulfilling as well. I enjoyed every minute of my term as Texas State CDA Regent. When we continue being shining examples of Christian womanhood, everyone will want to be a part of this great ministry; spirit filled women who love Christ, His Church, and all humanity in unity and love."
Carolyn and her husband Daniel were married in 1964. They are retired owners of a small business in Gonzales Texas in the poultry industry. They have two children, six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
The Malik and CDA families are the loves of her life. She enjoys sitting in the woods watching God’s creations; Carolyn loves to fish and hunt. Her favorite slogan is: "If God brings you to it, He will leady you through it."
Peggy Hill Rosales
26th State Regent 2013-2015
Peggy is a member St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic Church, Austin, and is a charter member of Court Our Lady Queen of Apostles, #2391, Austin, instituted in 1994. She served her court in the offices of Vice Regent and Regent.
She was appointed as District Deputy District #7 1998-2002; and District Deputy for Districts #7 and #44 2002-2005. She was appointed State Convention Chairman for the 2005 State Convention, Austin.
She received one of the 2005 Top-5 District Deputy awards and a 2009 State Regents Award. Peggy was elected State Treasurer 2005-2007; State Secretary 2007-2009; Second Vice State Regent 2009-2011; First Vice State Regent 2011-2013; and State Regent 2013-2015 at the 2013 State Convention in San Antonio. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 was the theme of her term as State Regent.
When asked for a highlight of her term, Peggy replied (2015); “There isn’t ‘one’ moment, there are many! Building a Habitat for Humanity house is such a rewarding experience, and it was God’s plan, not ours. One significant memory was the day we started the framing; in three hours we had the entire outside framed up and were working on interior walls. The homeowner-to-be drove up, got out of his car, and just stood there; it was clearly evident to him that his house was becoming a reality! My eyes teared up, I had a lump in my throat, and I knew at that exact moment what he was feeling!
Officer training brought many great memories; it’s our chance as state officers to help newly elected local court officers comprehend the duties of their office, and we meet members we hadn’t known. We would leave hoping that we had passed on the necessary information needed, but the gift of friendship and CDA sisterhood is the blessing I took back with me.”
Peggy and her husband George were married in 1983. They have one daughter who attends the University of Iowa. Peggy enjoys traveling, hiking, camping, and spending time with family and friends.
27th State Regent 2015-2017
Eve is a member of Most Precious Blood Catholic Church and a charter member of Court Most Precious Blood #2380, Corpus Christi, instituted in 1992. Eve served her court in the offices of Vice Regent and Regent.
She was appointed District Deputy for District #48 and Registration Chairman for the 2000 State Convention in Corpus Christi. In 2004-2005 she served as State Habitat for Humanity chairman on the first CDA Texas State Habitat build in Corpus Christi, Texas. Eve received state recognition at the 2005 State Convention for her work with Habitat for Humanity. In 2007, she received one of the Top-5 District Deputy awards and in 2015 she received the State Regents award. Eve began her journey as a state officer when elected State Treasurer 2007-2009; State Secretary 2009-2011; Second Vice State Regent 2011-2013; First Vice State Regent 2013-2015; and State Regent 2015-2017. During her state regent term a Habitat for Humanity home was built in Corpus Christi and thirteen new courts were instituted.
She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration and was employed thirty (30) years with the City of Corpus Christi. Eve and her husband Dennis were married in 1966 and are owners of an insurance business. They have two children and three grandchildren who are the love of her life. Eve enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and is very involved with their school and sport activities, especially the little league baseball games.
Eve shared (3/2017) that; “The Catholic Daughters of the Americas has been an important part of my life since I became a Charter Member with Court Most Precious Blood in 1992. Its philosophy of helping others in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as a fellowship of women who share the same vision, has been a daily reminder to me of our CDA motto of “Unity and Charity.”
I have seen the efforts of my CDA sisters throughout Texas accomplishing inspiring goals in their communities and parishes. No goal is unattainable. My personal scripture and the theme of my 2-year term as state regent attests to this, “Everything is possible to the one who has Faith.” Mark 9:23
I believe that The Catholic Daughters of the Americas will continue to exemplify our motto for years and generations to come. I am honored to have been the Texas state regent for the 2015-2017 term.”
* Denotes Deceased
These “hands of service” from eight past state regents in 2011 reflect generations of love and service, of different personalities and goals, of different ethnicities but the same faith. We serve in our parish and communities, we build our courts (junior, senior and campus), we develop new courts, and we use all that He has given us in genuine care for others. “It is not that we think we can do anything of lasting value by ourselves. Our only power and success come from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5
Starting at 12:30 going clockwise – Sheila Martinka, Carolyn Bachmann, Olga Samaniego, Dee Scheetz, Duchess Collins, Libby Ramirez, Amy Rueda, Cecina Koeijmans
2006 National Convention
L-R Olga Samaniego, Dee Scheetz, Duchess Collins, Libby Ramirez, Amy Rueda, Eunice Perusic, Dolly Pena, Cecina Koeijmans.
2007 State Organizational Meeting
L-R Olga Samaniego; Duchess Collins; Libby Ramirez; Amy Rueda; Cecina Koeijmans.
2009 State Convention
L-R Carolyn Bachmann, Olga Samaniego, Duchess Collins, Libby Ramirez, Amy Rueda, Eunice Perusic, Cecina Koeijmans, Margaret Cutbirth
2009 JCDA State Convention
L-R Cecina Koeijmans, Carolyn Bachmann, Libby Ramirez
2010 National Convention
L-R Libby Ramirez, Duchess Collins, Carolyn Bachmann, Sheila Martinka
2011 State Convention
L-R seated – Cecina Koeijmans, Sheila Martinka
L-R Standing - Dolly Pena, Amy Rueda, Libby Ramirez, Duchess Collins, Dee Scheetz, Olga Samaniego, Carolyn Bachmann.
Front row L-R, Cecina Koeijmans, Dallas; Amy Rueda, El Paso; Libby Ramirez, Past National Regent, Victoria. Back row L-R, Immediate Past State Regent Sheila Martinka, Houston; Carolyn Bachmann, Scotland; Olga Samaniego, National Director, El Paso; Dee Scheetz, Austin; Duchess Collins, Past National Director, Sugar Land.
11 Past State Regents of Texas!
L-R Front Row - Margaret Cutbirth, Amy Rueda, Cecina Koeijman, Eunice Perusic.
L-R Standing – Carolyn Malik, Libby Ramirez, Duchess Collins, Sheila Martinka, Dee Scheetz, Carolyn Bachmann, Olga Samaniego.
L-R Libby Ramirez, Duchess Collins, Dee Scheetz, Olga Samaniego, Carolyn Bachmann, Sheila Martinka, Carolyn Malik.
L-R, standing; 2009-2011 Past State Regent Sheila Martinka; 2007-2009 Past State Regent and current National Director Carolyn Bachmann; 1998-2000 Past State Regent and Past National Regent Libby Ramirez; 2002-2005 Past State Regent Dee Scheetz; 2013-2015 Past State Regent Peggy Rosales. L-R seated, 2011-2013 Past State Regent Carolyn Malik; 2005-2007 Past State Regent and current First Vice National Regent Olga Samaniego.
L-R Front Row Duchess Collins, Past State Regent 2000-2002 and Past National Director; Olga Samaniego, Past State Regent 2005-2007 and First Vice National Regent 2014-2016; Dee Scheetz, Past State Regent 2002-2005
L-R Standing Carolyn Malik, Past State Regent 2011-2013; Peggy Rosales, Past State Regent 2013-2015; Sheila Martinka, Past State Regent 2009-2011
Starting at 11:00 going clockwise are Libby Ramirez, Duchess Collins, Olga Samaniego, Carolyn Bachmann, Sheila Martinka, and Carolyn Malik. Their contributions have been and continue to be instrumental in the development and growth of Texas CDA and JCDA courts and projects.
Isaiah 43:2 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you."
God never said that the rivers wouldn’t rise nor did He say that the flames of the fire would not blaze. What He did promise, is that He would be with us through it all, protecting and guiding us. God’s plans for us are not temporary, they are eternal plans. He is in it with us for the long haul. He will see each of us through until we are standing face to face with Him in heaven. Our Past State Regents are witness to this, they live this message selflessly, and proclaim it boldly.
2 Corinthians 9:8 "God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work."
God’s grace is all we need to accomplish the good works He has ordained for us to do. Nothing is too big for God.
At the 56th Biennial National Convention in Pittsburg PA, Texas received awards in every category and the highest praise for instituting 15 New Courts in the 2014-2016 term.
Our God is able to do far more than we could ever imagine. He accomplishes great and mighty things through His Spirit and by what He wants to do through us.
Nine Past State Regents of Texas
Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Texas State Court
on April 22, 2017
2017, 50th Biennial Texas State Convention, Corpus Christi.
This photo is representative of woman who have served the Catholic Daughters of the Americas collectively for 303 years! The faith, wisdom, dedication, love and service shared by these women has been a blessing to all Texas Catholic Daughters.
Their years of service illustrates their dreams, hopes, struggles and blessings. They are Daughters, Catholics, and they believe in the motto and mission statement of the Catholic Daughters. God has manifested Himself through their actions and continues to use their gifts and talents for His greater glory.
Eight Past State Regents pose for the traditional Hands of Service
Happy 100th Birthday - Texas State Court
Texas State Convention, April 20-23, 2017, Corpus Christi
Going counter clockwise beginning at 1:00 are:
|Libby Ramirez||Duchess Collins||Dee Scheetz|
|Olga Samaniego||Carolyn Bachmann||Sheila Martinka|
|Carolyn Malik||Peggy Rosales|
‘Old ways won’t open new doors’; however, we must never forget that it was ‘those who went before us’ that taught us to build the door, the door frame, and the hinge. It was by the strength, vision and courage of these past state regents that we were taught the way to walk through each opening and opportunity right into our future.
Taking our faith beyond words to a life of action is having the courage to turn that nob, discern the Will of God, to let go of where we are in order to move forward, and to step right into the possibilities and opportunities God has prepared for us.
A bit older and well used, the door still works; it serves a valuable purpose. May we always remember that ‘a proverb is a short sentence based on long experience!’ From these women we have learned that wisdom is living in the present and planning for the future; thus we profit from the past. Our predecessors demonstrated outstanding loyalty, courage and foresight.
We are grateful for the gifts these women have left as tools and challenges. In faith and love, they saw through the window of opportunity and selflessly served to the best of their abilities out of love for God, His Church, and the Catholic Daughters of the Americas.
“In all circumstances give thanks,
for this is the Will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”
Sincere thanks are extended to the past state regents of Texas who provided information and photos ensuring the history contained here serve as a memorial to the women who paved our way.
As a tribute to the Past State Regents of Texas, the State Memorial Scholarship Fund was established to aid in the higher education of members and family members of Texas Catholic Daughters. With enrollment the recipient will be remembered for the period of one year in the Holy Mass offered the First Friday of each month by the State Chaplain.
Should you have credible information or photos for any Past State Regent please send it to Terrie Vacek at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the information obtained from the Past State Regents of Texas, court members, and their families, other information in this report came from the following resources.
The Catholic Daughters of the Americas, ‘A Century in Review’, by Bernard L. Marthaler & Carol Dorr Clement
The Catholic Daughters of the Americas ‘1960 ~ Golden Anniversary in Texas’ program by Mrs. A. J. Rohan and James T. Carter
National ‘Daughters of Isabella Herald’, February, 1917
Texas Catholic University Archives, Austin
Photo, ‘Old Ways Won’t Open New Doors’ from the American English Center