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The Circle of Love

Projects at the Local, State and National Level are an extension of the Catholic Daughters vision, focus and creative commitment such as the “Circle of Love” programs. The seven points selected indicate the needs of the Church and community best served by the Catholic Daughters. The program categorizes these needs with suggestions on how Catholic Daughters can effectively serve.

Over the past eleven decades, the approach to membership in CDA and the emphasis of the Order shifted to the value of a woman’s voice in society, and the service that her love provided. With that in mind, the titles given to the programs have changed with time, need, and leadership.

First, the ladies were known as companionable, useful members of society establishing activities of “Unity and Charity” that would serve the Catholic Church.

In the years that followed, the Catholic Daughters three fold purpose of a Religious, Charitable, and Educational focus dominated their outreach projects.

In 1968 National Regent Anna Baxter presented the seven fold "Program of Involvement" and carefully explained the pastoral grounding of the program in Vatican II’s directive on the apostolate of the laity that "all Christians do apostolic work." These seven programs were; Personal Involvement, Ecumenical Involvement, Civic Involvement, Social Involvement, Educational Involvement, Charitable Involvement, and Involvement for Youth. The ambitious program was designed to engage as many members as possible and to give them opportunities "to exercise their powers of leadership and creative ability."

The symbol for CDA’s “Heart Speaks to Heart” program initiated in 1975 shows the relationship of all CDA activities to their source in Christ’s love.

The Greek letter X, Stands for CH. The Greek letter P, stands for R. Together, XP stands for CHR which is the abbreviation of the name of Christ.

The symbols are shown to find their strength flowing through Christ.

National Regent Winifred Trabeaux wanted to refurbish the “Program of Involvement” in order to generate fresh enthusiasm and attract new members under four headings; Youth, Renewal, Community, and Apostolate. A basic premise was that when individuals speak “heart to heart” they are being open, sincere, loving, concerned, devoted, and unselfish.

In 1985 National regent Loretta Knebel updated it to reflect the changing times, and again in 1991 Edna Nolte made further revisions to emphasize the CDA’s commitment to family life and family values.

In 1996 National Regent Grace Rinaldi introduced the “Circle of Love” wheel. The Circle of Love program by definition is a circle of unity, a curved line with every point equal distance from the point of the center.

The seven spoke program of the CIRCLE OF LOVE is bound together by the common interest, LOVE. The small heart in the center is taken from the logo of the HEART SPEAKS TO HEART program.

A smooth transition occurred by utilizing this portion of the logo and part of the Heart Speaks to Heart program that is compatible with the Circle of Love.

The Cross and Crown in the center of the heart is the national symbol of the Order of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas.

At the biennial State and Territorial Officers Conference in Bellville, Illinois, July 2015, the "National Projects" spoke was replaced with the "Family" spoke. June 23, 2015 Pope Francis stated that "The family is truly the ‘school of humanity’ which is much needed today. Listening so as to look at the reality of the family today; looking with renewed freshness and enthusiasm at the beauty, the role and the dignity of the family; and confronting the situation with an eye on the Lord Jesus to discern the ways in which the Church and society can renew their commitment to the family founded upon the marriage between a man and a woman." Each person has several families in a lifetime. Family is what you make it whether made of blood relatives, friends or a combination of these. A family can offer the support needed to thrive.

If we are to be the heart of Jesus, His hands and feet as each member pledges in the Act of Consecration, then we must use the talents and treasures He gave us, become educated in new fields, and volunteer our services and financial assistance where and when needed. Each Court in Texas implements this with the personality of her members, the needs of her parish, and displays her faith as a force of positive change in her community.

The circle of love from the thousands of programs Catholic Daughters participate in become a strong wheel in motion moving across the nation. A couple of the slogans that Catholic Daughter’s live by are; "If God calls you to it, He will see you through it" and "God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called." When we help others catch God’s heart in Word and deed, we watch His favor increase in all our lives!

The 2015 seven points selected indicate the needs of the Church and community best served by the Catholic Daughters today. The program itemizes these needs with suggestions on how Catholic Daughters can effectively serve. Please click on the heart above each individual point to learn more about it.

The CIRCLE OF LOVE program information provided on the Texas State Website are gathered to assist Catholic Daughters in working with the Church and community. We are indeed very aware of the needs in society that are deeply affecting today's generation, the elderly, and human life. To be effective in promoting good works, we must reach out and make a difference in the lives of those who are suffering, whether it be through their own fault or the circumstances in which they find themselves. If we are to be "Jesus hands and feet" as is pledged in the Act of Consecration during the Installation Ceremony, then we must use the talents He gave us, become educated in new fields, volunteer our services and financial assistance where needed.

Local Courts are asked to select those portions of the programs that their members feel comfortable working on in their area. If many projects are selected, the task can become burdensome and little is accomplished. Members need to experience fulfillment when the projects are completed. This can happen when courts are selective in choosing court programs.

Please research each of the State Projects, Mercy of Mission State Projects, National Projects and National Charities listed on this website to obtain more information for your local courts. Please appoint a Local Court Chairman for each of the following seven spokes of the Circle of Love Programs. All our service should fall within one of these categories and often overlap with more than one.

Circle of Love Education

It has been said that education literally means "a drawing out" of a person's talent as well as "a putting in" of knowledge or instruction. Each year the local courts sponsor an education contest with the winning entries being submitted onto the state level. Those winning entries are then submitted for the national contest. For more information, contact the State or National Education Chairman.

Circle of Love Family

At the Synod of Bishops held on the command of Pope Francis at the XIV Ordinary General Assembly in Vatican City June 23, 2015, our Holy Father stated that “The family is truly the ‘school of humanity’ which is much needed today.” He called upon the Synod of Bishops to reflect upon the critical and invaluable reality of the family.

The National Board of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas reflected on the words of Pope Francis and added the Family spoke to the Circle of Love in 2015. Goals for the Family spoke are: Supporting the role and dignity of the family and discerning ways the Church and society can renew a commitment to the family founded upon the marriage between a man and a woman. For more information, contact the State or National Family Chairman.

Click Here to read more about Texas CDA Family Day with the Houston Astros.

Circle of Love Leadership

A few years back, Bette Midler had a hit with a song called "You are the Wind Beneath My Wings." This song is really about leadership because it is the leader who is the inspiration that allows others to "fly higher than an eagle." Dedicated and inspired leadership over the last 100 years in the Catholic Daughters has kept CDA the largest Catholic women's organization in the world. As a member of CDA, you have the opportunity to learn skills and techniques of leadership and to implement your talents as a future leader. You will be the wind beneath the wings of others and "let (them) fly so high, they will almost touch the sky!" Consider becoming a leader in CDA!

Hopefully, this will give you the skills and confidence to step forward to become an officer in your local court. In so doing, you will become one of those leaders who have vision and get others to share that vision. You will be the inspiration for others to follow. For more information, contact the State or National Leadership Chairman.

Circle of Love Legislation

Our obligation is to become better informed on public issues, addressing the morals and human dimension, while supporting church teaching on human life, human rights, justice and peace.


Operation Morning Star is a program of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas to Our Lady under her title Morning Star, to encourage Catholic women to speak out in the legislative arena. Learn more about legislation efforts at Operation Morning Star. For more information, contact the State or National Legislation Chairman.

“Operation Morningstar” - Catholic Daughters of the Americas National Headquarters 10 West 71st Street New York, NY 10023 Bishops urge continued prayer in ‘Year of Faith’ The United States bishops are urging Catholics to pray and sacrifice for life, marriage, and religious liberty. “The well-being of society requires that life, marriage, and religious liberty are promoted and protected. Serious threats to each of these goods, however, have raised unprecedented challenges to the Church and to the nation. These challenges call for increased awareness and formation, as well as spiritual stamina and fortitude among the faithful, so that we may all be effective and joyful witnesses of faith, hope and charity.

Catholic Daughters’ Guidelines on Election Politics

Catholic Daughters of the Americas is a 501(c)(3) institution qualifying for Internal Revenue tax-exempt status. Therefore, no one speaking on behalf of Catholic Daughters may encourage or discourage voting for or against a specific political party or candidate. CDA national, state and local courts do, however, take stands on issues. All members should be encouraged to participate in the election process. Five non-negotiable issues: There is a hierarchy of truths in Catholic social teachings. Defending innocent human life and protecting marriage are not just “single issues.” Rather, they help us judge all other important issues through a lens of truth. Based on Church teachings, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and encyclicals of the Popes, the following five issues are considered intrinsically evil, that is they fundamentally conflict with the moral law and can never be performed under any circumstances. Catholics must never support them in any way.

It is a serious sin to deliberately endorse or promote any of these actions:

1. Abortion is the intentional and direct killing of an innocent human being, and therefore it is a form of homicide. The unborn child is always an innocent party, and no law may permit the taking of his life. Even when a child is conceived through rape or incest, the fault is not the child’s, who should not suffer death for others’ sins. Also non-negotiable, are the Church’s positions against contraception, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and sterilization.

2. Euthanasia Often disguised by the name “mercy killing” or “assisted suicide,” euthanasia is also a form of homicide. No person has a right to take his own life, and no one has the right to take the life of any innocent person. In euthanasia, the ill or elderly are killed, by action or omission, out of a misplaced sense of compassion, but true compassion cannot include intentionally doing something intrinsically evil to another person.

3. Embryonic Stem Cell Research Human embryos are human beings. “Respect for the dignity of the human being excludes all experimental manipulation or exploitation of the human embryo.” No cures have come from embryonic stem cells, but many cures have come from adult stem cells, which can be obtained without doing harm to the adult from whom they came. Thus, there is no valid medical argument in favor of using embryonic stem cells.

4. Human Cloning “Attempts…for obtaining a human being without any connection with sexuality through ‘twin fission,’ cloning, or parthenogenesis are to be considered contrary to the moral law, since they are in opposition to the dignity both of human procreation and of the conjugal union.” Human cloning also involves abortion because the “rejected” or “unsuccessful” embryonic clones are destroyed, yet each clone is a human being.

5. Homosexual “Marriage” True marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Legal recognition of any other union as “marriage” undermines true marriage, and legal recognition of homosexual unions actually does homosexual persons a disfavor by encouraging them to persist in what is an objectively immoral arrangement. The church teaches that it is “gravely immoral for a lawmaker to favor legislation recognizing homosexual unions.

Morality in Media, Non-profit organization

Morality in Media, Inc., is now known as the National Center on Sexual Exploitation; established in New York in 1962.

Other programs to research include the following:

Fight the New Drug
Parents Television Council
American Family Association
Family Research Council
Alliance Defending Freedom

Circle of Love Quality of Life

Quality of Life (Social Awareness) - issues of our national program are the heart of our ministering to the needs of all peoples. We are called to reach out with compassion and support, to be helping hands where there is pain, poverty, sorrow and sickness. For more information, contact the State or National Quality of Life Chairman.

Circle of Love Spiritual Enhancement

The Catholic Daughters of the Americas is primarily a service organization; however, service for the sake of service can become burdensome and more of an obligation than a joy. That is why the Spiritual Enhancement component of the Circle of Love is so important. Through the spiritual program in each local and state court, we help our members to nourish and develop their relationships with God. Out of those developing relationships comes the realization of God's love and everlasting mercy, and because of that realization, the desire to serve Him by serving His people grows. Our service, then, becomes the way we witness our faith and share God's love with a hurting world. Because of His guidance and support, we can serve with joy and faithfulness.

In the Spiritual Enhancement section of the Circle of Love, you will find ways to provide opportunities for your members to spend time with God. You will find ideas for enhancing personal sanctification as well as suggestions for involving your members in the spiritual life of their parishes and communities. It is important that your court's Spiritual Enhancement Program helps your members to understand that they are truly a sisterhood and that they need to be church to one another before they can be church to others. For more information, contact the State or National Spiritual Enhancement Chairman.

Circle of Love Youth/JCDA

Tomorrow's promise lives in today's youth for they will be the leaders, the citizens and the church of tomorrow. In responding to their needs today, we shape a better future for all. It is the mission of the Youth Program to nurture personal and spiritual growth; to promote service to others and to foster an awareness and appreciation of diversity through a variety of suggested activities and experiences.

The Catholic Daughters established the Junior Catholic Daughter program in 1926. It is a program for Catholic girls from 6 to 18 years of age. The goals and objectives of the JCDA program are divided into a Threefold Program of: Message; Service; and Community. For information about the JCDA program, contact the National Catholic Daughter office.

The Youth are an important part of our organization. We as Catholic Daughters need to nourish the spirit of the youth to ensure the continued growth of the Catholic Church and our organization. For more information, contact the State or National Youth/JCDA/Campus Court Chairman.

Credits: By Terrie Vacek, some historical facts came from the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, A century in Review and Chairmen.