Madigan Muses: Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians Celebrate Seventy-Five Years
By Marilyn Madigan
The National Board of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Ancient Order of Hibernians issued a Charter to a Division under the leadership of Kathleen Carey, which is still active today, seventy-five years later.
The LAOH Our Lady of the Rosary Division is proud of our Cleveland, Ohio home, our Irish heritage, and the long proud history of Hibernians in our area. There has been a presence in the Cleveland area since the early 1900’s, with two Divisions established by 1907.
We are proud that in the early years of our Order, one of our own, Adelia Christy, President of Division 2, served in leadership roles on the National level; she served as National Secretary 1912-1916; National Vice President 1916-1921; and National President 1921-1924. In addition to her leadership roles in the LAAOH, she was prominent and lent her voice in the cause of full independence for Ireland.
Another prominent member, Mary Kay Duffy, organized a Division on Cleveland’s East Side, showing the growth of our Order in the area. One of our members, Margaret Lynch, Archivist for the Irish American Archives, described her as “enlisting her fellow Hibernians in the cause, Mary Kay Duffy was the driving force behind the establishment of the Irish Cultural Garden.” The Garden was dedicated May 28, 1933 and is one of the jewels of Cleveland.
Founding Member of United Irish Societies
In 1958, the LAAOH was one of the founding members of the United Irish Societies of Cleveland, whose purpose was to bring all the Irish Organizations together to plan the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. We are proud that the first female Executive Director was our own Deneen O’Reilly, from Division 5.
Our member Shannon Corcoran also served in multiple roles, including Executive Director and Linda Carney is now serving that role herself. Many of our members serve as Deputy Directors and Delegates.
Division 5, founded in February 1946, has taken several turns over the years, welcoming members of the disbanded Division 2 and merging with Division 10. The merged Divisions 5 and 10 chose the name of Our Lady of the Rosary Divisions 5 & 10.
Using the symbol of the rosary, five decades, resulting in our Division’s name, which aligns with our devotion to the Blessed Mother, our Lady of Knock. Many Division Sisters are members of the Ohio Degree Team, taking pride in leading in this ritual, a confirmation of faith in God and our dedication to charity and the mission of our organization.
We are honored to have several members serve as State Presidents: Joan Cavanaugh, Maire Manning, Mary O’Leary, Mary Reynolds, Dee Scofield, myself, and Eileen Reynolds Wallenhorst. Many of our members have served on the National Board: Mary Jo Rawlins, Maire Leffel, me and Pat Oberrath. Fr. Ryan Duns S.J., son of Michele, is the current National Chaplain.
National Convention Coming to Cleveland
We were proud to host the 1988 AOH/LAOH National Convention. This June, we will be hosting the AOH/LAOH State Convention Fun in 21.
Our Lady of the Rosary supports the clergy, missions and Catholic charities. The contributions to local charities are too many to name. We celebrated the Women of 1916 with programs focused on communicating the contributions of women to the cause of Irish freedom.
Maintaining a brotherly relationship with the AOH in greater Cleveland allows the Hibernian community to engage in more social and philanthropic activities. The motto of the Hibernians is Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity, and the Cleveland Hibernians strive to emulate these values in all we do. The Division is proud to celebrate our 75th Anniversary; we remember all the friendships formed and the charitable contributions made and the promotion of our Catholic faith and Irish heritage.
For membership information, please contact me at [email protected].
*Marilyn Madigan is a Registered Nurse recently retired from University Hospital. She is an amateur Historian and served as National Irish Historian 2014-2016 for the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, and is . currently serving as National Secretary.