Daughters of the Eucharist, Maryland, 1930

Mother Katherine A. Dietz

Daughters of the Eucharist (1909)
With the approval of His Eminence, James Cardinal Gibbons, the Society of the Daughters of the Eucharist was established in Baltimore, October 14, 1909. Founded by Katherine A. Dietz, for the self-sanctification of its members and the sanctfication of souls by the performance of spiritual and corporal works of mercy, those forming the Society, well experienced in the practical field of social service work, carry on, particularly as parish visitors, the missionary labors for which they united.

With the first headquarters of the Society in Baltimore, at 521 N. Charles Street, pastors of the various parishes availed themselves of its aid, calling upon the Daughters of the Eucharist to perform services in helping to solve the ever present problems of the needy and unfortunate.

The reconstruction of the family forms a primary work and study for the Society, and with this in view its work is based on religious and sociological principles. The members of the Society in turn act as instructors for those ignorant of the truths of faith, or neglectful of their religious duties. They also act as counselors to those confused or misled by various harmful agencies who haunt the homes of the poor under the guise of social service. In every phase of spiritual and corporal charity the Daughter of the Eucharist renders aid,

In December 1911, remaining in Baltimore, the Society transferred its headquarters to 1133 N. Gilmor Street, and in this settlement work was begun. A chapel was erected under ecclesiastical authority, with permission for reservation of the Blessed Sacrament. The Daughters of the Eucharist, who live a community life, and make the profession of the three vows of religion, wear no distinctive garb. This enables them to meet certain needs in their work which might not be coped with by persons wearing a religious habit.

In 1915 the adjacent house, 1135 N. Gilmor Street, was purchased, and a day nursery and kindergarten established. In the course of their work, many cases were found where children were without proper care, through either the separation or death of parents, in consequence of which the little ones were given a home at the nursery. The house soon became overcrowded, and in the spring of 1919 a commodious country home, with seven acres of ground, on Malden Choice Road, near Catonsville, was purchased. A large group building was erected, and all modern features installed for the country “Boarding Home School” then established, and since permanentlt maintained throughout the year.

The government of the Society, with the Motherhouse in Catonsville, is vested in Mother Katherine A. Dietz, Superior, Mother Alice M. Russell, Treasurer, and Mother Eva Marie Kuhl, Secretary. The latest Code of Canon Law is observed in the Society. whose members are active in social service and charitable work in the archdiocese of Baltimore.

Elinor Tong Dehey, ed., Religious Orders of Women in the United States, Catholic: Accounts of Their Origin, Works, and Most Important Institutions, Interwoven With Histories of Many Famous Foundresses (Revised) (Hammond, IN: W.B. Conkey, 1930), 781-783.

About Pat McNamara
  • Billy C

    The Daughters are buried in a small graveyard shared by Sulpician priests on Maiden Choice Lane. I've prayed at their graves, experiencing a palpable sense of God's presence.

  • Jean Hooe

    As well as this might have been a worthy organization, I have trouble accepting it. My mother was left at with the daughters back in 1919. She was four at the time. She remembers being left there and under the name of Cooper. As she told me of the experience on many occasion I have only the wish to leave it here as a matter of fact.
    There was an elderly lady who accompanied another woman to the Daughter’s. She took a liking to my mother who at the time was now 5. Now when I say elderly, I mean to say that she was exactly 55 years old as I am today. Whoever was running the Daughters’ at this time asked the elderly woman if she wanted to take my mother home with her. She did just that. So at 55 years old with three very grown children this woman takes a 5 year old from a Catholic sanctioned home. Just take her without question. Now this elderly woman owned a business in Catonsville, so that would put her above the common family as of then. She was a catholic woman and I’m sure had good intentions to go along with her money. The only problem I am having a hard time accepting is that when my mother was entered into that wonderful Catholic shool to get that wonderful Catholic education, she was enrolled under the name that she was left at the Daughters’ with. When my mother turned 10 she recalled that someone from the Daughter’s coming to visit the elderly woman and flat out telling her that if she wanted to keep my mother than she would have to adopt her and I quote “because someone has been asking about her”. So at 10 years old already registered and having been in school for now 4 years under the name that she was left at the Daughter’s, this elderly woman files for adoption of my mother and that adoption is granted, signed and sealed on Christmas Eve, 1925. How does that happen? Better yet, even after the adoption my mothers name was never changed on any documentation throughout her entire life. She continued and finished her schooling, graduated from the Institue of Notra Dame in 1933 under the same name that she was left at the Daughters’ with. In her everyday world she went by the adopted name which was that of the elderly woman. How do you get away with that?

    She stayed with the elderly woman, worked in her store, took care of her until she died. She waited six months out of respect and then married my father at the age of 29. My mother loved the old woman. She somehow justified it with the fact that the woman had given her a good education, and that she was given music lessons growing up which filled her heart with joy.

    I forgot to mention that the woman’s biological grown children hated my mother. Even more so when they found out the their mother had included her in her will as one her own.

    Outside of the few oddities that this story contains it sounds like a really great story. That it is, but what about the person that was asking about her in 1925? Who was that? I found out later that my mother’s biological mother died in the flu epidemic in 1919. That would explain why she was left at the Daughter’s. The questions that haunted my mother until she died still haunts me as well. Is that what really happened? Noone will ever know. It was years later that my mother had to prove herself legally, and a lawyer uncovered that her name was not Cooper at all. I don’t know how he did it, but he produced a birth certificate with only the word “baby” as a first name and a completely different sir name. My mother then had her first named entered on that birth certificate. That’s where I tried to track the parents that were listed on the birth certificate. That is where the fact that the mother that was listed on the birth certificate I found out had died in 1919. There was a horrific flu epidemic in 1919. The birth certificate indicated that my mother was child number 2. That is what brought great distress to her. It never left her mind that perhaps the other child was a boy and that the father had kept him and didn’t want her. I went back as far as the 1910 census and the woman that was listed on the birth certificate did have a child at that time however it was a baby girl one and a half years old. It gave her little comfort, but still the questions existed.

    Does all of this really matter? No, it does not. Is it way too strange? Yes, it is. Is there a rat in this story? My money says there is. It’s just a shame that I can’t prove it. With all of the child labor that has gone on thoughout time, it doesn’t stike me funny to think that this is what was really going on. I just believe that it was being sheltered behind Catholic walls and in this story made possible by some Judge on Christmas Eve for how much? All of this is no sermon, just thoughts to share. God Bless You All.