Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Church ladies

In the Old Country, women deferred to men in the home, in government, money matters and even in worship services. But women arriving in America experienced some different treatment right away, hearing "Ladies first" when exiting from the ship and being served before men. Those who traveled to Colorado after 1893 would be astonished to learn that men had passed legislation giving women the vote in state and local elections, 27 years before the rest of the nation. Immigrant women were quick to take advantage.
In Volga-German villages, women were to keep silent in prayer meetings, were not allowed to teach or exercise authority and sat on one side of the church while men sat on the other. But the ladies of Globeville's German churches formed Ladies Aid Societies, and visited the sick, helped maintain the church buildings and raised money for items such as hymnals and baptismal fonts. In St. Joseph's Polish Church, Holy Rosary and Transfiguration Orthodox Church, women organized the Ladies Choir, Sodality and the Altar Society. Branches of the ethnic fraternals appeared too, such as the Queen of the Holy Rosary Lodge No. 7 of the WSA, St. Anna's Lodge 143 of the Croatian Fraternal Union and the women-only Slovenian Women's Union.
The ladies quickly gained respect for their skills in organizing and fund raising. Bake and craft sales, raffles, concerts and plays, church picnics, carnivals and bazaars all raised money and built community. The tradition continues with the Orthodox Food Festival, Argo Park at 47th and Logan, Saturday and Sunday, July 20 and 21st; The Polish Food Festival Sunday, August 25th in the parking lot of St. Joseph's Polish Catholic Church and the Holy Rosary Bazaar, at 4688 Pearl Street, Saturday and Sunday, September 7th and 8th.
Today's women have many more opportunities to exercise authority and express creativity but churches and the community benefit when they chose to focus their efforts on Globeville.

Ladies Society from Holy Transfiguration about 1905
photo used with written permission from Steve Klimoski

Ladies Aid Society, First German Congregational Church, 1944
photo used with written permission from Janet Wagner

Ladies from Holy Transfiguration selling food and crafts
photo ® Mary Lou Egan

Orthodox Food Festival

Polish Food Festival

Holy Rosary Parish Bazaar