By RENEE WEBB
SHELDON – A diocesan parishioner was recently elected to the second highest leadership position of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, one of the oldest and largest organizations of Catholic women in the Americas.
Sherry Nilles of Sheldon is a member of Court Our Lady of Perpetual Help #1057 in Ashton and was elected national regent-elect of the CDA at the 57th Biennial National Convention held July 17-21 in Sioux Falls, S.D. The convention was attended by more than 1,200 members, voting delegates and clergy from across the country.
The Catholic Daughters of the Americas was formed more than 110 years ago and today there are about 1,150 courts (local chapters) in 45 states across the country, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, Kenya and Peru. Currently, there are 27 active courts in the diocese.
“I like to see women involved in good organizations and I think CDA is a good one,” Nilles said. “We can share our wonderful talents and gifts we have through this wonderful organization. I want to make a difference.”
In her position as national regent-elect, Nilles is the second of five national officers, the top governing board of the organization who together administer, establish policy and determine the direction of the Catholic Daughters.
As the regent-elect, she will be the next national regent in two year. The position of national regent is equivalent to president.
“The next two years will serve as preparation for me,” Nilles said. “I will be learning from the present national regent and getting things set up so two years from now when I am installed as the national regent, I will have things in order to go right to work.”
Among her tasks in preparation of her next office include selecting a theme based on a Scripture passage, finding people to serve on various committees and working closely with the current national regent.
As the regent-elect, Nilles will attend meetings with the national regent to solve problems and do training of new board members. She also serves as the national leadership chairman and writes various articles as well as responds to numerous emails related to that position.
Nilles pointed out as an organization CDA “works in unity and charity with the bishops and follow their guidelines.”
Services and activities of CDA focus on spiritual growth for both those providing a service as well as those receiving a service.
“We have a seven-spoke program called the Circle of Love,” noted Nilles, who explained the seven spokes indicate the needs of church and community best served by Catholic Daughters.
The seven spokes include quality of life, education, spirituality, leadership, family, legislation and youth. Under each area, or spoke, the opportunities to serve are endless whether in active service or praying for the success of projects.
Individual courts determine what charities and projects they become involved in. Among the local charities her Ashton court supports are Relay for Life, Right to Life, Safe Haven for Women, Osceola County Christmas Wish List and local graduate scholarships.
At the national level, CDA supports SOAR! (Support Our Aging Religious), the National Disaster Fund, National Council on Sexual Exploitation, Catholic Relief Services, Smile Train and others.
“It is my hope that we continue to be helpful for women and for all of the different projects we take on,” said Nilles, who spoke of the benefit in working together. “We want to make a difference in people’s lives and help them become closer to God. We do it all in the name of Jesus and with love.”
She became a Catholic Daughter in 1976 and has held all local court officer positions and various state positions including state regent and state secretary. Her most recent national position was first vice national regent.
For more information about Catholic Daughters, check out: www.catholicdaughters.org.