The passing of a young woman with six children in the beginning of 1891 prompted a revolution. She was a member of the Holy Family Parish in Chicago. The congregation answered the call to help when her family was unable to supply the means to cover burial and funeral expenses. This act of kindness birthed the idea that a group of women could do much to assist each other. On May 1, 1891, the group held the first meeting of what was to become the Women’s Catholic Order of Foresters, and later, the National Catholic Society of Foresters Life Insurance.
Two hurdles stood in their way. First, the group needed $5,000 to apply for a state charter. Second, being in the time prior to women’s suffrage, male members were needed to meet the legal needs of incorporation. The women reached out to the Catholic Order of Foresters for this assistance. Working tirelessly, this early group of women brought in 500 members over the course of just three years. On January 31, 1894, the official charter was granted.
Membership was extended to men and boys in 1958. In August 1966, the official change to the Articles of Incorporation created the organization now known today.
The National Catholic Society of Foresters Life Insurance agency now provides a variety of life insurance and retirement products. What started with a small group in Chicago in 1891, continues to care for the needs of now more than 26,000 members.