St. John and St. Barbara Society of the Catholic Aid Association
St. John’s Society is the oldest continuous organization of men in the city of Vermillion. It was organized in 1891 as part of the Catholic Aid Association and associated with St. John the Baptist parish. The society was incorporated at noon on June 4, 1896, and recorded on page 481 in Book P2 of Incorporation in the secretary of state’s office in the state Capitol.
The first officers were Jacob Kummer, president, V. F. Rother, secretary, and Joseph Wiederhold, treasurer. Members listed on the incorporation papers are Jacob Kummer, Joseph Girgen, V. G. Rother, Joseph Wiederhold, Henry Rother, Theodore Kasel, John L. Breuer, John Reuter, Peter J. Huberty, Peter Frey, J. P. Reuter, Mathias Ficker, John Rotty, George K. Marschall, Joseph Heinen, Nicklaus Kiemen, John Breuer, Anton Ficker, Joseph Loesch, Wilhelm Werner, Christ Wagner, John Girgen, Peter Kirchens, Nicholas Werner, Theordore Hass, J. Kummer, Nick Fautsch, Joseph Niederprim, Louis J. Girgen, E. N. Wallerius and Nicholas Klotz.
The St. John’s Society was originally organized as a mutual aid society to pay sick benefits. The society later added life insurance to its product line. Sick benefits ended in 1940. The society conducted all its meetings and recorded all its minutes in German until World War II.
Among its many accomplishments, the society donated the statue of St. John the Baptist that has rested in the niche of the church steeple since the building was completed in 1914.
St. Barbara’s Society is an organization of women affiliated with St. John’s Parish and the Catholic Aid Association. St. Barbara’s was organized in 1906 for the purpose of providing benefits for women. The founding members were Magdalena Breuer, Christine Girgen, Rose Girgen, Gertrude Holzemer, Katherine Kasel, Margaretha Kasel, Maria Rech, Regina Rotty, Mary Wagner and Margaretha Wallerius.
Among other things, the society donated the two small stained glass windows located above the doors to the sacristy.
On Jan.1, 1982, the St. John and St. Barbara societies merged into one organization.
The Catholic Aid Association officially changed its name to Catholic United Financial in 2011 and continues to provide financial support to area parishes and St. John the Baptist Catholic School. Roger Bauer is the organization’s area insurance representative.
Today, Catholic United Financial is a non-profit, fraternal life insurance and benefit association. Founded in 1878, it is headquartered in St. Paul, with a local council in Vermillion and other cities throughout the state. Catholic United offers many insurance products, including IRAs and annuities, universal, term, whole life, farm preservation insurance, Medicare supplemental plans, long term care insurance and accident/disability income plans.
Purchasers of any of these products automatically become members and are eligible to participate in the association’s fraternal programs and activities. Catholic United sponsors many “helping others” fraternal programs, including benevolent programs for members in need, youth parish programs and college scholarships.
In the past, our local council has made donations or has sponsored:
— Mothers and Fathers Day gifts to parishioners.
— Bus for parish CCD outings.
— Continental breakfast for the parish CCD students and their families.
— Parish CCD teacher appreciation dinners.
— Food/refreshments for the St. John School picnics and parties.
— St. John’s Church elevator fund.
—“Goodie bags” for the graduates at the parish graduation brunch.
— Record player and other equipment to St. John’s School.
— Items to the 5th grade graduates of St. John’s School.
— The money for the sound system in St. John’s School.
— A matching grant spaghetti dinner, with the profits going to St. John’s School.
— Refreshments for Vermillion’s baseball/softball teams.
— Catholic Relief Services for Kosovo refugees.
— Local families who had personal crises, such as fire and illness.
— A 5th grade student for a school field trip.