History

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The desire to help others has been a long practice of Madonna Circle. As the agrarian society was changing and more people were relocating to the city, St. Catherine Junior Club was founded. Mrs. Gertrude Lovitt served as senior advisor and Mrs. Mary Louise Saxon served as President of the Club. The Club’s purpose was to provide guidance to the young women coming to work in Memphis and who lived at St. Catherine’s Home for Girls. The year was 1936. In 1938 as the need for community assistance increased and more Catholic women joined to help, Madonna Circle was formally organized.logo

Service to others is the core of Madonna Circle. From working in the nursery at St. Peter Orphanage, sewing and mending the clothes of the children, providing transportation for dental or doctor appointments and helping to develop the children’s social skills were a few of the tasks performed by the members of Madonna Circle. The ladies of the Circle also designed and maintained a sensory garden for the visually impaired children at St. Peter. For a period of time members wore a blue uniform while performing their duties in the community thus becoming known as the “Ladies in Blue.”

Madonna Circle’s focus of helping others remains unchanged. Service organizations where we volunteer include St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen, Birthright, Catholic Charities, and the Poor Clares. Several of the sites provide opportunities for families to volunteer as a unit. At St. Peter Manor, Circle members provide food and fellowship to the residents via social events throughout the year. St. John Catholic School provides opportunities for our members to work with children thru tutoring, hosting “Good Conduct” parties, providing a teacher and staff appreciation meal, and providing basic school supplies. The year closes with Madonna Circle members assisting with a Field Day Party.

The Circle has a long tradition of fund raising for local charities or non-profit organization within the community. Various fund raisers from Fall Festivals, Summer Trees Home Tour and raffles at the Annual St. Peter Fourth of July Picnic were held. The longest running fund raiser was the prestigious Memphis Antiques Garden & Gourmet Show. Our fund raising achievements were recognized by the Memphis Chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives (NSFRE) by awarding the Crystal Award for philanthropy to Madonna Circle in 1998.

To see the charities and non-profits Madonna Circle has aided click on Recipients of Funds.