It was in 1939, when Cardinal McIntyre, then the Archbishop of New York, saw a large group of women leaving a Communist rally in Madison Square Gardens. At that moment he conceived the idea of a women’s organization to work with the Knights of Columbus. The New York State Council of the Knights appointed two men, Leo Coyle and Charles Maruca to formulate a plan for such an organization. They enlisted the aid of Judge Margaret Mary J. Mangan to assist them in their endeavor. The joint effort of these three persons resulted in the formation of the Columbiettes of New York Chapter. Expansion continued to New Jersey and in 1959 a Supreme Council of Columbiettes (consisting of New York and New Jersey) was organized. The Honorable Margaret Mary Josephine Mangan was elected as the first Supreme President. Today this organization has grown and is recognized as one of the most outstanding groups of dedicated Catholic women.
The purpose of the Columbiette Auxiliary is to work with the Knights of Columbus Council with which it is affiliated; to promote the spiritual, social, intellectual and economic welfare of its members. The Columbiettes may embrace any number of projects and charities of their own, always keeping in mind that these endeavors should never conflict with the Knights or Columbiette Order. The Columbiettes of Florida have been involved in the support of the unborn, battered and abused women and children and many other causes, just to name a few, in their areas for many years, as part of our State Project. We are supportive of the ideals of the Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus and the United States of America. We are spiritual, charitable, fraternal and patriotic.
All Catholic women, 17 years of age or older may join. We are not limited to relatives of the Knights of Columbus. Each candidate is sponsored by a Columbiette, Knight or a member of the Clergy. We have two Degrees. A First Degree admits us to membership in the Columbiette family. A Major Degree member is considered a full fledged participating member and is privileged to hold an office in the Order.
The Columbiettes are patterned similarly to the Knights of Columbus, operating on four levels: Supreme, State, Chapter and Auxiliary. Each Auxiliary is affiliated with a Council and each Council must approve of the formation of its own Auxiliary.
We have annual Conventions at both the State and Supreme level. At the State Convention all State Auxiliaries are represented. At the Annual Supreme Convention, elected delegates are sent to represent each State. Territories are represented by their respective Deputies. The Columbiettes are also the official sponsor of the Squirettes of Mary, a youth program for young ladies ages 10 – 17. This is similar to the Knights of Columbus’ Squire youth organization.
We have State Councils in Connecticut, Florida, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina. Our Territories are Canada, Delaware, Georgia, Pennsylvania and California.