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Catholic Orders of Foresters
I. On 30 July, 1879, some members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A., desiring to have a Catholic fraternal insurance society, organized one on the plan of the Foresters' courts and called it the Massachusetts Catholic Order of Foresters. It was so chartered, and its membership was confined to the State of Massachusetts, except in one instance, where a court was formed at Providence, Rhode Island. On 1 January, 1909, the official report stated that there were 235 courts organized, with a membership of 27,757. Of the members 9679 were women. The insurance in force on 31 Dec., 1908, was $27,757,000.
II. On 24 May, 1883, a number of Catholics of Chicago, Illinois, taking up the plan of this Massachusetts society, organized on the same lines the Catholic Order of Foresters of Illinois. A flat all-around death assessment of one dollar was adopted, and men of all ages were admitted to membership at the same rate. Later, when courts were established in a number of other States and in Canada, an international convention in 1895 adopted a graded system of assessment insurance. Catholics between eighteen and forty-five years of age are eligible for membership. From the date of organization to 1 June, 1908, it paid out $10,639,936 for death claims, and $2,500,000 in funeral and sick benefits. It had in April, 1909, 1600 courts and a membership of 136,212 distributed over twenty-six States and the Dominion of Canada. The main offices are at Chicago, Illinois. The official organ, "The Catholic Forester", is published at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The word Illinois in the original title of the organization was dropped in 1888, as the membership had then extended beyond the limits of that State. This society is not affiliated with the Massachusetts Catholic Order of Foresters.
III. A Women's Catholic Order of Foresters was organized in 1892 at Chicago, having for its object benevolent co-operation among Catholic women with assessment life-insurance at low rates. It has a membership of 54,350, with courts scattered over many of the States. The main offices are at Chicago.
THOMAS F. MEEHAN.