Download List & Brief History Expanded History


1909 Guild of St. Radegone for Nurses (for students & graduates of recognized schools of nursing in Boston.

1924 International Catholic Guild of Nurses (ICGN) founded in June 1924 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Spiritual Director, Fr. Edward J. Garesche, S.J.

1933 1st International Committee of Catholic Nurses (now CICIAMS) met in Lourdes, France

1933 In the United States, a new constitution & bylaws of a “national character” were adopted by ICGN & the name changed to the “National Federation of Catholic Nurses.”

1935 2nd International Congress of Catholic Nurses (now CICIAMS) held in Rome
Pope Pius XI address, “After describing the important work of the Nurse, her lofty vocation and the preparation so necessary for the successful execution of her mission to the sick, His Holiness Pope Pius XI told the assembly that it was the duty of every Catholic nurse to belong to Catholic associations of nurses and to promote them in every way possible (excerpt from G. Cardinal Pizzardo’s 1937 letter to bishops).

1937 Excerpt from the Address of Pope Pius XI to the 3rd International Congress of Catholic Nurses:
“…The exercise of the profession of nurse is surely one of those which offer the greatest possibility for the apostolate, but we must not forget that the nurse, in the exercise of her profession, has to employ all sorts of technical means, and lives in a materialistic atmosphere, exposed to the danger of a limited interior piety only, dissociated from the profession and exterior practices enjoined by the Church. Furthermore, modern theories seek to penetrate the minds of Catholic nurses and to make them become unconsciously strong agents for the propagation of eugenics and neo-malthusianism. It is necessary, then, to protect them by means of Catholic Action, which has for one of its duties to sustain and fortify them in their professional and Christian formation.”
(Reference p25 Conference Report – Excerpt from Pope Pius XI address).

1937 3rd International Congress of Catholic Nurses (now CICIAMS) held in London.

1938 G. Cardinal Pizzardo shared the report from the 3rd International Congress of Catholic Nurses (now CICIAMS) and wrote each bishop expressing His Holiness Pope Pius XI’s desire “that ways and means be found to emphasize the necessity of bringing all Catholic nurses within the influence of Catholic Association of Nurses” and requested “In accordance with this wish of the Holy Father, It is most desirable, Your Excellency, that the Catholic nurses of the United States be gathered into one national association under the direction of the respective Ordinaries of the Hierarchy.” …”In keeping with the wish manifested in the words of His Holiness, that the Archbishops and Bishops should organize local associations of Catholic nurses according to the needs of their respective diocese, which in due time, under the guidance of the Hierarchy, might be united to create a National Federation of Catholic Nurses.”

Officers of the National Council of Catholic Nurses (NCCN) Years/Name/Diocese/Office
1940-1942 #1
Mary Kelly, Diocese of Detroit, President
Mary Gillen, New Orleans Diocese, 1st VP
Gertrude Meyer, Baltimore, 2nd V.P.
Jane O’Rourk, Milwaukee, Secretary
Anne Houck, Toledo, Treasurer

1942-1944 #2
Mary Kelly, Diocese of Detroit, President
Mary Gillen, New Orleans Diocese, 1st VP
Gertrude Meyer, Baltimore, 2nd V.P.
Jane O’Rourk, Milwaukee, Secretary
Anne Houck, Toledo, Treasurer

1944-1946 #3
Anne V. Houck, Toledo, President
Gertrude Meyer, Baltimore, 1st V.P.
Estella Mann, Los Angeles, 2nd V.P.
Jane O’Rourk, Milwaukee, Secretary
Clare Casey, New York, Treasurer

May 20, 1946 Albany Diocese Council of Catholic Nurses forms under the auspices of Bishop Edmond F. Gibbons (260 members from 3 area deaneries)

1946-1948 #4
Anne V. Houck, Toledo, President (resigned 1947)
Estella Mann, Los Angeles, 1st V.P. (Appointed President 1947)
Rose Mary Maley Rochester, 2nd V.P.
Anne Dugan, Indianapolis, Secretary
Gertrude Meyer, Baltimore, Treasurer

1948-1950 #5
Estella Mann, Los Angeles, President
Rose Mary Maley, Rochester, 1st V.P.
Mary Baker, Denver, 2nd V.P.
Mary Knopp, Cleveland, Secretary (completed unexpired term of Anna Burns)
Gertrude Meyer, Baltimore, Treasurer

1950-1952 #6
Estella Mann, Los Angeles, President
Catherine Dempsey, Boston, 1st V.P.
Mary Kelly, Detroit, 2nd V.P.
Mary Knopp, Cleveland, Secretary
Clare Casey, New York, Treasurer

1952-1954 #7
Catherine Dempsey, Boston, President
Mary Sweeney, Washington, 1st V.P.
Adeline Braun, Louisville, 2nd V.P.
Helen Carroll, St. Paul, Secretary
Helen Coleman, Brooklyn, Treasurer

July 26, 1954 Cardinal Stritch launched the new Chicago local council: CCNAC-Council of Catholic Nurses Archdiocese of Chicago, combining three separate Catholic Nurses groups that existed in Chicago.

1954-1956 #8
Catherine Dempsey, Boston, President
Mary Knopp, Washington, 1st V.P.
Adeline Braun, Cleveland, 2nd V.P.
Helen Murphy, Detroit, Secretary (Resigned 1955)
Alyce Rooney, Syracuse, Treasurer

1956-1958 #9
Mary Knopp, Washington, President
Marie Costello, Chicago, 1st V.P.
Mary Delehanty, Brooklyn, 2nd V.P.
Myrtle Cavanaugh, San Francisco, Secretary
Alyce Rooney, Syracuse, Treasurer

1960-1962 #10
Marie Costello, Chicago, President
Mary Delehanty, Brooklyn, 1st V.P.
Helen Reetz, Dubuque, 2nd V.P.
Katherine Fitzgerald, Milwaukee, Secretary
Irene Duffy, Baltimore, Treasurer

1962-1964 #11
Marie Costello, Chicago, President
Mary Delehanty, Brooklyn, 1st V.P.
Mary McClanahan, Covington, 2nd V.P.
Vera Mellor, Washington, Secretary
Irene Duffy, Baltimore, Treasurer

1964-1966 #12
Mary Delehanty, Brooklyn, President
Helen Reetz, Dubuque, 1st V.P.
Ruth Vanisky, Los Angeles, 2nd V.P.
Vera Mellor, Washington, Secretary
Helen Baggot, St. Paul, Treasurer

1966-1969 #13
Mary Delehanty, Brooklyn, President

1969-1970 #14
Mary Anita McHugh, President NCCN, USA

1970 — NCCN-USA disbanded

1970-1993 — Local Councils continue to flourish in Albany, NY; Chicago, Illinois & other locations in the U.S.A.

1993 — National Association of Catholic Nurses-USA formed

1993-1996 #1 Eula Sforza, RN

1996-1998 #2 Marylee Meehan, President

1998-2000 #3 Marlene Rasmussen, President

2000-2002 #4 Diana Newman, EdD, RN, President

2001 Formation of the MidSouth Area Association of Catholic Nurses (MSAACN), Diocese of Memphis

2002-2004 #5 Sookie Domingues-Escadon, RN, President (University of Texas Health Sciences SON)

2004-2006 #6 Thomas Connelly, RN, President

2006-2008 #7 Amy Hickman, RN, President

2008-2010 #8 Kathy Kirkpatrick, RN, President

2010-2012 #9 Cheryl Hettman, PhD, RN, President

2012-2014 #10 Alma Abuelouf, BSN, RN, Memphis, President

2014-2016 #11 Diana Newman, EdD, RN, President

2016-2017 #12 Jane Cardea, PhD, RN, President (resigned 24Feb2017)

2017-2018 #13 Diana Ruzicka, RN, MSN, MA, MA, CNS-BC, COL, U.S. Army Retired, President (as President-Elect assumed presidency 24Feb17)

Revised 3/17/2017 DLR – Please email local council formation dates to CatholicNurses@nacn-usa.org.