The society was given the directive to procure items for the altar for the celebration of mass. One hundred and forty-five years later, the Guild still provides all kinds of services to the church and local community.
This weekend on Nov. 14 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Guild will present its annual Christmas Bazaar. This is one of two large fundraisers offered every year by the group. The bazaar includes handmade items and decorations, as well as Terri Lynn nuts, Rada cutlery and a quilt raffle.
In May 1866, the parish moved into the Old School Presbyterian Church building, where it is still located today. The ladies of St. Paul continued with fundraising activities and the planning of social events for the parish and community.
The Guild held a festival at the Opera House in early October of that year, which proved to be a great success. They netted $522. The fair gradually expanded to six days by 1888 and with $855 raised.
An early Banner newspaper article reported, "The Catholic fairs are always successful on account of the energy and enthusiasm displayed by the members of that church, and the one last week was not an exception.
In 1882, funds were raised to begin the construction of a small building to house a new school. In 1886, the parish priest determined a larger parochial school building was needed. He secured the deed to property and asked the Sisters of Providence to build a school.
The Saint Paul Academy was completed in 1887. For 22, years the school provided elementary education for Catholic and non-Catholic children as well a business and commercial courses. Music, painting and craft courses were included in the curriculum, along with private lessons.
The Academy closed in 1921 and was sold in 1922. It was eventually used as the Whitaker Funeral Home.
The little school building just east of the church became "The Chapel" and the nuns used it for their own chapel from 1915 to 1922. From 1934 to 1938, the Altar Guild had projects such as rummage sales, food markets, bingo, card parties, lawn socials, picture shows, ice cream socials, raffles and bazaars to help support the little chapel.
In 1941, the building was completely restored and used as an assembly hall.
The ladies of the society often met in their own homes, where they planned activities such the Christmas bazaars, taffy pulls, fairs and pie sales. They sponsored a picture show called "The White Sister" on Jan. 24, 1925 at the Opera House.
In July 1925, they held an ice cream social on the church lawn and created "A Mile of Pennies" by placing 16 coins in a row to measure out to one foot. These were collected in envelopes until the total came to $844.80.
With the profits from their fund-raising activities, the ladies assisted in a great variety of projects. They provided altar linens, candles, sanctuary lamps, incense, altar wine, cassocks and surplices and paid to have the church cleaned.
They provided new music for the choir and linoleum for the choir loft. They furnished the rectory guest room and provided linens, dishes and kitchen utensils for the rectory.
In 1938, they provided half of the funds used to improve church property, including new wiring, light fixtures and other renovations.
The society renamed itself in 1942 as the "St. Paul's Church Guild of Catholic Ladies." They became affiliated with the Greencastle Council of Clubs in 1943. During World War II, they collected $150 to purchase a mass kit for a military chaplain.
In 1947, the Guild began helping Father Francis Kull in his duties as the first chaplain of the newly organized Newman Club at DePauw University. Guild members donated money, gave Communion breakfasts and dinners for students and acted as chaperones at their social functions. In return, the Newman members helped the guild with projects.
A subsidiary organization for the Guild was formed called the Fatima Rosary Group in 1956. This group became the founder of the current Fatima Retreat House by raising $1,000 in five years for Fatima's building campaign.
The Guild's name was again revised in 1964 to The Women's Guild of St. Paul's Church. A few years later, they began preparing funeral meals for the families of deceased parishioners.
Although the parish hall was the hub of much of their activity, the Guild held its bazaars in the National Guard Armory, the Northeast School (now Tzouanakis), in a house across the street from the church and the Putnam County fairgrounds.
In 1986, a sample quilt was made and raffled at the Heritage Preservation Fair in downtown Greencastle. That same year they put together a cookbook and began selling it. In 1995, they added Terri Lynn Nuts to their bazaar and continue selling them today.
As the years passed, they organized receptions, farewell parties and jubilee celebrations for the priests who served at St. Paul's. They continued their fundraising activities, sponsored monthly coffee socials, provided funds for flowers and bought and maintained a pamphlet rack in the back of the church.
Today they continue many of their original activities, including offering masses for members of the Guild, parking lot rentals and an annual mother-daughter brunch.
In addition to the bazaar, they also have two rummage sales each year. Money from their events supports Catholic Charities and mission work as well as providing cheer cards, funeral dinners, meals for families in need, student suppers once a month and the collection of socks and underwear all year for the Terre Haute Christmas Store.
For information about the upcoming bazaar this Saturday contact Suzanne Tzouanakis at 653-6720.