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It was April 18, 1917, and a mere 12 days after the US officially declared war. The US Catholic bishops pledged their support and that of all American Catholics to the war effort, galvanizing
women from across the country and leading to the formation of the National Catholic War Council. Nationwide there were more than 5,000 Catholic women’s organizations—organizations that would eventually become the first NCCW affiliates. As he called for a unified voice for women across the nation, Fr John Cooper, the Chairman of the Committee of Order at the first gathering, stated, “I do not
know of any better way in which we can develop our leadership.” And so, in the same year that American women earned the right to vote, the NCCW was born when nearly 200 Catholic women from around the country assembled on March 4,1920 in Washington, D.C., to unite and fortify their efforts in service to God and the Church! An NCCW History—1920-2020 will bring you all this—and more—as we enter our centennial year!