100-year old organization is largest Catholic African-American group

  The North Central District V members of the Knights of Peter Claver and the Ladies Auxiliary celebrated Saint Peter Claver Day on Sept. 6, 2009. 

The celebration included a Mass and luncheon, which was hosted by the Councils and Courts of Avoyelles Parish. The Mass was celebrated at Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Marksville with Father August Thompson as the celebrant.

The themes of the celebration was “Building on the Strength from our Past: Taking Courage for our Future.”  The luncheon was held in the Holy Ghost Church Hall with Lady Michelle Jackson, the Louisiana State Deputy, Ladies Division, addressing the guests as speaker.

The Knights of Peter Claver was founded in 1909 as an organization to allow Negroes full membership in a Catholic fraternity. The organization was incorporated in 1911 at Mobile, Alabama.

The Church has given the Order such strong support through the years that it now boasts nearly 1,000 subordinate units of Catholic family members throughout the United States.

The goals and objectives of the Councils and Courts are

• to be a supporter to the local parishes and to the bishop of the diocese.

• to participate collectively in various parish and community activities.

• to promote civic improvement and social justice.

• to encourage Lay Apostolic and Catholic action

• to make contributions to worthwhile causes.

• to award scholarships and support education.

• to develop our youth in a positive, nuturing environment

• to provide social and intellectual fellowship for its members.

The Ladies’ Auxiliary was authorized and their Constitution adopted at Opelousas, Louisiana in August 1922; in the Constitution of the National Council, the Ladies’ Auxiliary was recognized as a Division of the National Council at Galveston, Texas in August 1926.

The organization is named after St. Peter Claver, a Jesuit priest and friend of the poor, who was born in 1581 in Verdu, Spain of noble and well-to-do parents. After becoming a Jesuit priest, he was assigned to Cartegena, Colombia, South America, a port that was part of the “Middle Passage,” where approximately 1,000 slaves landed every month. By the “Apostolate of Presence,” Father Claver proved himself a friend and advocate to these poor unfortunates.

Braving social ostracism, he administered to the ill, cleaning their wounds and feeding them. After 40 years of serving Christ and the poor, over 300,000 had embraced the Faith, responding to his language of love. From these, Father Claver formed an elite group to assist in the services to others. It is believed that these were the first real Knights and Ladies of St. Peter Claver. Peter Claver completed his stay on earth September 8, 1654. Pope Leo XIII declared him a saint January 15, 1888.

North Central District V Officers
President: Marjorie M. James,
Treasurer: Tommy Milo

Msgr. Henry A. Thompson Assembly #27
Faithful Navigator: Tommy Milo
Alexandria, LA

Bishop Desmond Council #91
Grand Knight: Joseph Augustine
Woodworth, LA

Holy Ghost Council #169
Grand Knight: Wilton Desselle
Marksville, LA

Our Lady of Prompt Succor #174
Grand Knight: Dale Demouy
Mansura, LA

Our Lady of Sorrows #202
Grand Knight: Sullivan Battiste
Bunkie, LA

St. Juliana Council #268
Grand Knight: Paul Deselle
Alexandria, LA


Bishop Daniel F. Desmond Court #91
Grand Lady: Mildred Price
Alexandria, LA

Holy Ghost Court #169
Grand Lady: Rose Jackson
Marksville, LA

Our Lady of Prompt Succor Court #174
Grand Lady: Julia Boston
Mansura, LA

Our Lady of Sorrows Court #202
Grand Lady: Bernice Pierre
Moreauville, LA

St. Juliana Court #268
President of N. Central District V and Grand Lady: Marjorie James
Alexandria, LA

St. Christopher Court #302
Grand Lady: Delores Batiste
Bunkie, LA