‘Sisters in Christ': Durham woman is national director of Catholic Daughters
The Catholic Daughters of the Americas, a century-old Catholic women’s organization of 75,000 members, recently re-elected its national director, and she lives in Durham. Sheila Storey begins her second two-year term for the charitable group that has chapters – called courts – across the country. Storey is part of the Durham Court, which is based at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.
Storey knows Immaculate Conception Catholic well. She grew up in Durham when the Catholic community was much smaller, and there were just two Catholic churches in Durham compared to four today. She and her husband, Jim, first met as students at Immaculata, the school at Immaculate Conception, and they were married in Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in 1966. They moved away for a decade when he was in the Army, then returned home.
Storey joined Catholic Daughters at Immaculate Conception in 1993, as their youngest son was leaving home for college. She attended a meeting with her late mother-in-law, and knew many of the women already from church events. Storey got busy in Catholic Daughters right away, while still working at UNC School of Medicine as a clinical administrator. In CDA, she has held every local and state position except treasurer.
She has continued to enjoy Catholic Daughters, she said, because of “the fellowship of the women and what we mean to each other, and support each other.” Storey has survived breast cancer twice. Her mother died from it. A member of Catholic Daughters invited Storey to lunch with other breast cancer survivors, which was what she needed.
“It was just a fellowship, an extended family. And it’s still that way,” she said. Storey said there’s camaraderie in the group of intergenerational women.
They work together raising money for Urban Ministries of Durham’s community kitchen, and over the past year have contributed to the American Red Cross, Durham Nativity School, Durham Crisis Response Center, Caring House at Duke, Masonic Home for Children in Oxford and Diaper Bank of Durham. Religious projects have included making rosaries for the military, white ribbons against pornography, and saying the rosary for deceased members, CDA Sunday and Immaculate Conception church and Immaculata School. CDA provides scholarships, too.
Catholic Daughters is a 501(c)3 nonprofit with the motto, “Unity and Charity.” Being national director means Storey serves on CDA’s national board that includes the regent. CDA’s national projects include disaster relief, Habitat for Humanity, the Smile Train and Catholic Relief Services among other charities. Catholic Daughters was founded in 1903, and the Durham Court began in 1951. CDA’s patron saint is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Catholic Daughters in Durham has about 70 women members, and meets monthly. They’re currently on summer hiatus.
Storey said being involved with Catholic Daughters has enriched her faith.
“I think if I had not had my faith, I wouldn’t have done as well battling cancer twice. Also, in grad school I was hit by a car at UNC. I worry about young people who don’t have a sense of something greater than they are, because I firmly believe in that,” she said.
“We’re the children of God and sisters in Christ,” Storey said.
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