About Us

A Brief History of Our Lady's Catechists

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Our Lady Seat of Wisdom

  • Our Lady’s Catechists was founded in 1923 when Cardinal Bourne asked Margaret Fletcher, Foundress of the Catholic Women’s League, to help with the instruction of those children who were not at Catholic schools and who, at that time, had little hope of instruction in their Faith.
  • Two years later there were 52 trained catechists and an equal number in training. For members at a distance from the training centre a course by correspondence was prepared and approved by the Hierarchy. Members passing an examination at the end of the course were given a certificate of competence to teach.
  • In 1931 a standing committee of Our Lady’s Catechists was established and in 1956 became a committee of the Catholic Women’s League, with a representative of every Diocesan branch of the CWL. Our Lady’s Catechists was financed by the donation of Associate Members. By this time there were 111 members teaching 1,000 children. A Postal Course was prepared to meet the needs of children living at a distance from a Catholic school. In 1950 the work was extended to parts of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
  • In 1960 the OLC Certificate was recognised by the Hierarchy and the Bishops agreed to countersign the certificates. At the request of Cardinal Heenan men were included in OLC. A new Postal Course of Home Study with a corresponding tutor was produced and became known as the Diploma course.
  • In 1976 Qualified Teachers of (Catholic) Religion were invited to receive special membership of OLC, subject to a period of probation.
  • In 1980 in response to the increasing demand from priests for parish catechists, and from parents and others who wanted to update their knowledge of Scripture and Doctrine after Vatican II, the Foundation Course, a postal course, was started. Certificates were awarded after successful examination and countersigned by the Bishop. Our Lady’s Catechists was invited and agreed to organise and run the Service through Religious Education (Roman Catholic) for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
  • Between 1986 and 1998 Our Lady's Catechists became an Associate member of the National Board of Religious Inspectors and Advisors, (NBRIA), and co-operated with the National Project.
  • Today we also offer Catholicism made Simple and Mysteries of the Chrisian Life courses.

Our Work

The work of OLC is organised as a Special Committee of the Catholic Women’s League but membership is not restricted to members of the League. Both men and women may join. The service offered is complementary to the religious education provision in each diocese. All the courses we offer are correspondence courses and fees are kept to a minimum. We also offer resources for children. Our work is voluntary throughout. Catechist members pay no subscriptions, though many generously give a donation. OLC depends on donations and subscriptions to cover necessary expenses.

Our People

Each of our courses is supervised by a Registrar who handles applications and allocates students to tutors. You can see a list of these on our Contacts Page, which also lists others with significant roles that support the operation of OLC. We also have the services of Father Harry Curtis , who is our Director of Studies and Spiritual Director.