WHAT WERE THEY 7 A recent 'coition of St. Joan's Alliance was addressed by Mrs. Meyer, once a parish assistant in Germany, who said that parish assistants consisted of laywomen, to whom a few young nuns were eventually added; these weic formed soon after the 191418 wai to help tile parish plies's. Sent al hundred parish assistants were active in the early 'thitties, and since they were protected by the Concordat their organisation remained for borne years intact.
They were the outcome On the one hand of the sense of public responsibility awakened in German Catholic women by the grant to them of the vote io 1919, and on the other hand of the parish priests great need for help in post-war Germany, with its problems of unemployment. a fluctuating industrial population. and the rising dangers of neo-Paganism.
Many of the parish assistants were the widows and spinsters who arc a legacy of war. They were paid at the same rates as elementary school teachers. All of them had received a general education up to a high fitted standard, and also a special training for their duties. These were to be sectetaries to the parish priests, whom the authorities charged with much clerical woik of many kinds, to keep in touch with the Catholic organisations, acting as their leaders or advisers, to give I eligious instruction to children, and to do other appropriate work arising in particular localities or circumstances.
As much as they could, they kept faith and courage alive in the Catholic population of Germany. They worked both in the Catholic districts 'Ind among the Catholic minority in Pro
testant districts. Increasingly their work was welcomed by the parish priests.