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Little Flowers serving a need

The Little Flowers Girls Club, an organization with a distinctly Catholic flavor, has taken root in several Omaha parishes over the last few years.

Caroline Niehaus of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Omaha describes herself as "a helper mom" with a group of 44 girls that includes her daughters Claire, 9, and Zelie, 6, and meets as an extra-curricular activity at the parish school.

Little Flowers, based on the spirituality of St. Therese, the "Little Flower" of Lisieux, is open to girls ages 5 and up, according to the organization’s website, and provides activities focusing on Catholic identity, service and socializing.

Founded about 20 years ago, the organization has its roots in a 1906 pamphlet titled "The Catholic Girls Guide to Spirituality" written by Father F.X. Lasance. The idea for a girls’ club centered on strong female saints and Catholic teaching grew up among Catholic homeschool mothers, and is part of Behold Publications by Ecce-Homo Press. The publishing house produces materials for the group, sold online, or locally at Adoremus Books in Omaha.

Other parishes that have begun Little Flowers groups over the last two or three years in the archdiocese include St. James, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. Philip Neri-Blessed Sacrament, all in Omaha.

Girls in Little Flowers work on projects they call "wreaths," composed of badges earned while studying Catholic virtues and a female saint that epitomizes that virtue. The badges form the shape of a wreath on their sashes.

For example, a meeting might focus on generosity and the example of St. Katherine Drexel, the daughter of a wealthy Philadelphia family who dedicated her life and fortune to charitable endeavors, while the virtue of mercy is exemplified by St. Faustina.

Older girls perform skits on the life of the saints, providing part of the fun that accompanies the learning, along with songs, crafts and service, said Niehaus.

One service project assisted the needy overseas, she said.

"The girls traced shoes on denim for a project our parish had for making soft-soled shoes for shoeless people in Africa," she said.

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