Building a Culture of Life With Fidelis and Fraternus

Fidelis (for girls) and Fraternus (for boys) bring teens in contact with faithful Catholic mentors

‘Monstrance’ (photo: Sidney de Almeida / Shutterstock)

What is your solution to abortion on demand now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned? Several bishops, priests and lay Catholic leaders have asked us to ask ourselves this question now that the Supreme Court has overturned this major ruling.

To this day, I am grateful for the good words of encouragement and the example of the women in my life when I was a young teen. I am also aware that many teenagers, both then and now, also have good, faith-filled women in their lives who provide these similar good examples, but who may increasingly be timid about openly sharing bold perspectives on issues now commonly accepted as the way to behave.

Subtly, the expanse of the brash liberal agenda has made us more coy about what we can discuss frankly, and in how much detail. It is in this quiet acceptance of increasing hedonism that Fidelis shines as a bright light for young teenagers trying to learn the virtues.

Fidelis is an organization founded to bring young girls in contact with faithful Catholic mentors. Its website outlines its mission as forming “girls — heart, mind, body and soul — into a sisterhood of mature, virtuous disciples of Christ through the witness of Catholic women.” Together with its male counterpart Fraternus, the girls attending Fidelis have mentors in the faith whom they get to know and trust in a small-group setting — mentors from whom they can learn how to live as a disciple of Christ in our increasingly secular world. And all discussions are preceded by sharing a meal and a game played together with the mentors in the school gym.

In our Fidelis meetings, we have been discussing the cardinal virtues of prudence, fortitude, justice and temperance. In discussing justice, we reviewed with the teenagers the fact that we owe respect to God first and foremost. On each meeting night, one mentor gives a prepared “King’s Message” on a specific aspect of a particular virtue to discuss in our small groups. These talks presented to all members provide material for more detailed examination between the girls and the mentors they’ve gotten to know best in their own small groups.

Fidelis also focuses on prayer throughout its meetings. All of us pray together before our meal; we pray before a mentor gives the King’s Message; we pray before starting our small-group discussions. Most importantly, we end every Fidelis night by saying Night Prayer and singing the Salve Regina together during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in our parish church. And it is a real blessing to have our parish priest close our evenings as we say the Divine Praises together. Does it get any better than teenage boys and girls making this night part of their weekly routine?

I want to have courage to help end the cycle of abortion on demand. It is harder to solve the problem of a crisis pregnancy after a child has been conceived than before a young girl becomes sexually active. What a blessing for teenagers in our openly liberal society to have devout Catholic women they can trust and talk to openly through the Fidelis meetings. Young girls need the good examples of wives and mothers, including their own mothers. They also need to see women living chaste and devout lives in other vocations.

I am praying that more Catholic parishes will start Fidelis and Fraternus chapters and let our good words directly and positively affect teenage boys and girls.