The History of The Knights and St. Agnes Council
History of the Order:
The Knights of Columbus started at Saint Mary’s Church, 1882, in New Haven Connecticut. Father Michael J. McGivney and a group of men were motivated to found the Knights of Columbus because of the tragic needs of Catholic families of deceased men in the community. They realized that the first duty of a catholic husband and father was to his family – to care for their needs while alive and, to his best ability, to provide for their care at the time of his death. Father McGivney and his lay associates recognized that ordinary commercial insurance premiums then being charged were far beyond the income of the average working man and something had to be done to formulate a non-profit organization which could provide low cost insurance.
Today, more than 125 years after the founding of the Knights of Columbus, Catholic families of our members in the United States and Canada are protected by over 21 billion dollars of Knights of Columbus Insurance. Translated into social responsibilities it means that thousands of Catholic families can be kept together – that thousands of catholic mothers can remain in the home to raise their children – that thousands of Catholic boys and girls may be educated – that clothing, food and shelter can be provided to keep their homes intact and the families healthy. It means that tens of thousands can maintain a Catholic home life without becoming dependent upon charity groups.
History of St. Agnes Council:
In early 1957, District Deputy John P. Francis, with the approval of Monsignor Maurice W. Roche, Pastor of Saint Agnes Parish, began the tedious task of organizing a new Knights of Columbus Council in the Catonsville-Woodlawn section of Baltimore County. District Deputy Francis sought out and appointed C. Leslie Colliflower as Chairman of the organizing committee. The first organizational meeting was held in the St. Agnes Parish School hall. The turnout was so successful that State Deputy Charles B. Humelsine immediately concluded that those in attendance had the enthusiasm and makings for a new council. Additional meetings were held mainly to increase the charter membership. At one meeting the District Deputy, with the able assistance of State and Supreme Officers, gave a detailed explanation of the works and purposes of the Knights of Columbus.
Reaching the point of sixty-three charter members, the new council officially sprang into existence on June 24, 1957, with the granting, by the Supreme Council, of a Charter designating the group as Council No. 4449. The first official meeting of Council 4449 was held on July 15, 1957, under the direction of District Deputy Francis. Prior to opening the meeting for business, the Degree Team of Madonna Council #3964 exemplified the First Degree of our Order upon 45 candidates. Following the degree ceremony the first order of business was the election of council officers. Because of his energetic and dynamic leadership, C. Leslie Colliflower, better known as “Les” Colliflower, was unanimously elected as our first Grand Knight. Other officers were elected and brother Herbert F. Behrens, Jr. was appointed by the Supreme Knight, as was and still is customary, to fill the office of Financial Secretary. The new officers were officially installed in an impressive ceremony conducted by District Deputy Francis on July 29, 1957, at the home of Patapsco Council #1960. Over 36 visiting Grand Knights, District Deputies, Fourth Degree, and State Officers were present. Sir Knight John F. Nagel, Jr., then Master of the Fourth Degree, District of Maryland, presented the Council with a beautiful crucifix and a complete National and Papal flag set. These gifts were blessed by Msgr. Roche at the Council’s meeting of October 14, 1957. This same crucifix and Papal flag are still in use and on display in our Council chamber.
On September 29, 1957, our first corporate communion Mass was held at St. Agnes Church with breakfast following at the Franklintown Inn. Over 80% of the membership was in attendance. At the invitation of Grand Knight Colliflower, Msgr. Roche accepted the appointment as the Council’s first Chaplain. The first edition of the council’s monthly newsletter was published on October 1, 1957. It was called “The St. Agnes Council Letter”. Although the name has changed, it has nevertheless been continuously distributed monthly to the membership. Proposed by-laws were first presented to the membership on October 14, 1957. After a minimum of discussion they were unanimously approved and forwarded to the Supremem Council for final approval and printing. With very few changes or additions, these are the same by-laws that govern the council today. To stimulate the possibility of obtaining our own Council home, Trustee Walt Wheeler made a motion at the meeting of May 26, 1958, that a committee be appointed by Grand Knight Colliflower to look into the forming of a home corporation. This was the beginning of what is now known as Stagco Corporation.
In 2007 the council celebrated its 50th Anniversary. The following is from our Supreme Knight Carl A Anderson on the occasion
This year in 2017 we celebrate our 60th Anniversary