Daughters of Isabella
The Daughters of Isabella, named for Queen St. Isabella of Portugal, is a female auxiliary to the Knights of Columbus. It was founded in 1897 and had 100,000 members in 1994.
Much of the work of the Daughters of Isabella is praiseworthy — work with the Red Cross, blood banks, and so on — while some is a matter of opinion (they are strongly opposed to legal abortion) and some is engagingly eccentric, such as a prolonged campaign to have the birthday of Queen St. Isabella (April 22) proclaimed an American national holiday.
As an organization, it has several unusual qualities. It is not like most auxiliaries, because women (aged 16 - 59) are admitted in their own right instead of as appendages to their menfolk, who belong to a male-only organization. There is no life insurance, only a funeral benefit fund, and perhaps most surprisingly, there are genuine rituals, with quarterly passwords and more — a most un-Catholic undertaking.