The FIRST CATHOLIC SLOVAK LADIES ASSN., a fraternal benefit society with national headquarters located at 24950 Chagrin Boulevard in BEACHWOOD, was established by Anna Hurban and eight Slovak women with $77 in assets at ST. LADISLAUS CHURCH in 1892. In 1905, the association formed a youth division, and in 1914, it started a newspaper, Zenska Jednota, or "Fraternally Yours." By 1922, the association began to contribute regularly to Slovak educational and religious institutions, donating $5,000 to the Matica Skolska fund to build Slovak schools in Cleveland and other cities. Between 1922 and 1935, it contributed more than $100,000 to Slovak schools and religious institutions. The association also spent more than $100,000 in 1929 to build its first headquarters at 3756 Lee Road in SHAKER HTS.
By 1935, the association had more than 62,500 members nationally; Cleveland had twenty-five senior lodges with 3,769 members and thirteen junior chapters with 1,870 members. By its 75th anniversary in 1967, the association had 103,792 members nationwide in 900 branches, and assets totaling more than $40 million. In 1968, the association dedicated a new national headquarters at its present location near the VILLA SANCTA ANNA HOME FOR THE AGED, which it had built in 1960.
The association continues to provide financial support for Slovak and Catholic agencies and institutions. In 2007 the association was the largest extant Slovak fraternal society in the U.S. and Canada, with 88,000 members in 458 branches in the two countries. Administered by a 13-member Board of Directors, the association in 2007 had over $493 million in assets and 113,000 insurance certificates in force. The national president was Mary Ann S. Johanek.