Sunday, August 22, 2010

SOMETHING BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL AT ST. MARY’S

After hard rains yesterday, Sunday on The Mountain has been one of sunshine and perky flowers following a long drought. We attended Sunday Eucharist at Saint Mary’s where the singing seemed to take on more volume and lilt from the sun streaming through the window behind the altar.

As I walked down the hall toward the breakfast room, I noticed a new bookmark bearing the words of one of my favorite hymns: “All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.” The words, embellished by butterflies, flowers, and a gray rabbit, seemed to match the weather and the mood of the morning. Sister Mary Demetria, a former Sister (now deceased), created the original designs for all of the bookmarks lying on the hall table; however, nowadays the coloring of replications of Sister Mary's original designs, for which there are plates, is the handiwork of Sister Margaret. The bookmarks provide another means of raising funds for the upkeep of Saint Mary’s Convent, along with Sr. Miriam’s unique Anglican rosaries and Sister Madeline Mary’s nature photographs. I talked with Sister Margaret after the service and found that she not only paints the designs on bookmarks, she is a champion at cross stitch. With typical self-deprecation, she added that Sister. Miriam’s handiwork is beautiful and that she knits baby clothing and other garments.

On a small table across the hall from the Sisters’ handiwork lay a new book entitled SAINT MARY’S: THE SEWANEE SISTERS AND THEIR SCHOOL by James Waring De Bernieres McCrady. Saint Mary’s School at Sewanee was one of Sewanee’s three boarding preparatory schools before it was closed in 1968. An interesting feature of McCrady’s book is the story of the Southern Province of the Community of Saint Mary, which was the first Episcopal religious order in the U.S. He traces the evolution of Saint Mary’s at Sewanee Convent and School from 1823 to 2010 and enhances the book with photographs taken from the University of the South Archives. This is a definitive history of both the Order and Saint Mary’s School and is a well-told story.

I’ve included pictures of some of the bookmarks colored by Sister Margaret, and the cover of McCrady’s book, which should be on the shelves of all Sewaneeans who love The Mountain and its various institutions.  Those interested in obtaining a copy can order from The Sewanee Trust for Historic Preservation, P. O. Box 21, Sewanee, TN 37375.  Also, Saint Mary's Convent has copies. 
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