On a weekend road trip, far away from home, you stumble upon a garage sale in a neighborhood you’re passing through. Astonished, you find an object among the belongings for sale that you recognize. Tell us about it.
Photographers, share an image that says MEMORY.
I normally don’t go to garage sales. I have enough junk of my own at home. I don’t need to bring home any more junk to supplement the junk I already have. But today, I decided to stop at a garage sale. As I was pawing through the junk in this particular garage, I stumbled across something that caught my attention and drew me back. Far back many years to my youth. It was a medal on a blue ribbon.
I used to have this very same medal on the very same blue ribbon. It was the medal of the Society of Mary. It was a Miraculous Medal on a light blue ribbon. In my high school, this was a very important society. This society helped with all things pertaining to the chapel. There were two levels in the Society. The novices had a medal on a light green ribbon. The full members wore a medal on a light blue ribbon. It is the medal on the light blue ribbon that I found.
The Society of Mary was important to the religious life of our school. We were the caretakers of the school chapel. We cleaned the chapel in our school and arranged the flowers. We set out the vestments for the priest to say Mass in the morning. They had to be laid out in a particular order. We were responsible for doing this. The correct color vestments had to be set out, of course, according to the particular saint’s feast day. The under-vestments had to be clean and pressed. We were responsible for washing and ironing the vestments, too.
We were also in charge of the chapel in the sister’s home, the convent. We had to lay out the vestments for the priest in their chapel and keep their chapel neat and clean. We arranged the flowers for their chapel as well. Their chapel was also our responsibility.
Although at that time the Catholic Church did not allow for girls to be altar servers, we girls in the Society of Mary acted as altar servers to the priest at morning Mass. I guess the Vatican didn’t know about that. We also set out the communion things at both our school chapel and the sister’s chapel. After Mass, we washed and put away the communion things and put away the priest’s vestments. We tidied up the chapels after the services and made everything nice and neat.
We also organized prayer services in the chapel for various reasons. We would type up the different services on the mimeograph machine and distribute the copies to the girls who came to the services. Some were penance services, some were thanksgiving services, some were services of petition. Some were praise services. Each May we would hold a service honoring Mary as Queen of the May. We would crown the statue of Mary with a beautiful crown of flowers. The president of the Society of Mary would crown the statue as everyone sang hymns.
The girls from the Society of Mary also marched in the parades that the city held and that the school marched in. The Society would march together as a subset of the school wearing our medals. The big parade was May Day, on May 1. Everyone would march and pray the Rosary on the walk down the parade route. The younger girls wearing their green ribbons would march in front and the older girls wearing their blue ribbons would march behind them.
It was an honor to be in the Society of Mary. You had to be of good character and have recommendations from the sisters and the priests at the school. I remember fondly performing my duties in the Society of Mary. I was conscientious and loved taking care of the chapels. I wore my medal as a badge of honor. It was lovely seeing this medal again.