Saint Mary's celebrates Day of the Dead
By KATIE MILLER
Led by candles and hand bells, a procession of members of the Saint Mary's community made its way through Queen of Peace Cemetery, stopping to visit the graves of Saint Mary's departed as part of the celebration of El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Thursday.
First visited was the grave of Mother Pauline, college president from 1895-1931. During her years as president, Mother Pauline built the infirmary, Holy Cross Hall and LeMans hall.
"When Mother Pauline came to Saint Mary's, there was no college, only an academy. She put Saint Mary's at the collegiate level. She built Holy Cross Hall when there were only 200 students at Saint Mary's," said Sister Gertrude Ann. "Mother Pauline had deep faith and an acceptance of God's will."
Mother Madeleva's grave was visited next. According to Ann, Madeleva came to Saint Mary's as a transfer student. After she graduated, she received her master's degree in English from Notre Dame. She then went on to become the first religious woman to attend Berkeley where she received her doctorate. She was later the president of Saint Mary's for 27 years.
"She continued the building program and was well known abroad. Madeleva founded the school of theology, the first place in the country where women could study the subject," said Ann. "She had the ability to dream and the capacity for hard work."
After visiting the graves of the two former presidents, the procession completed their celebration in LeMans outside of Stapleton around an ofrenda (altar) that was constructed with pictures and cards with names of deceased family and friends.
Members of the Saint Mary's community who died in the past year were remembered. Nancy Fallon, editor of the Courier, was remembered by friends as a woman of simplicity, grace, and understated beauty. Kristi Morris, a senior last year who died in a car accident on spring break, was also commemorated.
Mary was a model for Morris, said friend Judy Fee, who was in attendance at the procession. "She was not afraid to talk about her faith. She led many to God; her spirit lives on at Saint Mary's."
The celebration was concluded with song and prayer.
"I think its beautiful that so many people from Saint Mary's community could come and pray today," said junior Monica Mendoza. "Today was a different look at life; death is a part of life."
Day of the dead organizer Evelyn Gonzalez was pleased with the celebration.
"I thought the turnout was good; the altar was full. Death is universal; it doesn't have to be a cultural event. It was nice to share with the community," said Gonzalez.
All News Stories for Friday, November 3, 2000