Monday, August 20, 2012

A prayer for students

Downtown students pray in what is now the Gillin Conference Room. 
The 'stained glass' is painted onto the black and white print.
GAILE KRAUSE OF OUR WONDERFUL Campus Ministry team sent out a thoughtful meditation for  the start of the 2012-2013 academic year:
O God, in your wisdom and love,you surround us with the mysteries of the universe. Look upon us all -- always students, always teachers -- and help us enjoy our learning and take delight in new discoveries. Help us to persevere in our studies and desire to learn all things well. May you walk with us this year, and enlighten our hearts and our minds. Amen.
Prayer is what made Mount St. Mary's College: the CSJs' prayers for funding and resources to open a new college on a bare, chaparral-covered hilltop; prayers for safety and deliverance from the Bel Air Fire in 1961; prayers of thanksgiving for benefactors, prayers for students and their families and loved ones. 

We thought an appropriate picture for today's blog would be another marking the Doheny Campus' 50th Anniversary. Three young ladies -- in the required chapel veils of the day -- kneel on prie dieux in what appears to be a chapel with stained glass. The photo was taken in the early 1960s.

A not-very-close look reveals that the "stained glass" was painted in by a newspaper artist, who also altered the rounded shape of the upper part of the window to make it look "Gothic." The photo was evidently published, but it's not known in which newspaper. (Mount events were frequently publicized in the Los Angeles Times, Herald-Examiner and The Tidings.)

The untouched window identifies the room as what is now known as the Gillin Conference Room in No. 10 Chester Place. In the first years of the Downtown Campus, a chapel where students and faculty could attend Mass or stop by to pray was every bit as important as classrooms or a dining hall (as was, indeed, the case in the early days at Chalon). The makeshift chapel sufficed for more than 20 years, until Mercy Chapel was dedicated in 1984.

While chapel veils have gone the way of daily Mass on campus, prayer still makes the Mount go. Our two chapels, Mary and Mercy, often have a student occupant or two in quiet reflection between classes -- more during finals week.

Visitors often remark that the Mount campuses have a special "feeling." It's our opinion that they're picking up on the prayer vibe.
O God, may you walk with us this year, and enlighten our hearts and our minds. Amen.

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