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Saint Mary’s students celebrate feast day

Megan O'Neil | Tuesday, December 9, 2003

Saint Mary’s students celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception with a special dinner, mass and reception Monday. The scheduled events came as part of a new movement on campus to increase devotion to Mary, the College’s patroness.

In an effort to build up awareness for the Feast, a day of holy obligation for Catholics, student government posted signs around campus reminding students to honor the holy day of their patron saint. Students were encouraged to dress in the color blue, the symbolic color of Mary, as a sign of solidarity and were given blue ribbons to wear.

Inspiration for the celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception came from such religious celebrations in years past in the Saint Mary’s community.

“We actually just got the idea for the event because we were going through some old stuff,” said admissions commissioner Katie Harrison, “and we found that the Immaculate Conception is the patron saint of Saint Mary’s.”

Adapting old religious college traditions for the student body today has not been easy, however.

“You have to make it relevant to students, because something we had in the 50’s might not work today,” said Mission Commissioner Leah Holden-Corbett.

She added that there had been a traditionally strong devotion to Mary at the College in the past, and annual events such as the Madonna Night and May Day were quite popular. In recent years this interest had begun to wane.

“It is something that has been lost over the more recent years at Saint Mary’s,” she said.

In applying for her student government position, Holden-Corbett hoped that it was something she would be able to change. She and other board members explored ways in which to revitalize interest in the saint. The first step towards this goal, she said, was to honor Mary on her feast day in a way that students of today would enjoy.

“We are trying to unite the school in new ways that pertain to students in present days but still maintain the devotion that we had in the past,” Holden-Corbett said.