Thoughts from Sister Joanne...

Cassie Bendel

Posted on June 10 2021

It may technically be summer break, but we received some notes from Sister Joanne Gonter that are too important not to share. If you read our last post on the brief history of May Parties both at Mount de Chantal and around the world, we hope you'll appreciate her insights...

"Dear Cassie,

Every May there were two special events:  the May Party and the May Procession.
Your remembrance of the May Party as a student in grade school was delightful.  It involved the students, but the dancing, including the May Pole dance and the crowning of the May Queen, a senior surrounded by a "court" of her classmates, were enjoyed by family members and friends, a very public event.
By contrast, the May Procession included only the students and sisters.  A senior was chosen to crown the statue of Mary in the grotto dedicated to Mary from, I think, late in the 19th century. That would be an interesting point to investigate.  I'm thinking the grotto was constructed to resemble the grotto in Lourdes, France after the apparition of Mary to Saint Bernadette Soubirous.  
The gym was built in 1982.  Before that the May Party was held on the side lawn and the students' dinner was served in what was the playroom, a very large room eventually divided up into four classrooms.
Additionally, Sr. Joanne goes on to say, the May Queen mentioned in the 1889 program found in the archives, was related to another Sister many alumnae remember fondly...
"Edith Scott was a cousin of Rita Papin.  I knew Rita as Sister Mary de Chantal, and then after the Vatican II Council, she returned to her name, Sister Rita Papin, and was very well known to and loved by dozens of Mount students as a history teacher and principal."   
We want to thank Sr. Joanne for taking the time to share her thoughts with us. Her memories are a precious, living addition to the legacy this blog sets out to capture.

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