From the Desk of the D.R.E.: Memories of May Crownings Past
I remember attending my first May Crowning at Queen of All Saints School in Michigan City, Indiana as if it were yesterday. We gathered on the west lawn of the school on a sunny afternoon on the first day of May. We all wore our school uniforms, navy blue slacks, blue shirts and clip-on, navy blue neckties. The girls wore the standard green and blue plaid skirts with white blouses.
We marched in military precision to our designated area on the lawn by class. We resembled platoons commanded not by lieutenants but by the Sisters of the Holy Cross who were charged with educating and disciplining us. Our sisters who served Queen of All Saints had uniforms too, known as "habits". Long, black, flowing dresses covering head to toe with a white halo-looking head-covering and what looked to me like a white bib, shaped like a half moon around the neck. A large rosary was cinched around their waist. They appeared most imposing to a kid.
As we stood at attention waiting for the crowning to begin, I could not help but notice how hot it was that day. It was unusual weather for Michigan City that time of year. It is located in the northern most part of Indiana; right on Lake Michigan, hence the name, "Michigan City". Nevertheless, heat or no heat, the May Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary began with our pastor Fr. Cross presiding.
We began the crowning with a traditional Marion hymn, (probably the Ave Maria but I really cannot recall as so much time has passed.) Still standing at attention, we listened to the readings and sang a few more hymns. During one of the last hymns, I noticed out of my peripheral vision one of my comrades breaking formation by doing a faceplant, right into the lawn. He had most likely succumbed to the heat and fainted away. Frightened voices started calling out for help and the sisters rushed over to see what the commotion was all about.
In no time at all, the sisters had our friend back on his feet and drinking water. We completed our May Crowning without further incident. The Blessed Virgin Mary had a beautiful crown of flowers on her head now, and all was right in our little world.
Just as the sisters at Queen of All Saints School came to the aid of my fellow student after hearing our calls for help, so too, will our heavenly Mother Mary come to our aid if we ask. During this month of May, let us renew our devotion to the greatest of Christian saints, Mary the mother of Jesus.
-Mike Holbrook, D.R.E.