What is May Crowning?
May crowning is a traditional Roman Catholic devotion that occurs in the month of May to honor the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of God. May devotions originated in Italy in the 16th century. From Italy they spread to Central Europe, where daily or weekly, May devotions took place during the month of May of each year. Although there is no firm structure, it usually includes singing of Marian hymns, readings from Scripture, special prayers about the Blessed Virgin, or other contemporary readings. There is usually a May altar with a statue of Mary surrounded by many spring flowers. At one point in the prayer someone will place a crown of flowers on the Blessed Virgin's head, symbolic of Mary, Queen of Heaven. Three special feast days of Mary occur in the month of May: May 1 – Queen of Heaven, May 13 – Our Lady of Fatima and May 31 – Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Finding Angela Merici in Various Ministries and Locations
Featured Associate - Cindi Ruff
An Ursuline Associate since 2010, Cindi Ruff is currently a board member of the Toledo Ursuline Associates Board. She has "helped organize and coordinate several annual events such as holiday parties, retreats and picnics as well as volunteering as the Center's front-desk receptionist."
When asked what keeps her interest in the program – "St. Angela was committed to serving others and ministering to those in need. This offers all associates an opportunity to serve in a variety of capacities based on their gifts and talents. In other words, there is a place for everyone to serve in a way that emulates Angela's life and would make her proud."
Cindi's background in ministry and/or volunteer work – "By reaching out to others and serving them, I find myself immersed in a world of giving to people from many backgrounds and walks of life. For example, I have taught religious education to urban and suburban children. I have served the visually impaired by reading and making audiotapes of the Catholic Chronicle. I spread the word of God by serving as a lector at my parish Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral. I assist the elderly, on a daily basis, through my career as a caregiver."
"Being an Ursuline associate has been an enriching and enlightening experience for me. I have met many interesting and faith-filled men, women, and religious. I have grown and spiritually prospered from these friendships. Being associated with this group has been a very meaningful and proud honor and a responsibility that I do not take lightly. I hope to always be an integral and dynamic force within this group for many years to come."
"I am a graduate of Lourdes University with a B.A. in English. I am a freelance writer, and my writing endeavors can be found at www.Helium.com under the penname CJ Ruff. I have completed a short-story collection titled "In Ordinary Time" which can be found at www.Amazon.com. I am also a photographer with images on www.bigstock.com. People are also often surprised to learn that I am a veteran of the United States Army (1977-1985). I enjoy travelling and live in South Toledo with my husband Richard and pets Penny and Henry."
Music, Music, Music
Sister Mary Ellen Nagle, OSU
When I entered the Ursuline Community my desire and prayer was devoted to Christ. At that time I knew very little about St. Angela Merici, the foundress of the Order. As postulant and second year novice I taught private piano lessons in elementary schools largely taught by Ursuline Sisters. I loved my ministry. After a few years I was sent to get a Master's Degree at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The work was challenging and kept me very busy but I enjoyed it immensely. This was 1960 – 1964. Vatican II happened at that time and we Sisters were eager to read the documents the Council produced, which brought great changes to the Church.
Given a federal grant to earn a doctoral degree in 1968 I returned to Ann Arbor to immerse myself in Musicology (scholarly research in Music). After studying the music of various centuries I chose to specialize in Renaissance sacred music and a Netherlander composer named Jacob Obrecht (1450-1505). My dissertation is entitled "The Role of the Cantus Firmus in the Motets of Jacob Obrecht." Returning to Mary Manse College I taught Music History and Piano along with other courses. Following MMC closure I went to BGSU to teach graduate classes and then to the Twin Cities of Minnesota at the University of Minnesota and The College of St. Catherine in St. Paul. During those years I was given a NEH grant at Yale University and the Catholic University in Washington D.C.
We Ursulines studied the life of Angela Merici seeking her charism. New books appeared about Angela especially one by Querciolo Mazzonis. Angela's love of Scripture attracted me as well as her writings. As an inveterate reader I was drawn to the multiple writings of Thomas Merton, Trappist monk, and gave lectures on Merton at Lourdes College and some parishes. I am now in three Book Discussion Clubs, spiritual and wide ranged. The excellent theological lecture at Corpus Christi parish have influenced my prayer life as well as my yearly retreats and lectures.
I enjoy concerts given by the Toledo Symphony and the American Organist Guild. Days and years pass and now I am retired and living at the Ursuline Center. These words of Angela are some of my favorites – "I shall always be in your midst, lending aid to your prayers."
Down Memory Lane
Sister Mary Lawrence Wilson, OSU
Florence Margaret Wilson was born in Toledo on June 6, 1906 to Frank Dean and Margaret Casey Wilson. She was educated at Immaculate Conception elementary school and graduated from Toledo Central Catholic in 1925. She attended Mary Manse College in 1925 and entered the Ursuline Convent in 1927 and at Clothing received the name of Sister Mary Lawrence. She often quipped that as "Saul became Paul, Florence became Lawrence", and the comparison stopped there. She finished her college work and received a BSE degree from Teachers' College and then went on to Fordham University and received both her Master's and PhD degrees from there in 1946 and 1948 respectively.
Her early years of teaching began at St. Agnes and continued through Immaculate Conception, St. Charles and Rosary Cathedral elementary schools. Except for two years as a supervisor for the Diocesan Schools Office, she was Professor, Dean and President at Mary Manse College for a total of 30 years. In that time she received many honors and accolades for her work in Education and Civic matters. She was awarded the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Medical College of Ohio where she was a member of the first Board of Trustees for the College. She received the Mother Adelaide Award from Lourdes College and the Sylvania Franciscan Sisters. She was also honored by her Alma Mater, Central Catholic, by the Golden Shamrock Award. No matter what honor or award she received, she felt that she did so to honor God, her Community and Mary Manse College.
She spent much time after she retired from Mary Manse College, helping in the Convent Development Office where she made many friends for the Ursuline Community. Throughout all of her days, Sister Mary Lawrence was simple, down-to-earth, jovial, intelligent, witty, compassionate and a friend to many. She made herself available to help in any way she could whether it be serving for a dinner or being an Emcee for a Jubilee celebration of a Community member or a Civic Official. She was a teacher making even the dullest of subjects interesting, a fundraiser as she enjoyed the challenge to garner money in order to build and renovate buildings for Mary Manse and above all, a committed Ursuline who was loyal to her Sisters in Community. Sister Mary Lawrence died May 19, 1993 at age 86.
Ursuline Convent Offices, 4045 Indian Road, Toledo, OH 43606