Miss Recordia

Samantha Allen, Multimedia Editor

Maud Wadestrandt, the May Queen of 1958.

Here’s a memory in honor of spring: the May Day Crowning. The popular Catholic tradition was first  celebrated on campus in 1928. A young woman, who was selected because she was thought to share the values of Mary, was crowned on the day of the May Crowning. Followed by a procession, the May Queen then presented a statue of Mary with a crown of flowers. The very first May Day Queen was Marianna Gildea, who later became a Sister here at Misericordia.

The campus was wildly decorated as students awaited the May Crowning each year. Underclassman stood at the ceremony in their caps and gowns, while the seniors dressed in beautiful and elaborate dresses. The queen wore a white dress, while others donned many different colors. Fashion changed as the years went by, and the event grew.

The May Day Crowning was an important event for the entire community. Parents and community members were welcome to attend. Each procession typically included small children to accompany the Queen to crown the Mary statue.

Sadly, this tradition was phased out in the late 1960s. Students protested because they disagreed with the amount of money spent on the event. The students had to purchase their own dresses, which they said were costly. As a result, the event became unpopular, and many students did not see a reason to continue the tradition.

Students looked forward to the Crowning held each May, the month honoring Mary, for about 40 years. Parents looked forward to watching their children participate. Each young woman selected as queen was a very active student, who, like Gildea, brought joy to all.