At Mass on January, 14 2024 Dr. Maxine Stovall was presented the Sharing the Light of Christ award. This award honors those who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make St. Mary Mother of God church the parish it is. Below is a transcript of the presentation made by Andrea Thomas.
Seven years ago Father Phil Widmann decided that we needed to provide some type of recognition for members of St Mary’s who labor behind the scenes to help make our parish function.
With that in mind, he instituted the St. Mary Mother of God Parish Sharing the Light of Christ Award to honor the unsung heroines and heroes among us.
Our task today is to celebrate one of these people.
Any description of today’s honoree will be inadequate, since there is no way to fully describe the wide range of activities she has organized, supported, enhanced, and just plain made happen over the years.
She appeared at the back door of the old rectory decades ago wanting to register as a new member. Father Tom O’Connor was pastor then, and he always insisted on meeting new parishioners and speaking with them personally. He wasn’t in the rectory but was expected soon, so we asked her to wait in the front room until he returned. She had to wait a very long time. A lesser person would have given up, but evidently she knew this was where she wanted to be, so she waited until he finally returned. We are so much better for her patience.
One of her early tasks at St. Mary’s was related to her professional life as a veterinarian. A tiny kitten we rescued from the side yard became the inside rectory cat. When he was still very new to the space, he jumped off something, caught a back leg and suffered a spiral fracture. Our resident St. Francis commented later that that was the tiniest bone she had ever set. Years later, she loaded the same cat into a carrier to keep him away from the fire that destroyed the church, and then put him into her own vehicle. This may have been the Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer edition that she bought primarily for the matching set of luggage that came with it. According to Andre, they still have one of those suitcases from the early 1990s.
Of course, we are speaking about Maxine Stovall. If you haven’t read her story about the fire and the massive woodworking project she had just finished in the old sacristy, please do so. It’s among the Jubilee History Project articles on our website, and gives insight into deep faith and love of family. She is the youngest of nine siblings.
Maxine is one of the parish’s most effective new volunteer recruiters for everything from funeral luncheons to lectors, Eucharistic ministers, and altar servers.
She has used her sewing skills to make certain server robes fit properly and works diligently with a quilting group to preserve African American cultural traditions. She spent countless hours adapting Father Phil’s chasubles so that they would be easier for him to put on as his Parkinson’s progressed.
She is a lector and read scripture in German one year as we celebrated St. Mary’s ethnic heritage. She is also a Eucharistic minister and a server at Mass. She has worked with the ANTIOCH youth and Christ Renews His Parish, co-chairs the bereavement dinners, is a tireless worker with our church environment needs, and helps with the Liturgy Committee. She played an important role in creating our 175th Jubilee Celebration.
In addition, as an obedience trainer, she has sharpened her expertise over the years working not only with their succession of five German Shepherds, but also with three pastors, one of whom is now a bishop. Well done, Maxine!
Please join in honoring loving wife, caring daughter and sister, possessor of extraordinary skills and talents, our faith-filled servant, Dr. Maxine Stovall.