In Your Midst


November 2003

Margaret Anderson at the time of her graduation from Cathedral High School.

Margaret Mathews Anderson has many fond memories of St. James Cathedral from the more than 94 years of her life. One of the most exciting was a Wednesday afternoon in February 1916. Margaret (then a first grader at Cathedral School) heard a thunderous, earthshaking sound and she began running, then walking in the heavy snow to the cathedral. It was more than a few blocks from her parents’ home at the south end of First Hill to the cathedral, but Margaret was determined to find out what happened.

What happened was that the weight of an extremely wet snowfall over many hours had caused the collapse of the great dome. The force of the impact blew out all the windows. It was quite a sight for young Margaret! This was when pastor Father Noonan made his often repeated remark: “Not a word to the press!”

Margaret recalls many of her teachers at Cathedral School—all Holy Names sisters. There was Sister Bridgitta, her first grade teacher; Sister Columkill, who quickly got her pupils’ attention by whacking a ruler across the steam-heat pipe, and Sister Michael the Archangel, an impressive principal, yet diminutive in size. Margaret not only graduated from the grade school in 1924, she graduated in 1928 from the last class of the short-lived Cathedral High School.

When Margaret and her husband to be, Harold (Bud) Anderson, wanted to be married, they asked the Cathedral’s pastor, Father James Stafford, for his help. It was 1934 and the middle of the Great Depression. They asked Father not to announce the banns as word might get back to her employer and Margaret could lose vacation time or even her job. On September 9, 1934, Father Stafford married them in a simple ceremony in the chapel.

In 1935, Margaret and Bud moved to Medina where they raised their children: Joan Anderson Shaver of Clyde Hill, James Anderson of Mercer Island and Ruth Anderson of Vashon Island. A son, Thomas, is deceased. The Anderson children attended Cathedral Grade School.

After their family had grown, Margaret and Bud moved back to Seattle and to St. James. Bud died in January 1998. Margaret supported the Cathedral restoration in 1994 and was active until recently on the Scholarship Committee. Her health has slowed her down physically but Margaret’s interest is still strong in St. James where she has witnessed the changes since that snowy Wednesday in 1916.


Lourdes, Jess, and Gesi Juanich: a family of ushers

Gesi and Lourdes Juanich take Metro Transit buses to St. James from their home on South Washington street two times each Sunday. First in the morning to bring their youngest child, Jess Jefferson, 5, to Religious Education Class; and then about 3 o’clock to serve as ushers at the 5:30 p.m. Mass.

Gesi arrived in Seattle in 1989 as a Fulbright Exchange student at the University of Washington. He had received his bachelor and master’s degrees as a fishery biologist from colleges in the Philippines. At present Gesi is on the faculty at Seattle Central’s Vocational Institute.

Lourdes also has a degree in fishery science from Bohol College in the Philippines. When she came to Seattle, she continued her education in health care, taking classes in computers, psychology, English and Math at Seattle University and Seattle community colleges. Lourdes is a Health Unit coordinator at Virginia Mason Hospital.

Gesito and Lourdes have ushered almost from the first time they came to St. James. Sister Anne Herkenrath welcomed them to the Cathedral and then asked if they would bring up the gifts for the Offertory. A few weeks later, Sister Anne asked if they wouldn’t mind serving as ushers. That was over 10 years ago. Lourdes and Gesi have continued to serve as lead ushers. They are always dependable, and have recruited friends to be ushers with them.

A welcome surprise to Lourdes and Gesi was the birth of their youngest child. Jess Jefferson was born on December 16, 1997. Father Ryan baptized Jess on April 19, 1998. At an early age this bright-eyed youngster insisted on helping his parents. Now Jess is a member of the team, usually standing next to his father, greeting parishioners and handing out bulletins. His older brother and sister are completing college in the Philippines. Joseph Paul is 21 and is in his fifth year for a degree in computer engineering. He’s eager to finish college and join his family in the US. Janice Dawn, 19, is a sophomore in nursing. The family stays in close communication with e-mail and photos and phone calls. Jess, who taught himself to read at age three, is a computer-happy kid who loves to play video games and to see new photos of his big brother and sister.

Joan McDonell is a St. James parishioner and member of the Development Committee.

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