|In Your Midst||
THE PEW NEXT TO YOU
The call comes mid-morning to the St. James Parish Office and it is a request from Mentor Guile. He wants the name of a fellow parishioner for whom he can pray that day.
Mentor attended daily Mass until some physical problems developed that slowed him down. Now he does his ministry of prayer for others from his rooms at Legacy House in the International District. Besides a simple prayer from his heart, Mentor uses two books, the Union Home Prayer Book of the Jewish faith and Hearts On Fire: Prayer with the Jesuits. He rides the St. James van on Sundays to 10 a.m. Mass.
Mentor’s journey to St. James Cathedral began in 1930 in Spokane. He grew up an only child until age 18 in a family that did not practice any faith. In the summers he did the chores on a small farm his father had in the Spokane Valley. Mentor was not physically strong as a young boy and he found tending the farm a lonely and difficult experience. His greatest pleasure was (and is) drawing, which he has done since he was four. His first encounter with the Catholic faith was as a pupil at St. Aloysius Grade School for a few years. But it took several decades, a move across the Cascades and 14 years attending St. Mark Episcopal Cathedral before he found his spiritual home at St. James.
One of Mentor’s favorite haunts is the coffee shop Joe Bar on East Roy Street. He said he used to “hang out there a lot” and knew many of the staff and patrons. An art teacher had come to Legacy House and provided the residents with art supplies if they were interested. So Mentor painted a series of ten watercolor landscapes and Joe Bush hung them in his shop. That was last fall and all ten of his paintings sold quickly. I asked Mentor what were the landscapes of and he said some were places he remembered and others he just put together in his mind. Mentor likes bold, bright, cheerful colors. Father Ryan saw the paintings and described them as “happy, charming, and strong.”
Mentor has not had an easy life and some parts he doesn’t want to talk about,
but now in his mid-70s he is very content and at peace. He doesn’t know the full
names of the people he prays for each day. Sometimes a little information—that
Sam is a tiny baby struggling to breathe or Bob is recovering from a heart
attack—makes him feel very connected to many. He admits it can be pretty lonely
but one of his daily prayers is: “God is my guide, friend and protector. Here I
Jeanne Murray has been a St. James Regular since the 70s and also a part of the social and spiritual outreach of the parish. She is a Eucharistic Minister with a special ministry of bringing Eucharist to the homebound at Horizon House, Faerland Terrace and a few other stops about First Hill. Jeanne also worked with Sister Terence Reilly, snjm, who started the St. James’ English as a Second Language program here in 1972 for refugees arriving from Vietnam. In addition, she has served frequently as a sponsor in the RCIA program.
Jeanne is a second-generation Vincentian and a core member of the St. James Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. The SVDP Society was an everyday presence for the Murray family in Philadelphia. Their parish was staffed by Vincentian priests and her brother Bud (John B. Murray, Jr.) is a priest of the Congregation of the Missions and teaches at St. John’s College. Jeanne’s other siblings are Elk and Kevin, both retired businessmen; and Theresa, a widow.
Jeanne described her family dinners in Philadelphia: “Every Tuesday, sometimes even before dessert, Dad would get up from the table to say, ‘It’s time for my St. Vincent dePaul meeting,’ and off he would go.” Jeanne came to Seattle from Philadelphia as she was searching for a coed-college run by Jesuits. Seattle University in the 1950s was such a school. She packed her bags with the blessings of her parents, came here and stayed. Jeanne was a few years older than most entering freshmen and was often asked by Father Albert Lemieux, SJ, the president, to head up social events on campus for alumni, and in her junior year she became student manager at Marycrest, a women’s residence. Jeanne graduated from SU and later received a master’s degree in social work from the University of Washington. She joined the staff at the King County Superior Court for Juveniles and worked there for several years. In the early 1960s, Jeanne felt the need to return to her family and she joined the staff at the Bryn Mawr Child Study Institute in Philadelphia. Seattle beckoned again and Jeanne returned to Seattle in the early 1970s and set up her own social counseling practice on First Hill and became a full-time St. James parishioner. She said she missed her skiing and tennis buddies and her bridge partners. Never one to be limited by convention, Jeanne has been a longtime member of a garden club but never tended a garden and heads up the annual Thanksgiving Day pie baking event to oversee others making one hundred pies for the St. James Family Kitchen Holiday Dinner.
Joan McDonell is a St. James parishioner and member of the Development Committee.
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