June 13 – Day 14
Mary Peters was the Boys Supervisor at Residential School. Mary was interviewed by Anglican Video in 1994 in White Rock, BC. Listen to what she has to say.
By: The Rev. Dr. Eileen Scully
For: Mary Peters
Merciful God, we have just heard Mary Peters speak with tenderness, joy, and love about the dear children who were in her care in residential school. Hers are words of pride and joy that could be spoken by any teacher, looking back on years of service.
We offer you thanks and praise for the warm connections that were made between Mary and her students, evidenced by the letters written to her once they had gone home and on with their new lives in their communities.
We offer you thanks and praise for the many young women who answered the call to service in the harsh conditions of the residential schools, often themselves leaving family and comfort for the unknown, compelled by a desire to serve in the best way that they could.
We offer you thanks and praise for those, like Mary, could be a “mamma”, a beacon of warmth, care, and comfort, within a system that we know was brutal, violent, and of an evil orientation.
We thank you for the illumination that you have brought to these years of systemic sin and hurt, to these years of individual and collective abuse, to these years whose legacy continues violence and abuse into today’s generations.
Today, when our own instincts and desires to do good take hold of us…
- Challenge us to deep discernment;
- Quicken our minds to neglect naivete in the ‘good’ we are invited to do through various humanitarian organizations who call on us today;
- Enlighten us with rigorous analysis of the context of those we are trying to help;
- Surround us with the power of your Holy Spirit to challenge the values and long term implications of those existing institutions into which our care and service are invited.
Today, as we are enlightened about the systemic evil on the grand scale, from the Doctrine of Discovery, through the Indian Act system, to the Residential Schools System, let us not forget those who gave of their lives in humble service to teach to serve, and especially to offer warmth, care and love to children who were ripped from their families. May we who carry anger and sadness, remorse and grief about the residential schools system look beyond the bleak horizon of that legacy, and learn something from the stories of those who simply cared, who loved, whose relationships with the incarcerated children carried on even past the schools.
Let us remember those who cared, who served, who loved, for they are our brothers and sisters in Christ, they are your children, and they, too, were caught up in systemic abuse.
The Rev. Dr. Eileen Scully is the director of Faith, Worship, and Ministry for the Anglican Church of Canada.