Class of 1959

We, the Class of 1959, celebrated our 50th class reunion on April 24 and 25, 2009. This blog is about sharing memories of our class reunions and a long ago life at our Alma Mater's, S.F.X.A. and S.A.H.S. Good memories of days gone by but not forgotten! A gift to my classmates. ~Marian Love Phillips ~







Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Great Year!!!

Click on picture to get better view.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Go Flashes Go!!!


St. Al crushes Myrtle 18-1, repeats as Class 1A Champs!

"We had to battle to get back here.  To do it again is unbelievable, but to do it the way we did is phenomenal."
~ Clint Wilkerson, St. Al Coach

Thursday, May 20, 2010

To Donate

Donations for repairs and maintenance of the 1868 Sisters of Mercy convent may be made to:

~The Green Hills Garden Club marked "for convent windows and garden restoration."  Mail to Mary Nell McMaster, 106 Southhall Drive, Vicksburg, MS  39183

~The Mother Clementine Phelan memorial endowment marked "for convent rehab and maintenance,"  Mail to the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation, 1302 Adams Street, Vicksburg, MS  39180

The Shed and Windows

Brick masonry students, from left Raivyne Reaves, 16, Dean Humes, 17, Ronnie Smith, 16, and Dominique James, 19, work on re bricking the doorway to the small building at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center. Katie Carter ~ The Vicksburg Post

Just as fixing one thing often leads to noticing something else that needs fixing, working in Sister Isabel's garden led naturally to the little neglected shed.

The doorway was literally falling in," said Jo Pratt, another Green Hills member. "We knew we had to get that done."

McMaster called Hinds Community College brick masonry teach Allen Smith, who gave some of his students hands-on training at the shed. The students reinforced supports at the top of the door facing south, replacing and re-mortaring bricks. Eventually, the door and the south window will be replaced, the building painted and brick walkways relaid.

McMaster praised the students, Warren Central and Vicksburg High School kids who are enrolled in the college's career tech program. "This is a great thing that the kids from Hinds did for us."


Funds raised by the Green Hills Garden Club have helped pay for restoration of windows in the convent at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center.  Katie Carter ~ The Vicksburg Post

The work also prompted McMaster to start a fund to repair the basement windows at the convent, which overlook the garden and shed.  That led to her thinking, Why stop there?" she said, and setting a goal to get all 80 of the convent's windows redone.  A $5,000 endowment received by SCHF in 2008 paid for re glazing the repainting 19 windows on the convent's first floor, currently leased by Holy Cross Anglican Church.  That restoration, still underway, is being done by Holy Cross rector, Rev. Mark Bleakley.

Bleakley is also involved in McMaster's project, and has completed six basement windows facing the garden, re putting, re-glazing, replacing wood sills and sashes where necessary, and putting on a fresh coat of bright white pain. 

"It's amazing," Bleakley said, pointing to one basement window he'd repaired.  "The only thing hold it together was the paint."

So far, McMaster's group has raised more than $6,000 and estimates another $10,000 is needed to finish the job.

But as Sister Isabel might have said, much good can grow from just a few seeds.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Two Sisters

Sister Xavier was born into a wealthy New Orleans family and entered the convent in Vicksburg in 1865.  She was "Dedicated to education and the poor" until her death in 1918, historian and author Sister Mary Paulinus Oakes, R.S.M., writes in "Angels of Mercy." her 1998 book about 19th century sisters in the order.  Sister Paulinus devoted a chapter to Sister Xavier, who was remembered in her obituary in The Vicksburg Evening Post as an 'Angel of Mercy, beloved by all."

"Long before there were any charitable associations or community chests in the parish, she organized among her former pupils a society of aid for the poor."  Sister Paulinus wrote.  Concerned that people coming for help would be ridiculed or criticized, she had latticework constructed along the side of her building so "the poor could come and go with their baskets almost unseen."

Among Sister Xavier's teaching duties was preparing children for their first Holy Communion.

It is thought that as a child, Sister Isabel, born in Vicksburg in 1892 and educated at St. Francis, must have been one of them.

"She always said she would like to enter the order, but only if she could stay in Vicksburg."  McMaster said of Sister Isabel.  She joined the Sisters of Mercy in 1915, and taught music as well as tending the sisters' garden.

Along with scattering all those seeds, Sister Isabel must have planted a bulb or two, said McMaster. 

"When we began working out here, we found old-time antique bulbs popping up all over, just a mass of beautiful white blooms," McMaster said.  "There were hundreds and hundreds of bulbs that had multiplied over the years," she added - - gladiolus, calla lilies, daffodils, jonquils and many more.  They expect others to pop up in the fall. 

Sister Isabel gave music lessons to St. Francis children and those who did not attend the Catholic schools, the sisters always seeking ways to finance their projects, Sister Paulinus said.  "She was an interesting character," she said of Sister Isabel.  "She had a penchant for modern music, which the other sisters did not."

She used flowers and greens from her garden to create arrangements for the alter, and she also grew fresh herbs for the convent kitchen in the basement nearby.

"A great part of her spirituality was expressed in her music and her love for flowers and nature," said Sister Paulinus.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Seeds of Life

Taken from The Vicksburg Post - Sunday, May 16, 2010
Green Hills Garden Club members Janis Koestler, from left, Mary Nell McMaster, Jo Pratt and Sandra Shingler work in Sister Mary Isabel's garden at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center Thursday.

Memories of two nuns' lives bloom as their work continue...The Sisters


Among the stories told to Vicksburg about the Sisters of Mercy is the one about Sister Isabel's garden.

On the east side of the convent, off Adams Street, it bloomed with such a jumble of flowers, it was said, because Sister Isabel routinely tossed hand fulls of seeds willy-nilly from the windows of the convent's fourth floor.

Now the garden and a small brick building nearby, about which few if any stories have been told, are being restored.

Many city residents, generations of whom attended school in the city-block complex built and occupied by the Catholic order for 161 years and now home of the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation, have no idea that the little building was a garden of another sort - - believed to be the city's first food pantry - - tended by another nun, Sister Xavier.

The convent lives of Sister Mary Xavier Poursine, R.S.M., and Sister Mary Isabel Rand, R.S.M., over lapped by only about three years, 1915 to  1918, but nearly a century later, the garden continues to bloom and, from the convent's basement, The Storehouse Community Food Pantry serves the needy three days a week. 

"We've talked about Sister Isabel's garden for years," said Mary Nell McMaster of the Green Hills Garden Club, which has taken on the project.  "This spring we decided to really work on it."

Like Sister Isabel's, their work has blossomed - - from the garden to Sister Xavier's pantry to restoring windows in the convent built in 1868.  Storehouse volunteer Lewis Decell, taking a break Monday from unpacking about 2,000 pounds of food collected recently by the U.S. Postal carriers in their annual food drive, said he had not known about the original function of the little brick shed.

"It means a real deal to me," he said of learning about Sister Xavier's ministry.  "It's important for all of us to know it's a longstanding tradition."  (To be continued)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Indian Proverb

Yesterday is but a dream, tomorrow but a vision.  But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

...to all my dear classmates.  May you have a very happy day!



Friday, May 07, 2010

150th Anniversary Meeting

The next meeting will on Monday, June 14th @11:00 AM at the Courtyard Marriott meeting room (near the Outlet Mall).

If you are on a committee please make sure at least one person from your committee can be present so that we can get updates on progress. Another option would be to email an update.

Lynn, Thank you again for allowing us to use your place!

Please RSVP your attendance as soon as possible, so we can determine if we will be able to serve lunch or make it a" bring your own" again.

The "Save the Date" postcards should be arriving any day now, and I will work on getting the labels printed and mailing them out next week!

We are wrapping up the school year and the next few weeks are quite busy, so if you happen to call and have to leave a message, please be patient with me. I promise I will call you back! I hope to get the minutes ready to email soon. Sorry that I am behind on that. Maybe we should nominate a Secretary at the next meeting so that everyone can be updated in timely manner. Anyone interested????

I will have this in the Church Bulletins, but please pass this along to others that I may not have email addresses for. I could also use someone to take on notifying those interested about our meetings and when they are.

Thank you for all you do!


Patty Mekus
Development Director & Alumni Affairs
Vicksburg Catholic School
St. Aloysius / St. Francis Xavier
1900 Grove St./ 1200 Hayes St.
Vicksburg, MS 39183
Office: 601-630-9762
Fax: 601-631-0430

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Death of Jack Hebert aka Brother Cecil

Dear Friends & Classmates

I was notified by an e-mail late last night of the death of Jack Hebert aka Brother Cecil. For our female classmates he was the one I introduced at the banquet last year along with his wife Marilyn. Brother Cecil enriched my mind as well as my heart and soul. Jack could not be characterized as tepid. For those of you who wish to express your sympathy to Marilyn Hebert her address is 1028 E. William David Pky, Metairie, La. Keep Jack and Marilyn in your prayers this day and may Jack now be sharing in the eternal happiness of heaven promised by the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ.


E. R. Habert, M.D.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Ann's Class Reunion Photos

Marie Menger Renaud, Ann Freutal and Mary Love Angelo Simrall


Marie and Mary Love at Crowns to Heels downtown Vicksburg.

Sitting pretty on Civil War cannons at the Vicksburg National Military Park!



Rita Martin Holland, Ina Lott Whittington, Jane Cathy Wilkerson, and myself, Marian Love Phillips.

Rita Martin Holland, Ina Lott Whittington, Jane Cathey Wilkerson and Ann Freutel Gilman

Mary Love and Ann

Kay Hess Simms, Rita Martin Holland, Jane Cathy Wilkerson, Mary Love Angelo Simrall and Vera Marshall Brown.

Ann Freutel Gilman in center with white top.

Left to right, Sue McNamara Fowler, Jane Cathey Wilkerson, Kay Hess Simms, Ann Freutel Gilman, Ina Lott Whittington, Theresa Martin Kitwowski and Rita Martin Holland.

Ann, Rita and Jane


Jane, Rita and Charlene

Bobbie, Beverly, Jane, Rita, Agnes, Ann and Pat.


Agnes, Theresa and Rita

Ann Hardin Jackson, Beverly Haas Dixon and Charlene Guiney Bullock

Jackie Andrews, Bobbie Banchetti Dickens, Ann Freutal Gilman and Mary Love Angelo Simrall.

Mary Love Angelo Simrall in front of Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation (SFXA) Auditorium

The top basketball court yard filled with grass and trees now with the Sisters of Mercy convent in the background.

A really nice 50th Class Reunion banner flanked by Bobbie and Ann.

Ann Freutel Gilman and Agnes Banchetti Howell

Bertha Dearing Hull, Bobbie Banchetti Dickens, Ann Freutel Gilman and Charlene Guiney Bullock at the antique piano in the Cobb House.


Ann and Bobbie holding a "you guessed it" antique machine!

Jane, Ann and Mary Love at SFXA/SAHS Alumni Banquet.

Ann, Rita, Jane and Doris Hosemann.

Many thanks to Ann Freutel Gilman for emailing me her photos of their 50th class reunion so that her classmates could enjoy.  
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