May Crowning 2021

Images of Mary I See Around Me - Miss Lilly Risch Bakhit, Freshman
Looking at the world right now can sometimes be incredibly depressing. A pandemic continues to limit our ability to see family and forces us to modify important events such as the Music Concert and Ring Ceremony. Additionally, many people have lost friends and family to COVID-19. But even though the world might not look happy right now, there are still bright spots and good people in our lives. Looking around we can see the qualities of Mary reflected in our classmates, teachers, family, and even random strangers.
One of Mary’s most prominent qualities was her bravery. First of all, she agreed to carry a child for nine months, and then give birth to Him, which doesn’t sound very comfortable without all of the modern medical advancements we have made.
Furthermore, she was betrothed to Joseph at the time, and when her pregnancy started to show she could’ve been humiliated and shunned by her community. Yet she still agreed to do all of this. Mary’s bravery is reflected in the men and women who are working on the frontlines during the pandemic. They risk their health and their family’s health every day to help others, just like Mary risked her reputation to bring the Savior into the world and help her own people. One of my parent’s friends went to work every day in a retirement home, which was hit badly by COVID. She did this every day while taking care of her father, who was suffering from dementia. She was brave and strong, just like Mary.
Mary was also very compassionate. She loved her son so much, that even when he was condemned and put to death, she was right by his side. All of Jesus’ disciples had lost hope and left, afraid of persecution. She was there, watching while He carried His cross and then died on it. She could have very easily left and saved herself from the agony of watching her son die, but she didn’t. She was with him the entire time. Similarly, my family will always be there for me when I feel condemned by the world. I see Mary in them when I am mad at the world, and when I think the world is mad at me. They are always there to offer a shoulder to cry on, to talk, or to simply hold my hand. Just as Mary was always in Jesus’ corner, they will always be in mine.
I think a quality of Mary that is often overlooked is how attentive she was to others, and how caring she was. For example, she noticed when the wine at the Wedding at Cana ran out, and, out of care for the people, she told Jesus to do something about that. I’ve met a lot of caring people in my life, but one of the kindest is definitely my Mock Trial coach. She truly cared about what she was teaching us and made sure that we had all of the tools we needed to not only do well at the competitions but to do well in life. I see Mary in her.
Overall, even though the world can look dreary and dark, we still have people in our lives to remind us that God, Jesus, and Mary are there.

Images of Mary I See and Try to Reflect - Miss Aderyn Lawse, Sophomore
A personal reflection on the qualities and images of Mary that you most desire to emulate. Share a little about how you think these qualities are attainable, and why you think they are so important. You could share some examples of “success stories” about efforts to live out these qualities.
I don’t know about you, but some of the most precious moments of my life have been with my mom. Just recently, we watched New Girl together, had some snacks, and laughed our heads off (especially about Schmitt). Afterward, we just sat in the living room, talking for more than thirty minutes, just about life and all sorts of random things. I completely opened myself up and shared with her everything that was on my mind. My mom gave me advice and told me some stories of her own. We opened our hearts to each other, and through that, our relationship became even stronger. I tell her basically everything, and her guidance (as well as my dad’s) has been invaluable throughout my life. Some happy/emotional tears were shed, and tons of hugs exchanged.
I feel that our relationship with Mary can be very similar. Although we can’t really watch New Girl or Jane Austen movies with her, it is very possible to have deep conversations with Mary, even silly ones. She is our spiritual mother, just as we have a physical and earthly mother. Mary was ̶ and still is ̶ the ultimate role model for a pious, humble, and devoted life.
For me, her whole aura and personality has this deep-rooted, humble love and a prominent aspect of comfort. I think of Mary as an easy person I can go to and talk with when I am in a period of doubt and finding it hard to connect with God. Just like my mom, she is always there, a solid and unwavering figure of support, both in my life, but also in all of yours.
Whether you realize it or not, Mary is constantly there at your side, ready to catch you in her loving arms if you happen to stumble. As I was writing this, it made me think of how much we take Mary and her presence for granted. She is a bridge to the Trinity, and because she was just a normal young woman like you and me, and someone who tried her best in life, I feel like I can connect and understand her more. As the ultimate role model for young women paving their way in life, Mary shares with us qualities she has attained, and how to best manifest them in our lives. Mary has extraordinarily numerous qualities that include purity, forgiveness, love, and acceptance; some of these easier to attain, others more difficult.
When I think of her life and her ability to say yes to God even in the midst of fear, amazes me. Mary was literally a teenager when the angel Gabriel appeared to her, asking if she would be the mother of God. And against all odds, she embraced it. This choice reflects her acceptance and grounded love in God. Every single other action throughout her life manifested the characteristics of true faith, love, forgiveness, purity, and acceptance. As a young woman on the journey to find my true self, I strive to be the best person I can be and to encompass all of these qualities. I try to think before I speak so as to not accidentally hurt someone, to practice a greater love for my siblings by being more patient, and to actively work on being nonjudgmental.
All of the qualities Mary possesses that I listed previously are crucial to a fulfilling life. If you are not able to forgive, it will be difficult to get over grudges and accept people for who they are. Love is the purpose of life: to love and be loved; without it, life would be lonely and desolate. Purity is also vital in maintaining honest relationships with ourselves and others around us. Trying not to conform to others’ expectations, and instead, looking inwards and following your pure self are examples of purity that we can practice in our everyday lives. Sometimes it can be hard to live out these virtues and practice being like Mary, but no human is perfect: we all make mistakes. But that’s exactly why she here.

Images of Mary that I See at Duchesne - Miss Isabelle Arnold, Junior
The image of Mary in my life, Is one of a woman whose love for humanity was far greater than every sadness or pain she endured. Mary was a woman who was shamed, rejected by her nation, and forced to flee her home. But each time the world unleashed its cruelness upon her or Jesus, she let it wash over her as if it were the gentle touch of the ocean. She refused to let her heart be eroded by the fear and hatred within others. In each and every one of you- I see an identical resilience. When our certainty of the world, our sense of normalcy and comfort, slipped out from under us, threatened to swallow us whole like quicksand, we found ways to unite. We have fought for each other harder than ever before, and are beginning to win. Together we are making it through one of the most uncertain and difficult times we may ever experience.

Throughout Mary’s life, she met thousands upon thousands of people, each having lived a truth different from her own. These people, were the unwanted, the victims of war, of disease or prejudice. When Mary had nothing to give to these people, she would hold her hands out, cradling a promise and an offering of hope. She saw in them a value, a beauty that to others was unrecognizable. As a member of this community, I have been encouraged by my teachers and peers to approach life with a thoughtful gaze, and a heart that welcomes everyone. Mary understood that the most important parts of a person are those that are invisible to a judgmental eye. At Duchesne, everyone is given the space to grow into themselves, to experience sisterhood. We are all living proof that Mary’s love for people and the Earth, when nurtured, can bring a community to flourish and to withstand the tests of time. With each new day, I am reminded, as the morning laughter and the battles against the ground floor wifi gather in the halls, that it is the love of a family, of sisters that have and will survive and grow stronger against all odds.

Images of Mary I See in a Mother Figure - Miss Ana Zulkoski, Senior
Mary. the Mother of God. the Mother of Mercy. God Bearer. Queen of Heaven.
These different names for Mary invoke all sorts of different images of who she is. I think often when we picture Mary we think of a quiet young girl who is mild mannered. A woman who set an example of perfect obedience and humility. And while this is accurate and important for our understanding of who she was and is, I feel it is equally important to pay homage to Mary’s dynamic nature as well.
Mary is a strong and radically understanding woman who sets an example of unconditional love. When I think about these characteristics I can’t help but think of a close family friend, Leslie.
Leslie has been a part of my life for quite a while now. She has been incredibly impactful to not only my spiritual growth but to who I am as a person in terms of my beliefs and values.
One of my favorite qualities of Mary that Leslie effortlessly embodies is her ability to listen. I genuinely enjoy when I get the chance to talk to her because she is so attentive to my every word. I know she is interested in what I have to say when she offers her own thoughts, opinions, and commentary. She listens to understand and to grow herself. In turn this makes me feel valued and has set an example for me that no matter the difference in age, experience, or background we can each learn so much from one another. She has taught me that I have the ability to make others feel valued and important simply in the way I listen.
As I said earlier this quality is one that I believe Mary to have as well. I find that when I pray to Mary I am filled with the same sense of peace that comes from being truly heard and understood. She fills me with a sense of gratitude and awe at her unending support and boundless love.
Blessed Mary is and forever will be an incredible model of strength and true grit.
Mary said yes! She said yes to unknown future that as we know would end up showing her incredible hardship and suffering. It would put her on the edges of society as a woman pregnant before ever being married which at at the time would have put her life in danger. she would live to have a son who ate with tax collectors and prostitutes a son who she had to watch be tortured and crucified. Mary trusted in God. She was gifted with a unique calling to serve the world and without hesitation agreed despite not knowing what it would mean for her or her family. This life of service was not easy but it brought her joy. Mary lived a life of great abundance and continues to reign with elegant strength as the Queen of Heaven
It is quite easy to decide the most evident way Leslie embodies Mary and that is her unending yes to God. The summer after my 6th grade year, Leslie helped orchestrate a group from my parish to go and spend a week with an organization in Denver that goes out and develops connections with the homeless population in their city, their friends on the street as they lovingly call them. Leslie said yes to a new experience that opened her eyes and my eyes to a whole new world that would show us the hardships of others and what we can do to help.
My freshman and sophomore years I was a part of a small group that Leslie led along with another woman for a few girls in the parish. She recognized a need for the young women of the Church to have a space to ask questions, learn about their faith, and discover what it is they as individuals believe. She set up plans for each week and organized service activities for us to do. Afterwards we would discuss what we learned and how it impacted the community around us. Leslie said yes to that tug she felt in her heart to provide young women in her own community with an experience to better know God.
Leslie’s most recent yes was her yes to travel to Ligera, Tanzania for a two-month-long stay. She traveled a couple times before this with the former associate pastor of Mary Our Queen, Father Gama. Leslie learned so much from the residents of the village about combining singing, dancing, and joy with prayer. I remember her coming back and telling me about her first Mass in Ligera. I was astonished that Mass could be so similar to a party. Leslie was a key piece in helping MOQ become sister parishes with the Church in Ligera and since then we have been able to help raise funds for a truck to help priests travel places to say Mass and drive people in the event of an emergency, install solar panels, and build a new well. Currently, efforts are being made to develop an education center for teenagers there that aren’t able to attend secondary school.
Leslie’s decision to go to Tanzania, in the beginning, was one that I found incredibly inspiring, however, I remember hearing a few months ago how she would be leaving for two months and honestly my first thought was why? I would never do that, But as I thought about it more I grew increasingly in awe of her ability to pack up and follow where she felt God pulling at her heart. She without hesitation said yes just like Mary did all those years ago.
I am so grateful to have such a wonderful role model in my life. Believe me there are so many other qualities I could talk about but to me the ones I find most radiant and inspiring are her attentive, understanding disposition and her eager perseverance to follow her calling.
Thank you Leslie for all that you are and thank you Mary for setting a strong precedent for those to follow.