Saturday, August 29, 2009
On September 18, 1824, at the Solemn Distribution of Prizes, Mary Ann received the coveted First Medallion; this was given for excellence in conduct, academics, and leadership. It is not given often but Mary Ann was an outstanding student. As she left school, she knew she would soon be back. She was now considered a young lady, although not yet fifteen years old! She was to have a year at home where she delighted all - her parents, her family, the slaves, and her many friends. However, by the end of a year of gaiety, Mary Ann decided that she had a vocation. Her mother had guessed this, but her father did not believe it. Her friends planned a big party for September 28 and wanted Mary Ann to attend the dance. She went up to dress that night for the party and realized that the moment had come for her to choose between God and herself. She put her ball dress out of sight; sat down and wrote two notes. She called the slave who was to drive her to the party and told him to take the one that was her polite refusal. She slipped the other under the door of her father's room. She told him that she was leaving for Grand Coteau the next day. She spent the night packing but could hear her father pacing the floor. The next morning she waited until she thought no one would be in the dining room, but her father was waiting for her and merely remarked that he would be glad to drive her over to Grand Coteau. The sooner she went, the sooner she would come back. Mary Ann said good-bye to all and when she arrived she flew into the arms of Mother Aude and joyfully told her, "I've come to stay!" Mr. Hardey still thought she would be back in a week and told her so. He also asked if there was anything she wanted. Mary Ann thought and then with a distressed look said, "Yes, I forgot my mirror. Will you sent it over to me?"
There were two novices who had taken the habit in May and had also taken the names of Sophie and Philippine in honor of Mother Barat and Mother Duchesne. Mary would be given the name of Aloysia.