Atchison Benedictines travel to Carthage for Marian Festival

Event draws thousands to southeast Missouri

Benedictine sisters from Mount St. Scholastica were among the 60,000 or so people who converged on Carthage, Mo., in early August for the 38th annual Marian Days celebration.

Thousands of Vietnamese families travel to the small town in southwest Missouri each year to honor the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary and recall their homeland and their gratitude for Mary’s protection. Commemorating the fall of Saigon in 1975, the theme of this year’s event was “40 Years of Tribulation and Grace.” Along with the many liturgies and talks on spirituality, the event includes food, music, dancing and other activities from the Vietnamese culture. The highlight of the festival is a Saturday evening processional through the city with a large statue of the Virgin Mary.

Numerous Roman Catholic religious orders have booths at the event to highlight their work and promote vocations. At the Mount St. Scholastica booth, children and teens were invited to “Share your faith and get a prize.” Little ones said a simple prayer and older children told about their favorite bible story, saint, or what they had learned about their faith this year. In return, they received temporary tattoos featuring Sts. Scholastica and Benedict, friendship bracelets, prayer cards and other gifts. Among the nearly 150 sisters who participated, members of the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica delegation were Sisters Elizabeth Carrillo, Maria Nguyen, Oanh Pham, Patricia Seipel, Barbara Smith and Judith Sutera.