CLUB WOMEN COLLECT
“A Collect For Clubwomen” by Mary Stewart is recited at the beginning of each Sawnee Woman’s Club meeting, along with the Pledge of Allegiance. Mary Stewart, a Colorado school principal, wrote the words to the Collect in 1904 as a personal daily prayer. Mary titled her poem “A Collect for Club Women” when it was first published because she felt it might have special appeal to clubwomen. According to Mary, “The first women’s organization to hear or use the Collect or to print it in its year books and biennial reports was the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.” Prior to her death in 1943, Mary Stewart’s own account of the history of the Collect was recorded. During GFWC President Dorothy Houghton’s administration (1950-1952), the American Home Department published Mary’s history along with an interpretation of the text and suggestions for using it in GFWC programs. The words for the Collect are as follows:
Keep us, oh God from pettiness;
Let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.
Let us be done with fault finding
And leave off self-seeking.
May we put away all pretense
And meet each other face to face
Without self-pity and without prejudice.
May we never be hasty in judgment,
And always generous.
Let us take time for all things;
Make us to grow calm, serene, gentle.
Teach us to put into action our better impulses
Straightforward and unafraid.
Grant that we may realize it is
The little things that create differences,
That in the big things of life we are at one.
And may we strive to touch and to know
The great, common human heart of us all,
And, oh Lord God, let us forget not
To be kind!
– Mary Stewart