Celebrating Mardi Gras before Lent begins is a long-standing tradition for the Ursulines, who began their mission in the New World in New Orleans in 1727. Of course the sisters now living at Queen of Peace in Alton, Ill.—many of whom served in New Orleans—were not about to be left out.
Assisted by the activities director and pastoral care team, the sisters commandeered wagons and carts from various places, divided into Krewes and designed floats. They also made masks and decorated walkers and wheel chairs. On Mardi Gras morning, they got into costumes and formed a parade, complete with music, that wound through the first floor of Queen of Peace. The parade route was lined with cheering staff members and the community of Ursuline Sisters who live in the convent next door.
“The spirit was alive,” says Sr. Chabanel Mathison, Alton prioress, adding that it was “ignited by beignets for breakfast and fueled by jambalaya and king cake for dinner.”