By Rev. Kathleen Gannon
Grace Stewart Hosie Carey is a redhead…under the beautiful silver crown that she has earned in her 90 years there is a funny and fiery redhead from Boston.
Grace came to St. Paul’s in 1982 – the first Sunday after she moved into Abbey Delray South with her husband Ralph, known as Big Red to her Little Red. Ralph passed away five years later, and Grace has remained in the apartment they shared as some of the first residents of Abbey South. Grace reigns as the longest resident of Abbey today.
Grace has been in church most of her life. In her youngest days her family was part of the Congregational Church where many of their fellow Scots attended. Grace’s dad moved to Boston from his native Glasgow, Scotland in 1923. The picture of James Hosie shows him in his British Army uniform from the Great War. James apprenticed to learn how to make compasses after the war and moved to Boston for a job. In 1925, his fiancé Grace and her mother Grace, moved to Boston on December 7, 1925. Grace’s parents married in a double wedding ceremony with their best friends eleven days later! And the daughters of these two couples – our Grace the third and Helen remain friends today. Grace was a bridesmaid at Helen’s wedding….
You can still hear Grace’s Boston accent as you talk with her. Grace attended Burnett College for a two year secretarial course and moved from her first job at an investment firm to a thirty-one year career with Shell Oil company.
When Grace began to talk about her parent’s journey from Glasgow to Boston, I knew who she was talking about – James and Grace Hosie. I have seen their names remembered in our Christmas Memorials for Flowers and Music for many years. You can see ‘The Hosie family’ remembered in the leaflet this year too.
Grace’s journey in the Episcopal Church began at the Canterbury Club at Trinity Church on Copley Square in Boston. Sunday nights included supper at 6, worship at 7:30 and either help with dishes or choir practice. Grace chose the choir! Grace’s office at Shell Oil in downtown Boston was right across the street from Trinity. Grace could stop in at lunch time for prayer or services.
Grace’s career with Shell Oil was what introduced her to Ralph Carey. A fellow Shell Oiler, Ralph was a retired widower who was moving to Florida. A romantic phone call changed her life! They married in Connecticut and moved to the sunshine state.
Ralph and Grace were among the very first residents of Abbey Delray North in the summer of 1982. As their apartment was being constructed, they needed some measurements of the rooms… Finding no one on the site when they arrived, Grace simply climbed through the window with her tape measure to get the dimensions she needed!
Grace’s first Sunday in Delray was spent at St. Paul’s. Soon, Grace was confirmed and became what she calls “an official Episcopalian” at St. Paul’s on September 1, 1982. She treasures the Bible she received from St. Paul’s on that day.
The Episcopal Church Women and their many luncheons, the regular service projects and social events became part of Grace’s life. She has pictures from St. Paul’s church services, events, picnics and parties adorning her wall. The photo of a Sunday service – has an arrow to show she is in her usual spot!
Over the years, Grace made many friends at St. Paul’s. And in the early days, Grace brought 5 friends from Abbey to church every Sunday. Now, Grace has the support of Brigitte Kumpf who regularly drives Grace to the 10am service on Sunday. Fay Smith stands in when Bridgett is away and they can all do lunch on the way home.
St. Paul’s provides for Grace what Trinity provided in Boston – a vibrant spiritual community of love and support. When Grace was ill several years ago, her St. Paul’s community surrounded her with prayer and tangible support. Hospital visits, home visits, phone calls…lots and lots of prayer.
Grace’s faith is very much an integral, routine, natural part of her life. Her faith community is what nurtures her faith – from the early days with her Scottish extended family in the Congregational Church, her career days in the Canterbury Club at Trinity Episcopal in Boston, to her many faith filled days of retirement here at St. Paul’s.
A community of faith is, I think, what God hopes for each of us. Grace finds that community here at St. Paul’s and in Abbey Delray South. From the important prayers for healing to the simple remembrance of her parents with flowers, the faith community that is Grace’s is ours too!
It was my great pleasure to interview Grace for this story – though I knew many of the parts of her story it was just a delight to hear her tell and remember… I thank God for Grace and for St. Paul’s.
We are all part of each other’s sacred story. The mission of the church is to “restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.” Mission accomplished here…