Mary Lynne McNeil loved the story of Jesus' birth and for 50 years, she collected nativity sets depicting the holy scene of long ago, in a Bethlehem stable.
"They came from all over the world," says her husband, Jerry. "Big and small, some with lots of pieces, and some with just a few, she was constantly adding to her collection. Many of them were gifts from friends and family and they were all precious to her," he says.
When Mary Lynne died last January, just a few months short of their 50th wedding anniversary, Jerry decided he wanted to share her many gifts with young people; and so he contacted the St. Clair Catholic District School Board. Elementary Chaplaincy Leader Margaret Palmer recently visited Jerry and gathered up the more than 40 nativity sets and will deliver them to schools throughout Sarnia-Lambton and Chatham-Kent, over the next couple of weeks.
"For many years to come during Advent, these nativity sets will appear on the prayer tables of every school in our district," says Ms. Palmer. "It is an amazing gift to the students and staff of our Board."
Jerry says he is pleased to know that the beautiful scenes that brought Mary Lynne so much joy, will now be appreciated by many, many people.
In the photos (top left) Margaret Palmer and Jerry McNeil pose with just a few of the nativity sets he recently donated to the schools of the St. Clair Catholic District School Board; and (above right) one of the more than 40 scenes in Mary Lynne's collection.