TODAYS congregation at the National Cathedral will be the first to see a set of new memorial banners in brilliant colors carried in procession.
The banners honor the late Mary Breckinridge, founder of the Frontier Nursing Service in Wendover, Ky., more than 50 years ago.
The Cathedral, which has collected a great deal of handwork over the years to match the art and carving of the great stone Episcopal edifice set certain standards for the banners.
They are made of 100 per cent natural materials, no synthetics, since no one knows how long synthetics will last. The banners are linen on top, backed by wool and stitched with Persian yarn. The color are bright, with much blue.
Mary Marvin Breckinridge (Mrs. Jefferson) Patterson, FNS chairman for 15 years and an FNS worker for 47 as well as a cousin of Mary Breckinridge worked out the plans with Canon Jeffrey Cave of the Cathedral Berea College in Kentucky suggested Mildred Stickler, of Van Winkle Grove, in Berea, an artist who is alo accomplished in "stitchery."
Strickler worked the motto of the FNS into the design. This motto comes from Isaiah 40:11 and goes:
"He shall gather the lambs with his arm/And carry them in his bosom/And shall gently lead those that are young."
These words are the theme for the life of Mary Breckinridge, who was to frontier nursing and midwifery in the United States what Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton were to nursing in their day.
just where the banners will be placed permanently at the Cathedral has not been decided. They were carried to the high altar and blessed Wednesday. Stands have been made and they may be placed beside the children's chapel.
Mrs. Breckinridge, a widow, who lost two young children, knew Washington. Her father, the late Clifton Rodes Breckinridge, had been a member of Congress from Arkansas. She chose the Kentucky area because after roaming the mountains on horseback, she found there was no doctor or hospital to serve the heavily forested homeland of 10,000 people.
The banners will be displayed Thursday, Nov. 3, at a reception which Mrs. Peter Jay, wife of the new British ambassador, is giving in honor of the FNS at the British embassy. Guests of honor will be Dr. W.B. Rogers Beasley, present director of the FNS in Wendover, Ky., and Kate Ireland, chairman of the board of governors.
The British have always been closely connected with the Frontier Nursing Service in Kentucky because Mrs. Breckinridge received her certificate in midwivery at the British Hospital for Mothers and Babies in London. At frist, all the mid-wives in Wendover, Ky., were from Great Britain. But in 1939, Mary Breckinridge opened the Frontier Graduate School for Midwifery in Wendover, the first of its kind in the United States.