My name is Pam Mason. I am a lifelong Catholic and attended St. Matthew Catholic School previously located in North St. Louis City in an area known now as “The Ville.” The school’s teaching was rich in the Jesuit and Sisters of St. Joseph traditions. I graduated from Sumner High School and earned a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Columbia College. I retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture after 33 years of service.
Growing up Catholic in North City, I learned at an early age about God and how much he loved me. As a little girl going into Church, I was always fascinated with the stained-glass windows and thought what a beautiful place it was where God lived. One of my favorite memories attending St. Matthew School is the Christmas Eve Vigil mass, which traditionally started at midnight. Each year, three students from the school were chosen to participate in the procession from the school to the church. One year, I was chosen to participate in the procession carrying baby Jesus and placing him in the manger. I remember the procession from the school and carrying baby Jesus with two angels walking in front of me holding candles. I am blessed with so many warm memories of God ‘s love pouring out from so many people that nurtured my spiritual growth.
To this day, I continue to attend mass at St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic Church. I continue to be active in the parish, serving on the Spiritual Life and Worship Committee, Administration and Finance Committee, and also lead the Young Adults and Youth Ministries. I am the site coordinator and prayer companion for the Bridge Program at St. Matthew and a member of the Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary, St. Matthew Court 150.
What makes the Spiritual Exercises meaningful to me:
The Spiritual Exercises helped me to reconnect with God in a deeper and meaningful way. To this day I can remember when and where I was when I heard the words, “spiritual exercises.” One sunny Sunday morning at mass, Fr. Mark D. McKenzie, SJ, then-pastor, talked about St. Ignatius and the spiritual exercises in his homily. It was like a light bulb went on in me. I remember saying, “Yes, I want to experience the exercises.” It was so exciting and one of the most marvelous experiences, ever. Jesus was meeting with me where I was. I continue to use the Ignatian principles I learned to connect with God daily. It’s like having a tool chest full of tools all designed to bring you closer to God. The best description of the Spiritual Exercises is, “God has made a special tool chest, and anyone can own it. You pick up the right tool per your circumstance. At any given time, you can use all the tools in the chest.”