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From the Archive

The history of the May Procession

The May Procession in 1929, a Waverley tradition

The May Procession in 1929

The very first May Procession took place on 21 May 1911. Instigated by members of the Sodality, it would become a distinctly Waverley tradition and has been called ‘one of the finest moments of grace’ anywhere.

The idea of the May Procession was the brainchild of Brother Aungier, who brought the tradition with him from his native Cork, in Ireland. He was also responsible for establishing the Sodality of Our Lady, from which the Procession grew. The Procession began as a ceremony in which the resident statue of the Blessed Virgin was carried ceremoniously through the grounds of the college.

The Sodality Council, 1909, Waverley College May Procession

The Sodality Council, 1909

There was a reunion of the members [of the Sodality] who formed a procession on the lawn in front of the College together with contingents from the other three schools, Franciscan priests, Christian Brothers and parishioners from Waverley. A decorated statue was carried, hymns were sung, the rosary recited and an address on Mary given… In instituting the May Procession,’ wrote Justice W J Dignam, ‘[This] gave Waverley a distinctive stamp, the value of which cannot be too highly esteemed. It is one of the great tributes to Mary in Australia’.

The May Procession, circa 1950

The May Procession, circa 1950