Religious Studies Fall2010

During fall 2010, students in the class Latino/Latina Religions are documenting the history of St. Mary’s College for Women and Pre-GED school at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, the Episcopal Cathedral in Dallas, which is experiencing a surge in Latino parishioners. Through work in the archives, interviews with Pre-GED School students and volunteers, and ethnographic work with the parish, the class will produce a history of the church and its programs that will enable the congregation to better understand its multicultural make-up, the historic trends that led to this make-up, and the relationship between the church, its programs and the surrounding community.

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Piecing together Dallas history

Rachel.jpg An update from Rachel, a junior Spanish and Latin American studies major:

Wow! Dallas is fascinating place, whether you know it or not. I signed on to this service-learning project as part of the background research team – we dig up the facts that fit the archival pieces together. In doing this research, my group is not just connecting the dots for St. Matthew’s; we’re finding out a lot just for ourselves!

The Dallas landscape was really different in the 1890s when our city really started to grow. Ross Avenue was the Beverly Drive of today and St. Mary’s was the Hockaday! Interesting stuff, truly. East Dallas, where the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas (that you know as St. Matthew’s Cathedral) sits, used to be the hot spot! The story of its decline is a drama as exciting as they come. I’ve even used our research to make interesting conversations at parties!

All in all, our research is well on its way to providing a nice framework to hang the rest of the teams’ research on. We’re really adding to St. Matthew’s and the Pre-GED school’s body of knowledge, I hope, and having some fun while doing it. From what I hear from some kids in our class, the next thing I need to do is get myself over to the church and attend a service!

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