Keep Us, Oh God, From Pettiness

Keep us, oh God, from pettiness;
Let us be large in thought,
in word, in deed.
Let us be done with fault-finding
and leave off self-seeking.

May we put away all pretense
and meet each other face to face,
without self-pity and without prejudice.

May we never be hasty in judgment
and always generous.
Let us take time for all things;
and to grow calm, serene, gentle.

Teach us to put into action
our better impulses,
straightforward and unafraid.

Grant that we may realize it is
the little things that create differences;
that in the big things of life we are at one.
And may we strive to touch and to know
the great, common human heart of us all.

And, oh Lord God, let us forget not
to be kind!

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About Mary Stewart

Mary Stewart was born in 1876 in Ohio, but spent her childhood in Georgetown, Colorado, high in the Rockies. She became a teacher and then principal of a high school, and was described as "a little bundle of energy, dignity and personal charm." She wrote this poem in 1904 as a personal daily prayer, but later started calling it a ‘Collect for Club Women’, as she felt that women working together for the common good “needed a special petition and meditation of their own.” Mary Stewart held a number of teaching and administrative posts in Colorado and Montana until 1921, when she became a junior guidance and placement officer in the pioneer period of U.S. employment services. She continued to write, and was published in a number of American newspapers and magazines. In 1927 her Alma Mater, the University of Colorado, conferred upon her an honorary degree in recognition of her distinguished work in education, social and civic service. Her ‘Collect for Club Women’ has been used ever since by women’s organizations around the world as their club creed. Mary Stewart died at the age of 67 on April 1, 1943.
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