May 11: Maria Williams Sheerin Minor (1983)

Maria Sheerin moved to Washington in 1942 when her husband, the Rev. Charles W. Sheerin, became Epiphany’s tenth rector. It would be the fifth home of their 17-year marriage. Maria was born in Richmond, VA . Her schooling began at a small private school “with a strong Confederate slant” and then finished at the National Cathedral School for Girls in Washington. After her coming out in Richmond, Maria married a brilliant, young Episcopal priest, Charles Sheerin. Some of Maria’s relatives took a dim view of her marriage to a Yankee, but Charles took it all in stride. Maria followed her husband to his diverse assignments, ranging from Waco, TX to New York City. Wherever they went, she witnessed the important work her husband did to better social conditions and make people’s lives better.

While the couple was at Epiphany, Maria began to collect the notes she had written about her adventures and began work on an autobiography, The Parson Takes a Wife, which was published by Macmillan in 1948. Shortly before the book appeared, Charles Sheerin died suddenly at age 50. Maria’s book breaks off abruptly with this final epilogue: “Do not look for the Parson in his pulpit. He has now gone gloriously ahead into eternal life, and Heaven seems a fairer place than Earth.” Four years later, Maria married Dr. John Minor, Epiphany’s senior warden. Maria Minor’s appointment as an alternate delegate to a special diocesan convention was the first time a woman held an official position at Epiphany.

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