May 21, 1867 - December 23, 1950
|Mrs. Susie May Munholland was born May 21, 1867, near Hopldnsvile, Ky., and went to her Heavenly Home Dec. 23, 1950. As an infant Mrs. Munholland with her parents, two sisters, and three brothers moved from Kentucky to Lake Charles, La. Their stay in Lake Charles was short and they soon moved to New Orleans, La. She often told the story of their first experiences in New Orleans. The outstanding memory was of some “Methodist Visitors” who came to their home and helped this new family in several ways. As a result of this experience they joined the Methodist Church as a family.
As a small child she sat with the Sunday School children in the balcony of Rayne Memorial Church when it was opened for worship about the year 1875.
It was the occasion of the corner stone ceremony of Munholland Church that she wrote the following statement, which gives everlasting credit to her family and to the Sunday Schools of New Orleans during the last century. “I cannot remember when I did not go to Sunday School or Church. ‘I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord’.”
When she was a worker and teacher in the Mary Werlein Mission in New Orleans the Rev. C. T. Munholland came to the Mission to hold a revival meeting. She was attracted to him, “For his sweet spirit and un-selfish and kindly personality.” They were married on April 10, 1895. Even though her marriage was opposed by all of her family except her mother, the twelve years as the wife of an itinerate preacher were the happiest years of her life. One of her closest friends has said of her, “Many limes the larder would be meager, but her favorite verse in the Bible would come forth with a beaming smile~—Psalm 37: 25.”
Among the places where she lived as a preacher’s wife were: Lecompte Circuit 1895; Pelican circuit 1896; Lower Coast 1897; New Orleans City Mission in 1898 and 1899; Jeanerette in 1900, 1901 and 1902; Tallulah and Delhi in 1900, 1903, 1904; West Monroe in 1905 and MerRouge in 1906. During the terrible epidemic of Yellow Fever in Lake Providence in 1898 when the Pastor and everybody else who could, left town, it was the “Parson” Munholland and his little wife who moved in to serve the sick and desperate people. One of the residents of Lake Providence in his feeble voice said only recently of Mrs. Munholland as he remembered those days: “The Parson, Ah, Yes, Where is the little wife? If I ever saw one she was a Ministering Angel.” Brother Munholland died in 1907.
Mrs. Munholland went to Tyler Business College and then for about forty years she earned her living as a bookkeeper. It was her lot for many years to take care of her invalid sister. She was always active in the program of the Church and Sunday School. Most of these years were spent in New Orleans.
In 1923 she built a home for herself and her sister in Metairie. The transportation in Metairie was then mule-drawn rail cars. During the years she had felt keenly that something should be done to honor her late husband. There was also now the yearning for a Church of her faith in the community of Metairie.
In 1936 Dr. F. C. Gunn who was Presiding Elder of the New Orleans District, placed a worker in Metairie for 3 months to determine the num-ber of Methodists and prospects for a new Church. When the report was brought in it was negative. “No Methodist Church in Metairie can be justified.” After hearing the report “Little Mother” as she was called by her intimate friends, had a conference with Dr. Gunn and insisted that she knew of several persons who wanted a Church in Metairie. Dr. Gunn and Mrs. Muatholland felt the same way, and that regardless of any report, they would have a Church in Metaine. The Rev. Jolly Harper, who was then pastor of St. Marks, was appointed pastor. He preached in the high school every Sunday morning and each Thursday evening for one year.
In November 1937, The Rev. Karl Tooke was appointed pastor and services were continued another year in the school building. Slowly the Church grew, but continuous progress was recorded. In the nine years that followed a lot was purchased, two frame buildings were constructed. One of these was later replaced in 1938, by a two story brick Educational Building. The Church Auditorium was built in 1940-4 1 at an actual cost of $10,000.00 which was the largest gift of Mrs. Munholland. She then gave her home to the Church Parsonage. Many times in the various campaigns Mrs. Munholland was the “anonymous” contributor who gave half of the goal for the campaign.
The Rev. Dana Dawson was appointed Pastor in 1946. Under his leadership the membership was increased to 800 and the beautiful new Educational Unit was added to the Plant before the death of Mrs. Mun-holland.
The estate which made it possible for Mrs. Munholland to do so much for the Church in Metairie came to her from her brother who for many years operated the May Drug Company on Canal Street in New Orleans. She regarded this estate as a sacred trust given to her by God. She would not use it for herself, but felt that she must give it back to God. The total of her contributions are not known, but was around $30,000 to this Church. It was not just a Memorial to Brother C. T. Mun-holland, but it was a channel through which God could work to reach people down through the years. She said on one occasion, “When I walk down the street and pass by this Church my heart goes out in gratitude that I was allowed to help a little. As the days pass I pray that the Christian people of this community by their faith and Godly living will bring many precious souls to Christ.”
It is difficult to say briefly the words that would properly describe this humble Christian woman. It may be that some words which she often quoted from the ,“Prayer of Peace” by St Francis of Assisi can better picture her spirit than words of any other person.
“Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace
Where there is hatred—let me sow love.
Where there is injury—pardon
Where there is doubt—faith
Where there is despair—hope
Where there is darkness—light
Where there is sadness—joy.
0 divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Pages 174-176, 1951 by Karl R. Tooke.|