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The Collect was written as a personal prayer by Mary Stewart in 1904. She was just out of college and beginning her first job as a high school principal. She offered the prayer for publication as a club woman’s collect because she felt “women working together for large ends” was something new. The first organization to use and print it in its yearbook was the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. It has since been printed in many forms and many lands and set to music. It is recited at each monthly meeting.
Keep us, O God, from pettiness;
Let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.
Let us be done with faultfinding 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
Let us take time for all things;
make us 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 as one.
And may we strive to touch and to know
the great common human heart of us all
and O Lord God, let us forget not
to be kind!