Normandy fountain festival brought people together from across St. Louis city and county on September 24 to celebrate a street. The Natural Bridge Road corridor near the Good Shepherd Province Center achieved the status of becoming one of St. Louis’ “Great Streets,” after nearly 10 years of analysis, input, planning and construction. Sisters of the Good Shepherd played a vital role in the festival that celebrated the achievement.
Normandy fountain festival takes on an eco focus
The Normandy fountain festival launched with children and adults from the local community digging holes and planting 180 native wildflowers on the convent grounds. Plantings were a Good Shepherd response to Pope Francis’ call to environmental stewardship. Province Director of Operations Monte Abbott organized the wildflower project and coordinated volunteers for it. He led an ecology tour along the Natural Bridge Road corridor following the plantings.
“It was great to be able to create a project where the Sisters and public could put creation care into practice on the convent campus,”Monte said.
Sr. Sharon O’Grady said she was especially grateful to see children so in love with nature and to meet the adults in their lives who are instilling in them a passion for the care of creation.
“The children were so respectful of nature. They took such care not to hurt any of the worms and grubs they found while digging holes for their plants,” Sr. Sharon said.
Nine-year-old Kendall, a Junior Girl Scout, said, “I came to plant flowers to give all of the animals something to eat. Plants give us life. If we didn’t have plants we wouldn’t be able to breathe and animals wouldn’t have anything to eat.”
Kendall’s friend Raven said, “I like getting my hands dirty for nature because I love nature. Nature is beautiful and makes me feel happy.”
Province Leader Sr. Madeleine Munday said, “The kids who live in the neighborhood will drive by and see what they created by planting with Good Shepherd. They will see and enjoy the butterflies for the rest of their lives.”
Great Streets Initiative
St. Louis Great Streets Initiative expands the way communities think about their streets. The goal of the initiative is to center communities around interesting, lively and attractive streets that trigger economic and social benefits for all. The initiative began in 2006. In 2008 the City of Normandy collaborated with county resources to determine whether the corridor of Natural Bridge Road could be a viable Great Streets project.
Sisters as stakeholders
Sisters of the Good Shepherd were considered stakeholders from the onset of the project due to their status as an institutional neighbor and landholder on Natural Bridge Road. Sisters were engaged in early and ongoing discussions about the Great Streets project and had a voice for planning the community festival.
In addition to the wildflower plantings, Normandy fountain festival activities included a Fun Run/Walk, vintage car show, live music, a fountain light show and more. Sister Glynis McManamon and local artist Catharine Magel prepared a giant art canvas for festival goers to express themselves creatively throughout the day.