SMU students uncover diverse history of St. Matthew's Cathedral
Student-driven research unveils varied history of St. Matthew's Cathedral.
At the same Dallas address that once held an Episcopal college for young women of wealth and privilege – among them Lady Bird Johnson – low-income Hispanic women now prepare to take the GED.
Such past and present realities of 5100 Ross Ave. became the preoccupation of some Southern Methodist University students this fall. They spent many hours there, digging through archives, attending services at St. Matthew's (Episcopal) Cathedral, and interviewing a range of people involved in on-site ministries.
Back in class at SMU, they always had plenty to share. (Read their blog on SMU Adventures.)
"I never had to start a discussion," said Jill DeTemple, their professor in the class "Latino/Latina Religions." "They would all be there, they would all be on time, and the next thing we knew the hour and a half would be gone."
DeTemple, an assistant professor of religious studies, taught the same course in 2008 and had those students do a history of St. Edward Catholic Church in Old East Dallas, which has become overwhelmingly Hispanic in recent decades.
This time, she focused on St. Matthew's Cathedral at 5100 Ross, where the Hispanic contingent is growing but there remains a core of long-term members, most of them Anglo.
The project grew to become a study of 5100 Ross' larger history. That includes St. Mary's College, which closed in the Depression but remains a presence through buildings still in use.
# # #