Galesburg woman has 300 Nativity sets
GALESBURG — Mary Wright is the first to admit that if she walks into a store and there’s a Nativity set there somewhere, she’ll find it.
“They just sort of call out to me,” she said with a smile.
Those “calls” and the kindness of her many friends over the years have made her the caretaker of about 300 Nativity scenes of all shapes, sizes, materials and cultures. Each holds a special memory about the person who gave it to her or the trip that resulted in a new discovery for her collection.
Wright even received Nativity sets as wedding gifts when she married her husband, Leslie, five years ago.
“I can’t say I have a favorite, but I could probably go around to most of them and tell a story about it,” she told The Catholic Post.
Last weekend Wright shared 225 of her Nativity scenes with members of St. Patrick’s Parish and the Galesburg community during a Nativity Open House, which was a fundraiser for the parish’s Altar and Rosary Society.
Rounding out the display in the parish center were about 75 scenes brought in by parishioners and Wright estimated that only three of the sets matched each other. The second year for the open house, nearly 100 people accepted the invitation to reflect on the Christmas joy to come.
“It’s been a good group,” she told The Catholic Post, noting that the majority of visitors were from the Galesburg area. “It’s a good way to start Advent.”
When she isn’t sharing her Nativity scenes with people, Wright is associate director of financial aid at Knox College in Galesburg. She has been there for 11 of the 28 years she has worked in financial aid at the college level.
At St. Patrick’s Parish she serves as a lector and extraordinary minister of holy Communion. She also travels to Peoria on a regular basis with her husband, who is studying for the permanent diaconate of the Diocese of Peoria.