Mary Stewart wrote the Collect in 1904 as a member of the Fortnightly Club, the forerunner of the Longmont Colorado BPW club. The Collect was written as a prayer to instill a sense of unity among women working together with wide interests and important goals.
Mary Stewart worked for women’s suffrage nationally and attended the meeting in St. Louis, where the National Federation was launched. She was elected its first corresponding secretary and thereafter took an active part in the growth of the young organization by service as chairman or member of a number of national committees.
This author, who until 1910 signed the Collect with her pen name, “Mary Stuart”, remained involved in BPW until her death in 1943.
Keep us, O God, from pettiness;
let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.
Let us be done with fault-finding 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 at 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!