Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff
Excerpts from “Seed Thought” by Mary Rogers
MARY ROGERS Similitudes
TAGS: Mary Rogers, similitudes, Seed Thoughts, environmental education, religious thought, analogies, personal insights, Phillip Keller, symbolism
Mary Rogers‘ “Similitudes” is one section of Seed Thoughts, a series of personal reflections that Mary left with Pine Mountain Settlement School following her death in 1993. The reflections, recorded by her friend, Milly Mahoney from Mary’s diary, demonstrate the strong influence of her early religious training as the daughter of a Vicar in the Church of England. Among the “Similitudes” are also reflections of her early years spent in missionary service in India and in China. More importantly, the reflections found in Seed Thoughts and in this particular section suggest the foundation of a growing environmental philosophy that she shared, nourished and expanded as she helped to create the Environmental Education program starting in 1973. .
While not the creator, Mary was the primary force in the creation of the Environmental Education Program at Pine Mountain Settlement School in 1973. There were many others whose contributions were as heartfelt and sincere, but the depth of the spiritual in the numerous talks Mary gave to students and visitors were special. Many of those who were privileged to have participated in any workshop or environmental education session offered at the School led by Mary became disciples and they continue to carry her messages forward. Few will forget the deep spirituality of her offerings that touched the heart as well as the head.
This “similitude” business is full of pitfalls. Push an analogy too far and it collapses or becomes ridiculous.Mary Rogers. Seed Thoughts, February 1992
I have found, however, that insights have come to me from the pictures these “similitudes” bring.
Mary gives credit for her exploration of similitudes to a book by Phillip Keller, As a Tree Grows: Reflections on Growing in the Image of Christ (1985). She notes that Keller “… uses the symbols differently but it is a splendid ‘similitude.’ How the living tree and the living person is sustained. Many points amplify what I had already written here. “
Mary then walks the reader through the SIMILITUDES: The Sun, the Water, the second person of the Trinity, the Leaf (The Church), an Indian Prayer, and finally a reflection on the Atom.
1.) The Sun
Warm, beautiful and powerful, and in the small part of the cosmos of which we have a real conception, the fount of our physical life, growth and strength.Mary Rogers. Seed Thoughts, February 1992
Regarding the Atom, Mary says,
To God, the atom is as complex, essential and lovingly created as the universe. In the creation, I am partway between the atom and the universe, and therefore it is up to me to do as they do — be subject to his design and will. Therefore I do not serve him in order to receive a reward, a golden crown, a mansion, a harp, a seat of honor or even forgiveness of sin or eternal life, but because it is right that his will should be done on earth as it is in heaven.Mary Rogers. Seed Thoughts — Similitudes 1992
I cannot read his mind with my small mind. I’ll never know his whole will. I need to ascertain the purpose for which I was created, receive forgiveness for my errors in understanding, my mistakes in knowledge, for my failure to live out what I do in fact know.
Come, Lord Jesus!
This last section of her diary, called “Similitudes,” was written by Mary following her diagnosis of cancer in 1992. “Similitudes” is written much like a farewell to earth, as well as a guiding document for her entry into the Kingdom of God. She died in 1993 in the Spring on Earth Day.
MARY ROGERS Staff – Biography
MARY ROGERS Uncle William’s Mandate to Pine Mountain, 1969