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Sunday,November 18,2018 21:55 PM

Mary Stuart to rest in Uganda

By Vision Reporter

Added 18th April 2002 03:00 AM

A triangular dark brown rock sits snug on top of a grave still lacking the finishing touches. A tiny plaque on the rock reads: “A man shall be as a rock.”

By Patrick Luganda A triangular dark brown rock sits snug on top of a grave still lacking the finishing touches. A tiny plaque on the rock reads: “A man shall be as a rock.” A foot to the left another grave is under construction. The young man of average build carefully fixes a snow-white tile in the interior of the grave. Another mason is busy chipping away at the grave with the stone. “That one with the stone on top is where Bishop Stuart was buried and the grave we are constructing now is where Mary Stuart will be laid on Sunday,” said the mason. This week Andrew Stuart will accompany the ashes of his mother to Uganda. Before the final ceremony there will be a thanksgiving service at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Sunday at 10.00 a.m. The cathedral bells at Namirembe, the hill of peace, will ring out in honour of Mary Stuart for the last time. Soon thereafter the celebration of the life and works of Mary Stuart will commence. The graves face to the Southeast, towards Entebbe and Lake Victoria. The route that brought the Church of Uganda to Namirembe hill. Mary Stuart’s final resting place, as it was in life, is steadfast by the left-hand side of her beloved husband. A grave away to the east lies Sir Albert Cook and Lady Katharine Cook a couple that will forever be remembered for introducing modern medicine to Uganda. They were neighbours in life and thus remain in death, till judgement day. While the Stuarts saved souls through preaching the word of God atop Namirembe hill, the Cooks soothed the physical body suffering at the nearby Mengo hospital. Edgar Stuart was third Bishop of the Diocese of Uganda. He arrived to serve as Bishop at Namirembe with Mary by his side in 1935. For the next 18 years until their retirement in 1953 the Stuarts were to play a tremendous role in the transformation of social life in the country. Mary for her part was particularly concerned about the welfare of women in Uganda and instrumental in enabling the birth of a crusade to improve the lives of women in the country. “She started a women’s group in her house in Namirembe and taught them needlework. She also encouraged them to speak English and to play netball for recreation at Mengo Girls School,” wrote the late Rebecca Muliira soon after Mary’s death on June 4, 2000. Her work with the women grew to greater heights to later blossom into the Uganda Council of Women to encourage women of all races and denominations to work together. She was the first president of the council. “It was a powerful council throughout the whole country. Women became more broad minded through the activities and speeches that formed part of the monthly meeting programmes,” wrote Muliira. Mary’s major objectives were steadfast in her mind right from the start. She was uncompromising on the education and the rights of women. After the Second World War, women were admitted for the first time to Makerere University College. The first women’s hall of residence was named ‘Mary Stuart’ in recognition of her work to promote women’s education. It remains so named to this day. She earned the prestigious Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) for her tireless efforts. Among the many projects she initiated was the formation of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) in Uganda in 1952. Rebecca Muliira and Katie Kibuuka were sent to the United States to study the working of the YWCA and later came back to strengthen the Ugandan chapter. Then there was the Mother’s Union that she cherished so much. In the eighteen years at Namirembe, hundreds of Christians were joined in Holy Matrimony at St. Paul’s cathedral. Mary Stuart was a staunch supporter of the Mother’s Union that she personally helped to nurture in her time on the grand hill. The Stuarts had a special friendship with Kabaka Frederick Muteesa II. On November 19, 1948, Bishop Stuart joined King Muteesa II, in Holy Matrimony, with Lady Damali in St. Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe. Years later, in 1971 when the remains of the late Kabaka Muteesa were brought back for burial, the Stuarts were aboard the flight with other close friends. The Stuarts retired in 1952 and went back to England. When her husband passed away in 1982, Mary Stuart plunged not into unending grief but a devotion to her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was then eighty years old. Respecting the wishes of her husband, she brought his ashes for burial in the grounds of Namirembe cathedral. She was accompanied by her son Andrew. They lay the Bishop to rest not far from Bishop James Hannington, the first Bishop of Uganda who was murdered on his way to Namirembe. This Sunday Mary joins her husband forever. “After the service the interment of her ashes will take place in the cathedral cemetery,” says Rt. Rev. Samuel Balagadde Ssekadde, Bishop of Namirembe. Mary Stuart, fare thee well. TRIBUTE Mary Stuart, wife to Bishop Edgar Stuart, came to Uganda in 1935. She is remembered for her efforts in the fight for women education in Uganda. She fought to open the doors of Makerere to women. She died in June 2000 but her ashes will be buried at Namirembe Cathedral on Sunday ends

Mary Stuart to rest in Uganda

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