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Festival of Trees has deep tradition

A Seaside tradition begun in the 19th century

By Dylan Milliren

For Seaside Signal

Published on December 1, 2017 10:39AM

The Festival of Trees has a long tradition.

Drawing by Dylan Milliren

The Festival of Trees has a long tradition.

Providence’s very own Dr. Jeff Blanche since 2006 uses his music on an assortment of instrument to bring the true Spirit of Christmas to the Tea and also helps the hostesses enliven the graceful Seaside tradition.

The woman in the drawing is Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart. She was a Religious Sister who led a group of members of her congregation known as the Sisters of Providence to the Pacific Northwest. What she got to do with Providence is it all started when the bishop of the new Diocese of Nesqually (now known today as the Archiocese of Seattle) came to Mother Emillie Gamelin, the foundress of the Sisters for their assistance for his diocese in the Pacific Northwest in 1856. She chose Mother Joseph to led four companions to that region as missionaries.

For more than a month, the, along with the bishop went there from Montreal, Canada, arriving on Dec. 8 on the very same year, which would probably explain why the Festival is in the beginning of December. Unfortunately, when they got there, the vicar general expected them to go somewhere else and had not made any arrangements for their housing. Mother Joseph and the missionaries spent their first nights in the region in the bishop’s small house’s attic. Four months later, the sister made, a small cabin which used as their convert and first school in Vancouver, Washington.

At the time, they took several orphans and a homeless old man into their care.

The sisters were given two acres of the St. James Mission Claim by Bishop Blanchet, and as soon that happened, a group of multi-purpose buildings started to go off like pancakes. The Sisters’ new home was called Providence of the Holy Angels. As the years passed, if added the convert, novitate, infirmary, orphanage for both boys and girls, boarding and day school, rooms for both the elderly and the insane and the first St. Joseph Hospital.

The sisters also took care of the clergy of St. James Cathedral, and visited the poor and sick in their homes. Unfortunately, most of the property had to be sold, for that part of St. James Mission Claim was only temporary. But on January 28, 1859, the sisters stayed in business as the Sisters of the House of Providence in the territory of Washington. Today, it is one of the state of Washington’s oldest corporations and the parent of Providence Health System.

The reason why the Christmas trees in the festival are decorated differently from regular Christmas trees is because they are not regular trees for they are themed to match the items that are auctioned off at the gala as part of Providence’s fundraiser. Each tree have ornaments and gifts are all related to a certain theme.

Like for the ones in the drawing (from front to back) the hit animated children’s show, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, the Bing Crosby song, White Christmas, on of the greatest, long lasting children’s show, Sesame Street, one of the most favorite candy M&M’s, one of the most famous basketball teams, the Chicago Bulls, one of the most popular book series, Harry Potter, the most popular app game, Angry Birds, and Disney’s Winnie the Pooh.


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