Mother Miranda has big hopes for chapel

Mother+Miranda+Cully+plans+chapel+in+her+office.+She+previously+worked+at+St.+Johns+Episcopal+Church.

Brennan Seltzer

Mother Miranda Cully plans chapel in her office. She previously worked at St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Brennan Seltzer, Deputy Editor

Chapel is a time for busy students to settle into their pew for a speech, some songs or a meditation. Seniors pass on their wisdom, bands and singers perform and announcements are made.

Leading the school through this daily ritual is the new Head Chaplain, Reverend Miranda Cully, or as she prefers to be called, Mother Miranda. After working at St. John’s Episcopal Church as a priest for four years, she moved into the St. Mary’s community at the start of this new school year.

Shelby Williams (11), a church-goer at St. John’s and St. Mary’s lifer, said she thinks Mother Miranda is a good fit for St. Mary’s.

“She is really such a calming presence that I think people really appreciate,” said Williams. “I feel like everyone is always kind of stressed out … and she has a very calming voice. She kinda balances us out because we are chaotic.” 

Mother Miranda has spent these past couple of months learning about and observing the St. Mary’s community. 

“I already knew that there was a strong St. Mary’s bond, a strong St. Mary’s heritage and tradition,” said Mother Miranda, “but people here actually care about each other … it is very real … and you do not see groups of people that are that tight very often.”

Mother Miranda hopes to expand her ministry as a chaplain and bring her thoughts and experiences to a younger generation and different community. 

“I loved being a priest … and I had gotten where I was with adults a lot, and I missed being around younger people … and I was just ready to be in a different environment,” said Mother Miranda. 

As Mother Miranda aims to be as inclusive as possible and incorporate other faiths and spiritualities so that chapel can be a safe space for everyone. 

“Our Christian faith, as Episcopalians see it, should be an inclusive one,” said Mother Miranda. “I like to see people take ownership of their own traditions, their own interests, their own culture and feel free to bring them to chapel… I would love to see more participation and more voices.”

Maya Iyengar (10) recently helped in creating the Diwali chapel celebrating the Hindu festival of lights to welcome the new year.

“I like [the inclusivity of chapel] because we just had our Diwali chapel and [Mother Miranda] was super open to different ideas, and she is trying to incorporate more channels that have not been included in the past of smaller minorities,” said Iyengar.

Hilary Robinson (‘90), Associate Head of School, was involved in Mother Miranda’s hiring process and recalled in a memo why she was the perfect candidate. 

“Mother Miranda showed us that she is collaborative and wise,” she wrote. “She is an ordained Episcopalian priest who is a perfect fit for our St. Mary’s community.”

“Mother Miranda immediately drew me in with her warmth and caring,” said Robinson. “[She] is so St. Mary’s. She brings a lot to the table, and I can’t wait for everyone to really get to know her.”