Eight St. Johnian women recently attended the National Women’s Conference at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. The group, all members of the Bethany Moravian Church, St. John, included Lorene Blackwood, Debra Charles, Earla Christopher, Bodicea Gordon, Reubenia Hill, Gwen Hyndman, Avilda Matthias and Elsie Trotman.
Prior to the conference, the women were the guests for a week at the home of Carol and Cliff Stiles, Foley, Minnesota. The Stiles are St. John residents from November to May each year, and Bethany is their church home while on island. Most the women had never visited the Midwest of the United States before this trip.
With Carol Stiles as their guide in a 12-passenger van, the group thoroughly enjoyed their visits to St. John University to see the St. John Bible, the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research and the Abbey Church. The following day, they visited Lake Mille Lacs, toured the Indian museum and ended the day with a picnic at Clearwater Forest Presbyterian Camp overlooking Clearwater Lake.
Ready for some heavy duty shopping, they loved the huge outlet mall near Albertville, Minnesota, about 40 miles from Foley, as they knew there was nothing that compared with it anywhere in the Virgin Islands.
The group attended worship services at the First Presbyterian Church of Foley and that evening, the church honored them with a potluck dinner. The women prepared a number of West Indian specialties for the dinner.
Back on the tour route again, the group drove to Duluth, Minnesota, and up to Gooseberry Falls, where they had a picnic on the shores of Lake Superior. After hiking up to the falls, they visited the museum there and then saw the historic lift bridge in Duluth.
On the way to their conference at St. Olaf, they stopped to shop at the famous Mall of America, which is near the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, and is the largest tourist attraction in the United States. People fly in from Europe and Asia just to shop at the Mall of America. They all agreed that their preference for shopping was the Outlet Mall, as the Mall of America was just too big, too many people and did not have many good sales.
The Stiles enjoyed the wonderful time of fun and fellowship with their West Indian family, and as the women left Foley, they took with them many fond memories of Minnesota, the beautiful lakes, countryside and the warm friendly people.
Clifford Stiles, M.D.