Cathedral Age what is your earliest memory of the National Cathedral?
On my first visit to Washington, D.C., to visit Senator and Mrs. Prescott Bush— my beloved in-laws—they took us to visit the National Cathedral.
Cathedral Age You’ve attended and participated in countless Cathedral services and events over the years—from special memorials and dedications to inaugural services and even serving as honorary chair of Flower Mart. What is your most meaningful memory of a Cathedral event or service you attended?
All of the services and events at the Cathedral are impressive, and we have so many memories—some funny, some moving.
In Barbara Bush: A Memoir, I wrote about the time Prince Charles and Princess Diana came to Washington:
The red coat and purple dress gave me a good laugh later in the year. In May, the archbishop of Canterbury visited Washington, and George and I attended a service in the Washington [National] Cathedral with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. An unusual cold front had come through Washington, and I decided to wear that outfit one more time before putting it away for the summer. As we were standing for the procession, young Prince Charles leaned over to George and said, “Your wife, sir, is very appropriately dressed.” We turned and looked, and there came the bishop followed by 28 primates—all gowned in purple vestments with red over-robes.
The most moving memory is the service at the Cathedral after 9/11. I found it very comforting. It was a wonderful interfaith service with many of the great religions represented.
Cathedral Age What does the Cathedral’s mission mean to you in serving as the spiritual home for the nation?
The Cathedral serves as a place of worship for people of all faiths. In a more selfish way, the Cathedral always served as a constant reminder and comforter for our children. Our boys attended St. Albans School, and during some of the tumultuous times of the 1960s—including riots in Washington—the Cathedral was their refuge.
Cathedral Age What does your faith mean to you, and how would you say it has helped or even challenged you and your family over the years?
In so many ways my faith was tested through the death of our second child, Robin. We saw her tormented little body release her soul to go to our heavenly Father. I often thought—and think—we are but an imitation of our Father.
Cathedral Age Do you have favorite scriptural passages or prayers to which you often turn?
The Beatitudes with an emphasis on “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matt. 5:9) in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
Cathedral Age How do you view the role of faith in politics and in American society?
We are a country that in many ways was founded on faith, and faith plays a huge role in our society. I hate when religion (not faith) is used as a divisive force in politics.
Cathedral Age As a christian, how do you relate to americans of different religious backgrounds?
I have great respect for people of other faiths who believe in a greater being and live a life that is based on kindness and generosity. There are many people who live spiritual lives without realizing it.