The Edmundite Missions received the extraordinary gift in 1983 of an original painting of St. Charles Lwanga and his 21 companions, all of whom died for their faith in Uganda between 1885 and 1887. Most of them were teenagers who were burned at the stake by the king for refusing to join him in sexual orgies.
These young heroes are depicted in an acrylic mural eight-feet tall by twelve-feet wide. They are surrounded by the symbols of traditional African culture such as shields, drums, spears and tropical landscape; and they bear the symbols of their new faith—the Bible, the palm leaf and the cross.
This beautiful mural was presented by long-time friend, Father Lucien Jusseaume of Fall River, Massachusetts, who believed strongly that Black youngsters need Black heroes, and wanted the young people of the Southern Missions to learn about the heroism shown by these young men, whom Pope Pius XI declared the patrons of African youth.
Sister Mae Belle Gay died on January 5, 2017 and is buried at Forest Hills Memorial Park in Snowdoun, Alabama.
Originally, the mural hung in St. Martin de Porres School in Gadsden, Alabama. When the school and parish closed and was replaced by a Center of Concern, the mural was brought to Selma and hung in the Legacy Room of the Edmundite Memorial Chapel, which was built by Father Francis Casey, S.S.E., the founder of the Missions, and served from 1937 to 1971 as St. Elizabeth Catholic Church. The edges of the four panels were repaired and the mural was re-framed when it was moved.