Celebrating Our All Saints' Stories - Connie Monnot
Note: As stewards, we are called to share ourselves and our lives with others. We at All Saints have much to celebrate, including each other. In the spirit of celebration and giving thanks, what follows is the second in the series “Celebrating our All Saints’ Stories” which will help us learn more about each other and our community.
The first thing you notice upon entering Connie Monnot’s house is the artwork. Every room is filled with paintings—portraits, landscapes, seascapes--and they were all painted by Connie. “The seascapes are my favorites,” she claims.
Connie started painting at age 11 when she took her first art class while attending 6th grade in Mexico City. When her grandfather decided to return to Mexico after escaping the Mexican Revolution, Connie’s family followed and stayed there for one year. While there, Connie became fluent in Spanish. Connie’s mother is of French descent so Connie also became fluent in French.
Connie was raised Catholic and attended Notre Dame Belmont High School. “Our family is full of bishops and priests,” she relates.
After high school, she received her B.A. in History and met her future husband, John. They were married just shy of 61 years when he passed away February 2021.
The second thing you notice about Connie is her resilience and her love of history and family. Connie spent many years as a caretaker of first her mother, then her father, and then her husband. Throughout her house are photographs of her family and ancestors and she appreciates how her family’s story was interwoven with and shaped by historical events.
Connie’s father owned a glass business where Connie helped out. Connie remembers being young and the excitement of touring secret U.S. bases with her father since the military needed glass for its war efforts. In 1947, her father sold the business, they moved to Mexico City for the year, and then the family toured Europe. Her father then opened another glass business, called Albert Martin Glass, in South San Francisco, which because quite successful. After about 20 years, Dad was ready to retire. He turned to Connie and told her he regretted that she was a woman and couldn’t take over the business. When she shared her dad’s story with her husband, John came up with an idea which he and Connie discussed into the wee hours of the night—namely, that they would buy the business and run it together. And this is what they did. In 1961 Albert Martin Glass became John’s Glass. Their company installed glass for much of San Francisco—the buildings along the Embarcadero, the mirrors on the ceiling and glass windows of Hyatt’s famous revolving restaurant at the top of the hotel, the Stoneston Development in Pacifica, to name a few. “I was brought up in the glass business,” claims Connie. She then proved her acumen by explaining to me why car side windows have tempered glass but the front window is laminated and how to tell if glass is tempered or not. (If you wish to know the answers to these questions, just ask Connie.)
Most of us know Connie as the mother of our former rector, Michael Monnot. It is because of Michael and Betsey that Connie and John, who were practicing Catholics, found themselves attending All Saints because Revs. Michael and Betsey needed a babysitter during church first for young William and then for his brothers, Robert and Thomas. “We felt like Episcopalians right from the start,” Connie states, “so there was no question of us leaving.” Connie reveals she likes the Episcopal church because women can be priests.
Connie has stayed at All Saints, even after her family moved to Iowa when Betsey was elected Bishop of Iowa, because of the strong community and support. When John was diagnosed with dementia, she and others in similar situations came together, with Rev. Betsey’s guidance, to form a caretakers’ group, which still meets at a coffee shop on a regular basis even though the majority of the spouses have passed away.
What brings Connie the most joy when she thinks of All Saints are the people. “I am grateful for all the companionship and support I received when I lost my dear John,” she relates.
She enjoys Sunday services sitting with friend, Meride Hutchingson, who drove Connie to her chemo sessions when Connie had cancer. You may have noticed them because they both make a practice of wearing hats just for fun and in memory of all the different hats they once wore to church when they were younger, as was the tradition then.
Connie wishes to give thanks to All Saints for the outdoor services that took place during Covid. She found herself inviting her neighbors to come along with her, and many of them did. She also is happy that the services are on YouTube to be enjoyed by those who are homebound.
Connie ended the interview with these words, “We continue on.”