This photo includes Patricia Winship '46 (Mrs. Patricia Glassmeyer) portrayed as The Virgin Mary and Virginia Hunter '46 (Mrs. Virginia M. Pitts) portrayed as St. Joseph. This "living crib" took the place of traditional statuary representation during an all-student Christmas service, Dec. 14, final class day preceding Christmas recess. The crib scene was reproduced in the grand foyer of the Allison mansion. Students in formal cap and gown procession filed down the main stairway and gathered around the manger scene, singing Silent Night. The Glee Club, organized into a three-part chorus, and the Bel Canto performed Christmas hymns. Following the ceremony, students processed into the college chapel (now the Allison Music Room), for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
Annual selection of a student, ordinarily a member of the senior class, to portray the Christmas Madonna in a Nativity tableau, is a Marian College tradition cherished by those attending the college from 1943 to 1966. Portraits of the Madonna, frequently made by professional photographers, appeared regularly in the December issue of the Phoenix, the campus newspaper, as well as in the Indiana Catholic and Record (now the Criterion). Sister Mary Jane Peine, who taught art and theater from 1939 until the late '70s, together with other Sister faculty, selected the student and arranged the tableau, including the particular clothing the Madonna wore. Prior to 1959, the Infant was a life-size statue; beginning in December 1959, a live infant, either the child of alum or of a faculty member, became a regular feature. The Madonna's identity was usually unknown to other students until the actual event. The tableau was variously a feature of a Christmas party, pageant, or play (often written and directed by Sister Mary Jane) held for students shortly before the Christmas vacation. Music was ordinarily provided by campus musical groups-i.e., Bel Canto and A Capella choirs. After 1956, one-act plays became a standard feature of the annual Christmas program.