Rosewood Manor offers spiritual growth in idyllic setting

Published 10:25 am Sunday, April 12, 2015

Gracie Hicks, a lovely southern lady, and Rosewood Manor, a magnificent mansion from a bygone era of wealth and opulence, are synonymous. Although Rosewood Manor, the beautiful Greek Revival antebellum mansion built in 1835, had several owners before Gracie and Dewitt Hicks took possession 38 years ago, the Hicks have lovingly brought Rosewood Manor back to life.

The southern drawl spilling from Gracie’s lips and her sassy smile greet people from the world over as they ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over the myriad of antique furnishings of this grand yet charming home. Annie scurries about in the background helping in innumerable ways as the Spring Pilgrimage of Columbus, Miss., begins. Annie has been working for the family for 19 years and has become indispensible.

Gracie said, “We couldn’t do without Annie. She has been with us so long she’s practically family.”

Ladies donning gorgeous gowns complete with hoop skirts smile and guide visitors through the mansion with their carefully choreographed scripts. Many are personal friends of Gracie’s and have been working pilgrimage for years. These ladies know their part to a tee. Others glance nervously at their notes but soon slip into the gentle flow as Rosewood Manor speaks for herself.

Gracie and Dewitt Hicks have traveled abroad to England and Europe numerous times in search of just the right piece to complement Rosewood Manor’s décor. Each article that graces their lovely home has a story to tell, and visitors are delighted with them. The grounds are absolutely gorgeous on this spring day and add a special dimension to the tour.

The Hicks’ have a strong personal faith and are members of Columbus First Methodist Church. Ten years ago they were traveling through the countryside of Alabama when Gracie spotted a sad little chapel in disrepair. Immediately she asked Dewitt to stop and inquire if it was for sale. They purchased the chapel and painstakingly began the restoration process. Gracie was soon doing what she loves to do, shop and decorate. In a matter of months the chapel looked as if it had enjoyed a prominent place in the garden for years.

Two ladies on this year’s tour, Kimberly Dykes and her friend, Kathy Bartholomew, from Lexington, Tenn., thoroughly enjoyed their visit to this lovely estate.

Dykes said, “ I think it would be so wonderful to have a place for private meditation on your own grounds.” She continued with a laugh, “We might pray more, Kathy! I think I could sit here all day and enjoy this peaceful, beautiful chapel.”

This is exactly what Gracie had in mind when she first laid eyes on the quaint little chapel. Her dream of creating a lasting tribute to her faith in Christ is realized each time people sit quietly in the little chapel and pause to reflect on their own journey of faith.