Monday, June 30, 2014

Bloomfield, New Mexico

Let the Methodist New Year Begin! Anyone buried with the Cross and Flame on their headstone would understand what that means. Methodist churches don't hire their pastors; the Bishop assigns them. And, all Methodist ministers agree to move when the Bishop deems it necessary. When does the itinerant's new charge begin? July 1. Thousands of Methodist churches across the country are spending this week giving and receiving lots of howdy-dos. This couple would have been through the ritual many times during their lives. Bloomfield Cemetery. [2013]

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cananea, Sonora, Mexico

Roadside Crosses:  Accidents happen, lives are lost, and survivors grieve. In Mexico, it has been a longstanding tradition to mark fatal accident sites with memorials bearing the names of the deceased. Here, a lone roadside cross in the Sonoran Desert was still being tended eight years after the fatal accident took place. From this cross we learn something we don't usually learn in a cemetery: where death occurred. [1988]

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ramona, California

Roadside Crosses:  Country roads are far more dangerous than city streets. Why? Speed increases as roads wend their way into the countryside. What else increases? Dangerous curves. We know an accident took place here on a dangerous curve in rural San Diego County. We also know someone still grieves. If we could read the note attached, perhaps we would know even more. [2013]

Monday, June 23, 2014

Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Roadside Crosses: Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was founded in 1980. It took only a few years for it to become active nationally. One way the group drew attention to the sad toll of drunk driving accidents was by placing symbolic cemeteries along the nation's roads. The deaths commemorated here took place in the early 1980s in different parts of Cumberland County.  By commemorating them in one place, MADD multiplied the impact factor of their roadside memorial. Traffic accidents are still the leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 24. [1987]

Friday, June 20, 2014

Emmitsburg, Maryland

St. Joseph's Cemetery at the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton:  Here lie the remains of the Sisters of Charity, a religious order founded by Elizabeth Ann Seton. The idea of a life ordered by religious principles is reflected in the perfectly ordered graveyard where the sisters and their directors are buried.  The Very Reverend Francis J. Dodd was the Director of the Daughters of Charity for 33 years, until his death in 1962. [2010]

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Emmitsburg, Maryland

St. Joseph's Cemetery at the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton:  When she died in 1821, Mother Seton's remains were buried in St. Joseph's Cemetery. In 1846, they were moved to the cemetery's mortuary chapel (seen here), which her son had built. (That she had a son might pique your curiosity!) Then, her remains were transferred to the newly built National Shrine, hopefully her final resting place!  Outside the old chapel lie the remains of one Hipplitus Gandolfo, whose life is commemorated in the lingua franca of the Roman Church: Latin. A cemetery seems like such a perfect place to find a dead language. [2010]

Monday, June 16, 2014

Emmitsburg, Maryland

St. Joseph's Cemetery at the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton:  In 1975, Elizabeth Ann Seton became the first native-born American to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. Near Emmitsburg, Maryland, she started the first congregation of religious sisters and the first parochial school in the United States. Her body now lies under the dome of the National Shrine built in her honor, seen here in the background. In the foreground lie the remains of the Sisters of Charity, the order which she founded. [2010]

Friday, June 13, 2014

Cincinnati, Ohio

"I Parent, I Touch the Future":  What have you contributed to society? In the past, the answer to that question would have been a recitation of your children and grandchildren. People felt they could do nothing more valuable than than raising a good family. So, what have you contributed to society? St. Josephs Cemetery. [2013]

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Orange, Massachusetts

"I Parent, I Touch the Future": We have five senses. Maybe the most intimate one is the sense of touch. Perhaps that is why you see so many hands on this headstone. Group hug, anyone? And, just so you know who you are hugging, signatures are there as well. South Cemetery. [2009]

Monday, June 9, 2014

Aurora, Colorado

"I Parent, I Touch the Future": What is it about hands (and feet and paws)? Why are they used to symbolize family bonds, especially between parents and children? For all eternity, these children will find themselves waving good-bye to their father. And, their father will see those reassuring life-lines, which are exactly what you would throw to someone you are trying to save. Eastlawn Memorial Gardens. [2013]

Friday, June 6, 2014

Moab, Utah

Memorial Benches for Memorial Gardens: Benches don't have to be granite. Here's one that captures the spirit of place perfectly. The ranch hands are lined up along the fence waiting for their next job. Wait they may, but this job is going to last for a long, long time. And, only once in a while will they get a visitor. Grand Valley Cemetery. [2013]

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Bolivar, New York

Memorial Benches for Memorial Gardens: The two men here (father and son?) were big sports fans. Their love of the active life seems to have carried them across all seasons. Mom, on the other hand, had more faith in God than faith in sports. See the praying hands in her locket? And, the wooden cross in the contiguous zone was probably placed by her. Perhaps she still comes to sit a spell on the bench. Maple Lawn Cemetery. [2013]

It is what it is . . . .

Monday, June 2, 2014

Aurora, Colorado

Memorial Benches for Memorial Gardens: One of the recent additions to cemetery landscapes is the memorial bench.  Some sit atop remains that are buried in the ground; some contain cremains that are sealed inside. Outside, perhaps, are stories etched in granite, stories that tell something of the deceased's place in the world, stories that are Grimm but not grim. Eastlawn Memorial Gardens. [2013]