Friday, May 29, 2015

Touring Catholic crypts

Local historians to give tour of cemetery
Funeral of Charle Dohert. (Photo Credit: A Sense of History Research Services Inc.)
St. Peter’s Cemetery buries many mysteries. Historians Archie and Dale Miller work to unearth them all.

“Cemeteries around the world are fascinating microcosms of the communities they are located in,” says Dale. “Not only do they memorialize the individuals interred within their grounds, but they are also places of quiet reflection, prayer, and meditation.”

Dale notes the artistic designs in the New Westminster cemetery emulate an art gallery.

“Grave markers can provide a wealth of information about the history of the community and insight into changing symbols and values of the society represented,” she says, explaining the social value of the cemetery markers, landscape features, and layout.

Many individuals have untold stories, such as Sally Gribble, founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The importance of these forgotten individuals is something both Dale and Archie work to share, through their tours of the grounds.

Captain Owen Browne, a paddle steamer captain in the early 1900, is one such individual. After his death in 1948, “Aloha oe” was inscribed on his grave marker, mystifying friends and family. With the meaning “Farewell to Thee” and originating from the song written by Hawaiian Queen Lili’uokalani, Dale reveals Browne’s Hawaiian ethnicity on his mother’s side. While members of the community were aware of his Tahitian heritage, they were ignorant to his Hawaiian heritage.

These mysteries serve to encourage the pursuit of knowledge of loved ones. They are “a reminder to all of us to get to know our family and friends’ stories better while we have the chance,” says Dale.

Dale and her husband Archie will lead a tour at St. Peter's, located at 150 Richmond St., starting at 2 p.m. June 7 near the cemetery gate.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave a comment about this post.

Rules for commenting

Posts and comments to The Busy Catholic must be marked by Christian charity and respect for the truth. They should be on topic and presume the good will of other contributors. Discussion should take place primarily from a faith perspective. We reserve the right to end discussion on any topic any time we feel the discussion is no longer productive.