Sunday, August 28, 2016

Shrine & Grottos

Black Madonna Shrine & Grottos
 is an example of what one man can do.
Ready?  Let’s begin a walking tour of the Shrine & Grottos.

In 1927, Cardinal Glennon invited Franciscan Brothers from Poland to emigrate and establish a nursing home.  One of these monks was Brother Bronislaus Luszcz.

Madonna in Poland

Growing up in Poland, Bronislaus saw pilgrims honor Mary, Queen of Peace and Mercy.  People traveled to visit the shrine at Jasna Gora.  This monastery and shrine has been a spiritual capital for hundreds of years. People come to commune with the Holy.  There is an icon, a beautiful work of art, that inspires many.  It is known as “The Black Madonna.”   As a young man, Bronislaus embraced a great love and devotion for Mary.  He brought this love to Missouri.

In 1937 Br. Bronislaus began his labor of love

 Missouri offers scrubby, dense forests of oak, walnut, hickory and sycamore trees packed together over limitless rolling hills.  The land can be overgrown with shrubs and inhabited with countless wild creatures.  Clearing the land was a major task.

 Bronislaus built a cedar chapel and placed a painting of Our Lady above the altar.  Soon the chapel offered prayer services.  It became a devotional center.  People came from great distances to visit.

One Sunday evening in 1958 an arsonist set the alter on fire.  The brothers did their best but the blaze consumed the chapel.

Okay, let’s walk about the Shrine & Grottos

Cross the bridge and look back.  There’s a quick view of the open air chapel.

It’s an odd thing to see the last part first.  In 1960, Br. Bronislaus suffered heat stroke.  His final project was this grotto in honor of Our Lady of Fatima.  This is just west of the bridge.

The Bridge.

The grottos are built by hand.  No power tools, no help.  Native rock, from Old Mines, MO, seas shells and costume jewelry were donated by visitors and sent from foreign missions.
St. Francis Grotto

There are figurines of tiny creatures, sparkly bits, statues of bunnies, turtles are other creatures all around this grotto.

Up a hill, our next grotto is to honor Joseph.
 

Taking One Moment
The statues where made by artist Charles Bendel, May 1, 1890 – Feb. 24, 1978.  He immigrated from Czechoslovakia and made his home in St. Louis, MO.  It is said his favorite is a small work of a boy and his dog.

Return to Walk About


Following along the path the entire story begins to unfold . . .
Colored glass bits in the roof – so sunlight light shines on our sleeping friends.
Hikers find their way in winter because they can see this cross from a distance.  

Br. Bronislaus built and rebuilt this grotto.  It isn’t as fancy as the others.  The white inlaid wall is from the original monastery chapel.  Originally a picture was displayed instead of this statue.
There are plenty of stories about people misbehaving over the years.  Drunks smashing cars through walls, vandals do mischief.  Still this place is a marvel.

Assumption Grotto

follow the path

Mother’s Sanctuary – Up the Hill – above the Grottos we’ve already visited
It’s quiet up here.

One more story:
The Happy Birthday Story.

I figure it’s time to go home now.

Shrine & Grottos -100 St. Joseph Hill Rd. Pacific, MO.
Summer Hours: daily 9-7 – Off Season Hours: 9-4 – (Call to verify) Phone:636-938-5361

see ya later.  

love & love,
-g-
  

Saturday, August 20, 2016

“The King Of Horror”

Vincent Leonard Price, Jr. – known as “The King of Horror”  
was born May 27, 1911 in St. Louis, MO.
Vincent Price in Laura trailer Created: 31 December 1943 – Public Domain  
 His performing career spanned across every imaginable genre.  He was at home of stage, screen, recording studio and radio.  
Vincent price has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  
One is for television and one for film. 
 He has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame, too.

 Plenty of Stars and Credits for Performance, but there was much more to The King of Horror.

Vincent was an art collector.  He purchased his first Rembrandt when he was twelve.  He saved his allowance for a year to own that first piece.  It was the beginning of a life long interest in art.  He opened a gallery in Beverly Hills, California in the 1940’s.  He became a well respected collector, and helped establish the Vincent Price Art Museum at East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park, California.  The first teaching art collection owned by a community college in the United States.
  

Gourmet Cook

Vincent Price was recognized as a gourmet cook.  He hosted “Cooking Pricewise” – a cooking television program.  Once he demonstrated how to poach fish in a dish washer on late night TV with Johnny Carson.  He also authored several cookbooks, including,  
“Come Into the Kitchen” 
and 
“A Treasury of Great Recipes.”  
  

Limitless List of Work

 We may remember him best as “The King of Horror.” but his body of work includes every kind of quality performance.  He gave us comedy, bible stories, and even gave his voice to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

 I remember him from “The Monster Mash.”

 One Classy Gentleman.

A man who limits his interests limits his life.’ – Vincent Price.

 

 

 

 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Center for Home Gardening

I like to pretend the William T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening is my home.
The outside is nice.  The entire Center for Home Gardening is on 8.5 Acres.  There are countless projects to see, plenty of ideas to try in your own garden.  Specially trained Master Gardeners are on duty to answer questions.  There is a walk-in Plant Doctor service . . Honest!  if you bring in a sample from your ailing plant. an expert will help with information, tips and advice.  There are classes and oodles of free pamphlets filled with information about anything garden.

This is NOT why I pretend, tough.

There’s a Great Room that always sparks my imagination.
Cozy corner especially nice in winter.  It’s peaceful and quiet on any kind of day.  (But, warming by the fire on a chill day is excellent.)
The walls are windows all around.  Plants preferring different types of light teach us their sunlight preferences.
Here are some morning sun plant-people.
Here is the North Window.  Do you suppose these plants yearn for winter?

Look!  A Tree Living Inside!

 isn’t this wonderful?  A little forest tree, right inside.

Here are plants happier to see the sun set.  (West Window)

Facing South, these are mostly cactus-plants.

Outside, there are lots of home gardening ideas.  before we set outside, let’s check out the tree once more . . .
‘bye for now, baby tree! 

Center for Home Gardening Outside Ideas

 Just stepping out the front door, water features, plantings, in pots or yard, gathering spaces . . .once there was an entire section dedicated to planting around mailboxes.  It was festive.
There are ideas for urban living.  Here’s an outdoor kitchen and entertaining area.
Complete with Grill
Here’s a peek at a teeny urban garden.  There’s seating, a water feature, statuary, super cool trees.  The possibility of a quiet paradise in the middle of crowded city spaces.  (click on photo for expanded view)

Let’s begin walking towards the front gate, okay?

A shaded walk about allows protection for us and shade plants.

These portals give inviting glimpses into other types of garden areas.  Does your yard look like this?

I’m ready to head home.

Let’s pass the Chinese Garden along the way. 

‘bye for now!
 



Thursday, June 30, 2016

Conversations with Sleeping Heroes

Days of ceremony happen on occasion.  Flags fly high. Marching bands and parades fill the avenues.   Uniformed dignitaries  stroll to the stage to deliver a speech.  Most of the hours, days and years are quiet.  Good times to hold conversations with sleeping heroes.

 Ten acres were set aside by soldiers in 1826 for burial ground.  Elizabeth Ann Lash, infant daughter of an officer is the first recorded burial.
In March 1863, the U.S. Army established the Jefferson Barracks Post Cemetery.  The cemetery covers 310 acres.  The area sits on bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River.
 In 1866, the Secretary of War designated the post cemetery as a national cemetery.  The Civil War brought remains of many fallen to rest.  In 1922 WW I Veterans required a medical center.  WW II required land from the military post for cemetery space.   Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery became a central location for group interments.  Sleeping Heroes, every kind, color and their limitless stories are here.
Every Row, from every angle – always straight.
spaces for gatherings
There are several shelters placed around the cemetery called “committal shelters.”  There are heroes, along with their spouses, from many different belief systems.  I like the regard for feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others I find here.  Many of these heroes did not know this respect and inclusiveness in their waking life.

Visiting Columbaria at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery

I passed the word “Columbarium” a few times.  I admit I did not know understand until reaching a hill top.  It was such a lovely place, I decided to stroll around.
This part of the cemetery has newer dates.  There are nice places to rest and reflect.
 It feels good to listen to the breeze all around, and feel a sense of hope.
Quiet and Comfort is built right in.  It’s as if we are welcome to sit a while.

Conversations with Sleeping Heroes

(some else has come to spend time)

Monuments honor different parts of the story.  There is a monument to Civil war dead, Confederate dead,  WW II, Korean War, Vietnam and the Gulf War.

There are memorials for War Unknowns.

There is a red granite boulder commemorating officers and soldiers who died at Fort Bellefontaine.

One of the older monuments is dedicated to 175 soldiers of the 56th U.S. Colored Infantry.

There is a monument by artist John K. Daniels to honor the 164 Minnesotan officers and soldiers buried at this national cemetery.

There are eight recipients of the Medal of Honor and three Revolutionary War veterans.

U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Michael Blassie was shot down over South Vietnam.  His remains were sent to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.  After a DNA test, his parents asked to bring him home to Jefferson Barracks.

The stories seem to continue forever.

 



 


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Old Stone Church – Faith Des Peres

There’s a little rock church, once called “The Old Meeting House” by early settlers, was the original home of Faith Des Peres, a Presbyterian Church in Des Peres, Missouri.  Elijah P. Lovejoy was one of the early ministers here.  Rev. Dr. Anne Epling is their minister today.  I got to meet her leaving the Original Stone Faith Des Peres.  The congregation continues to hold services right here a couple of times a year – Memorial Day Sunday happened to be one of those days.  I met three people packing up to leave, all of them kind and delightful.  I’m tempted to visit their current, modern facility . . but, that’s another story.
In 1833, three families donated one acre each for the meeting house which was to include a cemetery.  Many of the grave markers for families that go back many generations and still live in the area.
 It’s interesting to know the people donating this land were slave owners, because there are stories about “The Old Stone Meeting House” was a stop on the Underground Railroad.
There is a sign on property sharing part of the story.  In 1983 one small marker was placed to memorialize those who worked for others and were never free.
one stone for many lives

The facility has been restored.  It hasn’t been an easy road over the years.  It wasn’t always top priority to maintain an old stone structure, but the building lasted long enough for the 1970’s enthusiasm of a new minister, Rev. Robert W. Tabscott.  Rev. Tabscott had a passion for historical preservation, diversity and a better quality of life.  He inspired many in the congregation to save the Original Old Stone Meeting House, and it seems that project, along with many others has remained part of the foundation of their church community. 
Air conditioning, electric lights, up to code and ready for the future., Faith Des Peres has offered all of us a hearty welcome and invitation to attend services, at the little stone church, or at their modern facility.  I have the feeling it’s a fine place to be.

The Original Stone Meeting House/Faith Des Peres Church is found @ 2250 North Geyer Road, 63131 – (Memorial Day Weekend, Labor Day Weekend, 1st Sundays of July and August – perhaps other fun events, like Easter Egg Hunts)

 and

11155 Clayton Road 63131 (on “Normal Sundays”)
10:30 AM (but, you might want to check – 314-432-8029)

I suspect the music will be great.