Sunday, September 16, 2018

inSPIREd Sunday

inSPIREd Sunday

August 2018 - Niagara on the Lake ON

Today St. Vincent de Paul, an example of early church architecture in Canada, remains the oldest surviving Catholic Church still used for regular worship in the Province of Ontario.

Plaque reads:
The Parish of St. Vincent de Paul is the direct successor of the many and often interrupted missionary endeavours in the Niagara area since 1626. At first concerned with the native peoples, later French and then English-speaking priests came as chaplains for the troops stationed at Fort Niagara and Fort George.
The first permanent parish with a resident priest was established here in 1826 to serve the pastoral needs of the growing number of Catholics in the Niagara Peninsula and the west-central part of the Province. Though the area of its pastoral jurisdiction was soon reduced, St. Vincent de Paul remained very much a spiritual home to Catholics from both sides of the Niagara River for many years.
Bishop Alexander Macdonell of Kingston blessed the frame church with its Gothic windows on November 9, 1835. The Most Reverend Thomas J. McCarthy, Bishop of St. Catharines, blessed the restoration of the original church and the polygon-shaped addition to the front of the building on July 25, 1965. Today St. Vincent de Paul, an example of early church architecture in Canada, remains the oldest surviving Catholic Church still used for regular worship in the Province of Ontario."

And something I never thought about before!

A graveyard refers to the burial area that is adjacent to a church, whereas a cemetery stands on its own and is not affiliated with any one church.

The Paupers’ Grave

At the corner of Wellington and Byron Streets is a large section of the graveyard that one might think is unused — there are no visible markers and no records of any building or parish hall existing on this site, nor are there records of any burials.

According to stories passed down through parishioners and custodians, this section was the paupers’ grave — a section where people who were too poor to pay for a proper burial would place a body inside the fencing knowing that the priest would say a few prayers and the deceased would be buried.

The term “buried beyond the pale” was often used to describe these burials, a pale being a series of pointed sticks acting as a fence to encircle an area.

One criminal who is buried in the paupers’ grave is Thomas Brennan, who immigrated to Upper Canada during the Irish Potato Famine (1830-50). Brennan was found guilty of murdering a Queenston woman named Mary O’Connor on May 4, 1848. He was executed in October of 1848 and was also buried in an unmarked grave.

HMMM my grandmother's maiden name was Brennan!!

One of the most impressive mausoleums in the graveyard (and NOTL) belongs to the Chisholm family.

Alexander Chisholm and his wife Mary Margaret Phelan were a poor Scottish family who arrived in NOTL in 1827. But how could a poor family afford such a grand mausoleum?

One of the Chisholm sons, Hugh J. Chisholm, had been very successful in Canada.

Chisholm was born in NOTL on May 2, 1847 and was the fifth child of Alexander and Mary Chisholm. In 1859, when Hugh Chisholm was just 13-years-old, his father passed away and he, like his older siblings were forced to leave school in search of work to help support the family.

Chisholm moved to Toronto and landed his first job selling newspapers on the Grand Trunk Railway trains between Toronto and Chicago. He saved his money and soon bought his own papers to sell on the trains, and later on the ferries which crossed Lake Ontario.

At the age of sixteen, Chisholm bought out his employer that sold him the papers and started his own business with his brother.

While still running the newspaper business, Chisholm furthered his education by enrolling in Bryant & Stratton College. He is listed amongst many famous college alumni, such as John D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford.

Through his many successful businesses in the pulp and paper industry, publishing and investments, Chisholm ended up being a very prosperous and wealthy business man.

In 1900, he commissioned to have the mausoleum built for his parents in NOTL. Alexander and Mary Chisholm were subsequently disinterred and laid to rest in the new mausoleum with their original head stone being placed against an interior wall.

As time moved on, six other Chisholm family members were also laid to rest in the mausoleum, not including Hugh, who died on July 1, 1912 at the age of 65 and is buried in New York City.


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