09 August 2007


We didn't wear shells around our necks, but we might have wished we had fans around them, as the temperature hit a mid-day high of 104F. Despite yesterday's oppressive weather, our Archivist, Sister Mada-anne led a small group on her "Southern Maryland Tour" of our monastery's roots in the United States.

We began with a visit to the Carmelites at Port Tobacco. Charles Neale, brother of Leonard Neale, brought them to the Maryland in 1790. The first few months of their foundation, they spent at Neale family estate, Chandler's Hope, just a short distance from their current location in Port Tobacco. We are pictured below with some of their community in their library. Click here to learn more about this delightful community.

Our next stop was St. Ignatius Church, where we attended 12noon Mass and enjoyed our picnic lunch in the (air conditioned) dining room of their manor house. Click here to learn more about St. Thomas Manor. Manor houses were built when it was illegal for Catholic Churches to be open to the public in the state of Maryland. The "house" was private but it permitted one to gain entrance into the Church or Chapel attached to it.

Below is a view of the cemetery at St. Thomas Manor. Among the early Catholic families buried there including members of the Neale family, the Digges family, and the Matthews family, one will find a large memorial to the Jesuits who came over on the Ark and the Dove in 1641.

Our last stop -- for prayer, quiet and a history lesson -- was St. Francis Xavier Church in nearby Newtown. Below, Catherine exits the Church as we begin our journey home.

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