Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Cemetery

I think there was some kind of Catholic rule back in the 1950's that if you had a large family, and specifically more than one son, one of them had to become a priest. In my family it was my older brother. While he became an altar boy, I was asked to leave altar boys for being such a screw up. He also was a favorite of the parish pastor, while I was often chastised by the same priest for my behavior. So it was that he was sent off to the seminary for his first year of high school, much to the dismay of the girls on our block.

Once a month my mom and dad would pile us into the station wagon, and we would go visit my brother at the seminary, or cemetery as we would call it. We all looked forward to the visits. Not so much because we wanted to see my brother, we did, but mostly because the seminary was full of strange, and scary things for us to explore. There were the tower that you could sneak up into, and out on the grounds were five or six lakes that had been created by damming a creek. One of the lakes had a really cool grotto that we always went out to play in. But the absolute best, and scariest place in that whole seminary, was the church. Up and down each side of the church were little side altars. In one of those side altars, behind a pane of glass was the body of a dead child saint on display. It was the spookiest thing, but we would always have to go and have a look at that desiccated body. I seem to remember that it was all dressed up in a fancy gown of some sort, and had what I assume was a wax face so as not to totally freak children out. It freaked me out anyway.

My brother never did become a priest. He left the seminary after a couple of years. I think it might have been puberty and that celibacy thing that convinced him to leave. He did date some pretty hot girls after that.

Not the actual altar.

11 comments:

  1. what cha' got here, Alan...is the start of a good horror movie.

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  2. Alan, Do you remember what town that seminary was in? jim w.

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  3. Wasn't it called St Joseph's? I think it might have been in the western suburbs...yeah, it was a really scarey place! I can't believe how we were able to roam it at will!

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  4. St. Joseph's Seminary in Westmont Illinois, next to Downers Grove. It has been turned into condos now and McMansions have been built on the grounds.

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  5. I used to love that place - it always seemed so peaceful and it smelled like old polished funiture. But you are right about the Saint's body. Funny how we were scared of it and drawn to it at the same time. I guess that's why they make scary movies!!

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  6. Didn't Dave marry one of those hot girls?

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  7. It was St. Innocents. Martyred because of the child's faith. It isn't much different than today,except they were allowed to develop to full term.

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  8. ANONYMOUS #2-THE ANSWER IS NO.
    ANONYMOUS #3-YOUR COMMENT MAKES NO SENSE.

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  9. Right, he didn't marry a girl, he married a woman.

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  10. the little saint scared the crap out of me too! I could not for the life of me understand why they kept a dead body in a church. It was first on my list of things to see every time we went there.
    Wasn't there a cementery with a lot of great statues? I seem to remember a giant winged statue there. I knew these were great places to explore because we were told not to go there.

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  11. nony mouse think about it because it is senseless

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