Passionist-Irvington, Maryland Infancy Narratives December 21, 2003: Fourth Sunday of Advent

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by Father Rob Carbonneau, C.P., Ph.D.
Historian/Director-Passionist Historical Archives

Mount de Sales Academy of the Visitation, St. Agnes Catholic parish, the cemeteries of Loudon Park, Mount Olivet, and Bonnie Brae and St. Agnes Hospital the Manual School for Indigent Boys are other major points of interest in the Irvington neighborhood.

Mount de Sales Academy of the Visitation was opened by the Sisters of the Visitation on September 1, 1852 and had a national reputation. Its walls and tower could be seen for miles. Also in the area was St. Agnes Catholic Church whose cornerstone was laid on October 28, 1852 by Archbishop Kenrick assisted by Revs H.B. Coskery, Agustine Verst, Stanislaus Ferk, Edward Caton, and B.J. McManus. The church was constructed August 21, 1853. The rough stone Gothic structure was thirty-four by sixty feet. The lot was donated by Dr. Augustine Piggot and the building committee were Misters Pigott, Somerville, Fusting, Boyce, and Lynch.

Loudon Park Cemetery occupies a great deal of space in the neighborhood. We have to remember that when it was first built that this area was considered the countryside! Loudon was the original name of the area. The Loudon Park Cemetery Company was incorporated on January 27, 1853 and dedicated July 14, 1853. The Honorable Charles F. Mayer gave the address. Only in the last several months did Loudon Park Cemetery celebrate its sesquicentennial. Our pastor, Father Bill Murphy, C.P. said a prayer as part of the ceremony. The cemetery was one hundred acres located on Frederick turnpike. Incorporators were James S. Primrose, Elias Livezey, John Q. Ginnodo, John McDonnell, Jr., William E. Coale, Henry A. Thompson, Isaac Cole, Jr., James Carey Coale, George Ross Veazey, William Elias Coale, Jr. and James Carey. Two thousand three hundred Union soldiers and seventy-five Confederate soldiers were buried there. This part of the cemetery was purchased by the government in 1861 and has a caretaker who lives in a cottage. The Confederate section had an “elegant monument” with a Confederate soldier sculpted by Volck. Bodies exhumed from grave yards in Baltimore County–from St. Peter’s, three thousand; from Whatcoat, six hundred, and from Zion Church, four hundred and fifty–are at Loudon Park Cemetery. William F. Primrose was the supervisor in 1881.

Mount Olivet Cemetery on Frederick Road immediately beyond Gwynn’s Falls and the former estate of Edward Patterson Esq. was dedicated on July, 16, 1849. Mount Olivet Mission Chapel of the Methodist Episcopal Church opposite the cemetery was dedicated July 7, 1867.

Bonnie Bray Cemetery was the common name for New Cathedral Cemetery. In 1869 this cemetery was dedicated, because the original Cathedral Cemetery begun in 1815 was too crowded. Numerous Passionist priests and brothers are buried there.

St. Agnes Hospital was founded in 1863 under the direction of Charles M. Dougherty on Lanvale Street in an area called, respectfully, Mount Dougherty. City development led the institution in 1874 to relocate just outside the city limits to Maiden Choice Lane road, southwest of St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, on property given by one Lady Stafford for charitable use. The hospital was erected in 1875 and utilized “excellent water, steam heating, verandas, and extensive grounds for recreation. In fact it contains all the advantages of city and country life.” It was under the care of the Sisters of Charity and specific leadership of Sister Mary Ann McAleer who had an excellent staff of physicians.

Another institution of note, the Manual School for Indigent Boys also near Maiden Choice between Washington and Frederick turnpike, was incorporated in December 1840. This farm of one hundred and forty acres was bought in March 1841 under a board of directors. It is “virtually a free boarding-school for indigent boys, whole or half-orphans, of good moral character. The inmates are educated, fed, and clothed free of charge, and are instructed in the art of agriculture. When sufficiently instructed they are indentured either to farmers or mechanics, the board still exercising a supervision over them until they come of age.

It is now four days before Christmas. As we conclude last minute shopping and travel plans we might take a moment to ask ourselves about what the Passionist-Irvington infancy narrative might mean for us in our daily life? Does knowledge of the past heighten our respect for the Irvington neighborhood? Most of these essays describe the 1800s. How would we write about our experience in this neighborhood during our own life time? What has changed? What has remained consistent?

Hopefully these essays encourage us to ponder how the Gospel story is a neighborhood story. As we look ahead to 2004 we might contemplate a means to enhance Irvington where we live and pray. Might we provide our creative talents to allow St. Joseph’s Monastery parish to continue its long Passionist presence in the area? Is there a way given all our busy lives that we might volunteer or might we put aside monies for a charity or service that has a direct impact in the neighborhood?

How might we become characters in the Passionist-Irvington Gospel narrative of 2004?

Please contact Fr. Rob Carbonneau, C.P. at [email protected] if you have any comments.

Permission of Archives needed for publication.