Tag Archives: church hopping

The Feast Day of Saint Bernadette

16 Apr

469px-Bernadette_Soubirousimage via Wikipedia

Bernadeta Sobiróus was only thirty-five years old when she passed away. A miller’s daughter from Lourdes, France, Bernadette was fourteen years old when she first saw a “small young lady” appear to her while she was out fetching firewood in Massabielle. This apparition requested that a chapel be built in the grotto near there, and later it was revealed that she was the Immaculate Conception. Indeed, a number of chapels were built at Lourdes, and today Bernadette is remembered as a saint even though many did not believe she’d had visions at the time.

In Jack Kerouac’s hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts, where many French-Canadian Americans resided, there is a a Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, which he writes about it. I’ve visited it twice and wrote about it as part of my Church Hopping column.

 

 

 

Bernadette Sees Visions

11 Feb

Bernadette_soubirous_2_publicdomainimage via Wikipedia

While out collecting firewood near a French grotto near Massabielle, on February 11, 1858, a fourteen-year-old miller’s daughter by the name of Bernadette Soubirous had a vision of the Immaculate Conception. Some people believed her; others did not. Bishop Laurence questioned her and believed, and today Bernadette is recognized as a saint. The message she had heard from the Immaculate Conception was to build a chapel in the grotto. Today there are many chapels in Lourdes.

There is also a grotto devoted to Our Lady of Lourdes in Lowell, Massachusetts. Jack Kerouac wrote about it, and Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, and Bob Dylan have visited it when stopping by the Beat novelist’s hometown.

I had the good fortune of visiting Lowell’s Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes with eminent Beat scholar Roger Brunelle, who shared some of his own stories. I wrote about it in my Church Hopping column for Burnside Writers Collective. Two years later I visited again, this time with my Kerouac biography coauthor Paul Maher Jr.

 

Never Forget

11 Sep

In remembrance of September 11, here is the Church Hopping post I had done on St. Nicholas Church at the World Trade Center.

Happy 161st Birthday, Antoni Gaudi!

25 Jun

Antoni Gaudi, Catalan architect of insanely intricate, bone-like structures, was born on this day in 1852.  When I was backpacking through Europe, I stopped by his La Sagrada Familia.  You can read about it in my Church Hopping column on Burnside Writers Collective.

Gaudi was beaten and imprisoned when he showed up at a demonstration against banning Catalan.  The language is now considered an endangered language.

Happy 144th Birthday, Bertram Goodhue!

28 Apr

 

American architect Bertram Goodhue was born on this day in 1869.  I went Church Hopping to the Church of the Intercession in Washington Heights and St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Midtown,  two churches he co-designed in New York.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!  In 1896, Goodhue designed a typeface for Cheltenham Press.  Called Cheltenham, the typeface is the one used for the headline for The New York Times.

 

Happy 169th Birthday, Saint Bernadette!

7 Jan

Saint Marie-Bernarde Soubirous was born on this day in 1844 in Lourdes, France.  She saw a vision of Mother Mary, who spoke to her in Gascon, which is now an endangered language.  The visions inspired the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Lowell that Jack Kerouac writes about.  You can read about this famous landmark, where Bob Dylan, Jackie O., and Allen Ginsberg also visited in my Church Hopping column on Burnside Writers Collective.


Election 2012: The White House Landscape Artists

6 Nov

In honor of the upcoming election, here’s a bit of trivia:::

The grounds at the White House in Washington, D.C., were designed by Calvert Vaux and Andrew Jackson Downing.  While Downing was American, Vaux was British.  After Downing was killed in a steamboat accident (I kid you not), Vaux went on to work with Frederick Law Olmsted.  Together they designed Central Park and Morningside Park in Manhattan and Fort Greene Park and Prospect Park in Brooklyn.  Is it any wonder that he cited the Transcendentalist author of “Nature,” Ralph Waldo Emerson, as one of his influences?

I took a group Church Hopping to the Church of the Intercession in Washington Heights, part of New York City, where Calvert Vaux was commissioned to to do landscape work on the cemetery grounds.  You can read about it here.

Election 2012: Church of the Presidents

2 Nov

As we gear up to Election Day 2012, one of the main considerations voters have is: how do the candidates’ religious beliefs influence their leadership?  Do their economic plans care for the widows and orphans?  Will extending money to those in need unfairly take away the rights of others to the money they worked hard for?  Do their healthcare plans help all people?  What do family values really mean?  Do they look out for the poor in spirit, the disenfranchised?  Do they protect all people’s rights?  Do they try to play the role of God?  Does their faith make them weak?  Do their beliefs do more good or more harm to the country?  How should we vote when it seems that upholding one of our values leads to hindering one of our other values?

A few years ago, I visited what’s become known as The Church of the Presidents.  St. John’s Church Lafayette Square has had every president of the United States come through its doors since its first service in October 1816 was held.  You can read about it in my Church Hopping column on Burnside Writers Collective.

Clip: Church Hopping: Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes

12 Oct

 

A car packed with teenagers was speeding down the street at the exact moment we were approaching the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes on foot.  It was an unseasonably warm October day in 2011, and the car window was rolled down.  Or maybe the rebellious, rowdy passengers rolled it down when they saw us, a group of about twenty-five people, looking eagerly toward the Stations of the Cross.  ”God sucks!” a teenager yelled to the support of his peers.  The car vanished down the road as we turned around.

 

Read the rest of my article Church Hopping: Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes on Burnside Writers Collective and discover how Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, JFK and Jackie Kennnedy, and endangered languages are connected to this place.

9/11: Church Hopping at St. Nicholas Church at the World Trade Center

11 Sep

Last year Burnside Writers Collective published my Church Hopping article on St. Nicholas, the Greek Orthodox church that was lost in the terrorist on September 11, 2001.  If you missed it, you can read about it here.

Recently, Patrick J. Foye, Executive Director of the Port Authority, said: “The new World Trade Center will not be whole and complete until the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church is rebuilt.”  You can read about Archbishop Demetrios’ visit to the construction site, where he “stopped in front of the site where St. Nicholas is to be built at the corner of Liberty and Greenwich streets (the south-east corner of WTC),” on the site for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.