St Mary's II - History

St Mary's II  - History

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St. Mary's II

( SlpW.: t. 958; 1. 149'3", b. 37'4" dr. 18'; cpl. 195
a. 16 32-pdrs., 6 8')

The second St. Mary's, a sloop of war built in 1843-44 at the Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. was commissioned in the fall of 1844, Comdr. John L. Saunders in command.

Designated initially for duty with the Mediterranean Squadron, St. Mary's was at Philadelphia awaiting the sailing of her squadron, under Commodore Robert Stockton, when tension over Mexican-Texan-American territorial disputes heightened during the winter of 1845. On 1 March, President Tyler signed a joint resolution of Congress recommending the annexation of Texas. By the end of the month, Mexico had severed diplomatic relations with the new Polk Administration and Stockton's Squadron was ordered south to reinforce that of Commodore David Conner in the Gulf of Mexico.

At the end of April, Stockton's ships sailed to Galveston where they stood by as a Texas convention voted on acceptance of the resolution. On 3 July, St. Mary's, detached from duty off Galveston, was ordered to join Conner's Squadron. On the 4th, the Texas convention approved the annexation resolution and St. Mary's headed east, to New Orleans, to escort transports carrying U.S. Army units to Texas. The troops under General Taylor, were embarked on the 22nd an 23rd; and, by the 25th, were encamped on St. Joseph Island, near Corpus Christi. St. Mary's then stood by, off that town, as Conner's ships took station off Vera Cruz.

In September, the Polk Administration attempted to reopen diplomatic channels with Mexico. Negotiations were carried on into November, when St. Mary's was called on to carry a new United States minister, John Slidell, to Mexico. On 30 November, Slidell was disembarked at Vera Cruz; however, after making his way to Mexico City, he was refused recognition by the Herrera government.

Through the winter of 1846, St. Mary's continued to cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. In February, she carried dispatches between Conner and Taylor as attempts were made to pressure the Mexican government into reopening negotiations; but, in March, she arrived at the Anton Lizardo anchorage, whence she could institute a blockade of Tampico if the situation deteriorated into war. In mid-April, she sailed for Pensacola to take on water and provisions; and, by the time she returned in May, war had erupted.

On 19 May, St. Mary's anchored off the mouth of the Panuco River near Tampico. On the 20th, she proclaimed the blockade of that port and of the Mexican coast. In June, scurvy struck, but attempts were made to destroy Mexican gunboats and impede the reinforcement of the town's defenses. Through the summer, she maintained her part in the blockade; but, by September, the climate, disease, limited water and food, and relative inaction had taken its toll. Morale was low; and, on the 17th, Seaman Samuel Jackson was hanged for striking an officer and using "mutinous and seditious language."

A little over a month later, her blockade duty was interrupted, and the sloop was ordered back to the mouth of the Panuco River. On 14 November, she participated in the unopposed occupation of Tarnpico; then resumed blockade duties. In late December, she was ordered to Brazos Santiago, whence, in January 1847, she proceeded to Lobos to cover the movement of General Scott's troops. In early March, she escorted the transports into the Anton Lizardo anchorage. On the 8th, she moved toward Vera Cruz, and on the 9th her boats carried assault troops to Collado Beach, where Scott's force was landed, without resistance, in under five hours.

St. Mary's remained in the area through the end of the month to support the siege of the city. On the 22nd, one of her 8" guns, along with guns from other ships, was ferried ashore and placed on a ridge near Fort Santa Barbara to augment the Army's artillery. The bombardment of the city began the same day. On the 29th, the city was formally surrendered.

St Mary's then retired to Anton Lizardo, whence she sailed toward Alvarado to assist in the taking of that town. By the time she arrived, however, the town had fallen; and she resumed blockade duties. On 10 April she had been ordered back to the United States by the Secretary of the Navy, and, in early May, she sailed for Norfolk, carrying captured Mexican guns as cargo.

The sloop remained at Norfolk for almost a year. On 11 April 1848 she sailed for duty with the Pacific Squadron; and, for the next five years, she cruised from the coast of California to the coast of Chile, in the Central Pacific, and in the Far East. In 1853, she returned to the east coast of the United States, underwent repairs at Philadelphia; and returned to the Pacific in 1854. During the next two years, she cruised in the eastern and south Pacific, and, in December 1856, she put into Panama City where a new crew under Comdr. Charles Davis relieved that of Comdr. Theodorus Bailey.

From New Granada ( Panama ), Davis took St. Mary's to the Jarvis and New Nantucket Islands, then returned to Central America to stand by, off Nicaragua, as William Walker fought to keep his empire there. On 6 February 1857, St. Mary's anchored at San Juan del Sur, where she remained into the spring as Davis sought to negotiate an end to the fighting. In early May, Walker surrendered to Davis. Walker and the other Americans in his army were taken on board St. Mary's and transported to Panama City, whence they were returned to the United States.

St. Mary's then resumed her cruise, collecting hydrographic and geologic data as she performed her other duties. In March 1858, she put into Mare Island, Calif., for a refit. Delayed, first by a lack of funds, then by desertions of shipyard mechanics and members of her own crew to the gold fields, she remained in the shipyard into the summer. In late August, she set sail again and headed south to cruise off Central America; and, in February 1859, her officers and crew were relieved at Panama City. She then sailed north to cruise along the Mexican coast as revolution spread in Mexico. In the fall of 1860, she returned to Panama City. There, with HMS Clio, she assisted local officials in quelling an insurrection.

A few months later, civil war divided the United States. Through that war, St. Mary's remained with the Pacific Squadron, protecting Union merchant shipping and searching for Confederate raiders. After the war, she cruised the Pacific until September of 1866, then put into Mare Island where she was laid up for four years. In the fall of 1870, she returned to active service; and, after a cruise to Australia and New Zealand, she returned to Mare Island, whence in November 1872 she departed for Norfolk.

On 3 June 1873, St. Mary's returned to Norfolk where she remained, in ordinary, until 1875. Then transferred to the Public Marine School at New York she served as a schoolship until 1908. In June of that year, she was ordered sold. Two months later, she was purchased by Thomas Butler and Co., Boston; and, in November, she was scrapped.

Pope John Paul II shot

Near the start of his weekly general audience in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square, Pope John Paul II is shot and seriously wounded while passing through the square in an open car. The assailant, 23-year-old escaped Turkish murderer Mehmet Ali Agca, fired four shots, one of which hit the pontiff in the abdomen, narrowly missing vital organs, and another that hit the pope’s left hand. A third bullet struck 60-year-old American Ann Odre in the chest, seriously wounding her, and the fourth hit 21-year-old Jamaican Rose Hill in the arm. Agca’s weapon was knocked out of his hand by bystanders, and he was detained until his arrest by police. The pope was rushed by ambulance to Rome’s Gemelli Hospital, where he underwent more than five hours of surgery and was listed in critical but stable condition.

John Paul II, once the spiritual leader of almost 600 million Roman Catholics around the world, was invested in 1978 as the first Polish pope and the first non-Italian pope in 456 years. Fluent in seven modern languages and Latin, he was known as an avid traveler who had little fear of going out in public. Four days after being shot, he offered forgiveness to his would-be assassin from his hospital bed. The pontiff spent three weeks in the hospital before being released fully recovered from his wounds.

The motives of Mehmet Ali Agca in attempting to kill the head of the Roman Catholic Church were enigmatic, and remain so today. In the 1970s, Agca joined a right-wing Turkish terrorist group known as the Gray Wolves. The group is held responsible for the assassination of hundreds of public officials, labor organizers, journalists, and left-wing activists as part of their mission to cleanse Turkey of leftist influence. In recent years, it has been revealed that the Gray Wolves had close ties with far-right politicians, intelligence officers, and police commanders. In February 1979, Abdi Ipekci, a liberal newspaper editor, was murdered near his home in Istanbul. Mehmet Ali Agca was arrested and charged with the crime. While awaiting his trial, Agca escaped from a military prison in November 1979.

In his cell, he left behind a letter that concerned John Paul II’s planned trip to Turkey. The letter read: “Western imperialists who are afraid of Turkey’s unity of political, military, and economic power with the brotherly Islamic countries are sending the Crusader Commander John Paul under the mask of a religions leader. If this ill-timed and meaningless visit is not called off, I will definitely shoot the pope. This is the only reason that I escaped from prison.” Because of this threat, security was tightened during the pope’s Turkish visit, and there was no assassination attempt. A Turkish court convicted Agca of murder in absentia, and he remained at large.

On May 9, 1981, Agca took a plane from Majorca to Milan and entered Italy under an assumed name. He took a room in a hotel near the Vatican and on May 13 walked into St. Peter’s Square and shot the pope with a 9mm Browning automatic. A handwritten note was found in his pocket that read: “I am killing the pope as a protest against the imperialism of the Soviet Union and the United States and against the genocide that is being carried out in Salvador and Afghanistan.” He pleaded guilty, saying he acted alone, and in July 1981 was sentenced to life in prison.

In 1982, Agca announced that his assassination attempt was actually part of a conspiracy involving the Bulgarian intelligence services, which was known to act on behalf of the KGB. Pope John Paul II was a fervent anti-communist who supported the Solidarity trade union in his native Poland, which seemed to make him an appropriate target for the communists. In 1983, despite these developments, the pope met with Mehmet in prison and offered him forgiveness. Further interrogations of Agca led to the arrest of three Bulgarians and three Turks, who went on trial in 1985.

As the trial opened, the case against the Bulgarian and Turkish defendants collapsed when Agca, the state’s key witness, described himself as Jesus Christ and predicted the imminent end of the world. He explained that the Bulgarian scenario was concocted by Western intelligence officials, and that God had in fact led him to shoot John Paul II. The attack, he explained, was “tied to the Third Secret of the Madonna of Fatima.” The secrets of Fatima were three messages that Catholic tradition says the Virgin Mary imparted to three Portuguese shepherd children in an apparition in 1917. The first message allegedly predicted World War II, the second the rise (and fall) of the Soviet Union, and the third was still a Vatican secret in 1985. In 1986, the Bulgarian and Turkish defendants were acquitted for lack of evidence.

In the late 1990s, Pope John Paul II expressed his hope that the Italian government would pardon Mehmet in 2000. The pontiff had made 2000 a holy “Jubilee” year, of which forgiveness was to be a cornerstone. On May 13, 2000, the 19th anniversary of the attempt on his life, the pope visited Fatima, Portugal. The same day, the Third Secret of Fatima was announced by Vatican Secretary of State Angelo Sodano. Sodano described the secret as a “prophetic vision” in which 𠇊 bishop clothed in white�lls to the ground, apparently dead, under a burst of gunfire.” The Vatican interpreted this as a prediction of the attempt on John Paul II’s life. Mehmet Ali Agca, who had guessed the alleged Fatima-assassination connection in 1985, was pardoned by Italian President Carolo Ciampi on June 14, 2000. Extradited to Turkey, he began serving the eight years remaining on the sentence for his 1979 murder of the Turkish newspaper editor.

In February 2005, Pope John Paul II was hospitalized with complications from the flu. He died two months later, on April 2, 2005, at his home in the Vatican. Six days later two million people packed Vatican City for his funeral—said to be the biggest funeral in history. Although it was not confirmed by the Vatican until 2003, many believe Pope John Paul II began suffering from Parkinson’s disease in the early 1990s. He began to develop slurred speech and had difficulty walking, though he continued to keep up a physically demanding travel schedule. In his final years, he was forced to delegate many of his official duties, but still found the strength to speak to the faithful from a window at the Vatican.

Pope John Paul II is remembered for his successful efforts to end communism, as well as for building bridges with peoples of other faiths, and issuing the Catholic Church’s first apology for its actions during World War II. He was succeeded by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI. Pope John Paul II was canonized in 2014. 

  • St. Mary’s is home to more than 2,300 undergraduate and 1,300 graduate students.
  • Founded in 1852 by Marianist brothers, St. Mary’s is the oldest Catholic university in the Southwest.
  • With a student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1, students learn directly from faculty who mentor, inspire and learn alongside them.

St. Mary’s University is guided by our Marianist heritage and this set of principles and beliefs infuses everything we do. Through dialogue and learning from each other, all are welcome at St. Mary’s to learn more about themselves, their strengths and how to use their particular gifts to give back and leave the world changed.

The Christian Withdrawal Experiment

Feeling out of step with the mores of contemporary life, members of a conservative-Catholic group have built a thriving community in rural Kansas. Could their flight from mainstream society be a harbinger for the nation?

Image above: Priests of the Society of St. Pius X. Father Patrick Rutledge, the parish rector, is on the left.

H alf an hour down the highway from Topeka, Kansas, not far from the geographic center of the United States, sits the town of St. Marys. Like many towns in the region, it is small, quiet, and conservative. Unlike many towns in the region, it is growing. As waves of young people have abandoned the Great Plains in search of economic opportunity, St. Marys has managed to attract families from across the nation. The newcomers have made the radical choice to uproot their lives in pursuit of an ideological sanctuary, a place where they can raise their children according to values no longer common in mainstream America.

St. Marys is home to a chapter of the Society of St. Pius X, or SSPX. Named for the early-20th-century pope who railed against the forces of modernism, the international order of priests was formed in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church’s attempt, in the 1960s, to meet the challenges of contemporary life. Though not fully recognized by the Vatican, the priests of SSPX see themselves as defenders of the true practices of Roman Catholicism, including the traditional Latin Mass, celebrated each day in St. Marys. Perfumed with incense and filled with majestic Latin hymns, the service has an air of formality and grandeur. To most American Catholics under the age of 50, it would be unrecognizable.

Throughout American history, religious groups have walled themselves off from the rhythms and mores of society. St. Marys isn’t nearly as cut off from modern life as, say, the Amish communities that still abjure all modern technology, be it tractor or cellphone. Residents watch prestige television on Hulu and catch Sunday-afternoon football games moms drive to Topeka to shop at Sam’s Club. Yet hints of the town’s utopian project are everywhere. On a recent afternoon, I visited the general store, where polite teens played bluegrass music beside rows of dried goods. Women in long, modest skirts loaded vans that had enough seats to accommodate eight or nine kids — unlike most American Catholics, SSPX members abide by the Vatican’s prohibition on birth control. At housewarming parties and potluck dinners, children huddle around pianos for sing-alongs.

In their four decades in St. Marys, the followers of SSPX have more than doubled the town’s size. Even with six Masses on Sundays, parishioners fill the Society’s chapel to capacity overflow services are held in the gym of the Society’s academy, which inhabits an imposing campus built by the Jesuit missionaries who called St. Marys home in the 19th century. The school is constantly running out of classroom space. The parish rector, Father Patrick Rutledge, has to scramble each summer to accommodate rising enrollment. Real estate sells at price points closer to those of Kansas’s big cities than of its other small towns.

Left: A sign welcomes visitors to St. Marys, Kansas. Right: A young man takes part in an SSPX rite. (Bryan Schutmaat)

Newcomers are attracted by the opportunity to live beside like-minded neighbors. But many are pushed here as much as they are pulled. When they lived in other places, many SSPX families felt isolated by their faith, keenly aware that their theological convictions were out of step with America’s evolving cultural sensibilities and what they perceive as the growing liberalism of the Catholic Church, especially on issues such as gay marriage and abortion. They were wary of being labeled bigots by co-workers and even friends. They worried that their children would be exposed to sin: A friend’s parents might let their kids watch violent television shows teens might encounter pornography on a classmate’s phone. “We can’t keep things out that we’d like to keep out completely,” Rutledge told me. But the environment in St. Marys is “as conducive as possible for children to save their souls.”

In 2017, the conservative writer Rod Dreher published The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation, in which he describes growing hostility to Christian values in the secular world. Dreher, a convert to Eastern Orthodoxy, argues that sexual expression has become secular society’s highest god. He laments that Christians have been pressured to accommodate and even celebrate LGBTQ identity. In the face of what Dreher calls the “barbarism” of contemporary American life, he believes the devout have no option but to flee — to build communities, churches, and even colleges where they will be free to live their values and pass the gospel on to the next generation.

Among the conservative-Christian intelligentsia, Dreher’s book was explosive. Charles Chaput, the outgoing archbishop of Philadelphia and an influential figure in the Catholic Church, described it as “a tough, frank, and true assessment of contemporary American culture.” The New York Times columnist David Brooks called it “the most discussed and most important religious book of the decade.” The Benedict Option prompted a flurry of essays in evangelical magazines, panel discussions at Christian colleges, and at least one spin-off book from a young Dreher acolyte. Dreher himself continues to write about so-called Ben-Op communities springing up around the country, from Alaska to Texas to the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

Dreher addressed his book to fellow conservative Christians, but in calling for a strategic retreat from society, he tapped into an impulse felt by a range of groups in America. In Philadelphia, Baltimore, and D.C., contemporary followers of Marcus Garvey, the 20th-century Pan-African activist and thinker, have built infrastructure designed to free black people from systemic oppression: community gardens to provide food in neighborhoods devoid of grocery stores, and Afrocentric schools that teach black pride. Young leftist Jews skeptical of assimilation have founded a number of Yiddish-speaking farms in upstate New York, in an effort to preserve their ethnic heritage as well as Judaism’s agrarian tradition. Environmentalists have established sustainable settlements in rural Virginia, which serve as both utopian experiments in low-impact living and shelters for the climate disasters ahead.

These groups ostensibly have little in common, but they share a sense that living according to their beliefs while continuing to participate in mainstream American life is not possible. They have elected to undertake what might be termed cultural secession. Katherine Dugan, an assistant professor of religion at Springfield College, in Massachusetts, who studies Catholicism in the U.S., describes the desire for protected, set-apart communities as “a natural American response to not liking what the cultural context is.”

Students gather around Father Paul-Isaac Franks to sing. (Bryan Schutmaat)

In some ways, these groups are merely practicing an extreme form of the insularity many Americans have already embraced. Deep-blue enclaves such as Berkeley and brownstone Brooklyn are similarly homogenous, sought out by people with a certain set of values and hopes for their children. But the rise of more radical self-sorting poses a challenge to America’s experiment in multicultural democracy, enshrined in the motto e pluribus unum—“Out of many, one.” The dream of a diverse society is replaced with one in which different groups coexist, but mostly try to stay out of one another’s way. The ongoing experiment in St. Marys suggests what might be gained by such a realignment—and what might be lost.

Michelle and Francis Snyder moved to St. Marys seven years ago, just as Barack Obama was about to win his second term as president. The high-school sweethearts had grown up attending SSPX chapels, and wanted to raise their children with a strong Catholic faith, but in the early years of their marriage they struggled to make this vision a reality. Moving from job to job around Buffalo and Syracuse, New York, Francis found it difficult to earn enough money to support the large family the couple wanted. To make ends meet, he worked construction jobs seven days a week, skipping Mass for months at a time. Michelle had made sandwiches at Panera after high school, but quit after she gave birth to their first child.

It was only after the couple moved to St. Marys that Michelle realized how lonely her life in New York had been. In St. Marys, few married women work, especially once they have children. Mothers trade strollers and bassinets and coordinate a constant supply of casseroles when a new baby arrives. Michelle relies on her neighbors for carpooling and in emergencies, trusting them implicitly. “We’re all Catholic,” she told me. “We’re all raising our children to get to heaven.” Francis now works for a manufacturing business that, like many of the companies in town, is owned by a fellow SSPX parishioner. He gets time off to attend Mass and observe holy days of obligation.

Michelle and Francis Snyder and their six children. In St. Marys, the Snyders are able to live according to their conservative-Catholic beliefs. (Bryan Schutmaat)

Michelle and Francis, now in their mid-30s, have six children, three born since they arrived in St. Marys. They are raising their daughters—11-year-old Anna, 5-year-old Lucy, and an infant, Evelyn—to follow in Michelle’s path. If they aren’t going to become nuns, she said, the girls should be preparing to become wives and mothers. “I would not mind if they went for a career, but once they got married, I would encourage them to focus on their family,” she said as she nursed Evelyn in the family’s light-filled living room. “We’re having children and raising them and educating them. And in the Catholic faith, that’s priority.”

That education takes place at St. Mary’s Academy. (The town spells its name with no apostrophe the academy uses the possessive form.) Students are strictly separated by gender. Little girls wear Mary Janes and jumpers to class on the upper part of campus. The boys, in crew cuts and ties, learn in the buildings of the lower campus. Female students can compete in intramural sports, such as volleyball and archery, but only against other girls. The boys compete against sports teams in the area, although the school attracted controversy in 2008 for forfeiting a basketball game when a woman showed up to referee. (“Teaching our boys to treat ladies with deference,” SSPX said in a statement at the time, “we cannot place them in an aggressive athletic competition where they are forced to play inhibited by their concern about running into a female referee.”)

Left: A student at St. Mary’s Academy, where enrollment is rising rapidly. Right: An SSPX parishioner. Formed in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, the Society sees itself as defending the true practices of Roman Catholicism. (Bryan Schutmaat)

In the classroom, students are instructed in the Catechism. Latin is the only foreign language offered, and teachers favor blackboards over computers. A classical education, the school believes, is the foundation of students’ Catholic future. The day I visited, I watched ninth-grade girls discuss G. K. Chesterton and the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Newcomers find St. Marys appealing precisely because it is built around uncompromising theological principles and shared social values. But for those who aren’t affiliated with the Society, the town has become a less welcoming place since SSPX arrived.

As the SSPX community in St. Marys has grown, parishioners have come to dominate the town’s civic life. Francis Awerkamp is an SSPX parishioner who serves in local and state government and is a co-owner of the business where Francis Snyder works. He told me it makes sense that Society parishioners hold the mayoralty and every seat on the city commission, since members of SSPX make up the majority of the town’s population. Most of the matters that commissioners deal with are crushingly mundane, he said: installing a new drainage ditch, or rezoning the golf course. “Government has a certain role in a community. And that role, in St. Marys, mainly revolves around infrastructure,” he said. “Is there stuff that gets into religion? No.”

The grounds of St. Mary’s academy (Bryan Schutmaat)

Doyle Pearl tells the story differently. A longtime St. Marys resident, Pearl is the last “townie”—as non-SSPXers have taken to calling themselves—to have served as a commissioner. In the early days, he said, Society parishioners disapproved of the town swimming pool, the first concrete-bottomed pool in Kansas and a source of pride for old-timers. Society members were worried about seeing girls in skimpy bathing suits their kids would try to swim in jeans, which left behind fibers that taxed the pool’s filtration system. Later, Society members on the city commission pulled funding from a chamber-of-commerce event, citing concerns about an allegedly ribald country-and-western band. While the local economy has grown, the chamber has shrunk.

SSPX’s insularity, and the order’s controversial history, have bred suspicion in town. Among the post–Vatican II changes the Society rejects is the Church’s declaration regarding its relationship with non-Christian religions, including a passage repudiating the long-held belief that Jews are responsible for the death of Christ. In 1989, a Nazi collaborator convicted of committing war crimes in Vichy France was caught hiding out at an SSPX monastery in Nice. Two decades later, Richard Williamson, a former SSPX bishop, gave an interview denying that the Nazis had used gas chambers and claiming that no more than 200,000 to 300,000 Jews had died in the Holocaust. (During my visit to St. Mary’s Academy, I noticed a photograph hanging in the school’s main administrative building in which Williamson is a central figure.) For years, townies whispered about alleged weapons stashes in the steam tunnels beneath the academy. When I asked Rutledge about this, he laughed. To his knowledge, he said, no weapons are now or have ever been stored on campus.

Pearl and his wife, Laura, are pleased that their hometown has a growing population and a lively Main Street. Doyle told me he even feels “a little envious” of the Society’s vibrant church life and constant baptisms. “Their children continue their religion,” he said. “They seem to follow the values that their parents have.” But the town barely resembles the place where the Pearls grew up. Its bright future doesn’t necessarily feel like their future.

Townies look wistfully to Wamego, a small city just down Highway 24 that has established itself as Kansas’s hub for Wizard of Oz tourism. “They’ll have the Tulip Festival. They’ll have Octoberfest. They have a Fourth of July that, I think, is the biggest fireworks in Kansas now,” Doyle said. “People sometimes say, ‘Well, they’re doing it. Why aren’t we?’ ” Laura supplied the answer: “Because we don’t have a community.”

Students at the academy are strictly separated by gender. Female students can compete in intramural sports, such as volleyball and archery, but only against other girls. (Bryan Schutmaat)

For the Snyders, and many other recent arrivals, moving to St. Marys has liberated them to practice devout beliefs without apology. But what feels like freedom to some can feel like a prison to others. While parents may choose SSPX for their children, those children don’t always want to live according to its moral strictures. And the Society spares little room for dissent.

Tiffany Joy-Egly moved from Tulsa to St. Marys with her parents and two sisters in 1979, when she was 6 years old. Tiffany grew up immersed in the SSPX world: learning about the dangers of rock music, skipping adolescent experiments with makeup, avoiding any behavior that might tempt men into sin. But Tiffany was possessed of a skeptical mind. “I would question in religion class,” she told me at a Starbucks in Topeka, where she works as an emergency-room nurse and lives with her husband and two daughters. “If God gave us a brain, how come we can’t use birth control? Because that makes more sense than having 12 kids that you can’t afford to feed.” This attitude was not welcome at the academy. “I was in detention a lot,” she said.

Her siblings, too, chafed at the constraints of life in St. Marys. One sister got engaged to a Catholic man who attended Mass at Immaculate Conception, the townie church. According to Tiffany, the SSPX priest announced from the pulpit that anyone who attended the wedding would be committing a sin.

Tiffany herself started using drugs and alcohol, but later resolved to return to the SSPX fold. She went to confession and delivered a litany of her sins, but the priest stopped her when she shared that a friend had recently had an abortion. This, the priest said, was unforgivable. While Tiffany herself had not terminated a pregnancy, she had failed to stop another woman from doing so. The priest declared that she would be excommunicated. (With proper penance, SSPX officials said, she could be reconciled with the Church.)

St. Marys “is a little, safe community,” Tiffany told me. People go there to escape “a world that is considered unsafe.” When she started building a life for herself outside St. Marys, however, she experienced less fear than relief. Small things like going to the mall and wearing shorts were revelatory she finally felt she had choices about how to pray and when to get married. In St. Marys, that hadn’t been possible. “You give up everything to come into this community,” she said, “and do what you’re told.”

A model of the new church the Society plans to build. It will seat 1,550 and stand 12 stories high. (Bryan Schutmaat)

At a time when American politics is so fractured and dysfunctional, the idea of huddling among our own holds undeniable appeal. SSPX parishioners believe they know God’s way and try to follow it, largely unencumbered by those who do not share their views. But there is peril in the premise that we would all be better off living among our own. Democracy depends on the friction that comes from encounters with difference. The movements for abolition, enfranchisement, labor dignity, and civil rights all stemmed from factions of Americans demanding rights and basic respect from their neighbors. If the country’s most fervent believers, whether Catholics, evangelical Christians, civil-rights advocates, or environmentalists, were to simply give up their visions for a better nation, the American project would stagnate.

On the eastern side of the St. Mary’s campus, the stone entrance is guarded by twin knights representing the school’s mascot, the Crusaders. The SSPX bookstore is filled with toy soldiers and warring knights from Catholic history—the perfect gift, a salesman told me, for a little boy’s First Communion.

St. Mary's Hospital

Sometime after the outbreak, the hospital was used in an attempt to quarantine and isolate the infected. Some time afterwards, it was completely empty of infected and non-infected alike. The Fireflies later ran the hospital as their base of operations after abandoning the University of Eastern Colorado due to an outbreak of Infected overrunning the campus. It became their main base roughly 10 years before, based on what is said in Marlene's diary. Β]

The Fireflies cleared out the nearby surroundings, though they did not clear the entire city. This is evidenced by how places such as tunnels and sewers still possess Infected, suggesting the Fireflies were low on supplies or unable to takeover the entire city. This means that only the hospital is free of Infected. Ώ]

The majority of elite Fireflies seem to be based here judging by the strength of their equipment, such as assault rifles and body armor as compared to the more basic Boston Fireflies who only had pistols and hunting rifles. Α] Γ]

Events of The Last of Us

Sometime after evacuating Boston, Marlene and the surviving Boston Fireflies all returned to the hospital by late March 2034. Β]

After Joel and Ellie found out the Fireflies abandoned the University of Eastern Colorado, Δ] they headed to Salt Lake City. When they got there, a pair of Fireflies discovered them, one of them knocking Joel unconscious, then reviving Ellie and taking them to the hospital. Ώ]

Marlene allowed Joel to recover in one on the hospital beds while she discussed Ellie's condition with Jerry Anderson, the head surgeon. Despite learning Ellie would have to die to obtain a vaccine, Marlene gave them permission regardless. Jerry, conflicted, discussed the procedure with his daughter Abby Anderson. She insisted that if it was her who was immune, she would want her father to perform the surgery. Ε] ΐ]

Marlene returned to Joel's room with the Firefly Ethan, where she informed the now-conscious Joel that they would have to surgically remove the fungus from Ellie's brain obtain the vaccine. Marlene then ordered Ethan to march Joel out of the hospital. Desiring to save Ellie, Joel disarmed and killed Ethan, then fought his way through the various floors to reach Ellie, killing several Fireflies and Marlene to do so. Α] Abby and her friend Owen Moore later found Jerry's body in the operating room, leading her to pledge to kill Joel in revenge. ΐ]

Years in abandonment

Events of The Last of Us Part II

Two years after Joel escaped with Ellie, the latter returns to the pediatrics wing of the hospital alone and finds that it has been abandoned, Ζ] with the Fireflies having left many objects and medical supplies behind in boxes. She also finds scans and diagrams of her brain and the infection that was in it. She picks up a note that said that the Fireflies voted to disband, Η] . Ellie reaches the operating room and finds a recorder in a Firefly's bag. The recording was by a former Firefly who was unsure whether or not she would join the group to pursue Joel and Ellie. From the recording, it is presumed that another group was opposed to this idea as the only person who could develop a vaccine, Jerry Anderson, was now dead both groups are presumed to have abandoned the hospital shortly after Jerry's death. ΐ]

When Joel returns, Ellie confronts him about his lie, the man revealing he did indeed kill many Fireflies to prevent the group from killing her to achieve a cure. Broken, Ellie returns to Jackson with him but swears their relationship is over. ⎖]

St. Peter's Basilica

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St. Peter’s Basilica, also called New St. Peter’s Basilica, present basilica of St. Peter in Vatican City (an enclave in Rome), begun by Pope Julius II in 1506 and completed in 1615 under Paul V. It is designed as a three-aisled Latin cross with a dome at the crossing, directly above the high altar, which covers the shrine of St. Peter the Apostle. The edifice—the church of the popes—is a major pilgrimage site.

The idea of building the church was conceived by Pope Nicholas V (reigned 1447–55), who was prompted by the state in which he found Old St. Peter’s Basilica—walls leaning far out of the perpendicular and frescoes covered with dust. In 1452 Nicholas ordered Bernardo Rossellino to begin the construction of a new apse west of the old one, but the work stopped with Nicholas’s death. Paul II, however, entrusted the project to Giuliano da Sangallo (see Sangallo family)in 1470.

On April 18, 1506, Julius II laid the first stone for the new basilica. It was to be erected in the form of a Greek cross according to the plan of Donato Bramante. On Bramante’s death (1514) Leo X commissioned as his successors Raphael, Fra Giovanni Giocondo, and Giuliano da Sangallo, who modified the original Greek cross plan to a Latin cross with three aisles separated by pillars. The architects after Raphael’s death in 1520 were Antonio da Sangallo the Elder, Baldassarre Peruzzi, and Andrea Sansovino.

After the sack of Rome in 1527, Paul III (1534–49) entrusted the undertaking to Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, who returned to Bramante’s plan and erected a dividing wall between the area for the new basilica and the eastern part of the old one, which was still in use. On Sangallo’s death (1546) Paul III commissioned the aged Michelangelo as chief architect, a post he held under Julius III and Pius IV. At the time of Michelangelo’s death in 1564, the drum for the massive dome was practically complete. He was succeeded by Pirro Ligorio and Giacomo da Vignola. Gregory XIII (1572–85) placed Giacomo della Porta in charge of the work. The dome, modified from Michelangelo’s design, was finally completed at the insistence of Sixtus V (1585–90), and Gregory XIV (1590–91) ordered the erection of the lantern above it. Clement VIII (1592–1605) demolished the apse of Old St. Peter’s and erected the new high altar over the altar of Calixtus II.

Paul V (1605–21) adopted Carlo Maderno’s plan, giving the basilica the form of a Latin cross by extending the nave to the east, thus completing the 615-foot- (187-metre-) long main structure. Maderno also completed the facade of St. Peter’s and added an extra bay on each end to support campaniles. Although Maderno left designs for these campaniles, only one was built, and that was of a different design executed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1637. Under the commission of Alexander VII (1655–67) Bernini designed the elliptical piazza, outlined by colonnades, that serves as the approach to the basilica.


Born on 6 [17] May 1868, the day of the Holy Job the Long-Suffering, St Nicholas was the eldest son of Crown Prince Alexander Alexandrovich (the future Emperor Alexander III) and Grand Duchess Maria Feodorvna (the future Empress). He received an excellent education under the supervision of his father, speaking fluently Russian, English, French, German, and Italian, and learning Russian and world history, Russian literature, and the art of warfare.

In 1884, St Nicholas met the future Empress St. Alexandra, then Princess Alice Victoria Helen Louise Beatrix von Hessen-Darmstadt, at the wedding of the latter's sister, Grand Duches-Martyr St Elizabeth Fyodorovna with the Emperor's uncle, Grand Duke Sergey Alexandrovich. Princess Alice was a daughter of Prince Ludwig von Hessen-Darmstadt and Princess Alice and a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria of England. The two became good friends, a friendship that later grew into love. In 1894, St Nicholas received a blessing from his father to wed Princess Alice on the condition that she become Orthodox. On October 20, 1894, Emperor Alexander III died at the imperial palace in Livadia, Crimea. On the next day, Princess Alice was received into the Orthodox faith and given the name Alexandra Feodorovna. The two were married in a low-key ceremony on November 14, 1894.

In February 1917, during the February Revolution, Nicholas reluctantly abdicated the throne, hoping that doing so might save the nation some violence. After the Bolshevik (October) revolution, he and his family were exiled to Siberia, where they were detained under house-arrest. On July 16, 1918, the family was lined up in the basement and shot. The bodies were buried in an unmarked grave.

In 1991, in Yekaterinburg, Sibera, their bodies were exhumed. DNA testing confirmed that they were indeed the Romanovs.

In 1998, with Boris Yeltsin in attendance, most of the Royal Family was finally laid to rest with proper ceremony. However, neither the Russian Orthodox Church nor the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia formally recognized that the remains found near Yekaterinburg were those of the Royal Family.

St Mary's II - History

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Looking Back at Royal Births Throughout History

Prince Philip was playing squash when Prince Charles was born, for starters.

As the world celebrates the birth of the newest member of the royal family&mdashPrince Harry and Meghan Markle's daughter, Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor&mdashTown & Country looks back on royal births of the past.

The future queen was born at 2:40 a.m. on April 21, 1926, at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, the London home of her maternal grandparents, the Earl and Countess of Strathmore.

Left: Elizabeth, Duchess of York (1900-2002) holds her baby, the future Queen Elizabeth II, in May 1926.

The Prince of Wales was born at Buckingham Palace on the evening of November 14, 1948. Princess Elizabeth was just 22 at the time, and she was reportedly in labor for 30 hours before giving birth by Caesarean section. But her husband, Prince Philip, was not present. Instead, he was playing squash with his private secretary in another part of the royal residence. When he got word of the birth, Philip ran up to the delivery room and, once the princess woke up from her anaesthetic, gave her a bouquet of red roses and carnations. He also declared that Charles resembled "a plum pudding." (Charles's birth was the first royal birth not attended by the British Home Secretary, who in earlier times was required to be present to witness and verify the births of royal children.)

Left: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (pictured when she was Princess Elizabeth) poses with her first baby Prince Charles at his Christening in 1948

Princess Anne was born at 11:50 a.m. on August 15, 1950, at Clarence House, a royal residence in London. Buckingham Palace was undergoing renovations following damage it suffered during World War II, so Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip moved to Clarence House in 1949 and lived there until 1953.

Above: Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip hold their children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne, in August 1951.

Queen Elizabeth II gave birth to her third child, Prince Andrew, at Buckingham Palace on February 19, 1960.

Above: Prince Philip and Princess Anne hold Prince Andrew's hands as he sits up in his pram on September 7, 1960.

The queen's third son and fourth child was born on March 10, 1964, at Buckingham Palace. This time, Prince Philip reportedly joined her in the delivery room. "The Duke of Edinburgh was actually holding his wife's hand as their youngest was born, Ingrid Seward writes in My Husband and I: The Inside Story Of 70 Years Of Royal Marriage. "The Queen, by then aged 37, had asked him to be there she'd been keenly reading women's magazines that stressed the importance of involving fathers in childbirth and had become fascinated by the idea. Thus Philip became the first royal father in modern history to witness the arrival of one of his children . Compassion comes from the Queen. And the duty and discipline comes from him Philip."

Above: Queen Elizabeth, holding an infant Prince Edward, stands with Prince Philip, on the balcony at Buckingham Palace during the Trooping of the Colour on June 13, 1964.

Diana, Princess of Wales, gave birth to Prince William in the Lindo Wing of St. Mary&rsquos Hospital on June 21, 1982&mdasha break from the tradition of royal births at Buckingham Palace. "William had to be induced because I couldn&rsquot handle the press pressure any longer," Diana told her biographer, Andrew Morton. She reportedly stood during the birth.

The queen was the first royal relative to visit Prince William in the hospital Prince Philip was traveling at the time so she went alone.

Left: The Prince and Princess of Wales stand with their newborn son Prince William on the steps of St Mary's Hospital in June 1982.

Prince Charles was there to witness his first son's birth and later wrote to his godmother Patricia Brabourne, "I am so thankful I was beside Diana&rsquos bedside the whole time because by the end of the day I really felt as though I&rsquod shared deeply the process of birth and as a result was rewarded by seeing a small creature which belonged to us even though he seemed to belong to everyone else as well!" It was a more sensitive reaction than the "joke" he made immediately after William's birth, when, according to an account Diana gave to Morton, he uttered, "Oh God, it's a boy. And he's even got red hair."

Left: Prince Charles and Princess Diana at Prince William's christening on August 4, 1982.

Prince Harry arrived a week early and was born at 4:20 p.m. on September 15, 1984 in the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital, just like his older brother. Diana read a book for the first six hours of her nine-hour labor, and Charles napped in a chair next to the bed. When the big moment came Diana "sucked on an ice cube to prevent dehydration during the delivery, w hile a nurse rubbed her chapped lips with cream," People reports.

Left: Princess Diana and Prince Charles leave the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital with Prince Harry in September 1984.

For her first child, the Duchess of Cambridge had a team of 20 medical professionals dedicated to her care ("Everyone was sworn to secrecy," People reports). The group included: two obstetricians, three midwives, three anesthetists, four surgical staff, two special care baby-unit staff, four pediatricians, one lab technician, and three to four managers. After about 12 hours of labor and no pain medication, Prince George was born at 4:24 p.m. on July 22, 2013, weighing in at eight pounds, six ounces.

Left: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stand with their newborn son, Prince George of Cambridge, outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's hospital on July 23, 2013.

How St. John Paul II ‘bent the course of history’

Washington D.C., May 18, 2020 / 05:45 pm (CNA).- The life of Pope Saint John Paul II is proof that religious belief and moral conviction can change the course of history, the pope’s biographer said on Monday, May 18.

Author and papal biographer George Weigel held an online seminar for the Centennial Celebration of Saint John Paul II’s Birth, presented by the Saint John Paul II National Shrine.

Pope St. John Paul II was born on May 18, 1920, and was elected pope on October 16, 1978, he died on April 2, 2005, and was canonized on April 27, 2014. His feast day is October 22, the day he was inaugurated as pope.

During his 26-and-a-half-year papacy, the third longest in history and the longest in the modern era, John Paul II was “the great Christian witness of our time, the man who made Jesus Christ come alive for so many,” said Weigel. “His own discipleship invited others to be Christian disciples.”

Weigel’s presentation during the webinar was one of many events hosted by the shrine to mark the centenary of John Paul II’s birth. Originally, these events were going to be held in-person, and include an “academic-style symposium” but plans were changed due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

John Paul II was a “pope of the Catechism and the pope of the Divine Mercy devotion,” said Weigel. He explained how “those two realities–truth and mercy–had met in his own life,” and inspired him to bring them out to the life of the Church.

In October, 1992, Pope John Paul II promulgated the new edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and in 2000, he designated the Sunday after Easter as “Divine Mercy Sunday.”

As pope, said Weigel, John Paul II demonstrated “the power of religious and moral conviction to bend history in a more humane direction” better than secular disciplines like economics or law. He pointed to the pope’s first visit back to his native Poland, then a communist state, which sparked a revolution that resulted in the fall of the Iron Curtain.

Weigel further touched on John Paul II’s promotion of the Divine Mercy devotion, and noted that this legacy is felt even years after his death, with Pope Francis adding an optional memorial to St. Faustina to the Roman Calendar.

Weigel stated that the effects of WWI and WWII had “shredded the moral fabric of the western world,” resulting in “all sorts of personal sorrow, and indeed personal damage, in its wake,” but that the Divine Mercy apparition was intended to heal these wounds.

“Here comes this message of divine mercy radiating from the heart of the risen Lord, to an obscure Polish sister,” said Weigel. “And [John Paul II] interpreted that as being the answer to that shredding of the moral fabric of humanity.”

“Humanity needed to hear the message of God’s mercy, which is strong enough to heal the wounds we inflicted upon ourselves,” he said.

The Saint John Paul II National Shrine is located in Washington, D.C., near the Catholic University of America campus. Originally called the John Paul II Cultural Center, the national shrine was established in its present form in 2011, after it was purchased by the Knights of Columbus. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops designated the building as a “national shrine” to the then-Blessed John Paul II on March 14, 2014.

The shrine hosts an exhibit about the life and papacy of the saint, and one of its chapels contains a first-class relic that is available for veneration.

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Cardinal DiNardo: Amid division, we must look to the God who unites

Baltimore, Md., Nov 13, 2017 / 12:45 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Witnessing to the Gospel is the simple but fundamental call for people of faith who live in trying times, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said in his keynote address to the U.S. bishops on Monday.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is meeting Nov. 13-14 in Baltimore for their fall assembly. This year’s assembly marks the centenary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which was founded in 1917 as the National Catholic War Council.

Not unlike today, DiNardo noted, the U.S. bishops 100 years ago were dealing with trying times, including a massive overseas migrant crisis.

&ldquoThe bishops back then knew that such challenges could only be met through a unified marshaling of all the Church&rsquos resources,&rdquo said DiNardo, who is president of the conference.

&ldquoNot surprisingly, we are living in a time of similar challenge,&rdquo he said, and bishops today are leading &ldquoa diverse flock. People look, talk, and even think differently from each other.&rdquo Amidst such diversity, it can be easy to be tempted to division and fear, seeing strangers as a threat rather than as people to be welcomed, the cardinal said.

&ldquoBut fear is not of God. God does not divide God unites. And God, who is love, created us to love. Love is not naïve, but neither is it irritable, resentful, or rude,&rdquo he said.

The Church in America is rich with people who have met the challenges of their time and witnessed to the love of the Gospel, Cardinal DiNardo said, pointing to the example of Blessed Father Stanley Rother, an Oklahoma priest and martyr who was beatified earlier this year.

Rather than abandon his people amidst a civil war in Guatemala, where he served, Fr. Rother &ldquooffered his life for the people he had come to serve. In this way, he is a witness to the Love of God for all peoples, a truth that the Church must continually teach.&rdquo

The challenges of the present day are many, DiNardo noted, and the agenda of the bishop&rsquos conference includes questions on &ldquohow best to care for the sick, the unborn, the poor, the immigrant and refugee, the unemployed and the underemployed in cities and towns across America.&rdquo

&ldquoBut the question before us is straightforward: as a people of faith, what will our contribution be?&rdquo he said. &ldquoI would like to answer straightforwardly: our contribution is always to witness to the Gospel.&rdquo

While the Gospel compels Christians to respond to the challenges of the times, it also calls them to respond in &ldquocivility and love,&rdquo he noted.

&ldquoMy friends, civility begins in the womb. If we cannot come to love and protect innocent life from the moment God creates it, how can we properly care for each other as we come of age? Or when we come to old age?&rdquo he said, to a round of applause from the bishops present.

Furthermore, the U.S. bishops must stand with the Holy Father in supporting comprehensive immigration reform in a system that is broken, promoting pro-life policies that respect human dignity and keep families together, he noted, to another round of applause from the bishops.

Moral immigration reform has increasingly been an issue of concern for the U.S. bishops. Earlier this year, DiNardo and the U.S. bishops denounced the Trump administration&rsquos decision to end DACA, a program that benefited hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as minors.

&ldquoProviding for the common defense and the general welfare is a basic responsibility of government,&rdquo the cardinal said. &ldquoHowever, we have a moral responsibility to improve border security in a humane way.&rdquo

Racism is another divisive issue being considered by the U.S. bishops this year, made all the more urgent by recent violent demonstrations, such as the alt-right demonstration in Charlottesville in August, after which the bishops denounced &ldquothe evil of racism, white supremacy and neo-nazism.&rdquo

In order to address the issues of both overt and systemic racism, the conference recently announced the creation of an Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, which will be chaired by Bishop George Murry of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio.

&ldquo(T)hey are planning to meet with people across the country and to learn from them how the Church can best work with others in ending this evil,&rdquo DiNardo said. &ldquoPray this conversation will lead to genuine conversion of hearts, including our own.&rdquo

The U.S. has suffered much as a country in recent times, DiNardo noted, including natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey which swept through his own Archdiocese of Houston, killing nearly 80 people and leaving thousands displaced.

But it is often great suffering that &ldquohas brought the Church in America together and has reminded me of how wonderful the gifts of faith, hope and love truly are,&rdquo he said.

&ldquoWe need to constantly put forward these virtues, especially in light of the violence from what is a long and growing list of mass shootings in our schools, offices, churches, and places of recreation. The time is long past due to end the madness of outrageous weapons &ndash be they stockpiled on a continent or in a hotel room,&rdquo he said, to another round of applause.

While the challenges facing the Church in the United States today are many, the bishops today are not unlike the bishops who first met 100 years ago, faced with the challenges of their own times, Cardinal DiNardo said.

&ldquo(L)ike our predecessors, we know that the love of Christ is stronger than all the challenges ahead,&rdquo he said.

&ldquoMy brothers, let us follow our Holy Father ever more closely, going forth to be with our people in every circumstance of pastoral life. Drawing strength and wisdom from these past hundred years, let us sound our hands and voices joyfully. And let us always remind our people, and ourselves, that with God, all things are possible.&rdquo

At the end of his speech, all the bishops in attendance applauded Cardinal DiNardo with a standing ovation.

Watch the video: Βίος Αγίας Μαρίας Μαγδαληνής


  1. Yerodin

    Today I was specially registered to participate in discussion.

  2. Amita


  3. Kejas

    Bravo, this very good thought has to be precisely on purpose

  4. Gerry

    I apologise, but, in my opinion, you are mistaken. Write to me in PM, we will talk.

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