Angel

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

Michelangelo

After work on Friday, I took some roads I had never been on and ended up at St Mary’s Catholic Cemetery on the outskirts of Lancaster.

Cemeteries are often home to some impressive pieces of art and architecture in the form of mausoleums and statuary. This gem caught my eye and I had to get a closer look.

Isn’t she magnificent? She looks over the final resting place of Army Captain George E. Blaire who died in May 1894.

There are a few interesting pieces here but the angel is hands down my favorite. I am constantly astounded by an artist’s ability to envision such a thing in a block of marble or stone and that they are able to give their ideas life with such exquisite lines and powerful emotions.

Notice how realistic her facial features and hair are. Also pay attention to the folds of fabric around her knee. She is even more magnificent in person.

Here are a few more images from a quick look around.

All of these pieces are larger than life and beautifully done.

Basilica of Saint Mary

From Ohio’s smallest church to one of the state’s most ornate, I covered a lot of ground while exploring last Friday.

The centerpiece of my journey was the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Assumption in Marietta. It is open during the day for self guided tours and I was fortunate to find myself completely alone in this spectacular place.

The first Mass in Marietta was celebrated at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers when there were few Catholics in the area. It was led by the chaplain to a French expedition from Quebec. In the 1830s, land was acquired for a parish and a building was erected. Unfortunately, it suffered devastating damage from flooding over a period of years.

Land for this baslica was acquired in 1900 and ground was broken in 1903. It was consecrated six years later. By then the parish had over 1000 souls. Construction cost about $129,000, a King’s ransom a century ago.

The stained glass windows were created in Munich, Germany and they are stunning – jaw droppingly gorgeous.

There are some signs of the times. For example, they have roped off rows of pews to encourage social distancing and safe worship. There are also security cameras and a collection box in the entryway.

You can see ropes here, a smart move if you ask me.

There are amazing details to appreciate in every nook and cranny both inside…..

and out……

I mentioned yesterday that most churches used to be open and available all the time. This one isn’t available all the time but you can access it outside Mass hours and I’m grateful that they welcome visitors. It felt like a great privilege to sit quietly, to meander and to admire the art and craftsmanship at leisure.

Interested in visiting? Start with their website for updated information on their hours.