Thursday, May 28, 2009

Monastic Lexicon #11

"Out at Trinity"

The answer to the question, Where are your Sisters buried? is: "Out at Trinity."

Trinity Cemetery is one of four cemeteries owned and operated by the Catholic Diocese of Erie. Trinity is the oldest and is located about 11 miles west of the Mount at a busy intersection: 8th and Peninsula Drive. But, as with all cemeteries, as soon as you turn in you enter immediately into its quiet, calm and otherworldliness.

Keep driving along its circuitous paths and when you get to the road at the very back, you'll find us--in three separate areas, but close enough to be "together."

The first prioress, Mother Scholastica, and three dozen early Sisters are buried in one area, under one of Trinity's tall, stately old trees. About 300 feet from there is our largest section holding four rows of 200 or so graves. In between these two areas, in a newly constructed plot which will be for "the rest of us," are five newly added graves--our most recently deceased.

A few statistics of interest: 245 community members are listed in our necrology. The average age of the first 21 Sisters who died was only 27, with two in their teens. Living conditions and health care in the mid-19th century were rough, I'd say. And then there was an influenza epidemic--from 1915-1919 sixteen sisters passed away; another rough time for the young community. Over the last 75 years (half our community life) we've averaged only 2 deaths a year, but it varies considerably: in 2007 we had only one, in 2008 five.

First prioress: Mother Scholastica

Our new section.

Our largest section at Trinity Cemetery. Some now are double plots as an increasing number of Sisters are choosing to be cremated.