Observing Women’s History Month and Honoring One of America’s First Women Immigrants




Just 30 years ago in 1987, the United States Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month in perpetuity.  This action came eights years after Molly Murphy MacGregor, a member of The National Women’s History Projectwas invited to participate in The Women’s History Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, which was chaired by noted historian, Gerda Lerner, and attended by the national leaders of organizations for women and girls. You see, an formal history of notable women and their accomplishments was virtually an unknown and undocumented.  It wasn’t until 1978 when the “Education Task Force of Sonoma County California Commission on the Status of Women” initiated a “Women’s History Week” celebration.  When others learned of Sonoma County’s celebratory success, similar celebrations materialized throughout the United States and a national effort surfaced to secure a “National Women’s History Week,” from which the National Women’s History Month got its roots.  The sitting President now issues an annual  Proclamation to honor extraordinary achievements of American women.  This year’s theme  “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business.” Thirteen women from diverse backgrounds, with different fields of endeavor, and spanning three centuries make up this year’s honorees.

“Anne Hutchinson Banished, March 22, 1638”The following Article was written by staff of Boston’s “Mass Moments” Program, funded by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities:

On This Day...

      …in 1638, Anne Hutchinson was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Three years after arriving in Boston, she found herself the first female defendant in a Massachusetts court. When she held prayer meetings attended by both men and women, the authorities were alarmed; but what really disturbed them was her criticism of the colony’s ministers and her assertion that a person could know God’s will directly. Put on trial for heresy, she defended herself brilliantly. But her claim to have had a revelation from God sealed her fate. She was banished from the colony. Along with her family and 60 followers, she moved to Rhode Island, and later to New York, where she perished in an Indian raid.

Anne and William Hutchinson and their 15 children were among the 200 passengers who arrived in Boston aboard the Griffen in the fall of 1634. The couple had followed their minister, the Reverend John Cotton, to be part of a new community where they would be able to practice their faith openly.

A successful merchant in England, William Hutchinson had the resources to buy a house in Boston and a 600-acre farm. The Hutchinsons were respected gentry by the standards of early Massachusetts, and they quickly assumed a prominent place in Boston affairs.

But within three years, Anne Hutchinson would stand before a Massachusetts court, charged with heresy and sedition. In 1638 she would be excommunicated from the church and banished from the colony for holding and teaching unorthodox religious views.

Anne’s father was an outspoken English clergyman. Sentenced to house arrest for being publicly critical of the established church, he turned his prodigious intellectual energies to educating his children. Anne inherited her father’s intellect and strong religious beliefs. With the benefit of his library and his careful tutelage, she received a better education than most men of her day.

At the age of 21 she married and took on the traditional role of housewife and mother. She bore 15 children and learned midwifery, a skill that entitled a woman to special respect and esteem. She also maintained her interest in theology. She and her husband became devoted followers of the Puritan preacher John Cotton. At a time when Puritans could not worship freely in England, they chose to follow the Reverend Cotton when he emigrated to Boston in 1633.

At first Anne received a warm welcome. Bostonians appreciated her skill as a midwife; when she began to hold prayer meetings for women in her home, she seemed the very model of Puritan womanhood. John Cotton later remembered that “[a]t her first coming she was well respected and esteemed. . . . I hear she did much good in our Town, in womans meeting [and] at Childbirth-Travels.”

But her prayer meetings soon began to cause concern among the Puritan magistrates. An eloquent speaker, she began to draw large gatherings of women and men. The magistrates believed it highly inappropriate for a woman to instruct men, especially in religious matters. The laws of Massachusetts Bay were based on biblical teachings, and the colony’s leaders took seriously Paul’s commandment that women be silent in public meetings. But Anne Hutchinson’s supporters insisted that her meetings were private gatherings.

The real trouble began when word spread that she was criticizing the teachings of the Puritan ministers. She found the ministers, except for John Cotton, lacking in the spirit of God. Concerned about maintaining order in their new community, the ministers in Boston preached that people must live according to biblical precepts, thus demonstrating good works and upholding the moral order. Anne Hutchinson embraced the idea that salvation came about only when God granted it; she believed that human will and action played no role in salvation.

Her unorthodox views did not end there. She suggested that an individual could know God’s will directly, and that some people received revelation directly from God. This threatened the ministers’ role as interpreters of the Bible. As Hutchinson’s following grew, the magistrates decided that she was a dangerous woman who must be stopped. They charged her with sedition for undermining the authority of the ministers and heresy for expressing religious beliefs at odds with those of the colony’s religious leaders.

Her trial was extraordinary. Much of the testimony concerned the “crime” she had committed by daring, as a woman, to speak and teach men in public. Governor John Winthrop condemned her meetings as a “thing not tolerable nor comely in the sight of God, nor fitting for your sex.” He conducted much of the initial examination himself.

She boldly answered each of his questions with challenging questions of her own. He responded angrily: “You have rather been a Husband than a Wife and a preacher than a Hearer; and a Magistrate than a subject.” Her chief crime was usurping male authority.

Winthrop challenged her authority to speak, and she defended herself in biblical terms. He claimed that she had defamed the ministers by accusing them of preaching a covenant of works and not being able ministers of the New Testament. She retorted, “Prove that I said so,” and would acknowledge only using the words of the Apostles.

Anne mounted a skillful defense, but her intelligence and eloquence rankled the magistrates, who resented her lecturing them. Winthrop described her as “a woman of haughty and fierce carriage, a nimble wit and active spirit, a very voluble tongue, more bold than a man.” After two days of intense questioning, the magistrates had still not found a way to silence her.

Then Anne Hutchinson essentially convicted herself. She declared that her knowledge of the truth came as direct revelation from God, a heresy in Puritan Massachusetts. The astonished magistrates leapt upon what they considered a false teaching and proclaimed her guilt: “Mrs. Hutchinson, the sentence of the court you hear is that you are banished from out of our jurisdiction as being a woman not fit for our society, and are to be imprisoned till the court shall send you away.”

Hutchinson refused to recant and accepted her exile. In the spring of 1638 she and her family left Massachusetts Bay for the more tolerant Providence Plantation founded by Roger Williams. After her husband died, she moved to New Amsterdam. There, in 1643, she and five of her children were killed in an Indian raid. John Winthrop viewed her violent death as a sign of God’s final judgment on her blasphemy.

In 1922 a statue of Hutchinson was erected on the grounds of the Massachusetts State House. In 1945 the legislature voted to revoke her banishment. Today Anne Hutchinson is remembered as an advocate of freedom of religion and of women’s rights. Although in reality she was neither, she was a brave and principled woman who had the courage to speak her mind in a society that allowed women no public voice.


American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Women Who Defied the Puritans, by Eve LaPlante (Harper Collins, 2004).

Anne Hutchinson: Brief Life of Harvard’s ‘Midwife,'” by Peter Gomes, Harvard Magazine (November/December, 2002).

Boston Globe, Interview with Eve LaPlante, “Heretic, or Centuries Before her Time?” May 8, 2004.

Governing the Tongue: The Politics of Speech in Early New England, by Jane Kamensky (Oxford University Press, 1997).

Remembering Our Mount Calvary School (MCS) and Community

June 10, 2016

Thanks to Rob Maloof and his visit to Mount Calvary School this week, we have some new photos from inside and out.  Hope you enjoy them and we will see you tomorrow, June 12,  2016 at the special 10:30 Mass to Honor the Students and Mount School for its long and honorable service through providing high academic curricula and strong spiritual, community, and citizenship values to thousands of children who passed through its doors on their ways to successful and fulfilling lives.  The high volume of positive comments and posts about everlasting memories are a testament to its 66 years in existence.  We truly will miss its demise, but will always cherish our memories of the family and friends we came to be.

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May 9, 2016

It’s very inspiring to see the number of comments and articles by others due to the word of mouth about Mount Calvary’s closing.  Here’s another, this time, written by former student John Nagy, who is now Editor of The Pilot, out of Moore County, NC.


Pennsylvania Avenue runs by the White House and Capitol Hill, but if you follow the road southeast about 8 miles, past the I-495 Capital Beltway, it runs into Forestville, Md.,

An Event Has Been Created 

Since this post, Mount Calvary has added a Farewell Mass and Reception Event to be held Sunday, June 12.  Please check it out at the link above.

A Sad Goodbye to Our Old Friend, Mentor, Life Coach, and Comforter

On Monday, April 18, 2016, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Washington, Mr. Bill Ryan; Mt. Calvary Pastor Father Everett Pearson, and Mt. Calvary School Principal Mrs. Darcy Tomko held a community meeting for students and their parents to announce the permanent closing of Mt. Calvary School at the end of the 2015-16 school year citing “enrollment and deficit concerns.” On Tuesday, April 19, 2016, Marco J. Clarke, President and CEO of Bishop McNamara High School publicized the closing announcement on its website. Next came a flurry of messages, remembrances, and discussions among the nearly 1,000 Mount Calvary parents and alumni who are members of the Mt. Calvary Catholic School Alumni-Forestville, MD Facebook Public Group, (of which I am a member).

The very first moment I learned of MCS’s closure I felt compelled to blog about a school and church community that had been such a big part of so many family’s lives.  My husband graduated from there in 1958.  Bob most remembers Sr. Bernadette from 1957.  She was short but feisty.  He says:  “Boys being boys, we used to torment her and when the boys  would “get her goat,” she would scream, “you damn boys.” On one occasion her false teeth fell out, hit a student’s desk, and then hit the floor and the whole classroom erupted in laughter.  The teen drama club played a big part in his life and from the mid-1970’s until the early 1990’s our three children attended the school and we attended the church, participated in and volunteered in the Teen Club and CYO sports programs, fundraisers, drama club, etc.  And when laid off from the printing industry one year, Bob worked in the school as part of its maintenance crew. My parents were church members, too, and my brothers and sons were altar boys.

Individual families with school-aged children did life together as one large family there for the betterment of their community and individual families.  Just a few of the family names that stick out in our minds as involved community leaders:  Mammano, Piazza, Mazzullo (all with their fair share of children), Antonio, Mundell, Dusseau, Butler, Palmer, Arena, Breslin, Vespoint–and so many more that I apologize to those whose names I may have inadvertently omitted.  As evidenced as you read through this post, many who attended Mt. Calvary will always remember and be grateful to the faculty and staff who cared for and taught them or their children–even several decades later the impressions, situations, and names stay firmly embedded in their hearts and brains.


Mount Calvary School before 1961

Mount Calvary School before 1961 when the “New” Church was built.

Mount Calvary Catholic School (MCS) first opened its doors on September 10, 1950, to 404   students from what grew into five local church parishes: Mount Calvary and Holy Spirit Churches in Forestville, Saint Bernadine’s in Suitland, Holy Family in Hillcrest Heights, and Saint Phillip’s in Temple Hills, MD. It’s mission has always been “to provide an environment that fosters spirituality and growth in faith, an educational program that builds academic success, leadership that promotes strong character, and a love for service to others.” 

Upon its opening, it had eight classrooms, a principal’s office, a health center, and a large “multi-purpose” room on the upper level that became known as “The Blue Room.” The blue room was the place on inclement weather days where students would gather for recess. In the basement was a similar multi-purpose room called “The Lower Hall.” While construction was underway for the “New” church–both rooms were soon used as temporary spaces for masses on Sundays and holy days.  Due to a rapidly growing and overflowing church community, both auditoriums had standing room only at staggered mass times.

Altar Mount Calvary ChurchThe new church was opened in 1959.   Later, the lower hall was used for special events and weekly bingo games. The overcrowding at masses required men of the church to direct traffic in and out of the parking lot and parking spaces to and from Marlboro Pike.  In the late 1960’s Mount Calvary’s parish was split into three parishes requiring the building of Saint Bernadine’s in Suitland and Holy Spirit on Ritchie Road in Forestville.

Mount Calvary School was the first construction on the future campus that housed the church, school, rectory, convent and Bishop McNamara High School next door.  The original and first Catholic Church in Forestville–a frame church that was painted white and built in 1912.  1958 Christmas CardThe “Little White Church” was located to the left and just behind today’s rectory.

The Little White Church was used as classroom space that included a 4th grade male only classroom (known as the Boy’s Academy), Boy Scout meetings, music lessons, and teen club gatherings. It was accidentally set afire by careless smokers and burned down in the 1970’s.

School Choir, inside the Little White Church, 1957.

School Choir, inside the Little White Church, 1957.

Bishop McNamara High School for boys opened its doors for the school year 1964-65. It converted to a coed school in 1992 when neighboring La Reine Catholic High School for girls in Suitland closed its doors.

In 1961, MCS’s peak school population included 19 sisters who ministered to 1,601 students. Most of Mount Calvary’s alumni testify that in spite of having 90 students in a classroom, they received an “Excellent” education.  I just can’t fathom the odds against excellence with that many faculty, students, and personalities together all day in what many would consider a small school.  Surely God was busily at work there, too.

Today, Mount Calvary’s enrollment is a mere 155 students and it serves a vastly different student population that it did at its beginnings 67 years ago. Only one-third of the student body is Catholic and 99 percent are African-American.  (These demographic changes over the past six decades are representative of the local Prince George’s County community.) The all-lay faculty and staff today includes 8 full-time teachers, a full-time Technology Coordinator/Resource Aide, and part-time teachers in the following areas: Art, Music, Physical Education and Spanish. The support staff includes two Instructional Aides, a Receptionist, and a Tuition Bookkeeper. The administration consists of the Pastor, the Principal and the Assistant Principal who also serves as the parish Director of Religious Education and the Director of the school’s Extended Care Program.  Beginning in the mid-1970’s, many of our families (senior parents and their children alike) migrated further south to counties such as Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s.  As for my parents, they are frail at ages 87 and 88 but insist on living independently (well–semi-independent) in their home in Berkshire that our family moved into in October 1960, 56 years ago.

Mount Calvary’s Leader of Progress and Excellence for 40 Years

Msgr Peter Paul Rakowski

Msgr Peter Paul Rakowski

Reverend Monsignor Peter Paul Rakowski (1897-1982), (Msgr Pete, as he was called), served as Pastor of Mt. Calvary Church from 1942 and was Pastor Emeritus at the time of his death on March 4, 1982.  When he first became Pastor, he lived with the elderly sisters who owned the house and the property where Bishop McNamara High School now stands. He used to say the sisters were shocked because he took a bath once a week. (Apparently, something about the bathing standards in those days.) It was his wish to be buried at his home where he had lived and worked the majority of his life, and so he was.  Just behind the rectory on the land where the “Little White Church” had once stood.  There, a prayer garden was also built in his honor.  Fr. Pete was the leader of progress and excellence for the church and the school for 40 years–longer than any other priest who had resided there.  Everyone loved him and his storytelling (for which he was also known).  In May 1973, 50th years after his ordination as a priest, our parish family and honored guests celebrated with him at his Anniversary Jubilee.  This was one of the biggest and most festive events our family recalls.
Sr GabrielleMsgr. Pete loved to brag about his school and its student population.  He also worked with financially struggling parishioners to define payment plans to help them pay for their children’s school tuitions.

Before going to diocesan pastors meetings, Fr. Pete would regularly call the Principal, Sister Gabrielle, to see how many kids were enrolled that day. In recent Facebook posts, more than 1 alumni commented that they thought Sr. Gabrielle did not like them and that the sisters of the day were tough! Patrick McDonald in 2010 posted there that “Sr. Gabrielle scared the heck out of everyone. If we had to walk past her office, it was fast paced and eyes straight ahead.  If Sr. Gabrielle was in the hallway when we went to or from recess, we all hugged the wall on the opposite side–or, at least I did.”  Patrick Morrissette in 2011 posted, “I still have a scar on my right thumb from a metal edged ruler where she whacked me!!”

Fr Worch Msgr PeteNot everyone remembers his name and many still call him “the young priest,” but those who knew him will always remember–these are two of our favorites from our Mt. Calvary family life:  Fr. Donald P. Worch and Msgr. Pete. Here they are in Hawaii in October 1974 on a Mt. Calvary sponsored trip.  Young and old, they were definitely among the chosen ones.  Their love of children and family stood out.  Fr. Worch in all his humility, and bold and passionate, Msgr. Pete.  Fr. Worch is retired and in residence at: Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church
9200 Kentsdale Drive, Potomac MD 20854 dworch@olom.org

The School Sisters of Notre Dame fully staffed Mount Calvary from 1950 – 1961

1960-61 Teaching Staff

Angie Lambert Hamm posted on April 21, 2016:  “I graduated in 1967. I’m wondering if the discipline changed once the nuns were no longer there. Who remembers the hand slaps with the wooden paddle for not doing homework or worse? Spankings were a normal punishment; chewing gum was stuck on our noses; and, the “milkshake” events!! If these things took place in today’s schools, the nuns would have been jailed!! No wonder they could teach 60+ kids in small classrooms!!

November 22, 1963

Washington Post 11-22-1963The day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX, by Lee Harvey Oswald–Student, Jim Jenkins (14 years old at the time) still remembers it well from his perspective as an 8th grader at Mt. Calvary:

Sister Norman was called to the door of our classroom by another teacher.  Then Sister Norman let out a gasp, “Oh no, please Lord!”

Sister immediately turned back into our classroom and began to set up the classroom television that was on a tall stand with wheels – we always had to adjust the antenna to get the reception right.  We all began watching Walter Cronkite talk us through the reports filtering out of Parkland Hospital in Dallas.  I remember Sister started to cry and asked that we begin to recite the rosary.

Soon the principal, Sister Gabrielle, announced over the “loud speaker” that local government officials were declaring a state of emergency and were asking that students be dismissed from school and return to their homes as soon as possible.

I remember walking home with my brother and we saw police and military vehicles beginning to take up positions at intersections along Pennsylvania Avenue (which extended out into Prince George’s County toward nearby Andrews Air Force Base – the destination of Air Force 1 with the body of John Kennedy).  Then, we saw our mother walking toward us.  We could clearly see that she had been crying.  She took us by our hands and we walked quietly home together.  Schools were closed for about a week and everyone remained solemn and watched the news and events unfold as they happened.

MCS kids consistently scored high on the various tests used to measure scholastic excellence. Its curriculum and community life standards were very high–so much higher than the public schools that many non-catholic families started enrolling their children at Mt. Calvary.  And, MCS students regularly outscored other archdiocesan schools on their high school entrance exams.  Much of the student’s comprehensive knowledge, retention, and test-taking skills can be attributed to the full-time teachers and committed staff and volunteers who worked with students after school and in the evenings, especially Mrs. Mary Cronin (1920-2011), who taught 20 years at Mt. Calvary (1966-1986) until she retired to Heritage Harbor in Annapolis, MD.  Mrs. Heron  taught math all day and then with Mr. Larry O’Callaghan, tutored the advanced math teams for many, many years.

Jane Perham Sr Elizabeth Carole Page 2010Sister Elizabeth Sokel was the school’s principal when our children began there in 1974. She always has been a great person and our kids tell us that she ran a tight ship.  By the time our eldest son graduated 8th grade in 1980, Mr. Bill Clancy was Principal.  Center in this 2010 picture, Sr. Elizabeth is with Jane Perham, left, and Carole Page, right.

In 1989, former student Scott Gielda wrote and produced a very successful musical “Looking Back on Broadway,” whose cast sang and danced their way in the Blue Room to a three-times packed auditorium in mid-October.  The performers, musicians and stage crew were alumni–young and older, a couple of staff, family members, and friends (Frank Antonio, Mary Mundell Boyce, Bob Dickinson, Kat Butler, Scott Gielda, Connie Germaine, Rob Isley, Jennifer Dickinson McDaniel, Joe Morrison, David Neale, Lloyd Unzel his daughter Erin Unzel Williams, and Glenn White).  David Neale passed away on May 22, 2011. David’s performances as Skimbleshanks–The Railway Cat from the Broadway Play “Cats” embodied Skimbleshanks as played by some of the best broadway performers.  David was a graduate of Dematha High School and Brown University, founder of Black Lavender Resources, and co-founder and editor-in-chief of Black LGBT Art Report.

John Patrick Sullivan, April 22, 2016 posted:  “My dad and I worked on the boiler system. About a decade ago I did a heating survey on the steam heating system. There was no central air system to evaluate. The heating system had all but given up the Holy Ghost. Replacing everything with individual classroom heat pumps was looked at but the electrical system was not large enough to make the upgrade . . .”

Mary Veazey Clark on April 20, 2016 posted: “There was no AC in the church or the school. School always smelled like sour milk and that stuff the janitors threw on the floor to sweep up sickness and spills. Milk was delivered to each classroom in the morning and sat on the floor in cases until lunchtime . . .”
Fr John EnzlerWashingtonian Magazine’s Washingtonian of the Year 2012: Monsignor John Enzler for pioneering programs for the forgotten. Some of Monsignor John Enzler’s most important work began at kitchen tables. As a parish priest in Potomac, he met in a private home with several parents whose children had developmental disabilities, and he realized that the Catholic Church’s efforts to support them weren’t sufficient. Enzler and the parents started Potomac Community Resources, a constellation of 35 programs that now helps more than 500 people with disabilities and their families.  He’s now CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, a job he took in 2011 during what he calls the “perfect storm” of shrinking government and philanthropic resources
and growing community needs. He relishes his role in marshaling resources: “Everything I’ve done has been in preparation for this job. I want to be a change agent for people whose lives are a daily struggle for food,shelter, and clothing.” And, this was the Fr. John Enzler that our family knew when he was pastor at Mt. Calvary.  My daughter Jen and I served on a small team  of parishioners who were concerned about drug and alcoholism in our families and neighbors. We worked to raise awareness about drug and alcoholism and partnered with other religious ministries to help combat these issues.
Fr FarinaMonsignor Michael di Teccia Farina, (Age 86) passed away after a brief illness on February 10, 2010. As he remarked during his last illness, “I have lived a rich life.” When asked why he chose to minister in the Nation’s Capital, Fr. Farina quipped, “Well, that’s where all the sinners are.” Father Farina is fondly remembered by parishioners from Holy Family Parish, Hillcrest Heights, as well as St. Thomas Apostle in Washington. In 1966 he was named the founding pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, Forestville, Md., where he built the present church. He became pastor of Mt. Calvary in 1974.  While at Mt. Calvary he spearheaded a cookbook fundraiser because of his love of cooking–“one of the fine arts,” as he was known to say.  For all his accomplishments, he earned the title of monsignor in 1984. 

Some Personal Thoughts From My Children

We had to carry their own lunches to school because Mt. Calvary didn’t prepare or sell them.  Although once a month special Hot dog luncheons were offered.  We would scoff them up because the smell of them cooking was “to die for” and this once-a-month at-school treat made them taste the very best!  First Fridays were Krispy Kreme donut days.

Free dress day was another fun time.  Occasionally, students could wear regular clothes instead of their uniforms.  Mom didn’t know this until now, but I would sneak into her closet and “borrow” high heels.  I would put them in my book bag and when I arrived before school started I would switch shoes.

My very first job was selling school supplies out of the little closet outside of the girls’ lower level bathroom.

Morning recess was 10:10-10:30 and a buzzer, not a bell, sounded to let us know when recess started and was ending.  Thing is, this buzzer even during summer months when school was not in session buzzed at 10:10 and 10:30.  On the upper level of the school, students were privileged to carry and ring the bell to indicate class changes.  I was so excited the day it was my turn.

girls uniformsIn fifth grade, girls got to switch from jumpers to skirts.  Peggy Guy shared this picture on August 26, 2012. My sister Mary Lou Bradburn Morawski! (She’s the one to the far right, with Ginger Bradburn Meissner in the center and me on the left. Looks like it’s Ginger’s very first day of school at Mt. Calvary with her “ID tag” pinned to her uniform. This picture was taken in front of our house on Insey Street in Berkshire.

Oh, and, we knew just how cool we were when we advanced enough to transition from recess in the back of the school to recess in the front.  We would sit along the brick wall or hang on the fence that was between McNamara and Mt. Calvary.  Sister Paulanna was one tough cookie.  Others have talked about Sr. Paulanna threatening girls with stories about getting cancer in their bottoms if they sat on those cold and damp walls.

Teachers of the Month - Keough Page 1980

Article from Today’s Catholic Teacher Journal, ca. 1980

Adelaide Keough and Carol Page selected and directed many, many, many school plays with choreography by Dottie Herbert. Mrs. Keough passed away on December 22, 2007.  She taught for 26 years at Mt. Calvary and co-led the Drama Club.The sets and costumes were amazing, too.
Dawn Woods and her husband Frank led the teen club for many years and somehow always smiled.

Let’s also remember our very caring nurse for many years, Mrs. Newman.
Mt. Calvary alumni Dee Butler and her sisters Pat and Kat, along with Jeni Stepanek coached girls softball and soccer.
An alumni dinner dance was held in the blue room in the 90s.
Brother Francis always had a coin or pouch to give away.  Brother Francis Michael Sullivan, C.S.C. died on Saturday, June 9, 2012 at Archcare’s Ferncliff Nursing Home after a long illness. Brother Francis was 78 years old and was member of the Congregation of Holy Cross for 58 years. He  taught in schools in New York, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey.
Mrs. Heron taught math all day and led the math club at night and you knew when she was coming down the hall by the sound of her necklaces.

Mrs. Keough’s shoes made an identifying rhythm as she walked down the hall.

Mrs. Dixon kept the boys in line and provided wise counsel to many.Mrs Pyatt“Use only blue or black ink,” in Mrs. Pyatt’s English class–no other colors permitted. I uploaded Mrs. Pyatt’s picture from a 1995-96 class picture.

At the time, she was Mt. Calvary’s Vice Principal, serving with Mr. Bill ClancyBill Clancy who was Principal. Mr. Clancy served over 20 years in the United States Air Force logging over 10,000 flight crew hours, with service to his country in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and with the Strategic Air Command and Operation Looking Glass. He also served over 40 years in Catholic education for the Archdiocese of Washington Schools. Bill, a graduate of the University of Maryland, served as a classroom educator and as an administrator at several schools, including Principal at Mt. Calvary Catholic School (Forestville, MD) and Assistant Principal at St. Mary of the Assumption School (Upper Marlboro, MD). Dear to his heart was implementing chapters of the National Junior Honor Society at both schools, because it recognized students for both academic achievement and stellar personal character. Although he loved teaching Math, Bill’s passion was teaching religion. A devout Catholic, Bill was committed to nurturing the faith of his students and encouraging them to manifest their faith each and every day “by living as Christ.”Fr George Golden

Fr. George Golden passed away from cancer on
November 13, 2005.  He was Pastor of Mt. Calvary in this 1995-96 school year picture.
Mrs. Phyllis Dennant  had beautiful handwriting and kept the library in order and a fun place to get a book and begin reading. Be sure to turn your book in on time. Mr. Clancy handed out every report card and would have a chalk line on his clothes from where he leaned against the chalkboard ledge.

Maryann-ArenaMrs. Maryann Josephine Arena (June 25, 1942 – December 9, 2013), school office administrator, knew every student and helped keep everyone organized.Mary Mundell Boyce

Mary Mundell Boyce taught music and led the worship team during mass.  She shared the lyrics for the Mt. Calvary School Song that she and her husband, Bill, wrote  in honor of Catholic Schools Week in 1981–the theme that year was Tradition and inspired the following:

Verse 1:  Mount Calvary, we hold you dear.

Your green and gold throughout the year
remind us of our friends and times we’ve spent.
We are proud of all you represent.
Mt. Calvary, Mt. Calvary may you forever be
a symbol of our Christian love and friends in unity.

Verse 2:  You’ve helped us to begin our life
in unity with the Christian light.
You give us what we need to make our way
on the road of life in everyday.
Mt. Calvary, Mt. Calvary may you forever be a symbol
of our Christian love and friends in unity.

Mrs. Clarisse (Chris) Dixon passed away on October 29, 2010.  She was a resident of Upper Marlboro, MD.  She kept the boys in line and provided wise counsel to many. Tricia Bond posted on February 20, 2012:  “She was my favorite teacher and took the time to understand what we were going thru at that age (6th-8th grade). We were hard to handle, but she handled us with grace and understanding each and every time.”

Students last day of school at Mount Calvary will be Friday, June 10.  Many of us are praying that before then, we will get word of some special event(s) regarding a proper closing and farewell to a school that has provided some much to so many for so long. Some have suggested a tour of the campus, several would like to see some of the school groups reunite, Mary Mundell Boyce mentioned that it would be great to get an alumni group together to perform the school song and record it for posterity (Frank Antonio, Kevin Basiliko…Erica Boursiquot…Melissa Davey…Michelle Lamare O’Brien and hubby, Jim….list goes on…..).  I believe this very well could be doable with a set date, time, and place, and I would help identify the videographer/audiographer.

And finally, a huge thank you to those who cared enough on October 23, 2008, to create the Mt. Calvary Catholic School Alumni-Forestville, MD Facebook Public Group administrators:  Sharon Messina, Anna Sullivan WarrenStefany Kalnoskas LangChloe Evers SummyRalph Edward Williams II, and Rob Maloof

Mt Calvary Alumni FB GroupSo much of what I have included here, I originally gleaned from members posts to this site. It’s alive and going stronger than ever–especially since the closing of Mt. Calvary School’s notice there.   Meanwhile, I hope that each of you will read and share this post and take time to add your thoughts and comments here for posterity.  Thanks for letting me ramble . . .

Missionary on Horseback–Key Builder of a Nation

In the past, many of my blog posts have focused on my ancient British relatives and their descendents from the Boling/Bolling/Bowling, Chambers, and Taylor branches on my paternal side, to the Lathrop/Lowthropp and Ford families on my maternal side. Geographically,  all of these families resided primarily on the east coast in the earliest colonies–from North Carolina to Virginia up to Pennsylvania and Massachusetts; periods discussed in these posts ranged from the earliest settlers in America until present days–ancestors occupations included religious leaders, educators, statesmen, plantation owners and tobacco innovators and farmers.

Bishop Francis Asbury – Pioneer of Methodism

Today’s post looks at yet another renowned religious leader:  Francis Asbury (August 20, 1745, Hampstead Bridge, Staffordshire, England – March 31, 1816, Spotsylvania, Virginia), originally from the Parish of Handsworth, Staffordshire, England.  Francis Asbury, “Frank” as his parents Joseph Asbury (skilled farmer and gardener), and Elizabeth “Eliza” Rogers called him as a young boy, was North America’s first Methodist bishop.  The_Ordination_of_Bishop_Asbury-1784The ordination of Bishop Francis Asbury by Bishop Thomas Coke took place at the Christmas Conference in Baltimore, Maryland in the winter of 1784–establishing the Methodist Episcopal Church of the United States.  There is some confusion as to my precise relationship to him, but it is possible that I may be a first cousin, seven times removed.


Francis Asbury was a circuit rider (preacher on horseback) turned superintendent of American Methodism of the late 18th and early 19th century.  He was appointed to the office of superintendent by John Wesley himself.  He endured great things for the Lord and won many souls to Christ.  Here is his account, from his journal, of why he never married:




“If I should die in celibacy, which I think quite probable, I give the following reasons for what can scarcely be called my choice: I was called in my fourteenth year.  I began my public exercises between sixteen and seventeen; at twenty-one I traveled [i.e., became a circuit riding preacher]; at twenty-six I came to America: thus far I had reasons enough for a single life.  It had been my intention of returning to Europe at thirty years of age, but the war continued, and it was ten years before we had a settled, lasting peace.  This was not time to marry or be given in marriage.  At forty-nine I was ordained superintendent bishop in America.  Among the duties imposed upon me by my office was that of traveling extensively, and I could hardly expect to find a woman with grace enough to enable her to live but one week out of fifty-two with her husband.  Besides, what right has any man to take advantage of the affections of a woman, make her his wife, and by a voluntary absence subvert the whole order and economy of the marriage state, by separating those whom neither God, nature, nor the requirements of civil society permit to be put asunder?  It is neither just nor generous.  I may add to this, that I had little money, and with this little administered to the necessities of a beloved mother until I was fifty-seven.  If I have done wrong, I hope God and the sex will forgive me.  It is my duty now to bestow the pittance I may have to spare upon the widows and fatherless girls, and poor married men.” (January 27, 1804)


Startling Statistics

When Asbury first came to the American colonies as a 26 year old Methodist missionary in 1771, there were 600 Methodist believers on the new continent.  Fewer than 1 in 800 people was a Methodist.  When he died in 1816, there were over 200,000 Methodists (1 of every 36 Americans), and Asbury had ordained more than 2,000 Methodist preachers, nearly all of those were preaching at the time.  Despite poor health, he had ridden over 130,000 miles and preached for 45 years (an average of eight miles per day), probably delivering more than 10,000 sermons–about one sermon every three days!


More than a century after Asbury’s death, President Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933; served 1923–29) recognized Asbury as one of the key builders of the nation.

“I feel my spirit bound to the New World, and my heart bound to the people, though unknown.”


“A Tale of Two Bostons “


The Wash from Heacham Beach

The Wash Neighboring Areas

The Wash Neighboring Areas

When corresponding with those from “across the pond,” or elsewhere in the world, I sometimes find it necessary to do side research within our topic of discussion. Quite often, I experience an “Aha moment” of enlightenment. Today was such the case. Here’s a part of the message that I didn’t quite grasp: “Last summer 2013 Boston Council across the WASH refurbished their oldest pub/inn called INDIAN QUEEN, their town legend in Lincolnshire, says is named after Pocahontas…”

I guess I’m just not as worldly as I sometimes imagine myself…

Anyway, the long and the short of it is “across the WASH” references a square-mouthed bay and estuary on the northwest margin of East Anglia on the east coast of England, where Norfolk meets Lincolnshire. It is among the largest estuaries in the United Kingdom and is fed by the Rivers Witham, Welland, Nene and Great Ouse. Owing to deposits of sediment and land reclamation, the coastline of the Wash has altered markedly within historical times; several towns once on the coast of the Wash (notably King’s Lynn) are now some distance inland. Much of the Wash itself is very shallow, with several large sandbanks—such as Breast Sand, Bulldog Sand, Roger Sand and Old South Sand—exposed at low tide, especially along its south coast. For this reason, navigation in the Wash can be hazardous for boats.

While overcoming this little lack of knowledge hurdle (“across the WASH”, and “which Boston?”), I once again stumbled onto a very interesting and cleverly written page by Brandon Gary Lovested on iBoston.org, out of London, England.  The iBoston site in general is very attractive, user friendly, and intuitively designed, but I digress.  So, I copied a portion of Brandon’s article to show you, my readers, just how his opening text really drew me in.  I hope if you like the intro page that you will want to read the remainder of this historic timeline at: A Tale of Two Bostons – iBoston.  It really ties up several elements of England’s and New England’s history (religion, politics, rebellion, puritans, and pilgrims), into a nice bow from St. Botolph in 654 to Oliver Cromwell in 1645.

I hope you enjoy.

iBoston Article

ISO my Family’s Sociological “Big Bang!”

According to my most recent research into the Bolling-Chambers-Taylor families, I am descended from an ancient line of folks who were known to be bald, short, fat, stammerers, and some even barbarians!

At my eldest grandson’s wedding in Chicago last weekend,  my third eldest grandson approached me for genealogical help. AndyFor his college sociology class his assignment was to check his ancestry to see what if any family members’ actions could be attributed to making significant sociological changes in our world as we know it today.  To help him, when I returned home, I started reviewing my genealogical works over the years, noting a few posts from earlier blogs that might be helpful, and looking for something that struck me as a “big bang!”

I then pulled up my DNA test results to copy the mapped area of our families origins and went back to the family tree and various iterations of the family surname “Bolling.” DNA Ethnicity by Regions of WorldThis process took me from my last name Boling in Maryland, to Bowling and Bolling in Virginia and Yorkshire, England, this is where my 12th great grandfather (Sir Tristam Bolling, III [1515-1561] of Bolling Hall in Bradford in Yorkshire, England)was born.  Next, onto my 16th through 27th De Bolling great grandfathers. That’s when the English DeBolling name changed to the French iteration “DeBoulogne” for my 28th through 36th great grandfathers (back to the year 891 when A De Therouanne De Boulogne was born in Flanders, France).  And then the surnames ceased and my ancestral relatives were identified by the geographic areas in which they lived, and in many cases ruled.  For example, my 37th great grandfather was known as Baldwin Baudouin I “Baas DeFer” “Iron Arm” the first Count of Flanders.

My Big Bang!

Next our family was found in Rhineland, Germany and lo and behold my 42nd great grandfather was Charles the Great, or Charlemagne, Emperor of the Roman Empire!–my big bang!

In the course of several hours I had traced my family line back beyond the 11th century United Kingdom and into the times before surnames, back to ancient and medieval times to France, Germany, Italy and earlier geographic names for these regions.  It was here that I discovered those bald, short, fat, stammering barbarians were Kings and Emperors who belonged to the ancient Merovingian and Carolingian Dynasties.  


Charlemagne (Charles the Great) Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire 742-814

I had actually traced our lineage back to the year 190 and the Germanic tribes that historians describe as the “Franks.”  The Franks, united by culture and language, had settled near the Rhine River by the end of the third century.  While the Roman Empire was failing, the Franks gradually expanded their territory westward into the Roman province of Gaul and were in control of an area that we know as present-day Belgium and Northeastern France when the Roman Empire fell in the year 476.

Clovis and the Merovingian Dynasty

The first great King of the Franks was Clovis, who was their leader between 481 and 511. Clovis’s family, referred to as the Merovingian dynasty, continued to expand its territory. The Frankish expansion grew as a result of the conversion of Clovis and his followers to Christianity, because Christians living in former Roman lands sought liberation from the barbarians who had gained control of large areas. This marked the beginning of a long and mutually beneficial alliance between the Franks and the Roman Catholic Church — which was also growing in power in the Middle Ages.

Charlemagne and the Carolingian Dynasty

The Franks continued to expand their territory through Western and Central Europe until their influence reached its height under Charles the Great–also known as Charlemagne, (my 42nd paternal great grandfather).  He was King of the Franks between 768 and 814 and a member of the Carolingian dynasty. Charlemagne’s alliance with the Roman Catholic Church was formalized in the year 800, when he was crowned Emperor by the pope. By the time of his death, Charlemagne’s empire encompassed present-day France, Germany and northern Italy. However, after the empire was divided among his sons, the power and influence of the Franks gradually declined. By the year 987, the Carolingian dynasty — and the dominant position of the Franks in European affairs — had come to an end.

A Closer Look at the Carolingians

The Carolingian (kărəlĬn´jēənz), Dynasty of Frankish rulers was founded in the seventh century by Pepin of Landen, who, as mayor of the palace, ruled the East Frankish kingdom of Austrasia or Dagobert I. His descendants, Pepin of Heristal (my 45th great grandfatherCharles Martel (my 44th great grandfather)Carloman and Pepin the Short (my 43rd great grandfather), continued to govern the territories under the normal kingship of the Merovingians.

King Pepin the short of Heristal

King Pepin the Short of Heristal

In 751, with the knowledge of backing up Pope Zacharias, Pepin the Short deposed the last Merovingian King, Childeric III. To emphasize the importance of the church and to legitimize his reign, Pepin was consecrated by a bishop of the Roman church. The family was at its height under Pepin’s son, Charlemagne, who was crowned Emperor in 800.

Treaty of VerdunCharlemagne’s empire was divided by the Treaty of Verdun (843) after the death of his son, Emperor Louis I among Louis’s three sons.Lothair_I Lothair I inherited the imperial title in the middle part of the empire Louis the German founded a dynasty that ruled in Germany kingdom of the East Franks until 911, his successors being Charles III (Charles the Fat), Arnulf, and Louis the Child. The third son of Louis I, Charles II (Charles the Bald), founded the French Carolingian Dynasty, which ruled, with interruptions, until 987. Its rulers were Louis II (Louis the Stammerer) Louis IIICarlomanCharles III (Charles the Simple), Louis IV (Louis d’Outremer), Lothair (941-86), and Louis V. In the Carolingian period, a landed economy was firmly established. The Kings consolidated their rule by issuing capitularies and worked closely with church officials. Until the late 9th century, Charlemagne and his successors were generous patrons of the arts. He encouraged the Carolingian Renaissance, a return to Roman classicism and Byzantine and Greco-Roman styles. Charlemagne successfully conquered all of Gaul and parts of Germany and Italy. He created a papal state in central Italy and 774. After his death the kingdom was divided; its authority eventually eroded was reestablished in France in 893.

Significance of the Franks

The Franks helped to bring stability to Europe in the Middle Ages. The Franks unified and Christianized most of Europe. In fact, the territories would not be united again in such an encompassing fashion until the time of Napoleon. The consolidation of authority in Europe under Charlemagne and his alliance with the Roman Catholic Church set the stage for the Holy Roman Empire.

For a complete timeline check out this one:  HistoryWorld – Charlemagne Timeline.

The Tudors and Taylors: My British Connection

The TudorsThe Tudors

Two years ago, we watched on Netflix, almost incessantly, 38 streamed episodes of Showtime TV’s monumental, award winning series The Tudors.  The Tudors originally aired from
April 1, 2007 to June 10, 2010. It starred the 35-year-old Golden Globe award-winning Irish actor, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers,  (2nd from left in the photo), and this year’s 30-year-old, British born actor, Man of Steel star, Henry Cavill, (bottom right in photo),  and many More.

The timeline of the historic Tudor dynasty began in 1485 with King Henry VII (Henry Tudor), the first of the Tudor monarchs.  He had a claim to the throne through his mother, Margaret Beaufort who was the great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt (son of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault). Henry’s Lancastrian forces defeated those of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth and Richard III was killed. Henry seized the throne and married Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV, uniting the Houses of Lancaster and York, represented in the Tudor Rose.  This is also about the time that King Henry VII and my Taylor ancestors came to meet each other for the very first time.
The TV show starred Jonathan Rhys Meyers as King Henry VIII, a charismatic and notoriously amorous figure with a lust for life, and for the beautiful women at court. His dutiful wife Catherine had served him lovingly for more than a decade, but the wife of a king in 1520 must do more than serve – she must produce an heir. As the young monarch contended with each advisor playing their own interest in the threat of war with France, fear over the security of the Tudor line grew steadily in his mind, so much so that he became involved with the bewitching and ambitious Anne Boleyn.  This scenario sets off a chain of events that would change history – igniting an onslaught of tumult and intrigue that would rage on for years, serving as the catalyst for political divide, religious war, and romantic betrayal. John Taylor’s biography that follows links and interwines his life, education, and professional accomplishments to both monarch’s (Kings Henry VII and VIII) and many of prominent “notables” of his day. Many of these fellow men and women were portrayed in The Tudor TV series.  The series was rife with notables of the day–very few of them were what I would consider honorable men.  In fact, as history has it, many of them were despicable men and women out for personal gain and power at whatever the cost to God and country.  Hmmm…

The British Connection

But, little did I know when viewing the intrigue of The Tudors  with all of its history that my ancestors would be directly in the throes of their power, politics, love, religion, and blasphemy and probably aligned with the most controversial royal line ever among England’s monarchical dynasties. You might ask; “Well, just how did this British Connection begin?”  And there’s just one answer.  The Taylor’s were connected by time, geographic proximity, and quite frankly and most importantly, the anomaly of a multiple birth that bore healthy triplets–an extraordinary event 500+ years ago.  

The Taylors
Cottage_in_Needwood_Forest_by_Joseph_Wright_1790About 1477, in Barton-under-Needwood, a large village in Staffordshire, England, triplet sons were born to Joan, wife of one William Taylor who was employed as a game warden in the Forest of Needwood.  John Taylor, the first born of the triplets, along with his brothers Rowland, Nathaniel and their sister Elizabeth lived in a cottage to the north-east of the Church Lane, where several of the village’s timber-framed cottages stood. Members of the Taylor family had lived in Barton since 1345, and William Taylor and his wife, Joan, took possession of their cottage in 1471.  To the best of my knowledge, local maps of today’s Church Lane in Staffordshire, Stafford, England appears to be about 30 or so miles from Buckingham, where today’s Queen Elizabeth resides.
It was this John Taylor (1477-1534) who was son of William Taylor (1450-1477) and Margaret De Fairsted (1457-1546) of Shadoxhurst, Kent, England that is my 13th paternal great grandfather. 
King Henry VII (1457-1509)

King Henry VII (1457-1509)

The story of the triplets’ life had a folk-tale quality to it.  Robert Plot’s History of Staffordshire 1686) tells of three babies being presented to King Henry VII because of the rarity of multiple births.  However, Henry VII  took the throne in 1485.  So,  it’s likely that the King saw the triplets as three young boys.  It is rumored that he also envisioned them as a symbol of the Holy Trinity.  It was then that King Henry VII promised to educate the three boys if they survived into manhood and he kept his word.

Additionally, the triple birth, inspired Queen Victoria’s Royal Bounty for Triplets which remained in effect until sometime during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign that began in 1952. All three boys were educated at a University ‘beyond the seas’, probably in France or Italy.

John Taylor’s Biography

About 1503 John Taylor was ordained Rector at Bishop’s Hatfield. Soon afterwards he often went abroad on official business.  He was, in fact, a  House of Tudor civil servant. In 1504, he became Rector of Sutton Coldfield. By 1509 he had become Prebendary  (similar to a non-residentiary Canon) of Eccleshall in Lichfield Cathedral and was one of the Royal Chaplains at Henry VII’s funeral.

IKing Henry VIIIn the same year, the new King Henry VIII appointed him King’s Clerk and Chaplain and two years later he was made Clerk to the Parliament and given other positions. The detailed diary of a French campaign he undertook with the King is preserved in the British Museum. He wrote Royal Speeches, met Ambassadors and was rewarded by more ecclesiastical promotions, including that of Archdeacon of Derby in 1515 and later Royal Ambassador to Burgundy and France and Prolocutor of Convocation. In 1516 he also became Archdeacon of Buckingham. He was incorporated by virtue of his degrees of Doctor of Civil Law and Doctor of Canon Law at Cambridge in 1520 on the occasion of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey’s visit there and shortly afterwards in 1522 at Oxford, also.

1520:  The Field of the Cloth of Gold – Meeting between France and England

Field of the Cloth of GoldThe famous meeting between Henry VIII and Francois I of France called took place in June 1520 in Northern France. It was intended to strengthen peace ties between France and England. Masterminded by the great Cardinal  Wolsey, each king and Court strove to one-up  the other. Henry was accompanied by 5,000 people and spent in excess of £13,000 on the splendor of the occasion. In attendance were ten chaplains, including John Taylor. The King ordered each priest to be clothed in damask and satin and each to be followed by his own attendants, not exceeding ten persons and four horses. The English built a palace-like pavilion of wood and canvas with expansive windows. The Flemish glazier Galyon Hone created the windows. Fine wines flowed from drinking fountains.

The first church built in 1157 was a chapel of ease in the parish of Tatenhill and was possibly situated near to the present Church in a field called Hall Orchard, the location of Church Lane. A chest from that medieval church dated from between 1100 and 1300 is all that remains. John Taylor inherited his father’s land and endowed his new church there. Work commenced in 1517, as carved on the south side of the tower, with completion in 1533 the year before John Taylor died. The register dates from 1571 in the reign of Elizabeth I. The church is a rare example of a church being completed in one lifetime. It was originally dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene but when things Catholic fell from favor in the middle of 16th century the church changed its name to St. James. The church has a three-sided apse, a rare form in this county, part of the John Taylor design. Inscriptions over alternate pillars of the nave tell of John Taylor’s career, together with representations of his coat of arms, the head and shoulders of three children and a Tudor rose.

It was begun in 1517 which date appears on the tower. Inside, inscriptions over alternate pillars of the nave tell of John Taylor’s promotions and illustrious career, between these are representations of the coat-of-arms he adopted.

By the time the Tudor Church was finished and dedicated in 1533, John Taylor was already a sick and troubled man. In 1527 he had become Master of the Rolls, the peak of his appointments, he was travelling to and from France on Royal business and he had been appointed one of the commissioners to try the validity of the King’s marriage to Lady Catherine of Aragon. It seems possible that Cardinal Wolsey had used John Taylor in a vain attempt to find a suitable French princess for a future Queen of England should the divorce be granted. His dread of Anne Boleyn was well-known.

In 1528 he became Archdeacon of Halifax. At the peak of his career Taylor was suddenly under pressure to surrender his prebend at St. Stephen’s, Westminster, another of his appointments, and he was suffering badly with a diseased leg. Whether his health failed or he incurred Royal disfavor is not known, but he wrote his will and resigned as Master of the Rolls, and Lord Thomas Cromwell (doomed also to fall from Royal favor) was his successor.  John Taylor died in 1534. The place of John Taylor’s burial has not been traced, though there is thought to have been a monument to him in St. Anthony in London’s Threadneedle Street.

There is a touching sentence in his will (in Latin of course) “nothing in the world is more fleeting than human life and that nothing follows more certainly than death, and that nothing is more uncertain than the hour of our death and how transitory are the worldly goods provided for us by the goodness of God”.

He left various bequests to churches at Shottesbrooke in Berkshire and Bishop’s Hatfield and Lincoln Cathedral. His servants and his sister Elizabeth, his executors, nephews and cousins shared the contents of his considerable household in his home at Bethnal Green.


Field of the Cloth of Gold; http://tudorhistory.org/glossaries/f/field_of_cloth_of_gold.html
Barton-under-Needwood; http://www.barton-under-needwood.org.uk/

Daily Prompt: The Normal

The Real Normal

The Normal–a Coincidence–a Good Thing, A Bad Thing, Neither?

It’s more than coincidence when the daily prompt request, “The Normal,” falls on the heels of the end to a 7-week teaching series at my church on “The Real Normal.”  So, feeling compelled to respond from a higher authority, and with the help of my church teachers (Robert Hahn and Ann Edwards) and note taking daughter, I have summarized what we learned about “being normal.”  For those who want to hear from the teacher, I also have included the 30-minute podcast for each week’s topic.

The Real Word – 

To understand what God says is ‘normal,’ we need to understand why the Bible is the only reliable source of eternal truth. We say we believe the Bible, yet we often knowingly and unknowingly reject its most basic teachings.  We learned why accepting that The Real Word is the only path to The Real Normal.

Some people think the Bible is irrelevant and out of touch, so they do not take it seriously. They think believing in God is one thing, but believing and reading the Bible is not normal.

At Chesapeake Church, we believe the Bible is the authoritative source on how people should live. We believe that Christian living is normal; that full devotion to Jesus Christ is normal. We believe the Bible is the Real Word and it is real reliable. To understand this, we need to understand oral tradition and the fullness of time.

In Jewish culture, oral tradition is as reliable as scanning a document. For them, knowing the first five books of the Bible (their “Torah,” or the “books of Moses”), is critical. They serve as the foundation and the full expression of how God’s people are to live. They were written by scribes and defined who they were as a nation.

The time between the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi and the first book of the New Testament, Matthew was 400 years. It is referred to as “the 400 years of silence” because there were no prophets. During that time, God was silent, but not dormant.

During those 400 years, communication via a single language (Greek) was established and travel was made easier by the creation of a road system. Both of these allowed for information to spread freely.

Then Jesus arrived in the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4). He was born, lived, taught, died, and rose from the dead. Within 30 years, the Gospels were written and within 100 years from the death of Jesus, copies of the Old and New Testament were available in the common language.

Institutions of higher learning teach from the writings of historians and scholars like Plato, Herodotus, Aristotle, and Homer when few original copies of their writings exist. 24,000 original copies of the Bible exist. Not accepting the Bible as reliable is an uneducated stance. (Check out these charts http://chesapeakechurch.org/uploads/20130406therealword.pdf)

God’s word reins and is the center of our lives. The Bible is God’s promises to us. They are real and immeasurable. Live the life.

The Real Problem – 

We all sin. It’s that simple and yet it’s so difficult to deal with. The Bible teaches we’re not sinners because we sin, but rather we sin because we’re sinners. Every struggle in our lives can be traced back to that truth. No matter how we try to rationalize the troubles of life, ever since Adam & Eve, one thing remains clear: sin is The Real Problem.

The Real Love – 

The Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8) but that doesn’t mean anything done in the name of love is of God. In this teaching, we looked at how the Bible says we are to express love by looking at the source of love, the God who so loved.

 The Real Reason – 

People are sexual beings; God created us that way. But does that mean anything goes? Is anything between ‘consenting adults’ of God?  We studied the bible and learned that God gave us physical intimacy for a purpose – His purpose.

 The Real Mom –

In a contest of which job description has gone through the most change over past decades, the role of the mom has got to be at the top. In this week’s lesson we honored moms everywhere, and learned that being a “mom” isn’t a job.  That it’s a calling intended to fulfill a specific purpose in God’s eternal plan.

The Mother’s Day message is simple. The perfect mom is not the real mom and the real mom is not the perfect mom.

God didn’t design us to be perfect, he designed us to teach and help and pave the way for future generations. We will tell the next generation the praise worthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done (Psalm 78:4). Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children (Titus 2:3-4).

The Real Joy – 

“Doesn’t the Bible say that God wants me to be happy?” You may have heard that question – you may have asked it. But the answer may surprise you. Rather than happiness, which the Bible doesn’t promise, God desires us to have joy and even better, He wants us to be joyful people. There’s a big difference.

Joy seems to be in short supply. It’s hard to stay upbeat when you’re facing difficult circumstances.

Philippians 4:4 tells us to always be full of joy in the Lord. The apostle Paul was no stranger to difficult circumstances, yet he had joy. He knew it came from Jesus Christ. Paul knew joy is not the absence of problems. It is God who is with us during difficult circumstances.

Real joy comes with the presence of God. Zephaniah 3:17 explains that joy originates with God. In John 15:11, Jesus tells us that as we get to know Him and do life with Him, we will have joy that is overflowing.

Thank you Ann Edwards for instructing us that no matter our circumstances, we need to bring joy.

“That’s not normal!” “It’s normal now!” “Welcome to the new normal!”

Just what is ‘normal’ and who says so? We, at Chesapeake Church, say that ‘full devotion to Jesus Christ is normal,’ so when it comes to how we live, we turn to Him and His Word for direction. Normal isn’t new – it’s eternal. Welcome to The Real Normal.

Life is Precious and Sometimes Wild–Let’s Just Do It!

Some of us struggle in life and are too proud to ask for guidance or help. Some lives are in destructive ruts and we are blind to them. We all have a loved one, neighbor, or friend who we might like to help, but we are frozen in fear of being so bold to intrude and lose them. This is where I was when I first sat down to write the following birthday poem. Yes, I delivered it, and I’d like to say it inspired change. Instead, I received a warm and friendly “thank you,” “yes, I know,” “I love you,” and a hug–but nothing more. I feel all I can do now is to keep praying that my someone will one day want to be helped and will ask.

The Precious Gift of Life

Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

The precious gift of Life is a one-time go round, non-renewal, non-exchangeable, one-way ticket;

The good times, bad times, favorite memories, all depend upon how we choose to live it.

With each birthday we reach a new  milestone in this sometimes wild life that comes with it a reminder;

Don’t waste even a minute more–let’s keep moving and check our direction finder.  What is our plan for our one wild and precious life?  And, how does it fit within HIS plan for us?

Reinvest in family, friends, and ourselves?

Let’s be courageous and take that leap of faith—

Just do it, like Nike says, before we face those golden gates.

Remind ourselves that we are loved and that it’s never too late to pursue a new and improved path that leads us to our personal best,

Just Do it for our own state of mind, spiritual growth, and other individual success.


Fight through any and all insecurities;

Look for and accept life’s new opportunities;

Remember life is a short-term loan.  Truly, none of us knows when we will be called Home.

These two things we always should do–Keep praying for help when we struggle, and give thanks when life is good–

So, Let’s STOP with all this gab–

Let’s make Him, ourselves, and others proud—

Let’s make that renewed effort at transformation and come out of our self-imposed isolation;

Maybe, it’s just that next step that helps us find our own glorious salvation.

Let’s Just do it!

by Joanne Boling Dickinson:  March 16, 2013

Five Generations Together, If Only For A Day!

Easter 2013 

Easter always has meant church first and giving thanks to Jesus for his sacrifices for us, then spending the day with our earthly family of loved ones, breaking bread together, hunting for Easter eggs, and giving everyone—young to old–a chocolate Easter bunny on their way home .

This year, we are especially fortunate because Easter 2013 brought five generations of our family under one roof.  It was the introduction of the great great grandparents to their great great grandchildren—twins, 16-months old, Sarah and Brandon.

The Unspoken Dichotomies between Generations

Seeing the spectrum of five generations of family together for the first time was this Easter’s extra blessing to our family.  A true dichotomy between generations became quite noticeable —the twins full of energy and new to walking and talking were spending their day exploring life to its fullest, and along the way learning to communicate their questions about their many new surroundings and family members.

Their father’s role changed from hanging out with the other guys in the family to focusing on being a new parent; changing dirty diapers,  feeding the never ending appetites of two young adventurers, and softening their landings whenever and wherever their toddling  got a little unsteady or out of control.

Meanwhile, great great grandmother was busy trying to understand who these wonderful babies were and how they were related to each other and to her.  She frequently repeated her questions about them and their relationship to various family members, and finally declared that her mother’s mother had three sets of multiple births and that’s how we came to receive another set of twins in our family.

In between dozes, great great grandfather sat uncomfortably with debilitating diabetic neuropathy in his legs, watching the young ones in amazement at their “Eveready bunny” energies and explorations.  He noted their sweet innocence–how everything in the world was right with them and everyone they met was an instant friend.

Their paternal grandfather in his mid-forties was still trying to get comfortable with his new title and role—all the while, helping to keep an eye on the newbies, and being gatekeeper between the dogs, the stairs, and the babes—the quiet protector.  And the quite attractive, professional, working grandmother was totally absorbed in baby play, hugs, and kisses that were being freely exchanged.

Similarly, great grandfather, the senior protector of the family, struggled with his self-image transitioning from  “a really cool, guy” to a “a really cool, great grandfather.”

Aunts, uncles, cousins, and other guests were in and out and all noticing the change in the family dynamics and especially the interactions of the twins with all their newly discovered family and friends.

As for me, the chief cook and general caregiver of our family unity and history—well, I’ll put it into words of my sister-in-law as she was saying goodnight: “I just realized, you’re a great grandmother now!”

When the goodnight’s were over, I was really exhausted and ready for bed, but, I would give anything if I could have had time stand still for a while longer.  I would have captured more intimate moments between the great great grandparents who have to struggle daily with life’s challenges as a result of the not so gracious and demeaning processes that go along with aging and the great great grandchildren who happily bounce their ways through daily new adventures and experiences bringing joy to themselves and everyone they encounter.  And, as I look for images to savor over time—we definitely have to ensure these precious moments that may never come again are captured in photos for future generations.

Finally, and most importantly, thank you, Jesus, our family’s center, because all things were created through You and for You.


The Diary of Mehetabel Chandler Coit

My Family Connection

Lydia Lathrop, my first maternal cousin 8x removed (1718-1794) in 1740 married Joseph Coit, Esquire. Joseph Coit was one of John and Mehetabel Chandler Coit’s (1673-1758) six children.

Detailed Family Connection of Mehetabel CHANDLER COIT (1673 – 1758)(mother-in-law of aunt of husband of wife of 3rd great grand uncle)

Mehetabel’s Family Background

A native of Roxbury, near Boston, Massachusetts, Mehetabel Chandler Coit was born into a family who belonged to the Puritan church yet sometimes challenged authority. For example:  John Coit went before the court for illegally selling liquor and for hosting disorderly parties, while two of her siblings were disciplined for inappropriate sexual behavior.

In 1688, the Coits left Roxbury and emigrated to Woodstock, Connecticut, a frontier outpost offering land and opportunities, but sometimes subjected to threats of Indian attack. The settlers’ “Garrison fears,” (the fear of oppression), as Mehetabel’s sister Sarah described them, may have prompted 21-year-old Mehetabel  to follow her brother and his family to the seaport town of New London, Connecticut. There she met John Coit, a successful shipbuilder, whom she married in 1695. The Coit family led a relatively comfortable existence until John’s death in 1744. Mehetabel remained a widow for the final fourteen years of her life.

Mehetabel’s Diary

Image:  Mehetabel Chandler Coit's Diary

Mehetabel Chandler Coit’s Diary

Her long life covered an eventful period in American history and as it turns out, Mehetabel kept a diary starting at age 15 and periodically wrote in it until she was well into her seventies. It is thought to be one of the earliest surviving diaries by an American woman–maybe even the earliest.

Timeline:  CT History Facts - 1700s

CT History Facts – 1700s
Click Image to Enlarge Timeline

A previously overlooked resource, Mehetabel’s diary, along with an extensive collection of letters by her and her female relatives, sheds new light on life experiences in Connecticut during the 1700’s.

Her writings reveal that she lived a rich and varied life, not only running a household and raising a family, but reading, writing, traveling, transacting business, and maintaining a widespread network of family, social, and commercial connections. While her experiences were restricted by gender norms of the day, she took a lively interest in the world around her and played an active role in her community.

In her book, One Colonial Woman’s World…The Life and Writings of Mehetabel Chandler Coit, Michelle Marchetti Coughlin explores the numerous—and sometimes surprising—ways in which Mehetabel’s personal history was linked to broader social and political developments.  She also provides insight into the lives of countless other colonial American women whose stories remain largely untold.

One Colonial Woman’s World was released in paperback and hardcover by the University of Massachusetts Press in December 2012.

Photo:  Author, Michelle Marchetti Coughlin

Author, Michelle Marchetti Coughlin

To learn more about this book, from its author, Michelle Marchetti Coughlin, you may want to tune into a radio interview on March 7, 2013 at Fieldstone Common’s Online Radio broadcast.  The interview is scheduled for 1 P.M.

Book Image: One Colonial Woman's World

One Colonial Woman’s World

If you are interested in ordering your copy of One Colonial Woman’s World, you may do so through:  University of Massachusetts Press; AmazonBarnes and Noble; or IndieBound.