Page images
PDF
EPUB

Methodist Episcopal, English Lutheran and Catholic. These all have commodious and well appointed houses of worship and all have large congregations. Our Lady of Consolation is the name of the Catholic church. There is a large Catholic population in Carey and vicinity and many families are included in the congregation of Our Lady of Consolation church. This church has the distinction of being one of two pilgrimage churches in the United States. It possesses a shrine in the shape of a statue of the Virgin Mary, a replica of a shrine in the church of the same name in Nuremberg, Germany. It was presented to the church of Our Lady of Consolation and brought to this country and installed in the church with imposing ceremonies. By a decree of Pope Leo XIII, the church was made a pilgrimage church and an annual pilgrimage authorized to be held on the fourth Sunday after Easter. These pilgrimages have come to be great events. They are attended by great multitudes of people from the surrounding country and from nearby and distant cities. Many clergymen attend, and solemn and elaborate masses are celebrated. The services are continued through the week. An interesting feature are the candle processions. Many sick and maimed come seeking relief from their ailments, and cures have been effected in many instances. A new church is in process of construction designed to accommodate the crowds that come to attend the pilgrimages. It will seat two thousand worshippers, will be of beautiful architecture and will be an imposing structure.

THE CHURCH AND SHRINE AT CAREY

Set in a country abounding in fertile farms, whose level acres alternate in cultivated fields, meadows, orchards and woodland, lies Carey in Wyandot county. It is a pretty town of comfortable homes that look out upon the passer-by from tidy lawns, and stately maples line its streets. Its busy, peaceful village life forms the setting of what has become a center, well known and widely visited, of Catholic devotion to the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus.

During pioneer days Catholics were few in number in Wyandot county, but among them were some that had fearlessly followed the trails over the Alleghenies and through the gaps of the Blue Ridge from the eastern settlements in the olden Indian days, and had, at the cost of herculean labor, made clearings in the forests and built their humble cabins. Up to and during the Civil war, the Catholics living at Carey and throughout the surrounding country received spiritual attention but intermittently from other places, but during 1868 the agitation for specific parochial identity reached culmination, Rev. E. J. Vattman, then pastor at Findlay, being commissioned by the Right Reverend Bishop Rappe of Cleveland to organize a parish at Carey and to erect a church. The cornerstone was laid during 1868, but the church was not completed and put to its use until about six years later. In the meantime Carey was occasionally visited by the pastors of Findlay and Tiffin.

The vivification of Carey dates from 1873, when Rev. Joseph P. Gloden, then pastor at St. Nicholas near Berwick, assumed charge of the situation. A man of great zeal, energy and piety, he visited Carey regularly and frequently, raised the hopes and the courage of the people, completed the church, and on October 18, 1874, had it dedicated to the worship of Almighty God. The crown of his work at Carey was however the inauguration of a shrine to the Virgin, a place of prayer and refuge for those seeking in a special manner Her heavenly intercession. And it came about in this wise.

For more than 300 years the Virgin Mary has been honored in the Grandduchy of Luxemburg, under the title of “Mother of Jesus, Consoler of the Afflicted,” and the veneration of her miraculous image has become intertwined with the spiritual life of the faithful Luxemburgers; Her shrine has become their national sanctuary. Father Gloden, a native of the Grandduchy, shared this devotion and in his earlier years had vowed that the first church it would be his to build, should be dedicated to the “Consoler of the Afflicted.' Here now in Carey was the occasion to redeem his vow, and this he did, with the consent of the bishop and the approval of the people, changing the name of the uncompleted church from St. Edward to “Consoler of the Afflicted,” now commonly rendered “Our Lady of Consolation. This done he bethought of an image to grace the newly-named church and eventually he was successful in obtaining from Luxemburg a replica of the original statue.

The sight of the statue awoke in him memories of the graces and favors so richly bestowed through the intercession

of Mary at Her shrine in the fatherland; of the praises and thanksgivings predicated to Her by thousands of pious pilgrims, and he pondered long and deep over the feasibility of transplanting this devotion to American soil, making the repository of the newly-acquired image a shrine for pilgrimage and pious supplication. He decided to do so, and as a befitting inauguration, a solemn procession was organized to accompany afoot the image on its transfer from Berwick, where it then temporarily was, to the new church at Carey, which was to be its permanent sanctuary. On May 24, 1875, a company of over 1,000, to the recitation of prayers and the singing of hymns escorted the image over the seven miles intervening between Berwick and Carey, and thus inaugurated the shrine and performed the first pilgrimage. Not content to rest the situation upon his own initiative, Father Gloden obtained the approval of Bishop Gilmour of Cleveland upon his enterprise and during 1878, having petitioned the Holy See, he obtained from Pope Leo XIII a brief approving the church as a place of pilgrimage, establishing a pious Confraternity specifically for it, and endowing both church and confraternity with indulgences and other spiritual privileges of note.

For thirteen years Father Gloden labored, building up church and school, energizing the growing congregation, fostering piety, until during 1886, he relinquished charge of Berwick and Carey to take up parochial work in larger fields. He was succeeded by Rev. M. Arnoldi and by Rev. C. L. O'Brien, the latter being the first priest resident in Carey, when on January 19, 1888, Rev. John G. Mizer took possession, having been transferred to Carey from Kirby.

With the administration of Father Mizer, the present era of development and growth began. Untiringly he labored both to strengthen his parish and to further the devotion to Our Lady. A man of great executive ability, he managed well. Under him Carey developed into a strong and prosperous parish; he planned but did not remain to execute the erection of a magnificent basilica to serve as a spiritual refuge for the weary and the afflicted, to be a throne of mercy for Our Lady of Consolation. A cheery smile ever wreathing his face, his lips bubbling over with sympathy, during the long years of his pastorate he sought to encourage and enhearten thousands

upon

thousands who came from far and wide. He

poured the healing balm of kindly words upon sorely-suffering hearts and long will his remembrance endure in the minds of those to whom he pointed out Jesus in the arms of Mary as their Consoler.

On June 1, 1912, the parish and shrine passed under the jurisdiction of the Friars Minor Conventuals, an ancient order in the Catholic church.

The shrine at Carey is a place for prayer and for the exercise of faith and confidence in the unseen but real power of God; a place where one may rise into the realms of the spirit and seek therein surcease or nepenthe of the oppressiveness of burdens laid upon one by adverse conditions of body or of mind. Faith is based upon consciousness that the things of the spirit are not idle figments: it is a primal, instinctive mental attitude which, when uplifted upon the pinions of an abiding sense of “God with us,” becomes ennobling and is not in vain. This confiding Faith is one of the most precious gifts of God to man, and it finds outlet in prayer to Him. Faith and prayer reach fullest development in the Christian mind, for unlike the Mohammedan who believes he has no influence upon his kismet, the Christian believes that he can through Prayer bend Providence to himself.

And surely there is a law of prayer amid the varied laws of nature! Laws of creation are not above the Creator and nature is ruled according to His will. Just as material nature is governed by laws of time, space, magnitude, force, that are adapted to the inanimate character of matter, should he not have willed laws to govern spirit and mind, commensurate to His dignity and theirs! And as the inanimate bows in so many other respects to the rational, should not the laws of inanimate nature cede to the laws of the animate, to the welfare and needs of those beings that are and move in so much higher a sphere of man, the crown of mundane creation?

The Catholic is so convinced; it is part of his religion, of his life. Through faith, confidence and prayer, he seeks and expects relief; and he has behind him the experience of ages crystallized into positive knowledge that relief has been obtained in the past, and on this knowledge he projects his expectation that aid and relief, comfort, consolation, even cure of ills, can again be obtained in response to prayer. To him the shrine at Carey offers the atmosphere, the medium in which these sublime mental attitudes are cultivated and made to thrive and if he asserts that he has there found release from distress and disease, his assertion is worthy of consideration and dare not be brushed aside with a priori disdain.

NEVADA

The beautiful village of Nevada was named from the State of Nevada, which was attracting considerable attention in 1852, the year the original survey of the town was made.

The founders of Nevada were Jonathan Ayers and George Garrett. The land on which it was located was purchased from the Government by William McKibben, and was purchased of him by Messrs. Ayers and Garrett, who laid out the town, consisting of seventy-two lots, in October, 1852. Later additions were added to the original plat.

When the site for Nevada was first chosen by its founders, the future for the town was not promising, or at least not brilliantly so. The site had the advantages of an elevated location and the proper distance from county seats; but this was the most that could be claimed for it. The land at that point was at that time covered by a dense growth of timber, and the contrast in surroundings between the future Nevada and the sleepy old village of Wyandot, which was henceforth to be considered a rival, was strongly in favor of the latter town. But Nevada had within it the elements of greatness, and with the Pittsburgh Railroad to strengthen it, and the rich farming country both north and south to supply it with the proper commercial nourishment, its success was soon placed beyond question. The woods were rapidly cleared away, the mercantile establishments began with a vitality that was unquestioned, and the point was settled. Nevada was to be a town and have a history.

When the survey for the original plat of Nevada was made, the only houses standing within its limits were the dwellings of Lair Miller, James McLaughlin and Samuel Elli

Mr. Miller's residence was built about 1846-47; Mr. McLaughlin's in 1850, and Mr. Ellison's in the same year in which the town was laid out, 1852. After that date building proceeded quite rapidly as the success of the village was soon a pronounced certainty.

son.

« PreviousContinue »