Conversations with Sleeping Heroes

Days of ceremony happen on occasion.  Flags fly high. Marching bands and parades fill the avenues.   Uniformed dignitaries  stroll to the stage to deliver a speech.  Most of the hours, days and years are quiet.  Good times to hold conversations with sleeping heroes.

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery Ten acres were set aside by soldiers in 1826 for burial ground.  Elizabeth Ann Lash, infant daughter of an officer is the first recorded burial.

Jefferson Barracks National CemeteryIn March 1863, the U.S. Army established the Jefferson Barracks Post Cemetery.  The cemetery covers 310 acres.  The area sits on bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River.

Jefferson Barracks National CemeteryIn 1866, the Secretary of War designated the post cemetery as a national cemetery.  The Civil War brought remains of many fallen to rest.  In 1922 WW I Veterans required a medical center.  WW II required land from the military post for cemetery space.   Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery became a central location for group interments.  Sleeping Heroes, every kind, color and their limitless stories are here.

Jefferson Barracks National CemeteryEvery Row, from every angle – always straight.

chapel 7 - Jefferson Barracks cemetery spaces for gatherings

Surrounded - Protected - LovedThere are several shelters placed around the cemetery called “committal shelters.”  There are heroes, along with their spouses, from many different belief systems.  I like the regard for feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others I find here.  Many of these heroes did not know this respect and inclusiveness in their waking life.

Visiting Columbaria at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery

Jefferson Barracks National CemeteryI passed the word “Columbarium” a few times.  I admit I did not know understand until reaching a hill top.  It was such a lovely place, I decided to stroll around.

Columbarium - Jefferson Barracks National CemeteryThis part of the cemetery has newer dates.  There are nice places to rest and reflect.

Columbarium - jefferson Barracks National CemeteryIt feels good to listen to the breeze all around, and feel a sense of hope.

sleeping heroesQuiet and Comfort is built right in.  It’s as if we are welcome to sit a while.

Conversations with Sleeping Heroes

(some else has come to spend time)

conversations with sleeping heroes

Monuments honor different parts of the story.  There is a monument to Civil war dead, Confederate dead,  WW II, Korean War, Vietnam and the Gulf War..

There are memorials for War Unknowns.

There is a red granite boulder commemorating officers and soldiers who died at Fort Bellefontaine.

One of the older monuments is dedicated to 175 soldiers of the 56th U.S. Colored Infantry.

There is a monument by artist John K. Daniels to honor the 164 Minnesotan officers and soldiers buried at this national cemetery.

There are eight recipients of the Medal of Honor and three Revolutionary War veterans.

U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Michael Blassie was shot down over South Vietnam.  His remains were sent to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.  After a DNA test, his parents asked to bring him home to Jefferson Barracks.

The stories seem to continue forever.

stories to last forever

Time for Soul Lifting

It was time for a bit of soul lifting, I headed to the Soulard Art Gallery.

Artists Gather for a little soul liftingSoulard is an old neighborhood.  The name comes from Antione Soulard, who helped develop the area.  There’s a lot of brick, and churches, and bars, and celebrations.  It’s super close to “The River.”   Soulard is also a great place to find artists.  On this particular “break away day”  I choose to visit the Soulard Art Gallery.

Soulard Art GalleryResident Artists welcome every visitor.  There’s always a display of art from regional artists.   Each Resident Artist has a mini gallery.  There’s plenty of color, texture and new views.  Each gallery has it’s own style, look and feel.  It’s a bit like visiting worlds of wonder.

Looking is okay, purchasing encouraged. – Prices fit almost every budget.  You’ll be offer a beverage.  There are invitations to upcoming exhibits.   Say anything nice and an artist will reward you with a bright smile.

Soulard Art Gallery – 2028 S 12th Street – 63104

On to the “The Grove”

Onion Rings and a Coke – seems like terrific transition snack for a wanderer like me.  “The Grove”  has become one of the most fabulous, colorful neighborhoods in St. Louis.  I was passing through around early lunch-ish time, so energy was quiet, and a little low.

onion rings and a coke at O'Shays O’Shays is friendly.  They offer a hearty Sunday Brunch with plenty of choices.  All of their food is prepared in house.  They don’t mind if you’re a light weight and only order onion rings an a coke.  The Irish eye twinkle is easy enough to see. No matter what’s goin’ on in the world.  An Irish Pub can make it better.

Oshay’s Pub – 44353 Manchester Ave. – St. Louis, MO – 63110

Fabulous Part of the City - The GroveHope All is Well with YOU

Old Stone Church – Faith Des Peres

There’s a little rock church, once called “The Old Meeting House” by early settlers, was the original home of Faith Des Peres, a Presbyterian Church in Des Peres, Missouri.  Elijah P. Lovejoy was one of the early ministers here.  Rev. Dr. Anne Epling is their minister today.  I got to meet her leaving the Original Stone Faith Des Peres.  The congregation continues to hold services right here a couple of times a year – Memorial Day Sunday happened to be one of those days.  I met three people packing up to leave, all of them kind and delightful.  I’m tempted to visit their current, modern facility . . but, that’s another story.

Original stone church, built 1833In 1833, three families donated one acre each for the meeting house which was to include a cemetery.  Many of the grave markers for families that go back many generations and still live in the area.

Faith Des Peres CemeteryIt’s interesting to know the people donating this land were slave owners, because there are stories about “The Old Stone Meeting House” was a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Faith Des Peres CemeteryThere is a sign on property sharing part of the story.  In 1983 one small marker was placed to memorialize those who worked for others and were never free.

slave burial marker, Old Stone Meeting House Cemeteryone stone for many lives

Faith Des PeresThe facility has been restored.  It hasn’t been an easy road over the years.  It wasn’t always top priority to maintain an old stone structure, but the building lasted long enough for the 1970’s enthusiasm of a new minister, Rev. Robert W. Tabscott.  Rev. Tabscott had a passion for historical preservation, diversity and a better quality of life.  He inspired many in the congregation to save the Original Old Stone Meeting House, and it seems that project, along with many others has remained part of the foundation of their church community.

air conditioning, electric lights, up to code and ready for the future.Air conditioning, electric lights, up to code and ready for the future., Faith Des Peres has offered all of us a hearty welcome and invitation to attend services, at the little stone church, or at their modern facility.  I have the feeling it’s a fine place to be.

The Original Stone Meeting House/Faith Des Peres Church is found @ 2250 North Geyer Road, 63131 – (Memorial Day Weekend, Labor Day Weekend, 1st Sundays of July and August – perhaps other fun events, like Easter Egg Hunts)


11155 Clayton Road 63131 (on “Normal Sundays”)

10:30 AM (but, you might want to check – 314-432-8029)

I suspect the music will be great.

St. Stanislaus

st louis moSt. Stanislaus Kostka Polish Catholic Parish has one of the richest, colorful and amazing stories.

When it comes to faith, freedom and community outreach, this parish certainly has my respect and gives me hope for a future.

In 1878 there was a large enough Polish presence for a church to be established in St. Louis City.  By 1880, construction had begun on St. Stanislaus and by 1882, staffed by Franciscan fathers, people were being welcomed to services.

Garden Welcome at St. StanislausParishioners embraced their community and, in 1891, formed a religious, charitable, not-for-profit corporation under Missouri state law called “Polish Roman Catholic St. Stanislaus Parish.”  Title to the property was signed over to the Parish Corporation by St. Louis Archbishop Kenrick and the parish has been self-sustaining ever since.  They have taken care of renovations after disasters, upgraded the property as needed, added land when possible, and built a beautiful Polish Heritage Center.

St. Stanislaus, St. Louis, MOThere was a time when churches were being closed, properties were being sold, people were expected to fit themselves into new configurations.  This was a time when St. Stanislaus seemed to catch hold of the spirit behind the story of their patron, St. Stanislaus Kostka, Patron Saint of Holy Disobedience, because, when they were requested to hand their parish to local church authorities, the Parish Corporation stood firm, they strongly preferred to continue worship, community service, celebration and cultural education where they were.

Everyone is WellcomeAt St. Stanislaus they say, “When guests arrive, God arrives!”  If you have a chance to visit, you will notice their lovely sanctuary, their welcoming smiles, their inclusive gathering . . . as if they actually read “The Book” and decided to “go for it.”  If you need someone to talk with, they are there, if you are sick, they will pray with you, they will come visit you if traveling to them is a hardship. They provide for others in the community, teaching, by example, everyone matters.

If you’d like to learn Polish, you’re invited.  You can visit from a distance by viewing Homilies on YouTube, you could attend events.  You might want to talk with someone with an open heart about your own faith walk, or find someone to stand with you through your journey, It’s possible  you have found your new safe place, maybe even your new spiritual home at St. Stanislaus.

“Where Doors And Minds Are Open”

Saint Stanislaus ParishSt. Stanislaus Kostka Polish Catholic Parish
1413 North 20th Street
Saint Louis, MO 63106


Thursday Morning – along the way

Plans and schedules needed to be tossed this summer.  i have found, keeping an open heart can lead to excellent adventures so. I am sharing a little of my Thursday with you.

Thursday View on Grand Avenue bridge It wasn’t until the Grand Avenue Bus Station, I thought to pull out my “point & shoot.”  I’m standing with a colorful group of people, on the north bound side of a bridge, rather high up, with traffic zipping about.  We are waiting for the #70 bus.  It goes past some truly fabulous places.  We have “Grand Center,”  where Powell Symphony Hall and the Fox Theater live . . we pass Saint Louis University and the Veterans Hospital, then the scenery changes, and we come to part of the city that delights and fascinates me, although, many of my peers pretend it is not there.  I am enrolled in a class in the “College Hill” neighborhood for the next couple of months.  We’ll see what manages to find the way into my camera, okay?

bits of beauty on a Thursday MorningI arrive super early, and yesterday the weather was splendid, so I decided to walk a couple of blocks to “Peace Park.”

Church across the streetAcross the street stands this lovely church house.  I don’t know enough about the neighborhood, yet.  I wonder if the church is used?  A cute young lady ran in front of the building shouting “take my picture!”  I enjoyed her dancing.  There are matching angels on the front of this place.  Just around the corner i should see the park.

brightly painted picnic tablesMorning Light across the park gives it the feel of Hope.  There are a few people using  facilities on the property.  Their eyes have trust, I will not use my little camera, so they feel safe.  The place was designed with an open air kind of shelter, and there’s an enormous “feasting table” so community members can share in a way that offers dignity and respect to everyone.

Thursday Morning Light in Peace Park  You can barely see it, in the left part of this photo, I captured part of the “feasting table.”

College Hill NeighborhoodIt’s time for me to cut across towards my class and sign in.  I’ll be there a few hours, then head back home.

Homeward on Thursday Here’s where I’ll get off the bus, then head downstairs to catch a train.

i wonder what we’ll find next time?

Thank you for visiting.

Hope Plaza

Ellen S. Clark Hope Plaza is one of the jewels in my everyday life.  I pass this enchanting place several times a year on the way to medical appointments.  I am always grateful to find this pond.  Doesn’t matter what the weather is like, this place always offers comfort, hope and peace to the people passing by.  It is part of BJC Institute of Health at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.  Studies, Students, Medical Miracles and Advances are found inside the surrounding buildings. – When the new expansion was planned, this bit of art and natural wonder was created and placed right where all of us would discover it and be lifted in spirit.

a place to heal, a place to be lifted

The summer resident ducks aren’t here today, but a sense of calm and people with smiles are always close.  In winter, the Pond is covered with a thick layer of ice and the walk way will have packed snow.  In fact, it doesn’t seem to matter what time of year, there is always stunning beauty in this place.

Hope Plaza - Pond and the doors to higher education

Hope Plaza is dedicated to Ellen S. Clark, a well loved and respected woman who encouraged others to be their very best.  She inherited a rare condition that took her life.  She worked tirelessly to offer education and understanding about stem cell research.  Even after she’d left this life, her family made sure her work continued.

Ellen S. Clark and her husband worked with designers to offer this gorgeous memorial.  Two of the most recognized artists are Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Andrew Gutterman of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc. of Boston.  There is an eighty foot diameter Infinity Pool, with water flowers in season, ice in its proper time, ducks when they decide to attend, trees and . . Hope.

“It’s designed to be a calm place of refuge in the midst of a bustling medical center,” said Hank S. Webber, an executive vice chancellor at Washington University.

a place of peace

Ellen S. Clark Hope Plaza, 320 S, Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110

You don’t need to have an appointment to visit.  Get off metrolink at the Central West End, walk up the flight of stairs on the west end of the platform and turn right.  You’ll be satisfied with the side trip.

Be Well