New York Sunday

Time here is drawing to a close.  Certainly I’ve been updating this blog much more than usual since different things are happening.  It’ll be back to normal next week!

Had 11am Mass here today and met Kaye Breen (McLoughlin) and husband and a friend after Mass.  I joined them in the Rockville Diner for a short while but had to get back to help with Communion at the 12.30 Mass.  I headed into New York after that to meet Joe and Elizabeth Walsh and their son Kenan.  Elizabeth’s sister, Anne, teaches in Monasteraden and is a very good friend.  Through her I’ve met Joe, Elizabeth and Kenan and they too – it’s fair to say – are very good friends.  I’m always glad to meet them. 

Joe, Liz and Kenan

Joe, Liz and Kenan

We went for lunch down around 14th Street and then walked to the Chelsea Market – hadn’t been there before – a  very interesting place with all sorts of shops and markets.  A real atmosphere about it.  Will certainly go back there at some stage.  Joe bought some “cup cakes” and though he offered to get me one, I declined since Iam so anxious to maintain my perfect weight (would be perfect if I were about 8 foot tall!!) but couldn’t resist making Joe feel bad when he emerged with three pastries …

Four into three goes ..... ??

Four into three goes ..... ??

Three happy campers!

Three happy campers!

We had some tea and my “companions” enjoyed their cup cakes

The proof of the pudding is ....

The proof of the pudding is ....

 .... in the eating!

.... in the eating!

With Kenan and Joe

With Kenan and Joe

Enjoying Chelsea Market

Enjoying Chelsea Market

Liz in one of the many speciality market shops

Liz in one of the many speciality market shops

I got a message from my aunt (email – I’m addicted and checked WIFI on my phone) and she told me about a grand-uncle of mine, Michael Healey, who is buried in Brooklyn.  She had told me about him before but I never got out to the cemetery.  My grandmother, a young woman in New York in the early 1900’s, nursed her brother who contracted and died of the flu.  She arranged to have him buried in Brooklyn.  Shortly afterwards she returned to Ireland with the intention of coming back to New York but on the voyage home she met another Sligo woman and later this woman’s brother,  John Shannon, and married him.  She never returned to New York.

Mary Margaret had all the details of the Cemetery (Holy Cross in Brooklyn) and the grave number and location.  I knew that I could ask Joe if it were possible to go  there and I knew too he’d agree.  So from Chelsea Market we headed for Brooklyn – “Kiltimagh to Swinford” as Joe said!

We arrived to discover the Cemetery closed at 5pm.  It was now 6.45pm.  There was a security man there and we spoke with him.  He said the Cemetery was closed and that he should be gone home since 6.30pm.  When I mentioned I would be going home to Ireland he asked if I knew where the grave was and I told him my aunt had given me exact details.  He said he’d open the gates for us but asked that we’d just make a quick visit.

Ollie the Security Man

Ollie the Security Man

Holy Cross Cemetery

Holy Cross Cemetery

My aunt told me that the grave was in St Joseph’s section of the cemetry so Kenan kept an eye for the sign and found it quickly.  The Grave location was given to us by Mary Margaret and again, thanks to Kenan and Joe we found the row easily.

St Joseph's section of Holy Cross Cemetery

St Joseph's section of Holy Cross Cemetery

Kenan and Liz were the first to spot the grave “Michael Healey, here it is”, said Kenan and there it was.

The inscription reads "In memory of my beloved brother Michael Healey Died Jan 6th 1918" Rest In Peace

The inscription reads "In memory of my beloved brother Michael Healey Died Jan 6th 1918" Rest In Peace

Close-up of inscription

Close-up of inscription

This is the grave of my mother’s uncle.  I felt a sadness to think this grave has been there for so long with so few visits from anyone that might know where he came from.   Were it not for Mary Margaret’s email today and the details she gave me, I’d not have known either.  The headstone is in perfect condition and the grounds beautifully maintained.  He’s at peace.  What an effort it must have been for his sister to do all that back in 1917/18. May she too rest in peace.  I never knew her but I was very proud of her today. “Mother” my mother calls her – to this day.

At my Grand Uncle's Grave - July 26th 2009
At my Grand Uncle’s Grave – July 26th 2009
Cross on top of headstone.

Cross on top of headstone.

I’m so glad I got Mary Margaret’s email when I did.  The fact that Joe and Liz were with me made this visit possible and the kindness of the security man opened the gates for us.  Please God, I will get back there next year and I’ll spend a bit more time.

Headed back to New York and Penn Station and another day came to an end.  A good day.  Thanks Mary Margaret for your email.  Thanks Joe, Liz and Kenan for your friendship today and always and, of course, thanks Anne for widening the circle of friends.

That’s it for now!

3 Comments:

  1. Dear Fr. Sherlock,
    It was wonderful that you were able to visit your grand-uncle’s grave in Brooklyn. I just returned from Swinford, where I was able to visit the graves of my ancestors at Meelick, Midfield and Killasser cemeteries. It was an undescribable feeling. I also got to visit Our Lady Help of Christians church, and All Saint’s church. My grandparents attended these churches as children. I was overwhelmed with love for them as I stood in a place that they stood as children in Ireland. I thought of the sacrifices they made by leaving their families behind to go to America. I appreciated their courage and strong faith in God. I would have to say the best part of my visit was actually meeting my Mom’s first cousins that she herself had never met until this trip. We hope to return one day soon. Ireland is “Home” in our hearts. With Warm Regards, Christina

    • Christina, Glad you had a good experience at home. Yes, there’s certainly a sense of linking with our story. God Bless. Vincent

  2. Pingback: Into year five …. | Sherlock's Home!

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