Thursday, February 16, 2017

Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Richmond, VA

We think that
a powerful and vigorous movement
is impossible without differences
"true conformity" is possible
only in the cemetery.
~Joseph Stalin
Mount Calvary Cemetery in Richmond, VA is right down the river from Hollywood Cemetery and Riverside. In fact, during our MeetUp last Saturday, we accidentally ended up in Riverside at one point since there is no clear dividing line between the two. Hollywood is a bit up a hill and closed off by a fence, just in case the dead try to mingle. There are approximately 30,000 buried on about 60 acres of Mt. Calvary with 30 more acres set aside for future development. This is a good thing since active cemeteries are often better maintained.  

Photo taken by Chris Beasley; all other possibly unfocused photos are taken by me :p

Founded as a non-profit cemetery in 1880 by the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, today it welcomes members of all faiths and ethnic origins.  While it is open to all, the large crucifix at the center of the cemetery reminds visitors this was intended as a Catholic cemetery. There are a few striking differences between Hollywood and Mt. Calvary; and, since they are located right next to one another, it’s hard not to compare them. 

Mt. Calvary is filled with crosses and religious statues. While you’ll see an occasional cross in Hollywood, crosses were considered by the Victorians to be associated with Catholicism. Both cemeteries have their share of angels.
Mt. Calvary also has sections for religious groups, including around the central crucifix for higher ranking Catholic officials such as priests and bishops. Over to the side was a beautiful section of Catholic nuns.

Mt. Calvary also has a section for Interment of Angels, where little unborn babies from the hospital are buried at no cost to the family. There is a statue honoring the unborn child and a memorial garden given by the Richmond Knights of Columbus. I just want to clarify that this is for families who are hoping to take home their little ones but a medical emergency makes this impossible. From my own best friend’s perspective, she went through labor too early in her pregnancy and lost her twins. Having planned for babies, her family was already financially strapped with baby clothes and furniture. The cost of a funeral was certainly not on their radar. When I read that this was a cooperative effort among Richmond area hospitals, Bliley Funeral Home and The Catholic Diocese of Richmond, I could not help but think how generous and loving this is.

There were some distinct markers that I had not seen in other cemeteries including this resting child within a shell. The shell is a symbol of the Christian pilgrimage.

There were also distinct markers like these made out of small stones, and these that have an arch connecting two separate markers.

Finally, it appears that many of the statues are in a bit better shape than those in Hollywood Cemetery. This could be because of less foot traffic, and perhaps even the lack of trees in Mt. Calvary. Trees, as lovely as they are, do cause a good amount of damage.

While I need to do some research on some of the individuals buried at Mt. Calvary, this post is more of a visual overlay of the cemetery.

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