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JPN0731

Saint Mary's home building and church

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Does anyone know what the plans are for the St. Mary's home building now that they are out by the interchange? I am curious as to why that church (St. Mary's Basillica) is blockaded into the projects and if there are any plans to open the street as a through route?

I am just curious but would the fact that St. Mary's is Catholic in a Southern City have anything to do with the fact that it is barricaded in its spot? It's surrounded by the freeway off ramp and the school building. I hear that it has some very beautiful stained glass windows but have never been inside. I bet more people would be interested in visiting the church if it were less difficult to reach.

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Hello everybody. I have been on the SSP site and saw all the action on here, so I decided to join the party here :D

(I typed a repsonse about a minute ago, but lost the connection and everything I typed. So, this will be the short version)

My girlfriend works at Saint Mary's Home for Disabled Children. The new facility is absolutly beautiful. Very technilogically advanced-state of the art. Great for the kids and staff. It is a very unique facility. The only one in VA and one of maybe a handful in the country. It's unique in that it is a Home (as the title implies), a full medical facility with complete nursing and hospital staff, and a school (until last year employeed and run by Norfolk Pubilc Schools) and now a better acedemic agency. They also have child advocates, and full school, medical, and business administration and execs. They are a non-profit organization and the kids stay free of charge to the parents.

History... The old building was originally a convent, then turned orphanage, then a care facility for disabled children run by the nuns. The diocese then gave the land/facility over to a non-profit organization. Bingo St. Mary's Home...

Being that the Home moved, the land goes back the the diocese. I wouldn't be surprised though, if they give the land to the city.

I have not been to the church either, but my girlfriend has and says its one of the most beautiful she's been to (and she's been to many here and in Europe). With ornate stained glass, and intricate etches and figures on the walls, ceiling, and pillars. It is the only Basillica in the state too.

I don't think it being a Catholic church in the south has anything to do with it being "barricaded". I think that's just development for ya. And with mention of the ghetto there being bulldozed and DT development expanding there. I bet that would open up access and visibility (figuratively) to the church.

Later,

Metalman

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Does anyone know what the plans are for the St. Mary's home building now that they are out by the interchange?  I am curious as to why that church (St. Mary's Basillica) is blockaded into the projects and if there are any plans to open the street as a through route? 

I am just curious but would the fact that St. Mary's is Catholic in a Southern City have anything to do with the fact that it is barricaded in its spot?  It's surrounded by the freeway off ramp and the school building.  I hear that it has some very beautiful stained glass windows but have never been inside.  I bet more people would be interested in visiting the church if it were less difficult to reach.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That's a very interesting chruch. It is one of the largest black catholic congregations in the country, and as the above poster mentioned, the only basilica in the state.

Here is their website:

http://www.catholic-forum.com/churches/1033bic/stmary.html

As for it being baracaded in by development, well I think that perhaps you have been watching too much "mainstream media" reports about southerners. The reality is that when that part of the interstate was constructed, there wasn't much else place to the exit ramp. Hopefully with the downtown plaza and the projects being redeveloped it can have a greater presence when seen from St. Paul's Boulevard. The problem though lies with the fact that the chruch lies a bit back off of St. Paul's, so that will limit it's impact to some degree.

To learn more about catholicism in the south and it's trends, may I suggest:

http://www.frinstitute.org/southern.htm

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and the original church was built in 1791. That's 214 years ago. That's pretty safe to say that not much in terms of downtown development was happening then. As a guesstimate, it was probably built around 30 years after St. Pauls Church across the street.

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I was looking thru this old book that I have called "Norfolk Historic Southern Port" an dit has some very cool pix of this church. One is when they first built the Berkely Bridge (before they tore down downtown) and the other is of slum housing and the basillica's spire rsing from behind it. I will try to scan them this week, but would I be allowed to post them here? It has some cool maps and pix of City Hall Ave from the turn of the century.

The whole Catholic Church in a Southern city was a question... some people tend to jump the gun and get a little defensive about such topics. Sorry if I offended anyone, I was just wondering why such a historic church gets no attention.

BTW I looked in my VA landmarks register book and read that it was built in 1858-59, so it will be 250 years old in the near future. Not quite as old as Saint Paul's, which was built in 1739.

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