New Plaques at Historic Bay Cemetery
Engraved bronze plaques are enhancing worn markers at the small cemetery on Hancock Street, the final resting place for the Brothers of the Sacred Heart.
- by Lisa Monti
After all those decades, the elements have taken their toll on the names and dates chiseled into the stone. “The writing on the old headstones was being eroded away by weathering,” said Brother Dwight Kenney, Director of the Brothers' Residence at St. Stanislaus on Bookter Street.
The Brothers recently set out to make the markers more permanent and in keeping with the simple, reverent setting of the cemetery. “We replaced the engraving on the stone with engraved bronze plaques because they should last longer. Some of the more recent graves had plaques already on the crosses, but those were replaced with new ones to make all the headstones look uniform.”
The cemetery was originally on the main campus, said Brother Dwight. “In 1955, [the cemetery] was moved to the west side of Hancock Street to allow for additional construction on the main campus,” he said.
The Brothers founded St. Stanislaus in 1854, and it is the oldest educational institution on the Gulf Coast. In 1923 the school became a college preparatory school. The school’s complex stretches from the campus on South Beach Boulevard to the stadium and ballfields bounded by Bookter Street and Necaise Avenue. A small wooden building with a few classrooms known as the Back School used to share space near the cemetery until it was torn down after Hurricane Camille.
Walking along the peaceful rows of headstones illustrates the school’s and the community’s long history. The oldest of the 203 graves in the cemetery is that of Brother Oraus, who died in 1867. There are also seven SSC students buried in the Brothers' cemetery. “Their deaths were caused by the yellow fever epidemics of the late 1800s and early 1900s,” said Brother Dwight.
Among those buried in the cemetery is Mrs. Agnes Stock, the mother of Brother Leon Stock. “I think Leon was an only child and they had no family plot, so he received permission to bury his mother in the Brothers' cemetery. She is the only woman buried in the Brothers' cemetery,” said Brother Dwight.
Two others buried in the cemetery were not Sacred Heart brothers but were closely associated with the school. “We also have Mr. Robert Graham and Mr. Mike Mattingly, who are non-Brothers buried in the cemetery,” Brother Dwight said. “Robert was an orphan from the Catholic Boys Home in Mobile. After CBH closed, he lived and worked with the Brothers at SSC. Before his death, he was made an honorary Brother of the Sacred Heart.”
Mike was the blood brother of Brother Loyola Mattingly. The Mattinglys were from Indiana. “Brother Loyola was assigned to SSC for many years, and Mike moved down to the Gulf Coast also. When he died, Loyola asked if Mike could be buried in the Brothers' cemetery,” said Brother Dwight.
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