Saturday, November 09, 2013

The closest test site was at the Wilberforce School in Princeton. As the name tells you, it's a religious school. Almost all the families I met over many years of Bible study at the PCA on Meadow Road have moved over to the church led by the founder of this school. If you can follow that. I remember their excitement at the school's founding1, at the same time learning of the "expense."

Most of which is irrelevant because my son has no interest in applying to Wilberforce. But the school to which he is applying does not host the entrance exam, if you can believe that. So rather than just drive down the road this morning, we trekked over and up Route 1, near the Forrestal Village2, across from offices of well-known pharmaceutical companies.

For the most part, after dropping him off, I sat out the 3+ hours in the parking lot of the Plainsboro Public Library, reading my Community Bible Study assignments. I like the library but, except for the chill, felt too comfortable in my car to leave it. When the testing was almost up, I returned to campus with enough time to look around. The architecture immediately grabbed my attention. I parked and walked around to the chapel. Doors were locked, not unexpectedly. But I took pictures with my phone. I wish I'd had the Canon M with me.

Chapel of the Queen of the Miraculous Medal

I ambled through the graveyard. The unadorned, uniform grave markers suggested immediately that members of a religious order were buried here. It wasn't unlike a military cemetery, only lacking flags in most places3. Such a testament to men's lives of service to Christ.

Upon closer inspection, I noted the religious order, Vincentians, and that markers dating from 1963 and earlier were inscribed in Latin. Plenty of Irish surnames, as well. I read up on the history when I came home.
Originally known as St. Joseph's College, the seminary provided training for the priesthood. Later, its functions were transferred to Niagara University and it became a preparatory high school for boys considering becoming priests. The school ceased operation in 1992 and became a retreat center operated by the Vincentian Fathers. The Seminary today consists of several buildings, the finest of which is the Queen of Miraculous Medal Chapel. Construction was begun in 1932 and completed in 1934. It is an exquisite example of the Gothic architectural style. Its appointments are of the finest artistry and quality and contain a vast amount of metal work that many consider among the most outstanding in the country.
cf. "A Brief History of Princeton Landing and Surrounding Areas"
Founded in 1914, St. Joseph's is the former minor seminary of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission. In 1989, its 75th anniversary year, St. Joseph's reopened its Gothic chapel, restored after 18 months of work. The seminary school was closed in 1992 after serving 78 years as a boarding high school for young men contemplating the priesthood. It was later leased to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen for youth programs.
cf. "Cost-cutting puts St. Joe's in limbo"

In my research, I came across a visual directory of tombstones. And the lady who contributed pictures of the St. Joseph Seminary cemetery is the wife of the former asst. director of Evangelization in my diocese. I found my father's headstone as well, even though I'd already photographed it myself several months earlier.

1 "Three Mercer schools join forces to form Princeton Center for the Arts & Education in Plainsboro", Trenton Times, 2/23/11
2 Forrestal Village (Wiki)
3 Some had military service.

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