Our new mural was unveiled by the artist, Yemi, during our weekend of celebrations to kick-off our bicentennial year. Dedicated to our pastor, Father Frazier, it portrays Jesus, Mary, and Joseph with the child Jesus, as well as nine people who played a significant role in the 200-year history of our parish and Catholicism in Frederick County.
L-R: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton; Fr. Francis Maleve, SJ; Charles Carroll of Carrollton; Marianne (Caton) Patterson; Fr. John McElroy, SJ; Fr. John B. Gaffney, SJ; Emily Louisa Harper; John Belt; William Jarboe Grove. The descriptions of these individuals and their role in our history were researched and written by parishioner Tom Wellock:
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (August 28, 1774 – January 4, 1821): Although she was not involved in the founding of St. Joseph’s church, Seton is an inspiration to Catholics in Frederick County and America. She was the first native-born citizen to be canonized and established the first Catholic school in the United States at Emmitsburg. Born an Episcopalian, Seton was well-educated, spoke fluent French, and spent most of her early adult life living in affluence in New York City as the wife of a wealthy businessman. Nevertheless, she displayed an early concern for the poor when she founded The Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children.
After her husband died, she converted to Catholicism in 1805 and was Confirmed by Archbishop John Carroll. Seton had started a girls academy, but her Protestant students left when news of her conversion became known. Recruited by the Sulpicians, she established the Saint Joseph’s Academy and Free School in Emmitsburg in 1809, the beginning of the parochial school system in the United States. In the same year, she founded the nation’s first congregation of religious sisters, the Sisters of Charity, devoted to caring for poor children. She died of tuberculosis in 1821. Thus her years of religious activity paralleled the work of Rev. Francis Maleve in founding St. Joseph’s of Carrollton Manor. When she was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975, he said, “Elizabeth Ann Seton was wholly American! Rejoice for your glorious daughter. Be proud of her. And know how to preserve her fruitful heritage.”
Father Francis Maleve SJ, (December 1, 1770-October 3, 1822): Born in Louvain, Belgium, the founder of St. Joseph-on-Carrollton Manor, Father Maleve demonstrated tremendous devotion to establishing the infrastructure of Catholicism in Frederick County. Prior to coming to the United States, he joined the Jesuit order and spent time in Russia before becoming a parish priest in the Baltimore diocese. A man of incredible energy, he set about establishing parishes in a number of locations in Frederick County including St. Peter the Apostle Church in Libertytown and St. Joseph. In 1814 he won an agreement from Charles Carroll to donate two acres of land to establish a church on Carrollton Manor. He oversaw the completion of the first church in the summer of 1822. He died of cholera in October 1822, but his legacy was carried forward by Father John McElroy. (No image of Father Maleve could be found, image shown is a substitute for him.)
Charles Carroll of Carrollton (September 19, 1737 – November 14, 1832): One of the wealthiest men in the United States and the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll demonstrated to a skeptical Protestant population that Catholics could be exemplary citizens. He was educated in Jesuit schools in America and France. Prior to the American Revolution, Carroll was for a time more interested in building his personal fortune than political activity, but he became critical of British rule and recognized the value of political service to the long persecuted Catholic communities. He said, “When I signed the Declaration of Independence, I had in view not only our independence but the toleration of all sects, professing the Christian religion, and communicating to them all equal rights.” He served as U.S. Senator for Maryland, in its statehouse, and was a founder of the B&O Railroad.
Carroll supported Catholic causes and donated two acres to Father Maleve to establish St. Joseph Church. Thus, along with Maleve, he is a founder of the parish. Bishop Carroll wrote of him that “Under God its chief protection has long been owing to the influence and preponderance of yourself & your venerable Father before you.”
Marianne (Caton) Patterson (1788-1853): Granddaughter of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Marianne inherited part of Carrollton Manor and built the Manor House that is near St. Joseph Church. Patterson executed a land swap with Father Maleve, giving him two acres on which the historic St. Joseph Church now sits. In return, Maleve deeded to Patterson the two acres he had received from Charles Carroll. Previously, she had worked to establish a church in Annapolis near her home, and it is likely that she executed the swap with Maleve to locate St. Joseph near her new home on the manor. Even when Marianne later became the Marchioness of Wellesley and moved to England, she continued to donate land to the parish.
Father John McElroy, SJ, (May 14, 1782-September 12, 1877): Born in Ireland, Father McElroy came to the United States in 1803 and soon joined the Jesuits. In 1822, he hurried to Frederick and arrived in time to care for Father Maleve in the days just before his death. He succeeded Maleve as pastor of St. John’s in Frederick and served there and at St. Joseph for the next 23 years. It is likely that he was the first to celebrate Mass in the new church on the manor. He began the first free school for girls and founded St. John’s Academy for boys, and built the Church of St. John in 1837. He remained in Frederick until 1845. He was the Founder of Boston College and built the Church of the Immaculate Conception. Late in life, he returned to Frederick and died there in 1877. When his fellow Irishmen were swept with cholera while building the C&O Canal in 1832, McElroy tended to the sick and dying, some of whom are buried in the parish cemetery.
Father John B. Gaffney, SJ, (June 21, 1827-January 14, 1908): For many years, Father Gaffney was responsible for the “mission” churches of Frederick County in Petersville, Libertytown, Middletown, and, especially, Carrollton Manor. After the Civil War, he sought to expand the original church, but met resistance from parish members. With the rise of communities in Adamstown, Buckeystown, and Lime Kiln, the manor church in the woods was, to some, an undesirable location. Gaffney secured funds from the last surviving grandchild of Charles Carroll, Emily Harper, and the historic church was completed using, in part, the existing walls of the original church. Gaffney later became pastor of Saint John’s Cathedral. Years later, in retirement in New York, he never forgot his fondness for the Frederick area. In a conversation with a fellow priest he was reported to say, “Look, Father. There’s the Hudson, but it’s not the Monocacy. . .See the hills beyond, but they are not the Catoctins. Father, I am lonely tonight for the old Frederick Valley.”
Emily Louisa Harper (1812-1892): The last surviving grandchild of Charles Carroll, Emily Harper was very involved in Catholic charities. Approached by Father Gaffney about renovating the church, she agreed to fund whatever money he needed after soliciting the parish as long as the church remained on the land where her cousin Marianne Patterson had located it in 1822. Harper’s contribution amounted to several thousand dollars. According to Grove’s history, she also obtained in Rome the crucifixion painting that now hangs in the new church.
John Belt (1813-1893): A former slave, John Belt used a substantial portion of his personal wealth to donate the altar for the historic church in memory of his wife. Belt represents an often forgotten community of Catholic African Americans in the county. As William Grove’s history of Carrollton Manor notes, black congregants were among the most devoted attendees of church. In their poverty, they often had to walk long distances to attend. In honor of his contributions, Grove placed Belt’s name on one of the stained glass windows he donated to the church. (No image of John Belt could be found; image shown is a substitute for him.)
William Jarboe Grove (1854-1937): Born into the relatively affluent Jarboe and Grove families, William Grove was a major benefactor of the manor church. Grove purchased the stained glass windows for the historic church, and when he died, left a substantial bequest to the parish. The church was very much a part of his family’s life. When Grove was asked to write a history of Carrollton Manor, he dedicated it to his mother “Susanna Jarboe Grove whose greatest comfort and happiness was kneeling in prayer in Saint Joseph’s Church in Carrollton Manor surrounded by her children.” Grove’s history of Carrollton Manor is one of the only sources that details some of the missing history of the parish.
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