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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The "Boulevard de Grand Case: Part II - the Church" Story

Old photograph of the Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Grand Case.
It was an ordinary day.   Had just hopped back in the car after taking a few photos on the north side of Grand Case, St. Martin and decided to continue down the Boulevard de Grand Case to see what else I might find that would tell me some of the history of this quaint little town that fronts on the Anguilla Channel.  
My photograph of the church.
Wasn't long before I found my next stop and pulled into a parking space across from the front of the Grand Case "Mary Star Of The Sea" Catholic Church.  Toiling in front of the beautiful stucco church along the boulevard was a gentleman who was sweeping an endless array of tropical leaves into a plastic basket.  I stopped and asked if the church was open and he smiled and pointed to the front door which was standing ajar.  I walked up the path and entered one of the most beautiful churches I have ever visited in the Caribbean.  The church was lined with white flowers attached to every pew.  Standing next to the pew, directly inside the door, was a woman who was holding a broom.  I gave her my name and asked if she could answer a few questions for me.  
Interior of the church with flowers on pews.
She smiled and said, "Ask away!"  First question was: "When was this church built?"  She look puzzled, but said, "Well, it's been standing here as long as I can remember and I began coming when I was a very young girl."  "So, I guess it's not very old then," I continued.  She got an even bigger smile and said, "Honey, you know just the right thing to say to a lady."  Well, we began to go back and forth with questions and answers, but I found that when we were done talking I still had no idea when the church became part of the boulevard in Grand Case.  I asked if I could take a few photos of the inside of the church and she said fine, but don't include her face or the face of her companion, who was also cleaning.  
The thickness of the church wall can
be seen in this photograph.
The church is just what you would picture to be in a beach town in the Caribbean.  Yellow stucco exterior with a plain, but beautiful interior.  The small, semi-circular stained glass transom windows told the story of Jesus' life and the small organ in the front was just large enough to keep what I assume was an inspired congregation in tune.  I thanked my new island friend for her time and walked back outside to check out the exterior of the church.  To one side was a very small gravesite with three visible burial sites.  On the other side was a churchyard that was meticulously maintained.  The grass was a verdant green color and trimmed to perfection.  After a few more shots I walked back to the street, thanked my initial contact who was still sweeping the leaves into his basket, and hopped back in the car.  
Women cleaning the church for services.
I'm not sure I got what I came for as far as a history of the church which faces the Baie de Grand Case, but I certainly did enjoy myself immensely.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. 

Churchyard to the side of the church.
Looking toward the Baie de Grand Case from the church.
Small cemetery to the side of the church.
Just a beautiful sight!

1 comment:

  1. The 1st Church building was initiate by the Abbé "André WALL" with an amount of 8.000 francs from the Administration, started in 1842, finished in 1847 and was blessed on june 12th. It then burned in 1985.