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Mark Martinho James O. Clifford ~ July 1, 2010

Mount Carmel School is 125 years old.
That’s right – 125!!!

     Mount Carmel Catholic elementary school in Redwood City this year celebrates the 125th anniversary of its founding, marking the latest landmark for a pioneering school beloved by faculty, students, alum  – and real estate agents.

     The tuition supported school would have no money problems if it garnered royalties every time an ad for a house boasted that the residence was located in the ‘‘Mount Carmel area.” The term, which refers to the church as well as the school, shows that “landmark” is not a cliché in this case. Besides, any institution that’s 125 years old provides landmark lessons in history

Mount Carmel Catholic elementary school in Redwood City this year celebrates the 125th anniversary of its founding, marking the latest landmark for a pioneering school beloved by faculty, students, alum  – and real estate agents.

         The tuition supported school would have no money problems if it garnered royalties every time an ad for a house boasted that the residence was located in the ‘‘Mount Carmel area.” The term, which refers to the church as well as the school, shows that “landmark” is not a cliché in this case. Besides, any institution that’s 125 years old provides landmark lessons in history

     Would  “Notre Dame Academy area” or “St. Mary’s area” provide the same lure? Those were the names Mount Carmel went by in its early years.

     The Notre Dame Academy, which consisted of a high school and grade school operated by the Sisters of Notre Dame, was dedicated on July 26, 1885 by a procession of 80 children, Archbishop Patrick Riordan, four nuns and two priests. The two-story school cost $5,700 and was built by contractor Joseph Binet of San Francisco, according to the Schellens history collection at the Redwood City Library. Classes were held on the left side of the school with the right side serving as the convent. A very tall wooden fence was in front of the building.

     Classes didn’t start until August 3 because the furniture for the school at El Camino and Brewster didn’t arrive in time. Classes didn’t last long. In those days students stayed home in September and October to help harvest crops.

      One of the best summations of what it was like to go to school in that era was provided by President Dwight Eisenhower when he recounted his experiences as a grade school student in a small Midwestern town in 1896.

      “Most members of the community agreed that common sense and hard work rounded out a good common-school education,” he recalled. The aim was to master reading, penmanship, spelling and arithmetic.

      “An eighth-grade education was considered adequate, and it was certainly no disgrace to leave school after the fifth or sixth grade,” he added. “High school was largely a female domain.”

     Records kept by the Notre Dame nuns at their provincial house in Belmont bear out that last remark. Statistics kept from 1889 to 1993 show that there were more girls than boys in the Redwood City school with 1943 the first year boys, at 226, outnumbered girls, with an enrollment of 221. A photo of the 1915 graduating classes of both the academy and grade school shows 15 girls and 4 boys.

Notre Dame Academy high school was entirely a “female domain.”

     It wasn’t until 1896, with the opening of Sequoia High School, that there was a secondary school for both boys and girls in the area. If one thinks the number of students at the academy was small it should be pointed out that Sequoia had 53 students on its first day.

     A search of past editions of The Monitor, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, of which Redwood City is a part, showed almost all issues of the weekly in the 1890s carried at least 15 ads for schools for “young ladies” operated by nuns.

Truly “old school”

     Yes, it was a different world, one that, by today’s reckoning, seems turned upside down.

      Of course, Mount Carmel is a Catholic school. Were public schools of the 1880s and 1890s much different? Eisenhower noted that “religious education was well integrated into the public school curriculum. The school day generally began with the teacher’s reading a Bible verse to the class.”

      What made Catholic schools of that time different were the nuns, but more about that later.

      Mount Carmel, aka Notre Dame Academy and St. Mary’s, was the first Catholic school in San Mateo County, even though the church regarded Redwood City as mere mission territory. Father Denis Dempsey was named pastor at St. Matthew’s in San Mateo in 1863 and, as such, .had pastoral responsibility for all of newly minted San Mateo County, which split from San Francisco in1856.  Dempsey died in 1881 and Father Michael O’Riordan, the pastor at Nativity in Menlo Park, took over the mission, which officially switched from St. Mary’s mission to Mount Carmel parish in 1887, although records are unclear as to the exact date. According to old newspaper clips, the St. Mary’s designation was used in public prints as late as 1889.

     O’Riordan (His name is sometimes spelled without the “O,” but his tombstone has that Irish designation) approached the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at San Jose where they opened the Notre Dame Academy in 1851, one of the earliest secondary schools to be accredited in California.

    The reason the honor of being first went to Redwood City was the foresight of the church hierarchy, according to the nuns’ archives. Archbishop Joseph Alemany decided Redwood City “would provide a better field of apostolic labor” than elsewhere in the county.  “In Harvest Fields by Sunset Shores,” a history of the Notre Dame Sisters’ efforts on the Pacific Coast, notes the opening of the academy with the line “here was the greater number of young children who would profit by such an institution.” In short, Redwood City was a community “on the move.”

   The census of 1870 placed the population of Redwood City at 727, a figure that swelled to 1,383 by 1880. Ten years later it was 1,572. The nuns’ archives say “the number of students increased steadily” which resulted in two nuns added to the staff by July 1886. The Notre Dame records note that 80 percent of the population was “native American. The greatest percentage of these were born in San Francisco or Redwood City.” Native American at that time simply referred to a person born in America.

     The first of the four nuns who established the academy included Sister Claire, who eventually returned to San Jose to head an orphanage, a job she held until her death at 54 in 1915, an event reported in the Redwood City Democrat. The obituary added,  “in the world she was known as Margaret McIntyre.”

      There’s little in any of the archives about the high school and even less about the grade school.  The Mount Carmel staff has put out a call for any information, articles or artifacts that could help in the celebration of the anniversary.

       A look at an academy report card from 1915, however, revealed what courses were taught to the young ladies. Classes involved English, math, science Latin, French, Spanish, deportment and typewriting.

      It’s not certain when the academy closed and the school became strictly a grammar school, but in 1919 there was a newspaper ad for the academy that billed itself as “a boarding and day school for girls.” The current Notre Dame High school in Belmont opened in 1928 so it is not much of a stretch to consider the Redwood City school a forerunner.

     The sisters “superioress” had to fill out a yearly report from church officials. One is struck by the neat handwriting of the 1895 account by Sister Louis de Gonzague, which stated that the school had nine nuns and 66 pupils. The official form asked if the facility had a “chapel in which is kept the Blessed Sacrament.” Sister Louis answered: ”We have that happiness.”

    A long piece in the May 13, 1916 Monitor reported on the girls’ school winning first place in the Foresters’ parade in Redwood City, which “marked the first time the Sisters of Notre Dame competed in any civic event in Redwood City.” The academy entered a float that was 16 feet long and 10 feet wide that featured a “garland flag of peace with the American flag in the middle” with the words “peace to all nations sewn on.” The report mentioned that 29 nations were represented by “beautiful girls in native dress.” The judges’ verdict was unanimous in awarding a silver cup (anyone know what happened to it?)

     The academy’s graduates included a young woman who went on to become a nun famous in Nevada history, although not as a sister of Notre Dame. She was Charlotte Rypcsynski (sometimes spelled Ribzinsky) who entered the Dominican order in 1900 and took the religious name Sister Mary Xavier. She became a nurse and supervised surgery at Saint Mary’s hospital in Reno. She died in 1978 at the age of 97. She is mentioned in the book, “Commitment to Caring,” which says, “there was a sweetness and simplicity about her that kept her lovely and young until the day she died.”

Recess for a Quake

     The students had a long vacation after the 1906 earthquake severely damaged the school, and, apparently, the nerves of the Mount Carmel pastor, Father Henry Kirk White. The late Father Dominic Desjardins, who gathered information used in a history published in 1987 on the 100th anniversary of the parish, said Father White was so shaken by the earthquake that he moved to an apartment in Menlo Park, resigned in 1907 and returned to his native England.  After that, nothing is known about White.

     “We lost most of our records” in the earthquake, Desjardins told a reporter. “So I had to get most of my information from old newspapers and from the historical society.”

     It wasn’t until 1910 that concerned parents were able to reopen the school. During the interim, the students went to public schools and the nuns returned to San Jose.  Father White had told church officials there was little interest in reopening the school, despite the fact he was presented with a petition with more than 250 names calling for a school.

    What White couldn’t see was the impact the earthquake would have on the growth of Redwood City and the Peninsula as people fled San Francisco after the disaster. By 1920 Redwood City’s population increased to 4,020 and it more than doubled by 1930, reaching 8,962.

      The nuns returned to Redwood City and lived at the school until they moved to the former mansion of lumber baron Charles Hanson. The huge home at Brewster and Arguello was acquired by the church in 1921. 

      The stay in the Hanson mansion was far from uneventful, according to Sister Ann Maureen King. She swore the place was haunted, according to a paper she wrote that is in the order’s archives.

     “We had never told the parishioners about our ghosts while we were experiencing them or it,” she wrote.

Now it can be Told

             Sister Ann Maureen said at least six nuns, including her, were all in different areas of the structure in December of 1932 when each of them “was called but found herself unable to move. Someone seemed to be blocking her way.”

     “The call was a loud  ‘sister, sister,’” she continued. “No one was there. The paralysis lasted but a few minutes. Naturally we were all frightened, but after praying for whoever needed our help we went about our work.”

The “haunting” went on.

     “We continued to be called at various times, sometimes the call was just “sister,” sometimes it was a prolonged sighing ‘sister.’ One night we were in bed and the call came along with three knocks, the drapes over the large mirror fell to the floor, but again, no one was seen.”

     In the last episode, however, the nun was called “by her full name.”

     “We did not hear or experience any further callings,” she concluded.

     The nuns reported the events to the parish priest who came over and blessed the former mansion. Sister Ann Maureen wrote that the priest “looked on us all as ‘hysterical women.’”

     “Strangely, while we were all puzzled, no one had hysterics!!!”

     Sister Ann Maureen, who was the youngest nun in the house at the time of the “visits,” retired after a 50-year teaching career. She once described her life as “a long blessed journey.” She passed away in 2009.

     Her death brought back fond memories to former students, including one who recalled that the nun’s nickname was SAM, standing for Sister Ann Maureen.

   “Despite her strictness in the classroom, I always suspected she really enjoyed us mischievous boys a lot,” he said.

   The old Mount Carmel school was torn down in 1931, an event that made a reporter at a local paper nearly break out in a rash of poetry: “The old rugged cross that stood as a beacon to children on their way to the classroom is gone forever.”  The space occupied by the convent school was used as a parking lot for the adjacent church, which would see its end in 1937 when it was demolished so El Camino Real could be widened.

Here Comes the New School!!!

     The present school at 301 Grand was built in 1932, providing some light during a dark year in American history. About 17 million Americans would be out of work by the end of 1932, 1,616 banks would fail and the national income would fall to $40.2 billion, almost cutting in half the figure from 1929.

    Just the right time to build a school, decided Father John P. Cavanagh, who served as pastor at Mount Carmel from 1927 until his death in 1961.

    The school was more than “a denominational undertaking,” he said in a front-page story in the July 18, 1931 Monitor that detailed his plans. “It is a step forward in the life and progress of one of the fastest-growing suburban sections of San Francisco,” The priest said 50 families stated their intentions of establishing homes in the area of the school. The newspaper added that the school would help “the unemployment situation” while taking advantage of lower construction costs. The price tag for the school was $100,000.

    The Redwood City Times-Gazette reported the plan a few days earlier, saying the new school would “introduce all of the modern teaching methods.” The paper saved most of its praise, however, for Cavanagh, a World War I veteran who “has not only endeared himself to his local parishioners, but he has won the respect and admiration of all classes in the community.”

     The architect selected for the job was Henry Minton, who came to San Francisco from his native Boston following the 1906 quake and built a career designing churches and banks.  His other accomplishments included the Alameda County Courthouse as well as work on the now gone and mourned Fox Theater in San Francisco, a job that saw Minton join forces with the famous theater architect Thomas Lamb. The general contract for the new school went to Louis N. Pollard, a Redwood City builder. Plans called for a two-story structure of Spanish design that would accommodate 400 pupils. The old Mount Carmel  school had operated for more than 20 years at a full capacity of 200 students.  Minton’s design envisioned ten classrooms, an auditorium that seated 600 and a cafeteria.

     One of the more interesting of Minton’s Mount Carmel designs is the entrance rotunda that features office doors that form a circle around a mission-style tile floor. Inspired by the 125th anniversary of the school, a fund drive is underway to pay for two wall-sized oil on canvas wall hangings by San Francisco liturgical artist Katie Wolf. The art will depict the school’s mission of faith, academics, and community, a school official said.

     Mount Carmel was never a stranger to raising money – even in the middle of the Great Depression.  A committee headed by Mayor Daniel Stafford was formed in July 1931 to campaign for the funds to build the school. Ground was broken just two months later with Stafford throwing the first shovel of dirt.  Interestingly, another Stafford, James, was mayor in 1885 when the original school was founded.. Daniel Stafford, who died in 1948, donated the land for today’s popular Stafford Park. Several of Daniel Stafford’s descendents went to Mount Carmel. They said they are not aware of a relationship between the two Stafford mayors.

    In January 1932 a cornerstone was laid as the school neared completion.  A few coins, some newspapers and other items were sealed behind marble flagstone. The capsule was opened in 1985, the year of the 100th anniversary of the founding, but “oxidation had corroded almost everything,” the Peninsula Times Tribune reported. “About a dozen religious medals and coins were about all that had not disintegrated” despite the fact all the items had been “sealed carefully between metal plates.”

The Great Day Arrives

       The opening of a school was big news in 1932. Hundreds came from out of town for the dedication on Oct. 2, according to newspapers accounts that said the visitors wanted to “witness the colorful pageant and outdoor ceremony” highlighted by a parade, bands and drum and bugle corps.

      Archbishop Edward Hanna dedicated the school. The main speaker was University of California Regent John Neylan who stressed the importance of patriotism.

      “You may search history and you will not find any group of men existing in any one country to compare with Washington, Marshall, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, the Adams’, Madison – to say nothing of the others,” said Neylan. “Why not teach our children to appreciate these men?” Getting Neylan as a speaker must have been a bit of a coup for Redwood City, much less the school.  Speakers of his caliber are usually reserved for institutions of much higher learning. An attorney who claimed he never lost a jury trial, Neylan would grace  the  cover of Time Magazine in 1935. He was the attorney for newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst and served as a UC regent for 27 years. According to  biographers, Neylan was in great measure responsible for the university’s role in the  development of atomic research.

      William Issel, an expert on San Francisco history, says Neylan’s statue should not be underestimated.

     “Two years later his negotiating skills would help end the longshoremen’s strike in  San Francisco,” said Issel, professor emeritus of history at San Francisco State University.

       Issel is the author of several books. His latest is “For Both Cross and Flag: Catholic Action, Anti-Catholicism, and National Security Politics in World War II San Francisco.” He has made an extensive study of Neylan’s papers in the Bancroft Library at Berkeley.

Why this heavy hitter at Mount Carmel?

     “Neylan was a very active Catholic layman who helped charitable efforts and sent acheck regularly to the pastor of his church in San Francisco,”  Issel said. “He was very close to Archbishop Hanna who may have asked him to speak.”

     Issel also noted that the Mount Carmel speech came about the time Neylan moved from San Francisco to Woodside. 

      The dedication concluded with the raising of an American flag donated by  the George A. Evans Relief Corps, an organization that gave a flag to all Redwood City  schools, public and parochial alike.

       The schoolyard was packed with an estimated 500 people in a town with a population that was near 9,000 in the 1930 census. The crowd earlier viewed the parade that included a contingent from a military academy in Belmont and the Sequoia High School band as well as the aforementioned drum and bugle corps, including one from the American Legion.  Police escorted the parade from  downtown to the school located just six blocks from the original site of the academy.

       The dedication was captured in a silent home movie.  Later a sound track was added that was narrated by Robert Deeken, class of 1985. He was backed by a chorus of  students singing the stirring Mount Carmel school song that tells about a “treasure house  of knowledge” located “in a fertile valley nestling, ‘neath the great sequoia shade.” The  film shows school children joining the marchers at Clinton and Brewster, traveling past  several then-empty lots to their brand new school for the ceremonies that  boasted a 32-member choir.

     The school was rededicated in a scaled down version on Jan. 31, 2010 during Catholic Schools Week.  Archbishop George Niederauer prayed that “all who pass through these  halls become lifelong learners and problems solvers, careful stewards of their  environment, skillful communicators, and compassionate, generous participants in their  communities.”

     Those in the crowd included Notre Dame nun Sister Margaret Hoffman, 82, a Mount Carmel graduate, who, as a child, lived two blocks from the school. Her younger sister,  Patricia, 77, also graduated from Mount Carmel and went on to become a nun.      “Nostalgia was strong in our hearts,” Margaret said of the rededication. “Never more than at the conclusion of the Mass, when, yes, we and alums present stood and proudly sang the school  song.”

       She said the nuns who taught her were “good teachers who gave us the basics.” They were strict but they were backed by “the discipline at home.”. Her sister said, “there were  no frills in those days. It was mostly basics.” Her teachers “were really kind and truly cared about us.”

     At a time when there are shirts emblazoned with “I survived Catholic schools” and plays or movies often depict nuns as tyrants, the Hoffmans hope an exhibit that’s  touring the country will change some minds.

     Entitled “Women and Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America,” the exhibit spotlights the contribution of nuns, which includes the Catholic school system in America, billed as the  largest private school system in the world.

    Catholic sisters have opened orphanages, schools, hospitals, colleges, universities, and provided other social services that serve millions of Americans, exhibit officials said.

     The contribution of women in any frontier setting is often overlooked. San Mateo County historian Frank Stanger, who wrote a history of the county called “South from San Francisco,” noted that women were scarce as late as 1860 when females of all ages, from babes to grandmothers, were less than a third of the county’s population.

     “This peculiar coloration of the population accounts for the tardy development of schools and churches,”  Stanger wrote.

     The last nun to head Mount Carmel was Sister Mary Grace Foley who passed away in 1996. The current principal is Teresa Anthony who was appointed in1990 to run a school that today doesn’t have a single nun, except for a teacher’s aide.

      Things were indeed changing, a fact noted rather sadly in 1979 by the pastor, the Rev. Joseph Munier, during an interview conducted for the Redwood City library archives and, possibly, published here for the first time.

     The school “has felt the ravages of the last two decades,” said the priest, who died in 1993. “Instead of eight teaching nuns and a principal nun, we have now two teaching nuns and a principal nun.”  The lack of vocations, Munier felt, showed that “people were going their own way, doing their own thing, not being subjected to any authority.”

     Munier, who was named pastor in 1961, noted that in the “old days” classes could reach 50 students because of the “tremendous demand” and the increasing number of children.” The big classes could be difficult to manage but the “basic discipline was observed and the fundamental three R’s were faithfully taught.”

     Munier saved his best shots for sports, which he called a “headache.”

     Munier, a University of California graduate who played on the Bears’ basketball team, said sports can become over emphasized and bring on “endless conflicts” with parents “if their little darlings aren’t on the first team.”

     Mount Carmel has always had a strong sports program, one coached largely by unpaid parents. The school has produced some outstanding athletes, including Con Dempsey, a baseball pitcher who led the San Francisco Seals in strikeouts during the 1948 and 1949 seasons before moving on to the major leagues where an arm injury shortened his career. Julian Edelman, currently with the New England Patriots football team, is a Mount Carmel graduate.

     The school has produced more than 4,000 graduates since 1885 so the large number of outstanding graduates is too long to list, said former Redwood City Mayor Brent Britschgi.

    “They have been doctors, lawyers, police officers and representatives of every walk of life,” said Britschgi, who served as Redwood City mayor from 1984-86. Britschgi, Mount Carmel class of 1949, said the class he was in had up to 60 children with “one nun teaching all those children, and no aides!!!”

    Still, he said, “The product that was turned out was terrific. Eight members of my eighth grade class graduated from Santa Clara.” The Santa Clara grads included Britschgi.

     The class also captured the parochial school basketball crown. Britschgi was on that team and later played for Sequoia High. 

     The former mayor, who coached basketball when his children, Susan, Steve, and Mark, attended Mount Carmel, has many colorful memories of his student days. They included the “famous drain pipe on the play yard side of the school.”

      “It separated the yard into the boys side and the off limits girls’ side,” he said, a fact that did not keep him from meeting and marrying Barbara Decia.

      “We were married at Mount Carmel Church and my classmate from Mount Carmel was my maid of honor and Brent’s Mount Carmel classmate was a groomsman,” Barbara said.

       Other politicians produced by the school include William Royer, who was mayor of Redwood City and also served in the House of Representatives. Another claim to fame is that he coached the 1963 Mount Carmel basketball team to the league championship.

       The 90-year-old Royer is one of the few living graduates who attended both the old and new schools.

       “I entered the old school in 1926,” he said. “There were two classes in each room. First and Second were combined and so were the others.”

      The schoolyard was just dirt and when it rained “we got caked with mud,” said Royer. “The new school, with its big, paced yard, was a big improvement.”

      Home games are played in Cavanagh Hall, the school gym named after Father John Cavanagh, the dynamo behind the building of the new Mount Carmel. Many outside Mount Carmel may not know that the school was built before the adjacent church, which wasn’t constructed until 1952. The school also came before the rectory and convent, which now serves as the parish center. The fact that it came first underlines the importance placed on children’s education.

      Until the first Mass was celebrated in the new church in 1952, services were held mainly in the gym or what some call “the large hall,” although the old church on El Camino was used for that purpose until it was torn down in 1937.

       Many old timers praise Cavanagh’s foresight in seeing that the future of Redwood City was “west of El Camino.” He knew a good real estate deal when he saw it and bought land when it was relatively inexpensive.

Things Change but Remain the Same

             This is the first history of Mount Carmel school. The job required hours of poring over old newspapers, archives, books and interviewing the young and old. The author went through a virtual time tunnel and came away thinking that it’s true that the more things change the more they remain the same. Everything is the same – only different. Take the remark about the future being “west of El Camino.” Today much of Mount Carmel’s growth is to the east. That’s because of the increasing number of Hispanics, many of them living to the east of what is planned as a “grand boulevard.”   While the faces and names may change, the immigrant experience is nothing new for Mount Carmel. In fact, it is nothing new to the county, which a visit to the history museum in the old courthouse on Broadway shows. The museum, which holds an Immigrant Festival every year, has an Immigrant’s Gallery that underlines the similarities of all newcomers.

      At Mount Carmel, the earlier immigrant experiences can be summed up in a few  words: Irish and Italians.  Except for Father White, who returned to his native England after the 1906 earthquake, all the pastors until Mainer, who was of French heritage, had Irish surnames.

       Teresa Anthony, the present principal and the first “civilian” to hold that post, said the school hasn’t changed all that much because Catholicism in America has always been “an immigrant faith.”

The pastor, Father John Balleza, agreed.

       “We are definitely an immigrant church, but I think there are some people who forget this, or want to.” he said. “One parishioner told me she spoke only Italian when she came to school, but there was a nun who helped her learn English.”

        Principal Anthony said 95% of the families in the school are Catholic, which was seen as an indication that the school’s traditions are carried on.

The biggest change, she said, has been in the tuition.

        “When I came in 1990 it cost $1,800. Now it is $5,290.”

         Despite the cost, it is common for students to be the second-third-fourth and now the fifth generation of their family to attend Mount Carmel.

         During the 100th anniversary, teacher Peggy Clifford (Full disclosure: she’s the author’s wife) did a survey to find out how many students had parents who attended the school. There were 26, some boasting that both parents had gone to Mount Carmel The school gave each child a T-shirt reading: “I’m a 2nd Generation Padre.”

What’s the appeal?

       “We embraced what the sisters did,” Teresa Anthony said. “I think the best evidence for that tradition is the love of singing at Mount Carmel. The nuns loved to teach singing. We never stopped singing.”

        Anyone who has heard the students, even former students, sing the school song will understand:

Written by Fr. Cornelius Kennedy, pastor from 1920-21

In a fertile valley nestling, ‘neath the great sequoia shade, there’s a treasure house of knowledge, where character is made.

It is there we love to linger, where all things are done well, and we vow our true allegiance to our school, Mount Carmel.

Then to Carmel, dear Mount Carmel, we’ll be steadfast, loyal, true. We’ll uphold her stainless honor, and we’ll add new glory too. For the best that there is in us. We will do that men may tell.

That we love our God and country, and that we’re true to dear Carmel..


Thanks, and a note on sources:

Jeff Burns, archivist for the San Francisco archdiocese

Kathy O’Connor, archivist, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Belmont

Michelle Conci, development director, Mount Carmel

Redwood City Library History Room

San Mateo County Historical Association

“Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Centennial” by Suzzane Josvai and James O. Clifford