Way down upon the Suwannee River…

Closer to home for me is one of the epicenters of Catholic Eye Candy in Florida, St. Augustine. Founded in 1565 under Pedro Menendes de Aviles. Very early on, the settlers built the town cathedral there, only for it to be burnt to the ground by Sir Francis Drake in 1586. So after they rebuilt the cathedral a second time, it burned down yet again in 1599 by accident. The industrious St. Augustinians rebuilt it a third time in 1605. We can thank the Protestant Brits again for burning the cathedral down a third time (they were, if nothing else, persistent) in 1702. Finally in 1793, the cathedral which stands today was begun.

The Cathedral and Interior

Sir Francis Drake attacks St. Augustine (Dramatization)

Mission Nombre De Dios

The Timucua Natives

Florida was the land of the some of the first martyrs in the Americas, beginning with the first mission of Ponce de Leon in 1513. Not only did they have to brave the threats of the Timucua, but I’m sure they had to watch out for these guys every few steps!  


Here is the resting site of Augustin Verot, former priest of the Archdiocese of Paris, later professor of the seminary in Baltimore, and first bishop of St. Augustine. Ask me some time about when his corpse exploded all over the mourners at his own funeral! (True story)







5 Responses to “Way down upon the Suwannee River…”

  1. Dan Says:

    His corpse exploded all over the mourners at his own funeral!! I think this needs to be the next post on Catholc Eye Candy.

  2. cathcandy Says:

    “When Bishop Verot died in June 1876, people from all over the state came to offer their condolences. Since the mourners had such long distances to travel, the funeral was put off for a few days, as a result of which the bishop’s body had to be preserved longer than usual in the heat of a Florida summer. A hole was dug and lined with sawdust, and then the body was placed inside and covered with ice. But the high temperatures quickly melted the ice.
    The only solution was to hold the services early. So the bishop’s body was placed in a metal coffin with a glass window on the top, though which people could view the body. Unbeknownst to anyone, there was a problem brewing inside the casket. Efficiently sealed–perhaps too efficiently–it had trapped heat, causing the body’s gases to build up. Suddenly the body exploded, blowing out the glass window and spraying everybody with…well, let’s just say everybody had to evacuate the place because of the horrible stench. The window was quickly resealed, and the coffin was hurried to a chapel at the back of the cemetery.”

    –From the book “Weird Florida” by Charlie Carlson, Mark Moran

  3. Phillip T. Says:

    WOW. these last few posts have been awesome. thanks for the great posts cliff, keep up the good work. your blog is seriously the only blog i’ve found that’s interesting enough to come back to repeatedly. see ya

  4. cathcandy Says:

    No problem Phillip! Hope you had a good convocation!

  5. Brian Says:

    So much for incorruptibles!

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