Sunday, January 31, 2010

St. Agatha Facebook Page

Busy weekend, but don't fret--the Project still has time to throw you a little something.

Project reader Terry Callen, the intrepid soul who started the St. Gregory page on Facebook, has gone back to the Facebook well and created another page. This time it's the former St. Agatha, at 38th & Spring Garden in West Philadelphia.

The Gothic St. Agatha was consolidated in 1976 with neighboring St. James the Greater, at 38th & Chestnut, to form St. Agatha-St.James parish, housed in the latter's building. Yes, you couldn't come up with a more unwieldy name if you tried.

That St. James is one of the best churches Philly has to offer doesn't lessen the pain of losing St. Agatha, which looked fairly impressive in its own right. At least it's not going to waste--the whole place was converted into an apartment complex known as the Cloisters I & II. The idea of living in a converted church kind of gives us the willies--us, of all people--but hey, Godspeed to the people who do.

Not the most fitting fate for a beautiful old church, but the Project has seen far worse. Look for more coverage on both parishes this year.

16 comments:

  1. Two time loser... Baptized in St Agatha, (Corktown) then moved to Transfiguration Church.

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  2. For those interested, the stained glass windows that were removed went to St. Ann's Chapel, Phoenixville, PA
    http://www.churchofsaintann.org/

    and Our Lady of Fatima, Bensalem.

    http://www.mezalick.com/MDS/retrofit.html

    Michael Mezalick
    Mezalick Design Studio, LLC
    www.mezalick.com

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  3. Joe and Mike are terrific contributors to my page.

    I would like to thank these two gracious gents.....AND the Project for the publicity.

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  4. Hey, guys -- better they made something out of the buildings, instead of their winding up like Transfiguration.

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  5. "St. Agnes-St. John Nepomucene" is even more unwieldy.

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  6. Ok, I'll grant you that one. That IS pretty terrible.

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  7. What a beautiful church! I wish I could have seen it!

    Terry you are correct..much better than the way Transfiguration turned out!

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  8. Thanks to Joe Kearney, I have seen photos of the inside.

    Lovely place.

    I will have to go one of these weekends to take a look at the building as it is now. I understand they tried to keep a lot of the character.

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  9. Thanks also PAHRC. Archdiocese Archives at the Semenary, for the pics of Inside of Church. (Memorial Booklet 100Anev.)

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  10. I was baptized at St Ag's, and it's been long time since I heard it called Corktown!

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  11. While it is lamentable that the church is no longer a church, I guess we can all be grateful it wasn't torn down altogether. Personally I think it'd be a riot to live in an old converted church, but it'd be even better if the old church stained glass windows were still in it. But I guess you take what you can get.

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    1. When I was a graduate student at Penn in the early '80s the Church was my parish and Fr. Divine, the pastor, a friend. I was married in that church, repointed its stonework, help paint the school...

      Seeing its cream color exterior few people would ever guess it made of very white marble/ limestone.

      To know its fait truly saddens me.

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    2. I attended St Agatha from Sept 1948 till June 15th 1956. It was a great school with great nuns. Funny how you do not realize it until you are out in the world. When I joined the Army in 1961, I once told my Drill Sgt in Basic that he wasnt as tough as my 7th Grade nun. I realized then that the nuns had instilled in me the disciplinr I needed to pull me thru. Last year I went back and was able to get into the church bldg and was amazed at how they kept the facade intact and framed out condos within those hallowd walls. It gave me goosebumps to walk the exact marble floor that I had walked so many times as a young boy. Quite an experience.

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  12. I graduated from St. Agathas in 1954 and went on to St. Thomas More, graduated 1958. Had some great memories of St, Agas....Sister Philomine? was a tough cookie. I still keep in touch with some of my old class mates. Remember Mrs Pennypacker the music teacher.....great lady. Church is now Condos....what a waste. Joe Hollingsworth, Class of '54

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  13. Yes, I remember Sister Philomine very fondly. I graduated St Agatha's in 1948. She challenged me to go to "The Prep" which I did. So I missed the companionship of my classmates who went on to St Thomas Moore. It may have been a good decision anyway as the Jesuits drilled good study habits into me. So after graduating "the prep" I went on to Drexel and graduate engineering degrees in Seattle and DC. I may have been the only student to walk from my neighborhood to attend Drexel (then an Institute of Technology). The co op school allowed one to graduate without a lot of debt. Sister Philomene was the initiator of that childhood adventure by issuing the challenge. The nuns were hard working, sacrificing, dedicated people. Eeducation is poorer because of their diminished numbers. Too bad the beautiful church has been converted. But at least it is still there for us to remember with appreciation for the effort of those dedicated priests, nuns and other teachers.

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  14. My mom and dad were married in that church back in 1930. I wanted to visit that place later this year. Sorry I won't be able to do that.

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