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150th Anniversary Celebration of Historic St. Agnes Cemetery and Book Release



A late summer cocktail party will be held in celebration of Historic St. Agnes Cemetery’s 150th Anniversary on Sunday, September 17th from 2 – 5 PM. The celebration will feature fine foods, select wines and beer, a string trio, silent auction and historic cemetery trolley tours. Guests from all over the country have purchased tickets and will be attending. The celebration will begin at 2 PM with a blessing by Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger. Tickets are $125 and include a book and commemorative bookmark. Location details are being provided in mailed invitations.

Since its opening in 1867, St. Agnes Cemetery located in Menands, New York has served its community with compassion and love following closely the doctrine of the Catholic faith and customs surrounding the death and burial of the faithful. In this present day the Cemetery continues its ministry to pray for the dead and provide comfort for mourners in service to hundreds of families every year.

The anniversary celebration features the premier of the beautiful 160 page coffee table book "These Sacred Grounds: 150 Years of St. Agnes Cemetery". The book takes the reader on a journey from the Victorian era into modernity and brings to life captains of industry, war veterans, artists, a famous movie star, politicians, tragic deaths and so much more.

In the Victorian era, lot owners of all socio-economic means took great pride in creating sacred grave spaces. Over the years, burial practices have changed and the landscape of St. Agnes Cemetery reflects those changes in its funerary art and architecture that fill its 114 acres. Large, ornate family grave lots with neo-classically designed mausoleums and memorials gave way to smaller lots with respectable monuments more uniform in size and bronze markers in shrine sections. Additionally two beautiful Community mausoleums bathe thousands of individual crypts and cremation niches in natural light while protecting the remains of those entombed or inurned within the polished marble walls.

The wealthiest citizens gave us much to admire with their stately burial lots but the ordinary citizens and the poor played an important part in the shaping of history and their modest graves tell their own story. Sometimes these stories are sad stories of high infant mortality; tragic workplace accidents; ravaging infectious diseases; and some are stories of triumph, inspiration, perseverance and success. Today each memorial provides us with a lesson in art and in history that we explore within the book.

The Honorable John (Jack) McEneny, a well-known public figure and local historian, contributed a feature story for the book. The descendants of prominent families, Dr. Kathleen Quinn, Vincent J. Forte, Jr., and Dr. Joseph Meany also wrote very insightful pieces about their ancestors.

Photographs by Mick Hales, Jennifer Mele, Chuck Miller, Jeannie Keefe, along with community members who participated in the St. Agnes Photography Contest, 2009-2013, provide a splendid pictorial narrative. Images rich in color and detail are featured on nearly every page of the book highlighting the history, art and landscape of beautifully sculptured memorials large and small, stained glass, and neo-classical to contemporary architecture memorializing people resting in these sacred grounds.

Author and Historian Kelly Grimaldi will be signing books at the event and attendees will receive a book with a special commemorative 150th Anniversary bookmark.

Proceeds from the event and book directly benefit the cemetery and help ensure St. Agnes Cemetery will remain well kept and safe for future generations.

Please contact us at (518) 350-7679 or KellyAnn.Grimaldi@rcda.org if you would like to receive an invitation to the event and/or book information.

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