Monday, April 10, 2006

Cat Island

With the starter starting and the winds fair, we left Georgetown early in the morning for Cat Island. We were drawn to the island by the hermitage of Father Jerome. Early the next morning, we found ourselves walking up an empty road with the hermitage looming over us from the highest hill in the Bahamas.

Thanks to Pat Vance, of Twice in a Blue Moon for this historical background : "Father Jerome, born John Hawes to a wealthy English family in 1876, studied
architecture and theology, and was ordained in the Church of England. As an
Anglican, he built several churches in the Bahamas starting in 1908.
Strongly influenced by St. Francis of Assisi, he eventually traveled to
Rome where he was ordained a Catholic priest, taking the name Father
Jerome. After 25 years in the Australian bush, a heart attack in 1939 at
the age of 62 led him back to the Bahamas to erect a hermitage. Father
Jerome renamed the summit Mount Alvernia, after the hermitage St. Francis
built. He carried water up the steep hill, cut limestone block, mixed
mortar, dug a well and cistern, and erected a chapel, living quarters, and
a bell tower, mostly alone. Seventeen years later, Father Jerome died, and
he was buried in a small cave next to his hermitage, barefoot in his
priest's robes, according to his wishes."

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