This day was full of remarkable experiences. We explored the town on foot with our friends John and Jill. There were two things Jill wanted to see, the “Jelly Bean” houses, named for their colorful exteriors and the basilica. I just wanted to see the town. We made our why up the hill to find both the houses and the basilica.
Inside the basilica of St. John the Baptist we found a remarkably ornate interior and were given a tour by a member of the historical society. The historical society bought the basilica when church property in this area was sold to pay for abuse law suits, a sad chapter in the Catholic church that is hopefully never to repeat itself. The guide told us all about the church, that it was built to serve the Irish Catholics who immigrated to Newfoundland in the early 20th century. I took a little video of the church church while the organist was practicing Bach.
Our tour guide also suggested that we ring the bell of the convent next door to have a chance to view the Masterpiece “The Veiled Virgin” by Giovanni Strazza. The bust has the appearance of a sheer veil, but the entire work is one solid piece of Carrara marble. The bust has remained under the care of Presentation Sisters, in Cathedral Square, St. John’s since it was presented to Mother Mary Magdalene O’Shaughnessy, the Superior of Presentation Convent, as a gift to the convent from Bishop Mullock.
We saw a couple more churches and the local war memorial and a few more colorful houses.
Then we headed back down the hill and noticed a crowd gathering, they were celebrating a local hockey player’s Stanley Cup win with the Colorado Avalanche. During the parade, one lady was kind enough to let me check off another bucket list item, a photo with a Newfoundland Dog in Newfoundland.
Our sail-a-way from St. John was spectacular. They even saluted us with a firing of the big guns from the citadel as we passed by. Lots of local were up on the hills to wave goodbye.