Sunday, December 13, 2015

#Giving Tuesday--Tri-C Version of Light Night

December 1, 2015, #Giving Tuesday, became Tri-C Community’s Light Night.  Tri-C community consists of the three small towns of Clyde, Conception Jct. and Conception.  Nestled within the community is the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration monastery, the Conception Abbey of Benedictine monks monastery, Conception Seminary, a 4 year accredited college for training future priests, and Jefferson C-123 School. Many rural families helped with this event.
The Abbey, Tri-C Partners 4 Progress, Benedictine Sisters and the Jefferson C-123 School service organizations partnered to celebrate Giving Tuesday.  Activities consisted of adopting 10 families and two single people to help them have a merrier Christmas.  Contacts and background planning began in late October  or even before leading up to the Giving Tuesday event form 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at St. Raphael’s welcome center at the Conception Abbey.  The hall was decked out in Christmas finery.  Ten trees were setup waiting for decorations and gifts.  There were two tables for tying blankets.  Someone donated 32 pieces of fleece which were turned into 16 tied blankets by community volunteers ranging in age from 2 yrs old to 75 years old.  Some may remember quilting parties where the young children played under the table as neighbors tied blankets and gossiped.  Time has not diminished those activities in the Tri-C area.
The Conception Printery donated 100 Christmas cards to be signed for distribution to those who might not receive Christmas cards at Christmas time.  Cameron Veterans Home, other nursing homes were contacted with the question of how many residences do you have that many not get a Christmas card?  Cards were signed with a generic message from the Tri-C Community.  Former Tri-C residents in other care facilities had cards addressed to them from the Tri-C Community. 
A multitude of Christmas gifts were wrapped at two wrapping tables.  The Conception Seminary classes each adopted a family from the list.  I also heard unofficially there was a contest to see which class could donate the most nonperishable foods to be distributed to the adopted families.
Kids especially enjoyed the area for creating Christmas tree decorations to be hung on the trees.  These were all non breakable items for creating the tree decorations so even the youngest could help.  The center tree had an electric train going around it.  The younger kids sat watching it for quite some time.  Some of the kids drew Christmas pictures in some of the cards at the card signing tables.
Conception Abbey provided cookies and hot chocolate for all the volunteers.  Santa hats worn by volunteers accompanied food donations and gifts or gift cards as they arrived to do the Santa elves work at #Giving Tuesday Tri-C Community Light Night.
On December 11th it took two covered cargo trailers to deliver the trees, gifts and food items collected for the families.  One trailer use was donated by a local business man Walker Auctioneering. 

Thank you to all those who contributed to the Tri-C #Giving Tuesday event in any way.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

St. Columba Cemetery
St. Columba Cemetery a historical document in earth and stone.
Until a second cousin from TN found my family tree online, I hadn’t realized how much historical information is buried in the St. Columba Cemetery.  The first sixteen Irish settlers are entombed there.  The relatives that were born here or followed them from the home country found their final resting place here. German immigrants followed the Irish settlers so the area became a Iriah/German settlement. Conception Abbey monks are entombed in this sacred place along with Fr. Powers the missionary who served the Reading Colony, as this place was known early in its history.
Originally Fr. Powers along with several supporters from Reading PA acquired 20,000 ac of land from the federal government in the southwest corner of what is now Nodaway County.  This is a story within itself.  His goal was to find a place for Irish immigrant farmers fleeing the potato famine of Ireland so they could do what they knew best—farm.  He made connections with a group of Benedictine monks from the monastery of Engelberg in Switzerland to establish a monastery to minister to his Irish settlers and the later the German settlers. The “New Engelberg” Abbey was established in 1873.  I was once told the Irish sat on one side of church while the Germans sat on the other side.  Sermons were delivered in English and German to accommodate all parishioners.
St. Columba parishioners are still finding their final resting place at St. Columba Cemetery. People are coming from near and far to search out information about their ancestors.  Some have found relatives they didn’t know existed.  I knew from others whose genealogy information I have copied that my great grandmother was a Corcoran. Little did I know I would one day be contacted and become very good friends with descendents of her brothers.  I have met and become friends with John and Mary Corcoran.  John and I are second cousins.  There is a once removed in there someplace, but I am not sure where.
John and Mary have retired from professional careers to become family tree researchers.  They have found other Corcoran descendents who trace back to John 1813-1903 and Mary Cahill l822-1909 Corcoran buried in St. Columba Cemetery.  John is a descendent of John Corcoran, my great grandmother Johanna Corcoran Farnan’s brother.  Patricia Corcoran is a descendent of Patrick Corcoran another of Johanna’s brothers.  Pat is from CA while John and Mary are from TN.  We Corcorans met in the St. Columba Cemetery to try to figure out where the Corcorans began and how they may have gotten so scattered.  John and Pat discovered another descendent of a Corcoran family originally from Conception.  Eileen met us at St. Columba Cemetery to see if we could find a connection between her Corcoran ancestors and our Corcoran ancestors.  Thank you to Fr. Allan Stetz, St. Columba Parish priest, for his time and patience we found both marked and unmarked resting places of relatives.
It is very enlightening to see and appreciate something I passed every day as I walked to Mass from the Immaculate Conception grade school on the north side of the cemetery to the Conception Abbey Basilica through someone else’s eyes or through the lenses of a researcher. I walked past my ancestors resting places and never knew it.
Twelve adults and four children arrived in these former hunting grounds of the Fox and Osage Native Americans April 20, 1858. William Brady, John and Bridget McCarthy, Jeremiah and Berthea Sullivan, Philip and Margaret Growney, Michael and Margaret Fagan, John Growney, Thomas Riley and Edward Riley are name one will find in the St. Columba Cemetery.  Their graves and those who followed are part of the historical site we call St. Columba Cemetery.  I would liken it to a primary resource document.  Many of the founding families’ descendants have moved away or like me do not know their ancestors.  Many of the stones have decayed and become unreadable or simply crumbled.  One such unreadable stone is that of the first original settler to die.  His is the site of the first entombment in the St. Columba Cemetery.  Recently relatives have added a small stone with his information, while leaving the original small stone-- history written in stone.   Do more of us need to think about taking care of our relatives resting places?  This is not the job of the cemetery care takers.  They do an excellent job of mowing and weeding the site.  Many of the 2000 plus persons entombed in St. Columba Cemetery have no markers. 

How does one go about taking care of this primary resource document in earth and stone?
·         Be aware of damaged conditions of loved ones stones when visiting the cemetery.
·         Be aware of where ones loved ones are entombed.  I guess this would mean one needs to know who in our families helped settle the Tri-C area.
·         If moss growth is a problem on the stone, there is a product that can easily clean those stones without damage to the stone.  One can order this product and spray the stone or inquire about having someone do it.  If there are other problems contact the parish to ask for advice. 
·         The parish priest can give you important information about who to contact for help. 

Perhaps it would be good to spend money on repairs instead of flowers that last a few days to about two weeks.  Cemetery rules say anything not attached to the monument should be removed two weeks after Memorial Day. Adornments not attached to the monument make upkeep difficult.
 If you live away from the Tri-C area and want information about possible relatives buried in the St. Columba Cemetery try www.findagrave.com   This site has over 2000 listings for St. Columba Cemetery. If you have done research and/or taken photos of loved one resting place it is easy to add that information to this site.  There are local people on that site who will take photographs of your relatives’ site.  Contact St. Columba Parish with questions. 

We should all work to keep this historical document in prime condition.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tri-C Community Coming Together

Watching the Tri-C Community come together evoked a great feeling in my heart today.  It began with listening to the nonsense babble of one year olds in church.  They may be part of the same day care or just think they know the other kids they see in church most Sunday mornings.  Then as services began it became clear that the third grade students were going to be participants in the celebration.  Two little girls raised their voices along with the adult song leader as mass began.  Then two little boys read the readings for the day.  After several others read the prayer petitions they then took up the offertory collection and brought up the offerings to the priest.  This brings me great hope for our rural community.  These are the sounds and actions of a growing energetic community. 
Another set of actions and noise has been planned for several weeks.  Tragedy took a nine month olds life.  The parents, former community members, faced mounting medical bills.  The Tri-C Community began to talk and plan.  All service organizations such as the American Legion Post #464 and its auxiliaries, the Tri-C Volunteer Fire Department, the Knights of Columbus, the St. Ann’s Alter Society, the service organizations of Jefferson C-123 School and other local leaders who brought the energy and motivation to the planning table set in motion what was needed for a fundraiser. 
On February 15, 2015 the Tri-C Community shined.  A fish and chicken dinner was served for a free will donation.  The ladies of the St. Ann’s Alter Society provided desserts.  Donated desserts, unused, at the meal became part of the auction beginning at 2:30 pm.  Three local auctioneers shared the auction duties as a single clerk occasionally had to ask “number please.  Loads of fire wood, a donated trailer, seed corn, and soybean seed along with craft items and certificate for bakery goods were among the items donated to this fundraiser.  Occasionally an item sold more than once as the buyer donated it back to the auction.
In looking at this small rural community one can sometimes ask where do you find volunteers who can keep up with a steady stream of hungry people by frying fish and chicken?  Who was responsible for providing roasters of baked beans and spicy potatoes?  Who made the multiple bowls of cold slaw?  FFA shirts were very visible as students wove their way between tables served drinks.  These students partnered with younger students with older ones handling the pitchers of tea, lemonade or water while younger student, representing other organizations, carried cups.  Some of these students shared other duties such as knowing the PA system of Tri-Meadows. Where the event took place. The microphone lost power.  A youth in an FFA shirt arrive from somewhere in the back with new batteries. 
Does this rural area hold three auctioneers or someone who knows an auctioneer who will spend their Sunday afternoon “crying” a benefit auction?  Several of the FFA shirts took up duties at the auction. They knew how to deliver sale items or certificates to buyers.  They provided runner duties taking sale tickets to the auction pay table.  They held up items so that all could see what was being offered.  Bidders bided their time waiting for items they wished to purchase.

If one observed closely it was noted the kitchen was clean and those same people who fried fish and rustled around serving baked beans and cold slaw now sat quietly relaxing a bit before the next phase of this Tri-C Community Coming Together took place. Young men stood in small groups restless and occasionally bidding on an item, but seemed to be waiting, waiting.  Buckets of soapy water waited in the kitchen for table wipe down.  No sooner would the last auction cry “sold” echo than the cleanup phase would begin.  Those restless young men would make short of hoisting the tables and chairs onto their storage carriers. Yes the young, middle aged and the senior citizens of the Tri-C community truly know how to come together to make things happen.  This community knows how to plan and produce the leaders of tomorrow.  Be it the beginning of the social babble of one year olds in church, the smell of deep fried fish or chicken, the silent work ethic of school youth or the auction cry to sell donated items.  These are the energies of the Tri-C Community Coming Together in action.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Giving Tuesday Event At Conception

Giving Tuesday Event

Contact: Jenny Huard, Communications Director
Conception Abbey
660.944.2823 or

Conception Abbey Joins National #GivingTuesday Movement

Conception, Mo.  – Conception Abbey and Tri-C Partners 4 Progress join #GivingTuesday to transform how people think about and participate in the giving season. Coinciding with the Thanksgiving holiday and the kickoff of the shopping season, #Giving Tuesday is a movement to celebrate and provide incentives to give encouraging people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities by giving back to the charities and causes they support. Taking place December 2, 2014 – the Tuesday after Thanksgiving - #Giving Tuesday will connect the power of social media to create a national moment around the holidays dedicated to giving, similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are now synonymous with holiday shopping.

“#Giving Tuesday shows that if we come together as a community we can accomplish so much more,” said Fr. Daniel Petsche, O.S.B., Conception Abbey Prior/Alumni Director and Tri-C Partners 4 Progress co-convener.  “As we prepare for the Advent season and the birth of Christ, what better way to show the love for one another during this time of year by helping improve our local communities.”

#Giving Tuesday happens all day nationwide, but Conception Abbey is hosting an event Tuesday, December 2 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

Tuesday, December 2
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Conception Abbey, Conception, MO – St. Raphael Hall

  • Bring an item to donate to a family in need (adult & children’s clothing, non-perishable food item, cash).
  • Help decorate a Christmas tree that will be given to our adopted families.
  • Help us gift wrap donated items.
  • Come send a Christmas card to those alone or without family during the holiday season.

The Bennet Book, Card and Gift Shop will be open. Cookies and cocoa will be provided. We’ll also have music to get you in the spirit of the season. If you can’t join us for the event you can still support us and our partners throughout the year.

Conception Abbey -
Tri-C Partners for Progress -
KAAN Radio -
Community Service, Inc.  -

Conception Abbey is a Benedictine monastery located in Conception, Missouri and home to Conception Seminary College, Abbey Guest Center and The Printery House.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tri-C Community Celebration

September 28, 2014 has come and gone.  Fall was wonderful.  Providing days of Indian summer weather for putting the garden and herb beds to rest for the winter.  October was filled with harvest and getting ready for winter.  As the time flew past I check to see if local photo place could print the digital copy of the 2014 Tri-C Community Celebration.  They could not print a copy at WalMart or WalGreen or HyVee which are the local options.  I finally got a lead on a small printing shop that could print an 11 X 17 photo for those who wanted a printed copy.
Following are some of the comments heard by community members:  Well organized event.  All the organizations worked to make the event happen. Pleasant enjoyable afternoon.  Not long enough.  Registration went well.  Signage was well developed to help people find their way around.  Map and program available made people feel welcome and helped coordinate those involved in getting their part of the event staged and ready.  Golf cart transportation between events and parking were much appreciated. Next year have it on grass too.  The Abbey facilities were excellent.  Games were all in a grassy area with picnic tables for eating within sight of the games so that children race and played in sight of watchful parents and grandparents.
Fr. Abbot Gregory of the Conception Abbey and Sr. Rita Clare of the Benedictine Convent of Perpetual Adoration served as Grand Marshals of the Lollipop Parade sponsored by the Tri-C Community Betterment group.  Tri-C American Legion Post #464 provided the honor guard, Tri-C volunteer fire department provided the escort for the Grand Marshals and the Jefferson C-123 Choir lead the pledge and sang the National Anthem.  Judy Henggeler sang “Farmwife from Conception” accompanied by Dutch Luke and Bob Fannon.
Fr. Paul was raised towards the heavens by Darrell Schieber in his boom truck to take the photo.  Shane Walker Auctioneer loaned Fr. Paul his hands free microphone so that Fr. Paul could direct the arrangement of the persons in the photo.  Shane was also the volunteer MC announcing the parade participants.  Some estimate there are over 500 people in this photo.
Br. Cyprian gave a tour of the Abbey Basilica and its art. 
The Tri-C Partners 4 Progress participated in the parade and provided a booth with old class photos from the Clyde school.  They also had a 1906 parish census and a 1910 census that might help indicate if certain people were possibly in the 1914 photo.  I found my grandfather.  A large print of the 1914 photo was available and several people identified people they knew. Sr. Wilmarie has identified the four Sisters from the Benedictine Convent of Perpetual Adoration at Clyde who are in the 1914 photo.
Tri-C Community Coalition, St. Columba Parish groups and Jefferson C-123 organizations provided games of bingo, baseball, bounce house, dunk tank etc.  Knight of Columbus cooked up their now famous pork loin and hamburger picnic.
Fun was had by all.

Now the question becomes:  How do we record this event and how do we top this event in 2015?  Any suggestions please leave a comment on this blog.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tri-C Community Celebration September 28, 2014

September 28, 2014.  Tri-C Community Celebration.  100+ years of Community, Education and Faith. 
Be there.
In 1914 a community photo was taken.  That photo has surfaced and there is an effort to celebrate community by taking a 100 year photo.  There are some 400 people in the 1914 photo and some 200 of them have been identified by people who remember their grand or great grandparents. Old photos of ancestors have been resurrected to use in making comparisons for identifying those in the 1914 photo.  Tales are been exchanged, ancestors personalities and stories are remembered and shared.   Come help identify your relatives who helped build the Tri-C community.  Bring old photos and stories to share.  There may be an oral history booth to collect those remembrances. These would later be shared on a Tri-C history site.
The Jefferson C123 Educational Foundation reunion, the Lollipop Parade and the St. Columba parish festival are all to take place to help celebrate 100+ years of community, education and faith.
The annual Lollipop Parade sponsored by the Tri-C Area Community Development is being held at 12:30 pm.  Participates in the parade should be at the staging area at 11:30 pm near John Paul II formerly JFK on the Conception Abbey grounds.  Viewing of the parade will be in front of the basilica. Bring a lawn chair.  Lollipops will be handed out by Abe Lincoln to the children participating in the parade before the parade.  Those who want a lollipop after the photo op see Abe Lincoln aka Jerry Eckstein.
The 2014 photo is planned for 1:30 pm.  Anyone formerly and currently having any connection to the Tri-C area is encouraged to participate in this event.  A digital copy of this photo will be available free to those who leave contact information by registering at the Jefferson C-123 Foundation registration table.  Those wanting printed copies will need to discuss this possibility with those at the registration booth.
Following the parade and photo take advantage of a picnic, under the pines, of grill hamburgers or tenderloin provided by the local Knights of Columbus for a free will donation. Profits will be shared by the Jefferson C-123 Foundation, Knights of Columbus and American Legion. (All of these groups provide scholarships to the local Jefferson C-123 students.)
A tour of the Immaculate Conception Basilica will be available after the photo event.  The art is this church is museum worthy.  Many of us have lived here and not appreciated the treasures among us.
American Legion 464 members will be available to help with parking and answer questions. Golf cart transportation to and from parking areas will be available.
St. Columba parish festival will consist of games and other entertainment provided by community organizations.  Tickets for these activities will be available at individual booths. A bounce house will be available on the soccer field.
Come join the fun of community celebration.

Directions and questions may be sent to or or  Phone number 660 254-0033

Friday, May 2, 2014

Abbey Run Walk

Remember Conception Abbey May 3, 2014 Run/Walk.  Check Web site list on the main page for more information on the Conception Abbey site.
It is finally going to be a beautiful day.