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Sunday, August 21, 2011

OLM: Looking for Founding Parishioners!

Our Lady of the Magnificat OLM: Looking for Founding Parishioners!
Our Lady of the Magnificat Church (OLM) in Kinnelon is getting ready to kick-off its Golden Jubilee year-long celebration of the founding of the parish. Needed: founding parishioners!

From the parish bulletin:

"We are looking for the names of those who joined the new parish of Our Lady of the Magnificat in September 1961-September 1962 and who are still living. Children who were alive then and are still parishioners today would qualify. We would like to designate them as honorary chairpersons of the jubilee year. Please call the rectory with this information. If they are out of town, please give us their address."

Several of you have asked about Our Lady of the Magnificat. Were your families founding parishioners? If so, I'm sure Monsignor Carroll would love to hear from you!

To contact the rectory, call 973-838-6838 or email pastor@olmchurch.org.

Given the upcoming 50 year celebrations, I plan on sharing with you a Cornie Hubner, Didja Know? story titled "Our Lady of the Magnificat" - as soon as I take a few photos of the Chapel.

In the meantime, from the Parish archives, here is the history of Our Lady of the Magnificat Chapel:

"The Chapel of Our Lady of the Magnificat was built in 1954 - a replica of a 13th century English Church. The ancient theme is represented throughout, lacking only flying buttresses to be pure Gothic. The Chapel is approximately 73 feet by 33 feet, built of native stone with walls 16 inches thick, and a pitched, slate roof. The soft color of the interior wood walls of Philippine mahogany and oak furnishings are complemented by the shape of the dark overhead truss, the cathedral ceiling being excellent for acoustics. There is a special feeling upon entering the tight space of the alcove and expanding into a larger arrangement of space where the arched window in seven shades of blue is prominent and draws all attention.

The Chapel was the dream of Henry Wise Miller and his wife, Audrey Frazier Miller. It is built on land which was owned by Robert Morris in 1792 and Benjamin Howell in 1809 (gentlemen renowned in New Jersey history), and purchased by Mr. Miller in 1925. Mr. Miller was born in France, scion of a prominent New Jersey family who ancestors included a Senator, an officer in the East Indian Army who served under the Duke of Wellington and a great grandfather who was President of Harvard. He was married to the writer, Alice Duer Miller (best known for "The White Cliffs of Dover") until her death in 1942. In the process of publishing his autobiography All our lives: Alice Duer Miller he met and married Audrey Frazier Miller. He drew his own architectural plans from memory of the church he had seen in Harescombe, England, and from books. No expense was spared in its construction. The Chapel was named Our Lady of the Magnificat based on his favorite passage from the Gospel of St. Luke.

In 1952, Henry, who was not Catholic, and Audrey Miller bequested the acres to the Diocese of Paterson, for the future formation of parish now known as Our Lady of the Magnificat. Mr. Miller was in failing health during construction of the Chapel and shortly before his death he was affirmed to the Catholic faith. He lived to see the Chapel dedication of July 2, 1954 and died September 15, 1954. His was the first funeral Mass in the Chapel. Mrs. Audrey Frazier Miller died in Arkansas in June of 1976.

The Chapel remains an architectural and cultural landmark in our community of which all citizens in Kinnelon can be justly proud."

What are your memories of Our Lady of the Magnificat? What major celebrations do you remember taking place there? What role has it played in your and your family's lives? Let me know in the comments.

P.S.: If you have photos, send them along. I'll share them on the blog!

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