St. Francis Xavier Church - Gettysburg, PA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
N 39° 49.718 W 077° 13.922
18S E 308990 N 4411121
Quick Description: Beautiful church with strong ties dating back to the Civil War.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 9/29/2010 2:08:05 PM
Waymark Code: WM9TYG
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Turtle3863
Views: 5

Long Description:

During the Civil War battle of Gettysburg in 1863, some of the the most seriously wounded, numbering 200-250, were taken to this church, where they were nursed by The Sisters of Charity from Emmitsburg, Maryland. One of the sisters wrote, "They lay on the pew seats, under the pews, in every aisle, and there was scarcely room to pass among them in the sanctuary and in the gallery . . . . The Station pictures hung around the walls, and a very large oil painting of St. Francis Xavier, holding in his hand a crucifix to show the benighted pagans the sign of their Redemption. This was a Book read by our poor men, for we had in that Church but one Catholic, and our glorious saint was for the time resuming his apostolical mission among them. The first man put in the sanctuary was soon baptized, and with truly Christian sentiments. His pain was excruciating and when sympathy was offered to him he said, ‘Oh! What are these pains I suffer in comparison with those my Redeemer suffered for me.’ In these sentiments he died." While they cared for the bodies, the Sisters did not neglect the souls of their patients and many died with these holy women comforting them with assurances of God’s infinite love and mercy. (Source cited below)

The cornerstone of the present church was laid on June 20, 1852, by the new Bishop of Philadelphia, John Neumann. He came back the next year to dedicate the church on July 31, 1853.

There are marvelous works of art to the right and left of the main entrance featuring relief scenes of the Gettysburg Battle. Inside are insanely beautiful stained glass depicting various religious scenes from the Bible. The bell tower was pretty neat too, which more resembled a cupola with a bell inside than the large, imposing towers seen on most churches. The church was renovated and added to in the later years so it does not look like its late 19th century self as seen in some vintage pictures.

Related Website: [Web Link]

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