The moving of the tomb of the late Cardinal O’Connell generated a fair amount of reader feedback, both publicly and privately via email to BCI, so we are continuing our last story for one more day, including pictures of the new gravesite.
Someone wrote the following to us yesterday:
“…the idea of moving the Cardinal was 100% Boston College’s. The other thing you should know is that the chapel had trees growing through the roof. Many years ago it was the site of an annual Mass but that was discontinued due to the condition of the building. I was up there several years ago and was appalled at the condition. The family would have never taken this to court if BC would have sat at the table and explained why they wanted him to be moved. The shame in this one is on Boston College.”
BCI thinks there is plenty of shame to go around, to both Boston College and the archdiocese. This June 2008 story in Boston Magazine, “Over His Dead Body,” validates that BC is culpable for wanting the remains of Cardinal O’Connell removed and for failing to engage with the relatives of the late Cardinal O’Connell:
According to a source with knowledge of the deal, BC hurried to complete the 2004 sale agreement, and the archdiocese, desperate to pay off victims of the abuse scandal, was just as eager to close. Both sides knew O’Connell’s remains could potentially be trouble, but they entered into the arrangement anyway, attaching a stipulation to the sales contract saying that the archdiocese, as the former owner of O’Connell’s body, would assist in arranging for its removal from BC’s new land at some unspecified time in the future.
The archdiocese has tried to live up to its end of that agreement, to no avail: Since it no longer owns the land, it has no jurisdiction over its contents or inhabitants, which means it can’t tell O’Connell’s family what to do with his remains. Technically, BC isn’t similarly restrained, but on a practical level, exhuming O’Connell presents its own problems. “BC, the owner, has not informed us, the family, about the reason why they would want him removed,” says O’Connell’s great-nephew, Edward Kirk. “We didn’t see any real reason why he couldn’t stay where he is.” BC, the owner, has not informed us, the family, about the reason why they would want him removed,” says O’Connell’s great-nephew, Edward Kirk. “We didn’t see any real reason why he couldn’t stay where he is.” Even if the family did support a bid to take a jackhammer to Uncle Cardinal’s mausoleum, a probate judge would still have to find a compelling reason why BC couldn’t live with the cardinal’s bones up on the hill. BC hasn’t articulated that to anybody yet. The college likes to think much more big-picture.
As we know, the archdiocese stood to lose $2 million from BC if they did not move the late cardinal’s remains, so the folks at #66 Brooks had an incentive to see the remains moved. See this passage from a 2009 article in The Pilot:
“the sale agreement between the two parties says the archdiocese is to pay for the disinterment. The archdiocese also has “the right, but not the obligation” to move the mausoleum surrounding the remains as well. Also according to the sale agreement, BC was to withhold $2 million to be given to the archdiocese upon removal of the late Cardinal’s tomb.
Anyway, that is all water over the dam. The Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been torn down and the tomb relocated. Just for posterity sake, here is once again a photo of what the chapel looked like atop the hill overlooking St. Johns Seminary:
Courtesy of a Brighton BCI reader who emailed these pictures to us over the weekend, here is a photo of what the location looks like now:
Here is the courtyard at St. John’s Seminary where the remains of the late Cardinal O’Connell are now interred:
Lastly, here is a photo of what BCI is told is the new gravesite for the late Cardinal O’Connell:
So, this is what appears at least for now to be the final resting place for the late Cardinal O’Connell, on the grounds of
St. John’s Seminary Boston College adjacent to the “condominium” that St. John’s Seminary occupies on BC-owned land.
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