Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Regional Report

the Inland Register

(From the July 21, 2011 edition of the Inland Register)

Archdiocese of Seattle

VASHON – Marcus Daly makes wood caskets in the shop alongside his house where he and his wife, Kelly, are raising their six young children on an organic farm replete with goats and chickens. His business, Marian Caskets, devotes 10 percent of each sale to purchase ultrasound machines so that women will choose life.

Working on his company’s precept that “no one should be materially impoverished by death,” Daly also has donated his handcrafted caskets to families in need.

A former commercial fisherman and boat builder who previously ran a landscaping business on Vashon, Daly launched his for-profit casket business two years ago, having first considered it in 2005 after being inspired by the funeral of Blessed Pope John Paul II. A longtime admirer of the pope and a reader of his books, he was impressed at how the pontiff’s simple, cypress wood casket sat amid all the ornate grandeur of St. Peter Basilica. Here was a life well lived “passing from this life into eternal life without all the deflections and trappings” around him, he said.

The environmentally conscious Daly uses hand tools and abundantly available Northwest pine, cypress, red cedar and walnut in his work.

He notes that wood caskets, unlike metal ones, carry “God’s handprint.”

“There’s a uniqueness the way the grain comes together,” he said. “There’s just so much more beauty to me. Especially with life and death. [Wood] is such a part of the natural world … and it breaks down faster.

“People will put a lot of time or a lot of money into a casket that slows decomposition, and seal their casket and things like this,” he said. “But that sort of speaks to that casket as a destination. It’s not a destination, it’s a doorway.”

The caskets range in price from $950-$1,650.

– Catholic Northwest Progress (Archdiocese of Seattle)

Archdiocese of Portland

PORTLAND – Some Catholic buildings of yesteryear are just plain gone.

In Portland, for example, the old St. Joseph Church at Northwest 15th and Couch, and the old St. Lawrence at Southwest Third and Sherman, were razed for freeways and urban renewal. In Salem, the Victorian marvel of the 1871 Sacred Heart Academy is dust.

But dozens of old churches and schools were repurposed after being sold. A survey finds that former western Oregon Catholic institutions are being put to use for education, social services, business and even private homes.

Old churches in Lake Oswego and Dallas are now residences. Ghosts have been reported in both buildings. The old St. Philip Church in Dallas reportedly has the spirit of a nun residing there; she slams doors when children get noisy.

On North Dekum Avenue, the 1916 St. Rose Industrial School once served girls age 12 and older who had met with trouble and led them to “culture and refinement,” as the Catholic Sentinel put it in 1939. Now called Rosemont Court, the stately brick institution houses low-income seniors.

St. Andrew School in Northeast Portland, closed in the 1980s, has been revived as St. Andrew Nativity School, which for a decade has educated promising students who otherwise could not afford a Catholic education. For years, the school building was leased out for other purposes, including health checkups and a Waldorf preschool.

In Sublimity, the old parochial school is now a public middle school. The former parish school in Mount Angel is now a public school, too, but still carries the name St. Mary’s.

The Jesuit novitiate in Sheridan, where young Jesuits were formed for decades, is now the Delphian School, a private boarding school that developed in the 1970s. The school uses study methods developed by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, but is not affiliated with that church.

Beyond the western part of the state, in Central Oregon, the 1936 St. Francis School in Bend is now a McMenamin’s pub and lodge.

– Catholic Sentinel (Archdiocese of Portland)

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