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Baraga's coat of arms

Today, we’re breaking down Bishop Baraga’s original coat of arms and its meaning behind each piece! 

UNUM EST NECESSARIUM: Bishop Baraga’s Personal Motto, “only one thing is necessary”             – Luke 10:42

ROMAN GALERO:  The galero was originally a pilgrim’s hat like a sombrero and is seen in various colors and forms and is used to show heraldic achievements. The Galero is attached to tassels, indicating the rank of the clergy. A bishop’s galero is green with six tassels on each side. It’s stated that the green color originated in Spain where a green hat was worn by bishops formerly.

MITER: In western churches, the Miter is placed above the shield of all people who were entitled to wear the miter, mostly specific to Bishops.

CROSS: The display of the cross behind the shield is restricted to Bishops as a mark of their dignity.

CROSIER: The crosier was displayed as a symbol of pastoral jurisdiction by bishops.

SHIELD: The Shield is the core of the coat of arms, with other elements placed around, above or below it. Unless a bishop has a family coat of arms, they would adopt within their shield, symbols that indicate interests and past service. Venerable Frederic Baraga had a strong love of God and also held a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother, as his Coat of Arms depicts.
On the left section of the Crest is “IHS” for Christ; The cross and three nails on the left section symbolize the instruments of Christ’s crucifixion.
On the right section is “AM” for Mary. The sword that pierced Mary’s heart at that crucifixion and the star that symbolizes her triumphant queen-ship appear in the right hand section.
At the bottom half are the signs of faith, hope and charity: a cross, an anchor, and a heart. Frederic Baraga’s entire life was devoted to these three theological virtues.

 

Excerpts from Bp. Baraga: “Protector of Wayfarers/Seafarers” by Thomas Altman

Thomas Altman of Shakopee, Minnesota, sent the Bishop Baraga Association an incredibly moving story about a solo kayak trip he took on Lake Superior in July of 2018. The trip, a spiritual quest, was originally meant to be a two week, 130-mile paddle around the Keweenaw Peninsula.  Presenting the idea to his spiritual director Altman said, “I desire my Keweenaw trip to be spiritual in nature, with these components: prayer, study, contemplation, exertion, ingenuity, observation, awe, wonder, and thanksgiving. I do this in the spirit of, and under the protection of, Venerable Bishop Frederic Baraga.” 

Lake Superior grew treacherous as Altman scanned the island for a safe entrance to the harbor. The waves had grown to 8-feet and the surf was crashing up and over the cliffs and boulders that lined the harbor. Altman’s sleek fiberglass kayak would not withstand these dangerous landing conditions, and his body was becoming weak from the battle. Altman says, “My poor body was sore and almost spent, from the continuous reflexively counter-acting the energy of the waves from conflicting directions for five hours now, as it closed in on 9 p.m. without a rest. It was pretty dicey for a while, and I don’t know how I made it, but I finally broke through to the south side of the island and gave glory, praise, and thanks to God!”

While Altman was out of direct wave action, the south side of the island was by no means calm. The “fortress-like walls of naturally-formed concrete-conglomerate,” as described by Altman, provided no safe stopping point. He continues on to say, “Then, to my bewilderment, I saw an odd sight, as I paddled west along Manitou’s southern shore (anytime you see something that strikes you as peculiar, Pay Attention). At 9:30 p.m., the setting sun just grazed over the island’s treetops, shining on, and lighting up a lonely little tree at the end of a breakwater-like rock outcropping. This scrawny little tree, barely 6-feet tall, formed a green cross, with its leaves aglow, backlit by the soft golden sunlight. Intrigued, I paddled towards it, wondering if it was ‘a sign’ for land here. It was like a neon green cross, pointing to, identifying a safe harbor of refuge.” The steep outcropping, adorned with what Altman dubs the, “Baraga Cross,” proved to be the safest option for landing. After paddling an exhausting and technical 17-miles, he finally managed to maneuver 250 lbs. of boat and gear up and out of the surf. Greeted by mosquitos, fumbling through weariness, Altman had made it ashore. He concludes, “That’s how Fr. Baraga and his dauntless companion got off the lake, with no map, just faith, without being dashed on the rocks.”

Read his full story here

Baraga Days 2020 Announcement

Baraga Days Announcement: Due to the continuing COVID-19 outbreak, we are unable to host the in-person Baraga Days event scheduled in Lemont, IL on September 19-20, 2020. The Bishop Baraga Association is working in conjunction with the Slovenian Culture Center from Lemont, IL to create an online event. Please watch our website, Facebook page and Fall Baraga Bulletin for further details about the event. Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

Bishop Baraga declared venerable

One of our favorite moments in recent years is when Bishop Frederic Baraga was declared “Venerable” by Pope Benedict XVI! Below is an excerpt from an article released by the Diocese of Marquette in 2012. 

“Bishop Frederic Baraga has been declared “Venerable” by Pope Benedict XVI. The decision by the Holy Father was announced on May 10, 2012 directly following his meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Bishop Alexander Sample commented, “I am thrilled beyond words at this recognition of Bishop Baraga’s heroic virtue by the universal Church. I cannot overstate what a significant step this is toward the anticipated beatification and canonization of Bishop Baraga. This is a day for which we have been waiting nearly 40 years. I am so pleased to be able to call my saintly predecessor ‘Venerable’ Frederic Baraga!”

Celebrating Baraga

Baraga Days and Baraga Celebrations were held annually between locations in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. In 1949, Marquette, MI became home to one of the largest celebrations holding mass, traditional dance and praise as well as worship and celebration for who Baraga was and all that he accomplished.  

Bishop Sample & BBA Founder Joseph Gregorich

In 1999, (present day Arch Bishop) Bishop Sample presented a gift and cake in celebration and recognition of Joesph Gregorich’s hard work on Bishop Baraga’s Cause for Canonization. 

Celebrating 150 Years of Bishop baraga

In 1947, Baraga Days was held in Eagle Harbor, MI. Joseph Zyrd said mass at the Altar and a crowd gathered in a nearby field to celebrate and commemorate 150 years of Bishop Baraga.

Bishop Baraga Association Moves to the u.p.

After being moved from IL to Marquette, MI, The Bishop Baraga Association was located on Fischer Street. An excerpt from a news article:

“The first day of work in the new Bishop Baraga Association Office located on Fischer Street, Marquette, provided the photographer with the above picture of the personnel currently engaged in the Cause for Beatification of Bishop Baraga. The three women pictured at their desks are (left to right) Mrs. Joesph Gregorich, who has been ably assisting her husband in the many details of Association work; Miss Mary Ann Malloy and Miss Mary Gail Hampton, secretaries.  Standing left to right are Msgr. Robert Chisholm, Assistant editor of the Bishop Baraga Bulletin conversing with Joseph Gregorich, Bishop Baraga Historian; Howard Brown working on a translation of Latin and French documents, is shown at the files with Father Charles Carmody, Historical Consultant.  Absent from the picture is Miss Mary Harrington, secretary for the Association, who is on vacation. Howard Brown, a seminarian, will leave for his theological studies at St. John’s Provincal Seminary in Plymouth soon and Miss Hampton and Miss Malloy will attend Northern Michigan College.”

The founding of the bishop baraga archives

The Bishop Baraga Association was founded in 1930. The original mission was to promote the
Cause for Canonization of Bishop Baraga. Did you know that the Association wasn’t always located in Marquette, MI? The BBA headquarters were once located in Oak Park, IL. The picture above is of the original Baraga Archives with BBA founder, Joseph Gregorich in Oak Park, IL. 

Today, the Association resides within the Baraga Educational Center located at 615 S. Fourth Street, Marquette, MI 49855.  The BBA is currently working on digitizing microfilm and other documents that have been collected, donated and transcribed in the Baraga Archives. The hope is to be able to share this information and to become a community resource to those not only interested in Frederic Bishop Baraga but also in the history of the Great Lakes Region.

Abraham and louise Fleury

Pictured above are Abraham Joseph Fleury and Louise (Messier) Fleury on their wedding day. Abraham Fleury was born on August 10, 1866 in Maskinonge, Quebec, Canada. Louise (Messier) Fleury was born on Januray 25, 1862 in Au Sable Forks, Clinton, New York, USA. They were married on November 26, 1888 and resided in Marquette County. The Fleury Family, devout Catholics and large Baraga supporters resided in the Baraga House from 1908- 1988. It’s recalled that Mrs. Fleury made a down payment of $200.00 and paid $25.00 each month as payment for the house.

Here they raised eight children; Clara, Archie, Louise, Abraham, Leo, Wilfred, Clement and Agnes. Mother, Louise Fleury had quite fond memories of Bishop Baraga. As a young girl she would often times bring laundry or meals over to Bishop Baraga during the last few years of his life and implemented the knowledge and teachings of Baraga into her children. The Fleury children reported that they “knew Baraga well” and that their mother talked about him often. 

Mother, Louise Fleury passed away on February 20, 1930. Father, Abraham Fleury passed away on September 14, 1944. The house remained in the Fluery Family after their parents death and was always looked upon as a “special place” to the children. 

Pictured left is the Fleury family 

Back Row: Louise, Wilfred, Leo, Clement 

Front Row: Agnes, Abraham Sr., Louise and Clara

The history of the baraga house

The Baraga House was built in 1857 and is the oldest house in Marquette County.  Originally the house was behind St. Peter Cathedral. It was formerly used as a parish; the first floor being used for the church, the second story being a place of residents for the priest.

Bishop Baraga moved into the house in 1866. He was very minimalistic. From personal stories told, we know that there was no electricity, no furnace. It did have a small wood stove in the death room. We know that while Baraga was here, the upstairs wasn’t used much, because he knew that it would be too costly to maintain and heat this large of a building. So he worked and lived predominantly downstairs.

Bishop Baraga passed away in 1868 and after that a Marquette resident, Charlie McCabe bought the building and turned it into a private residency.

The original foundation’s exterior was wood clapboard siding, it became bricked in 1872 when the Baraga house moved to its present location at 615 S. Fourth Street, Marquette, MI 49855. When the building was moved, the original house was added onto another building that was already there.

The McCabe family used the house as a residence and lived here from 1872 to 1909.  In 1909, the Fleury family approached the McCabes regarding the opportunity to buy the house.  It stayed in the Fleury Family until 1988. In 1988 son, Wilfred Fluery passed away and left the Baraga House in his will to the Diocese of Marquette.

Nearly 30 years later, in 2017, the Bishop Baraga Association began the construction of the Baraga Educational Center; restoring and transforming the Baraga House into a museum. In 2018, Most Reverend John F. Doerfler blessed the Baraga Educational Center and the doors were open to the public. A year later, the Bishop Baraga Association began the construction of the Baraga Prayer Gardens and Votive House.

Today, the Baraga Educational Center is open April 1- November 30 from 8:30am-5:00pm, as well as on the off season, evenings and weekends by appointment. For additional information please contact the Bishop Baraga Association at 906-227-9117.

Meet the BBA FounDer JoSeph Gregorich

Joseph Gregorich (1889-1984) was a mechanical engineer by profession and a historian by avocation. Mr. Gregorich’s mother was born in one of the parishes in Slovenia in which Fr. Baraga had been a parish priest, and she inspired her son with a love of Baraga. Joseph Gregorich dedicated fifty years of his life to the collection (usually by microfilm), cataloguing, and translation of materials relating to the life and activities of Father and later Bishop Baraga. This collection was the basis of the “Positio,” the document describing Baraga’s life of heroic virtue, which was presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican. The collection of historical data on Bishop Baraga that Joseph Gregorich amassed totaled 600 rolls of microfilm and 200 feet of shelved, printed material. Most of this historical material came from the United States, Austria, and Slovenia (which was part of communist Yugoslavia at the time of Mr. Gregorich’s collection activities). Lesser amounts were collected in Switzerland, France, and Italy. Mr. Gregorich translated all the documents in the Slovene, German, and French languages into English. Joseph Gregorich was also the primary translator of the diary Bishop Baraga kept while he was bishop. To insure the confidentiality of his diary, the saintly bishop wrote it in seven languages – German, French, Slovene, Italian, Latin, English, and Chippewa. Mr. Gregorich translated the first five languages. Rev. Paul Prud’homme, S.J., translated the Chippewa entries. Mr. Gregorich was also one of the founders of the Bishop Baraga Association in 1930. This Association was organized to promote the Cause for Canonization of Bishop Baraga. In his later years, Joseph Gregorich organized bus trips to the Upper Peninsula, bringing people from the Chicago area to the Baraga sites. Mary Gregorich (1889-1988) supported her husband in his dedication to Bishop Baraga by running a comfortable home, always shielding her husband from the occasional household problem. Much of the expenses of Mr. Gregorich’s earlier research on Bishop Baraga came from the family’s modest household budget, but Mary never complained, saying many times, “Joe is doing God’s work.”