Bohemia 1704-2004: A History of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Shrine in Cecil County, Maryland

Article excerpt

Bohemia 1704-2004: A History of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Shrine in Cecil County, Maryland. By Thomas J. Peterman. [The Bohemian Historical Society, 2.] (Devon, Pennsylvania: William T. Cooke Publishing Co. 2004. Pp. 384. $50.00.)

Saint Francis Xavier Church in Warwick, Maryland, is situated in what seems, to a present-day traveler, to be an isolated location. Yet, as Father Thomas J. Peterman writes in the tercentennial history of this venerable shrine of American Catholic history, such it has always been. Though it could never boast a sizable congregation, the church and plantation founded by the Jesuits between the two branches of the Bohemia river was important not only for the base it provided for missionary endeavors in the surrounding countryside, but in the nearby colony of Pennsylvania as well. As one who has written extensively on the history of the Catholic Church in the Delmarva peninsula, Peterman was the obvious choice to pen the chronicle of St. Francis Xavier, commissioned by the Old Bohemia Historical Society.

The book contains a wealth of information on the history of the church, its pastors and worshipers, and is organized primarily according to the tenure of the priests who cared for the often far-flung congregation, and the bishops under whom they served. It is attractively bound and contains numerous reproductions of photographs, maps, and drawings. The historical narrative that unfolds is presented in painstaking detail that is the obvious fruit of exhaustive research on the part of its author. Those -who turn to its pages in search of the specifics of what daily life at St. …


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