The Maryland Tradition
Drive two hours south of Washington, D.C., through the lush, green farmlands of St. Mary's County to the southern Maryland peninsula, where the Potomac River empties into the Chesapeake Bay on the west, the bay reaches up past Annapolis and Baltimore on the east, and Maryland's Eastern Shore dangles down between the Chesapeake and the Atlantic Ocean. A few miles into the Potomac sits St. Mary's City, the first permanent settlement in Maryland, now a mini theme park, with reproductions, a gift shop, and skeleton replicas of original buildings, including a 17th-century chapel.
Then descend a few miles to St. Inigoes, where the first Jesuits, who had received from Lord Baltimore 2,000 acres for every five men recruited for the voyage, farmed about a sixth of the total 24,500 acres the Jesuits owned, not as formal chaplains but as participant “adventurers” in the founding of the colony.
Then turn north along the west coast into Charles County and to Chapel Point and Port Tobacco and St. Ignatius Church, St. Thomas Manor, possibly the oldest foundation in the world in continuous Jesuit possession.
In the ancient graveyard, fresh small Confederate flags stand by the graves of two Confederate spies. Some Union soldiers lie buried in the woods. This is the neighborhood into which John Wilkes Booth fled after Lincoln's assassination, and a new-looking gravestone is marked MUDD, descendant of the Catholic doctor, jailed as a conspirator, who treated Booth in flight.
A few miles away, on tiny St. Clement's Island at the mouth of the Potomac, on March 25, 1634, roughly 150 men, women, and children waded ashore from two British ships, the big 400-ton Ark and its pinnacle, the 40-ton Dove, and the Catholics in the expedition, a minority, gathered around a makeshift altar. There, Fr. Andrew White, age 54, of