Saturday, May 21, 2016


As I prepare for my new assignment on the Georgia Coast, I muse on the full circle I have come in terms of the sea, my Italian, Canadian and Georgian roots planted near South Carolina! The sea is in me and I am glad to see the sea again! I feel a physiological change in my body when I am by the sea even if I can't see the sea!


St. Andrews (RC) Parish 

Judique is a small community located in Inverness County on the Ceilidh Trail (Trunk 19) on the western side of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The sea plays an important part in my father's hometown, not to mention lobstering:

Judique is on the edge of St. George’s Bay in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Judique is situated between Grahams on the Shore Road in the north, Beatons on Hwy 19, and the boundary between Long Point and Craigmore to the South. St. George’s Bay on the east and General Line Road to the west.
Early settlement (I suspect I am related to Captain Michael mor MacDonald and one should keep in mind that it is only a mistake of the USA immigration services that my father's last name was changed from MacDonald to McDonald when he became an American citizen in 1941.)
The first permanent European pioneers of Judique were mainly of Scots Highland descent and they moved to the west coast of Cape Breton Island from Prince Edward Island, Pictou, Guysborough, and some walked the distance from Parsborough. The ‘Judique Shores’ stretched from Long Point in the south to the Little Judique River just on the boundary of Port Hood, in the north.

Tradition has it that in 1775, poet and sea captain Michael mor MacDonald of South Uist/PEI, who attended the Glenaladale emigration to PEI, spent the winter near the Grand Judique River. He encountered Mi’kmaq during his stay. The ice came in before he had a chance to leave and he spent the winter there. His Gaelic song about the event, “O, Is Àlainn an t-Àite (pronounced: oh, iss ah-lin un t-ah-chuh) “O, Fair is the Place”, is thought by many to be the first Scots Gaelic song composed in North America.

Baxter’s Cove – Judique
Prior to 1787, Michael Mór MacDonald of South Uist frequently landed on the coast and partially explored it. He eventually became the mason, of Blair-Athole in Indian Point, at the north end of Judique, which is now a protected archeological site. Among the early Scottish settlers were MacDonald, Robert Innes, Hugh MacEachern, wife and family of Moidart, and Allan Ban MacDonnell of Glengarry. Michael, Robert, and Allan Ban married, about the same time, daughters of Hugh MacEachern, and became among the first settlers of Judique in 1787.

And then there is my mom's hometown by the Mediterranean Sea in Livorno, Italy in Tuscany:

Livorno was designed as an "Ideal town" during the Italian Renaissance, when it was ruled by the Grand Duchy of Tuscany of the House of Medici.[7] The first plan was drawn by the architect Bernardo Buontalenti in 1577,[7] the new fortified town had a pentagon plant, for this reason is called Pentagono del Buontalenti, incorporating the original settlement. The Porto Mediceo was over looked and defended by towers and fortresses leading to the town centre.

In the late 1580s, Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, declared Livorno a free port (porto franco), which meant that the goods traded here were duty-free within the area of the town's control. To regulate this trade, in 1593 the Duke's administration established the Leggi Livornine.[7] These laws were in force until 1603, until the beginning of the Counter-Reformation. The laws established a well-regulated market, protecting merchant activities from crime and racketeering, and instituted laws regarding international trade.

Additionally, expanding Christian tolerance, the laws offered the right of public freedom of religion and amnesty to people having to gain penance given by clergy in order to conduct civil business. The Grand Duke attracted numerous Turks, Persians, Moors, Greeks, and Armenians, along with Jewish immigrants, beginning in the late sixteenth century with the Alhambra Decree, which resulted in the expulsion from Spain and Portugal, and extended them rights and privileges; they contributed to the mercantile wealth and scholarship in the city.

Livorno became an enlightened European city and one of the most important ports of the entire Mediterranean Basin. Many European foreigners moved to Livorno. These included Christian Protestant reformers who supported such leaders as Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others. French, Dutch, and English arrived, along with Orthodox Greeks. Meanwhile, Jews continued to trade under their previous treaties with the Grand Duke. On 19 March 1606, Ferdinando I de' Medici elevated Livorno to the rank of city; the ceremony was held in the Fortezza Vecchia Chapel of Francis of Assisi.

But of course, I was born in Naples, oh beautiful Naples and lived in the community looking over this splendid city, Vomero!  

 Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Bronze Age Greek settlements were established in the Naples area in the second millennium BC.[5] A larger colony – initially known as Parthenope, Παρθενόπη – developed on the Island of Megaride around the ninth century BC, at the end of the Greek Dark Ages.[6][7][8] The city was refounded as Neápolis in the sixth century BC[9] and became a lynchpin of Magna Graecia, playing a key role in the merging of Greek culture into Roman society and eventually becoming a cultural centre of the Roman Republic.[10] Naples remained influential after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, serving as the capital city of the Kingdom of Naples between 1282 and 1816. Thereafter, in union with Sicily, it became the capital of the Two Sicilies until the unification of Italy in 1861. During the Neapolitan War of 1815, Naples strongly promoted Italian unification.

And now I move back to the sea as of June 22nd when I become pastor of Saint Anne Church in Richmond Hill, just south of Savannah, Georgia and a part of the Golden Isles of Georiga.

 This is where my new rectory at 312 Victor's Court is located and it is eight miles from the church complex in a nice, regular neighborhood!
This is Ossabaw Island about 10 miles from the rectory, but no roads or bridges to it, it is a Federal Preserve and has a spectacular non public beach. Could you image the damage to the ecosystem if developers were allowed and how congested it would be? 

 The Golden Isles of Georgia's Coast:
Today’s Golden Isles were first settled about 4,500 years ago by tribes of the Creek nation. When the Spaniards arrived in the early 1500s, they encountered the Guale and Mocame tribes of the Timucuan people.[18] Relations between the Native Americans and the European newcomers alternated between friendly and hostile, as their allegiance was sought by competing Old World powers. By the late 1600s most of present-day Georgia became known as the "Debatable Land," while the French, Spanish and English all fought to establish dominance.

During this time, a Scottish nobleman, Sir Robert Montgomery, who envisioned a utopian colony
between the Savannah and Altamaha rivers, published "A Description of the Golden Islands"[19] in London (1720). The colony was never established, but the name persists to this day.

By the 1730s, the Native American population had declined, and Great Britain had prevailed to the extent of founding the colony of Georgia under the leadership of Gen. James Oglethorpe, who established the city of Savannah. (Some three decades later, the town of Brunswick would be laid out in a similar grid pattern, consisting of streets and squares.) In 1736, Oglethorpe built Fort Frederica on the western shore of St. Simons Island to defend the Georgia colony from the Spaniards to the south.[7]

 Ossabaw Island is one of the Sea Islands located on the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the U.S. state of Georgia approximately twenty miles by water south from the historic downtown of the city of Savannah. One of the largest of Georgia's barrier islands, Ossabaw contains 9,000 acres (3,600 ha) of wooded uplands with freshwater ponds and 16,000 acres (6,500 ha) of marshlands[2] interlaced with tidal creeks. Located between Wassaw Island and the Ogeechee River on the north and St. Catherines Island on the south, the island is not linked to the mainland by bridge or causeway. At 26,000 acres (11,000 ha), it is the third-largest barrier island off the coast of Georgia.

And then there is Hilton Head Island, South Carolina to the north of Tybee Island aka, Savannah Beach. I love Hilton Head Island and would love to live there or retire there. It is 50 miles from Richmond Hill or a 45 minute car commute: 

And if I lived there, I would have gone from the Boot of Italy to the Shoe of South Carolina! How cool would that be? And if I named my retirement villa after my mother's full Italian first name, Isolina (which litterally means little island) and the name my father from Cape Breton Island went by, Mac, it would be "Villa MacIsolina!"
 This would be a lovely place to retire and take a day off!  It would be like paradise!
 This would be a great view from your deck!



Anonymous said...

Like you, Father, I love to be near the sea. I live inland at the moment near a river but I do miss the sea. Every holiday break I take is somewhere near the sea. There is nothing more invigorating than to walk by the water, to smell the salt air. It is relaxing and refreshing, even in winter. So in actual fact you're more likely to be a surfie riding the waves than a hillbilly but it sounds as if you're going to enjoy your new parish.

Anonymous 2 said...

Some of us might say “especially in winter,” Jan.

That is a very interesting history and family story, Father McDonald, and you are about to embark on what promises to be a very interesting new chapter in it.

I foresee look see visits by sea lovers in each season.