Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
(This is the second of a four-part series about the "Old St. Anne's Pass" legends all between 1865 and 1940). The Bishop Martin Marty vs. Pearl Lake Controversy.
Please keep in mind that these stories are simply historical legends passed down between generations of local citizens. No religious or governmental authority has signed off on these stories as fact.
Bishop Marty, for whom the local town is named, was born Jan. 12, 1834, in Schwyz, Switzerland. He was ordained a Catholic Priest at the age of 22 in the Order of St. Benedict. He was ordained a Bishop at the age of 46. He was appointed Bishop of the St. Cloud Diocese in 1895 at the age of 61 and died in 1896 (one year later). We know from Part 1 that local legend suggests there was a priest that helped spread the word about Abraham Lincoln's death in April 1865. In efforts to end this rumor and move on to far more important missionary work, there was a shroud cast over his name. As with St. Anthony and countless other religious figures, he was eventually buried in an unmarked grave. St Lawrence (The original church at Pearl Lake) generally stands for two very important issues. First, St. Lawrence is protector of the Church treasures. Second, he is protector of the Holy (Stone) Chalice.
In 1896 the new Bishop, Martin Marty, spoke to the devastated congregation at Pearl Lake regarding the "Devil in the Chalice" storm of 1894. This storm destroyed the St. Lawrence church at Pearl Lake and several other area churches (as well as the Abby roof). An odd fact of dates: Abraham Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865. The shrouded priest died on April 14, 1886. The new Bishop addressed the Pearl Lake churchless congregation on April 14, 1896. It is rumored that Bishop Marty learned of the Shroud on April 14, 1896, from someone attending his address. Members of St. Anne's were at the address because the same 1894 storm destroyed their church as well. It is only the opinion of this writer that it was Elizabeth Beckers that told Bishop Marty of the shroud. In an effort to comfort the churchless congregation, Bishop Marty suggested it was all an act of God and the Devil was defeated through their sacrifice. "This storm has brought souls together" he said.
His highly charismatic messages caused mixed results and in a split congregational decision, the new church was changed to "Holy Cross" as it is today. Legend has it that Bishop Marty had verified the shroud within a few months and was planning to expose it but became ill. Settlers believed he became ill due to his plan to uncover the shroud. This was based on confusion that he was ill enough to skip the dedication of the new Holy Cross Church at Pearl Lake, but not Ill enough to ride west to expose the shroud. In addition, he may also have skipped the dedication because he supported keeping the "St. Lawrence" name over "Holy Cross." Although some published reports suggest he was ill for a few days, legend has it he died suddenly and mysteriously at the age of 62 (Sept. 19, 1896). Residents living in the Pearl Lake area felt so guilty they decided to incorporate the town with the name "Marty" in his honor. Rumors abound as to why so much guilt was present? Did anyone have anything to do with his sudden illness? Was it poison? Was it truly the result of a shroud? Or did he simply die of natural causes? The body of Bishop Marty was unearthed in 2004 and disbursed between two locations. His lower left leg is at St. Meinrads in Indiana and the rest of him is at Assumption in St. Cloud. An official autopsy has never been performed. After the town was named "Marty" and the new church was dedicated as "Holy Cross," Catholics in the Pearl Lake area wanted nothing to do with the past. Possibly due to guilt, they refused to call the town by the name of "Marty." The US postal service delivered mail to a fictitious town named "Pearl Lake" for more than 100 years. The St. Cloud Times and other area newspapers published obituaries of Catholics as being from Pearl Lake and non Catholics being from Marty. It has only been since 2003 that the St. Cloud Times realized this error and monitors their publishing as "Marty" (Pearl Lake). ********** Happy Thanksgiving Holiday Potluck: Next Tuesday, Nov. 27, from 6:30-8 p.m. in Kimball's historic city hall. Join us for our first holiday potluck social gathering to fellowship about what's been happening over the past summer months, followed by a brief informal meeting. We need your ideas as we plan our 2008 opportunities. Bring a dish to pass. Beverages and eating utensils will be provided. Bring a friend, everyone is welcome. ********** Time to celebrate: Besides awards from Meeker Cooperative and Stearns Electric Roundup Programs, The Minnesota Historical Society has been awarded a state grant through Capital Grants Preservation Program for the Kimball City Hall third phase, east (front) and west (back) tuckpointing and widnow restoration/replacement. The Kimball Historical Society is grateful for your contributions that made it possible for this matching grant. Actual work will begin with the arrival of warm weather in 2008. Watch for it. ********** 32 days left till Christmas Holiday shopping made easy: Great gifts available right here. Stress-free shopping guaranteed. Area first 65 years history, notecards of history, souvenir coffee mugs, souvenir trivets are available at the State Bank of Kimball. Ever-popular keepsake cookbooks of Kimball's best kept secret recipes are available at Knaus Sausage House. or give your special ones a gift membership or a renewed membership in Kimball's Historical Society. All of the above will be available at the Nov. 27 holiday potluck gathering, too. Shipping is possible. ********** Contact Kimball's Historical Society at (320) 398-5743, (320) 398-5250, (800) 252-2521, or Box 100, Kimball, Minn. 55353. See you on the 27th. ********** "Golden nuggets from forgotten places and faces."