What Lies Beneath?


The remains of two Perth archbishops were exhumed from under the floorboards of St Mary’s cathedral in the Western Australia capital.

(R)ecords from 1943 suggested the tombs had been moved to a newer section of St Mary’s, but did not provide the exact location. The puzzle began to take shape about three years ago when archdiocese archivist Sister Frances Stibi discovered one of the crosses carved into the floor near the altar. But the fate of the crypt remained unresolved until six weeks ago when the pews were removed for restoration work, and the three other crosses were revealed. Archeologists —helped by University of WA students — used a metal rod to probe under the floorboards until they discovered a metal cap covering a small, brick and plaster crypt containing two coffins. Sand and building rubble coating the coffins still held footprints left by workers who covered the graves almost 80 years ago.

A fiber-optic probe was inserted through a small opening of one coffin. Researchers found a skeleton and vestments. The bishops’ remains will be interred in a crypt with Perth’s other archbishops after the renovation at St Mary’s is complete.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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