ST. MARY CEMETERY
2201 Dixie Highway
Covington, KY 41017
No Official Website
Bella Morte Rating: 1 Tombstone
Had we not been in the area visiting the nearby multitude of truly lovely Cities of the Dead, we would not have made a trip to St. Mary’s. With that in mind, there are several noteworthy monuments to be found within its tranquil confines.
But more on that in a moment. First, a bit of history…
St. Mary is owned by the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption which, in 1870, was known as St. Mary Parish. The congregation paid $9,500 for forty-three acres of land to be used as the parish burial ground. In subsequent years, additional land was purchased, however, we are unaware of how much. In any case, the same bishop who consecrated nearby St. John Cemetery, Augustus Maria Toebbe, blessed St. Mary’s on 17 July, 1870 and burials began shortly thereafter. In addition, improvements were made, mostly in the area of paving and landscaping.
As far as history goes, that is all we were able to ascertain.
A tour of the hardly-expansive grounds will quickly reveal the stand-out memorial. We refer to the family mausoleum of Thomas J. Maloney. It boasts massive, arched bronze doors which are designed in the shape of two soaring trees. Visitors can peer into the interior through the openings in the branches which part to reveal a lovely stained glass window at the back of the otherwise-dark room. The ceiling of the structure is domed and this shape is echoed in the heavy granite roof which is capped with a large cross.
Although we could discover no information on Thomas J. Maloney, we did learn that John J. (presumably his son) served two terms as mayor of Covington. It seems safe to assume at least part of the family’s wealth was derived from political careers.
Another monument of note is the great stone cross bearing, on its crossbeam, the inscription “I am the resurrection and the life.” The foot of the cross is surrounded by carved lilies. Off to one side, a robed woman bearing an expression of contemplation sits in eternal vigil. This is the Dotchengall family memorial. Again, we could find no information on them, but the grandiosity of their memorial bespeaks wealth.
In complete juxtaposition, the grounds also host the bodies of a number of deceased nuns of the order of Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis. Their lives were devoted, as the order’s name suggests, to the poor, especially those with incurable diseases, unwed mothers and imprisoned women. The nuns rest in humble graves beneath a stately stone crucifix.
Just as a point of interest, we include here an image of two of the Sisters circa 1880.
Elsewhere, the deceased bishops of Covington, (with the exception of Ferdinand Brossart, who lies in Melbourne, Kentucky’s St. Anne Convent Cemetery) rest together.
Overall, while we can’t say St. Mary’s is exceptional by any standard, it does possess an almost palpable tranquility which we quite enjoyed.