A new history book about Lowell by Richard P. Howe Jr and Chaim Rosenberg to be published on March 11, 2013. To order a copy and to learn about local readings and book signings, check out our Legendary Locals of Lowell page.
An apple a day is the right thing. An apple plus a carrot is even better. Writing in the NYTimes, Natasha Singer looks into “prescription produce” and the sickness prevention benefits of real food, i.e., fruit and vegetables. Massachusetts public policy gets high praise in this article. Lowell and the surrounding towns offer farmers’ markets of various types. Look for local products on stands, at farms, and in orchards throughout the region. Read all about it here, and consider subscribing to the NYT if you like what you read.
The Lowell Quilt Festival continues at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, the NE Quilt Museum, and other locations around the city on Friday (10 am – 6 pm) and Saturday (10 am – pm). For the full schedule and event details, visit www.nequiltmuseum.org
Nancye Tuttle writes about this weekend’s Lowell Quilt Festival on Nancye’s World and has given us permission to repost her article here:
It’s less hectic than the Lowell Folk Festival, to be sure. But the annual Lowell Quilt Festival promises to be a cozy event this weekend for lovers of all things bright, beautiful and creative. It kicks off Thursday morning, 8/12, at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, when the Heroes quilt, an art quilt stitched in honor of someone from each state who has died during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is brought into the LMA’s Hall of Flags with full honor guard. Images 2010, a huge juried show, opens there, too. And vendors, classes and quilt appraisals take place all day, too. Thursday evening, enjoy Gallery Night from 5:30-8 p.m. when all the participating partners – New England Quilt Museum, Brush Art Gallery, Whistler House Museum of Art, ALL Arts Gallery, and the American Textile History Museum, throw open their doors. Friday, more classes, high tea at the Whistler and a live auction of quilts, plus wine, cheese and chocolate, at the Merrimack Rep. On Saturday, more quilts, classes, artists receptions, and Quilt Candy, an outdoor array of sewing, fabric and quilting offerings in the courtyard by the Brush. The weekend is not-to-be-missed by anyone who marvels at what talented quilters can do with fabric, thread, trims and their imaginations. Visit www.lowellquiltfestival.org for more details.
Mass Moments reminds us that on this today - August 12th – in 1834 the Ursuline Convent in Charlestown lay in ruins. The night before a Protestant mob sacked it and burned it to the ground.
The rioters were mostly poor Yankee laborers who feared and hated Irish Catholic immigrants. While some of Boston’s wealthiest Protestants sent their daughters to the Ursuline Academy, most Yankees harbored a deep prejudice against Catholics. Long suspicious of “popery,” Protestant Boston was receptive to the malicious rumors that swirled about the convent. The convent burning was a prelude to the fierce anti-Catholicism that would greet the famine Irish who flooded into Boston a decade later.
Later in the 1850s with the emergence and power of the “Know Nothing” Party in Massachusetts – Catholic nuns were again the object of attack and religious prejudice. The Know Nothings feared the rising influence of the Catholic Church and its Irish immigrant believers. While working to curb the voting power of immigrants the Know Nothings while in control of the Massachusetts Great and General Court passed measures aimed at limiting the influence of the Catholic Church. One of the most infamous acts passed was the establishment of the Smelling Committee - an investigative body comprised of Know-Nothings and Nativists whose mission it was to “investigate” abuses in Catholic convent schools.
The Lowell Connection: The Smelling Committee announced it would be visiting the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur convent in city of Lowell in March 1855. Armed with the deep-seated Know Nothing antipathy for all things Catholic, the Committee arrived on the doorsteps of the convent. The sisters refused them admittance declaring they would not do so without the presence of their spiritual leader – Father Timothy O’Brien.
Father O’Brien arrived shortly after being notified and was able to prevent the Committee from inspecting the sisters’ personal quarters even though they had been quite adamant about doing so. The Committee stayed overnight in the city where – the story is told - the committee leader Joseph Hiss used Commonwealth funds to carouse with a local woman – the scandal was quickly exposed. The convent ultimately passed its inspection.
The Know Nothing movement eventually declined and fell from the national scene by the late 1850s.
The Globe and boston.com include an occasional feature about travels called ”Passport” that is written by people in the Boston area, a kind of citizen journalism feature. This article by young student Akshan deAlwis describes a recent trip to Cambodia. The focus is a visit to the Angkor Association of the Disabled. “According to the Asian Development Bank, close to 10 percent of the Cambodian adult population is disabled due to malnutrition, violence, and land mines,” writes deAlwis. Read the travel account here, and consider subscribing to the Globe.