My long attention span has been an advantage in the Agincourt Project.
Four years ago, when Howard Tabor began his series of sesquicentennial-driven columns in The Daily Plantagenet, he wrote a four-part series on the history of Christ the King Catholic church and, especially, its predecessor congregation the infamous St Ahab’s. I not only had to invent a parish priest, the invention of an actual saint was also required.
For those disinclined to ferret out the articles themselves, I’ll say this much: Fr Francis Manning, founding priest of Roman Catholicism in Fennimore county, turned out to have been a woman. Frances had become Francis, an identity switch discovered only when the burial place of the old priest was found while digging a foundation for the community’s third Catholic church structure–renamed Christ the King upon its completion in 1951.
Writing a story is one thing. And using it to understand the sequence of priests and parish buildings is another. Lives told can be understood through buildings seen. I knew, however, that my patience would be rewarded. For I recently found on eBay the very image I have craved these four long years.
Are we, indeed, looking at the exhumation of Fr Manning’s body? I think so.