Christopher Graves is fixing the graves
Christopher and Delana Braves of Richmond recently established two funds in the Vermont Catholic Community Foundation to honor the legacy of their parents and grandparents.
“My parents taught us from a young age that you never step on a grave and you always respect those that passed before you,” said Delana. “They taught us to talk about them and remember their names as that might be the only time anyone does. And we are carrying on their legacy.”
Last year, the Braveses established the Edward A. and Ann M. O’Neill Mobbs Memorial Holy Rosary Cemetery and St. Mary Cemetery Reserve Fund presently located within the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish in Richmond, Vermont. The primary purpose of the fund is to fix broken and overturned headstones.
“My parents had a special mission to care for the cemetery where their relatives were buried,” said Delana Braves. “Caring for the dead is one of the Catholic Corporal Works of Mercy.”
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “the bodies of the dead must be treated with respect and charity, in hope and faith of the Resurrection. The burial of the dead is a corporal work of mercy; it honors the children of God, who are temples of the Holy Spirit.”
Edward A. and Ann M. O’Neill Mobbs were married at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Richmond and had three children. Both grew up in Vermont. Ann O’Neil grew up in Richmond and was a registered nurse working at the former Bishop DeGoesbriand Hospital and the Veterans Hospital in White River Junction. Her father was a farmer and owned a large farm on Cochran Road which she and her siblings fondly referred to as the “Big Farm.” Edward was born in Essex Junction. He was a full-time employee of the Vermont National Guard, retiring as a Command Sergeant Major from the 186th FSB, 50th DISCOM Unit in 1989. Edward began his ministry to care for both Holy Rosary and St. Mary cemetery when he noticed a broken headstone of one of his relatives. They lived in the same house in Richmond for 53 years where they raised their family.
“These cemeteries were established in the 1800s and need a lot of repairs,” said Chris Braves. Like his father-in-law, Chris started his ministry repairing headstones when he noticed one that had fallen over on his morning run. “Every morning I run down Cochran Road and say the rosary. On one run, I noticed Delana’s great, great grandfather’s stone had fallen over.”
A few years ago, Chris Braves rebuilt his garage to include a workshop above it where he spends many hours repairing headstones.
Chris grew up in Rutland with many family ties to the community, especially Mount Saint Joseph School where his grandmother attended as well as her siblings. His grandmothers on both sides of the family played a significant role in his life, especially in his faith.
This past Fall, Chris and Delana established the Thomas F. and Florence E. Chapleau Dunn Family & Christos D. and Catherine T. Lines Braves Family Memorial Mount St. Joseph Academy Fund presently located at 127 Convent Ave, Rutland in honor of his family to support operations of the school.
As an educator and coach, working with children his entire life, Chris wanted to do something that honored his family and his faith.
Mount St. Joseph Academy (formerly St. Peter’s School) was one of the first six Catholic schools established in our diocese in 1882 under our first bishop, Louis DeGoesbriand.
“Today, because of people like the Braves, we can continue our mission to educate the whole person in mind, body and spirit and remain accessible to all who desire a challenging Catholic educational experience,” said Principal Michael Alexander, MSJ.
The Vermont Catholic Community Foundation was established more than seven years ago as a way for the faithful to leave a legacy of faith for the next generation and to honor those who came before us. Most funds are endowed and intended to provide stable income annually to a specific ministry in perpetuity. This is vital for the future operation of our schools, parishes, and cemeteries. The Christ Our Hope Legacy Society was established a few years ago to acknowledge those who have left a bequest to a diocesan ministry. This is a beautiful way to leave a legacy of faith for the next generation and has an impact no matter the size.