St. Ignatius Cemetery of Sanford
St. Ignatius Cemetery originally started with 18 acres of land. Through the years, the cemetery has grown into 33 acres. The following is a summary on the progression and important ceremonies that have occurred.
Prior to 1902, the Catholic deceased from Sanford were buried in Notre Dame Cemetery, Springvale. However, in June 1902, a delegation of three men from St. Ignatius Parish -- Telesphore Demers, Delphis Lebrun, and Adolphe Ducharme -- met with the Goodall family to acquire a parcel of land for a Catholic cemetery. On June 16 of the same year, the Sanford Mills donated 18 acres of land on Berwick Road, Sanford, to St. Ignatius Parish. This cemetery now serves members of St. Thérèse of Lisieux Parish in Sanford, formed by the 2007 merger of the Sanford parishes.
On May 30, 1931, Bishop J.G. Murray officially blessed St. Ignatius Cemetery. The practice of blessing the grave or the vault in which any Christian was laid to rest is ancient and can be traced back to the time of St. Gregory de Tours. Five wooden crosses are planted in the cemetery, one in the center and the others at the four points of the compass. Each cross is sprinkled with the Holy Water and lengthy prayers are said, then returning to the center cross. This ritual was used in the Anglo-Saxon pentacles of the eighth century.
In 1943 St. Ignatius Parish celebrated its Golden Jubilee. A parade was held from the church to the cemetery, where a solemn Mass was celebrated to honor the deceased. Homilies in French and English were said.
By the year 1962, a plaque on a granite stone to honor its war veterans was placed at the foot of the American pole. It reads as follows: “Dedicated to the memory of all United States War Veterans who rest in these hollowed soil.” It was erected by the Sanford Veteran Memorial Committee in June 1962.
Between 1963-1972, more land was acquired to expand the cemetery. The cemetery now covers 33 acres.
Nineteen seventy-six was a memorable year in the history of St. Ignatius Cemetery. Emile Levasseur donated the sum of $100,000 for the construction of a vault/foyer and a 346-foot polished granite and brick wall in memory of his parents, Albert and Melvina Levasseur. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on Sept. 13, 1976, and the project was completed in the late fall. The new vault was dedicated on Memorial Day the following year by Most Rev. Amedee Proulx, a native son, with many priests and over 800 parishioners in attendance. Our thanks to this philanthropist and his family. Many pictures were taken and newspaper clippings were saved, making the event well documented
A Way of the Cross was erected at the entrance of the cemetery in memory of Emile Levasseur and Albert Lavallee to commemorate the Centennial Year of the parish 1892-1992. On the back of the cross in the center of the cemetery, the names of the past pastors were inscribed.
It is interesting to note that at the foot of the cross rests the bodies of Fr. John McGinnis 1865-1924, beloved pastor of St. Ignatius Parish, Fr. Joseph H. Kalen 1873-1947 founder of Holy Family Parish, and Fr. Conrad W. L’Heureux 1924-1995, a native son who chose to be buried at this site.
The parishes in this community were founded as Franco-American parishes. Therefore, we find many tombstones with French inscriptions, especially in the older section.
St. Ignatius Cemetery
Sanford, Maine 04073