Marta Formoso Monument, St. Mary’s Cemetery, Kennedy Township


St. Mary’s Cemetery, on a steep hill overlooking McKees Rocks, is one of the most ethnically diverse smaller cemeteries we have. It seems to have been shared by several Catholic parishes in McKees Rocks back in the days when Catholics segregated themselves by ethnic heritage. Some parts of the cemetery developed as little ethnic neighborhoods, and you can often tell the ethnicity of the neighborhood by the shapes of the monuments.

Curiously, the Italians and the East Europeans tend to have the same taste in monuments: cross-topped tombstones with gracefully curved shoulders and, frequently, a photograph of the deceased. Some of these pictures have succumbed to the ravages of the elements or vandalism, but a surprising number remain fresh-looking today. Here is a young Italian woman who died at the age of about 22 almost a century ago, and we can still see her face as clearly as if she sat for her portrait yesterday.

Father Pitt was not able to read the whole inscription, which has weathered badly. He was able to make out the name “Marta Formoso” (he is almost certain that the Christian name is not “Maria”) and the dates somethingth of April 1895 and somethingth of March 1917. The epitaph is mostly illegible, except for the words on the right-hand side; something about a flower and being sorrowful and memory. In a different light the rest of the inscription might come to life.


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