Where in Maine? Our Favorite Answer

Photo by Dave Waddell

Swan Island

Each month, Down East editors select our favorite response to “Where in Maine?” Here is our favorite letter from September’s photo.

During the summer of 2011, a fellow Jesuit and I boarded the small ferry on the Richmond side of the Kennebec River that would carry us to Swan Island. We enjoyed a day of strolling the fields and hiking the trails among the ghost-town-like remains of abandoned houses from multiple centuries. But our primary reason for visiting was more spiritual than recreational. Swan Island is believed to be the site of the first recorded Catholic mass, by the French Jesuit missionary Father Pierre Biard, celebrated in Maine on November 1, 1611. We were there to quietly mark the 400th anniversary of that event a few months early. Down East ran a brief note about the anniversary in its November 2011 issue. Thank you for reminding me of a cherished day with a friend and the rich history of Swan Island.

Rev. William R. Campbell, SJ

May 2024, Down East Magazine

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