Our Lady of the Rosary Cemetery Newsletter – May 2014

Our Lady of the Rosary Cemetery & Prayer Gardens
Celebrates a Decade of Consolations May 1, 2014
by Ellen Brumder

May 1, 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of Our Lady of the Rosary Cemetery & Prayer Gardens. It was begun by Nicholas and Ellen Brumder, faithful Catholics who had a vision of “a beautiful, faith-filled cemetery of consolation, peace, and natural beauty.”


The cemetery includes sacred art and monuments, fields of flowers and plentiful signs of love and care taking. Over the last decade, 1,600 people of all faiths, some traveling long distances, have chosen Our Lady as their final resting place.


The idea of Our Lady was conceived on Oct. 21, 2002, when Nick and I were at a daily Mass at St. Helen Catholic Church in Georgetown. The pastor, Father Wm.Michael Mulvey, who is now the bishop of Corpus Christi, mentioned in his homily that it was the feast day of St. Callixtus, who was martyred in the catacombs while saying Mass with his deacons in 222 and is credited with starting cemeteries above ground, with flowers, evergreens, and symbols of faith.


After that Mass, I asked Father Mulvey why we didn’t have a Catholic Cemetery. That absence had bothered him too, and he asked me to do some preliminary research on starting a new cemetery, and he would ask his fellow priests (when gathering that week) their opinion on the matter. With a new Catholic school underway and plans for a new church, Fr. Mulvey delivered the disappointing news that he had been advised against starting a cemetery. At that point, I asked if our family could start the cemetery.

With the hearty approval of Bishop Gregory Aymond to the idea, Our Lady of the Rosary became the fist privately owned Catholic cemetery in America. The 20-acre property selected near St. Helen’s has a hilltop view overlooking the San Gabriel River Valley and gently slopes down through meadows of wildflowers to clusters of trees, a spring fed pond and a natural waterfall.
There was even a beautiful grotto area beside the pond where we put our very first piece of sacred art of Mother Teresa in 2003. Nick and I have maintained a natural approach to the grounds with the help of the Williamson County Goodwater Master Naturalists and the Native Plant Society of Texas. They have created contemplative areas in the woods and around the waterfall and pond, planted native flowers and grasses, and created additional habitat for wildlife. They have landscaped and planted numerous plants in the Butterfly Garden that also attract a multitude of butterflies.

On Oct. 3, 2004, the Feast of St. Francis, Bishop Aymond blessed Our Lady of the Rosary. In 2005, the cemetery was the only American cemetery recognized in the international Stoneguard Phoenix Competition in London. It took fourth place for its master plan, which was designed by architect and stone carver Holly Kincannon and Nick Brumder. Kincannon carved many of the cemetery’s first monuments in native stone.


Cemetery artists include Nicholas Brumder, Father Jairo Lopez, who works in mosaics and is the pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Marble Falls; Father Andrew John, who created a bronze sculpture of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Garden of Precious Love (baby garden); Mary Melinda Brumder, who sculpted the Immaculate Conception in the Marian Garden, and June Doerr, who created the Mother Teresa sculpture and many other monument pieces. The cemetery has been featured on PBS Central Texas Gardener and it has received attention for its diverse plant life from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin.


Our Lady is also the first xeriscaped perpetual care cemetery in the U.S., and was the first to offer the green burial option, which is a natural, Franciscan approach to the traditional and cremation burials. Natural burial is simply the old fashioned kind — without concrete vaults or embalming, often using a simple wood box. People of all faiths have been buried at the cemetery. They are at rest under a blanket of wildflowers, a sign of unity and that all people are sacred, unique and exquisitely loved by God.

All are welcome to come pray, walk and enjoy the sacred art and natural beauty of Our Lady of the Rosary; our pearl of great worth.


The radiant Resurrection Cross is a central feature of Our Lady and was designed and forged by Nicholas Brumder, co-founder of the cemetery.

Early Cemetery Clients and Supporters Gathered for 10th Anniversary Blessing
Some of the first clients of Our Lady gathered with Ellen Brumder at the Mother Teresa grotto in celebration of Our Lady’s 10th anniversary on May 1.  Following a brief history of the cemetery given by Ellen, Father Paul McCallum gave a Blessing of Thanksgiving and lead the prayer before lunch was served.


As the day came to an end Ellen excitedly said, “The gathering today was everything I hoped for, starting with a brilliant day for a shared meal, blessings and remembrances in the Mother Teresa Grotto.  It was so nice to see Father Paul, Father George and everyone who worked hard to see Our Lady come into fruition. Thank each of you for your support, past contributions and today.”

Our Lady Offering a 10th Anniversary Pre-planning Discount

For more information contact Jimmy Shields, Director of Family Services at 512-863-8411.

A Wet Field of Flowers Day
Field of Flowers Event April 6, 2014

By Cindy Stone, Goodwaer Master Naturalist and Volunteer

The chilly and rainy weather did not dampen the souls of those participating in the Field of Flowers event sponsored by the Our Lady of the Rosary Cemetery & Prayer Gardens.

There was music in the air and a table full of great sandwiches, chips, cookies and drinks. About 150 attendees braved the inclement weather. Marilyn Perz and Pat Shirk took command of the children’s activity table making seed balls. The Goodwater Master Naturalists were welcomed as new class members. Vicki Zardiackas, Michael Brasel, Richard Carmichael and Billye Adams were invaluable to the event. Due to the weather and few children, the adults enjoyed making the seed balls; it brought out their inner child.

Christie Gardner and I walked the trails in the magical backdrop of the misty rain. Lori Merlino did a wonderful job with the educational kiosks that are in place for the first year.  People young and old paused along the trail to read the information.

Guests were fascinated by the certifications that the nature trail received during the past year:
  • Monarch Waystation thru Monarch Watch, University of Kansas
  • Texas Wildscapes Demonstration Site thru Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
  • Wildlife Habitat thru National Wildlife Federation
Although the wildflower meadow restoration was not in full bloom, it shows incredible promise for the next several weeks. When you have a chance visit the breath-taking nature trail and meadow.

Deep appreciation is extended to the Native Plant Society of Texas, Goodwater Master Naturalists and Habitat Stewards for the great participation. The project is so blessed by all of you. And a special thank you to the staff of Our Lady of the Rosary Cemetery & Prayer Gardens and to owners Nick and Ellen Brumder. Your support of our organizations is incredible and such a wonderful venue to demonstrate a sustainable wildlife habitat.

Memorial Day at Our Lady
Memorial Day, an American holiday, is observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades.  

Our Lady is very grateful to Jennifer Mireless and her home-school girl and boy scout groups. Jennifer and the scouts have graciously volunteered to honor the veterans interred at OLOTR by placing flags on the graves of all those who selflessly served our country.

Our Lady of the Rosary Cemetery & Prayer Gardens

Our Lady of the Rosary Cemetery and Prayer Gardens is a special place of peace, beauty, reverence and unity. The Cemetery offers a variety of burial rites including traditional burial, green burial and cremation  burial. We work directly with families and funeral homes in Austin and the surrounding areas to ensure that the burial service for your loved one is handled in the most caring and compassionate way.

The cemetery is open to people of all faiths from the Austin area and beyond. Whether you are in a time of need or planning for the future, the caring staff at Our Lady of the Rosary Cemetery is waiting to walk by your side.

Learn more about Our Lady at www.olotr.com 
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