Nothing says "I'm home" quite like a good meal. So it's appropriate that members of the St. Gregory Barbarigo Roman Catholic Parish, along with the families of children attending St. Gregory's School, are celebrating their spiritual home with a new cookbook titled "Recipes from This Side of Heaven."
The book, which can be purchased for $20 from the school or church offices in the 300 block of South Davis Street, contains 850 favorite recipes submitted by members of the combined St. Gregory's community, many of whom have ties to the parish stretching back several generations. Proceeds from sales will be divided equally between church and school,
Dozens of parishioners and school families contributed to the book, sometimes submitting heirloom recipes in memory of deceased family members. The task of compiling hundreds of submissions into an organized whole fell to the St. Gregory's Cookbook Committee consisting of Terri Lager, Bonnie Ingels, Amy Gastler, Kaila Ballard and Glenda Conover.
Published by Morris Press of Kearney, Neb., the cookbook is the first produced by the parish and school since the 1980s and was created, in part, to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the current St. Gregory's school building, which was completed in 1963.
Embracing 21,000 square feet, the school has 18 lay faculty and staff and serves 165 students in pre-school through eighth grade.
More than just a cooking guide, the 338-page notebook-style publication begins each section with a narrative summarizing various periods in the history of Catholicism in Maryville, beginning with the construction in 1860 of a small, brick sanctuary named the Church of Mary Immaculate — later shortened to St. Mary's — at 321 South Davis.
Titled with food-related captions, such as "A Persistent Hunger for Faith," and "Satisfying Everyone's Palate," these brief essays vividly illustrate the many challenges faced and overcome by an evolving community of faith.
The stories describe the drama of the Civil War, when the first St. Mary's was severely damaged by Kansas guerrillas, and also detail internal divisions during the late 19th and early 20th centuries caused by groups of German and Irish Catholics each clinging tenaciously to the culture and language of their ancestral nations.
The German/Irish split ultimately led to the founding of a separate St. Patrick's Parish in 1881, the beginning of an 80-year divide that persisted until a "new" parish was established on the St. Mary's Davis Street property and renamed for St. Gregory (or Gregorio) Barbarigo, a 17th century Italian cardinal and diplomat canonized by Pope John XXIII in 1960.
It is believed, according to the cookbook's narrative, that the Maryville parish was the first anywhere to be dedicated in the name of the newly proclaimed saint.
The St. Patrick's and St. Mary's schools also combined during the 1959-'60 school year, merging a long tradition of parochial education in Maryville that included the creation of what may have been the first rural school bus system in Missouri, begun in 1933 to serve students at St. Mary's.
Page 2 of 2 - In the 1950s, St. Patrick's broke ground of its own with a pioneering school lunch and breakfast program in which the mothers of students served as volunteer cooks.