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Construction at St. Odilia could start this summer. The cemetery will have 306 grave sites and columbaria located in a prayer garden will have 3,000 niches that could eventually hold up to 6,000 sets of remains, according to a concept plan. Church members say it’s a project that will span a century.
There will be no fences or raised markers. Landscaping in the prayer garden will include bushes and flowers to delineate spaces. The site will also have a pond with benches and a rain garden that St. Odilia’s schoolchildren can help maintain.
“We are creating a sacred space where you can slow down and pray. There is a hunger for that,” said Scroggins.
Kathy Stechmann appreciates the new site. She and her husband, Eric, moved to Shoreview in 1974 and raised their son there. He was a software engineer and she was a teacher, When he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, he told Kathy he wanted to be part of St. Odilia’s prayer garden. He died in April 2011.
Kathy Stechmann also will place the cremated remains of their daughter, Annika, who died at birth in 1983. She kept them with her because she never felt right placing them in a cemetery isolated and alone. She had a brother who died in infancy and he’s buried in South Dakota, far from any family.
“I think about nobody ever being able to go there or thinking about him,” she said.
St. Odilia will allow her to create a place to honor her family where they lived and loved.
“I know I will go there often,” Stechmann said.
More than a dozen families have ashes to be placed at the St. Odilia site.
For Henry Blomquist, the city where he and Jeralyn built their life together and raised their three children is the right place for her to be.
“She lived in Shoreview. She worked in Shoreview. She went to church in Shoreview. She shopped in Shoreview. She said, ‘If Shoreview doesn’t have it, I don’t need it.’ This is our community,” he said. “Your memories are what it’s all about.”
Shannon Prather • 612-673-4804