The Bells of St. Mary's
The three bells in St. Mary of the Angels bell tower
are inscribed "cast by Stuckstude & Bro.
St. Louis, MO 1895".
The largest bell is 48 and 3/4" in diameter with the following
In Honorem in Sanctae Elizabeth
(In honor of Saint
D.D. Elizabeth Peter
The second and third bells are parallel to each other in their
placement in the tower, and are pictured at the right. The second bell is 37 and 3/4 inches in diameter with the following
DE PERPETUO SUCCURSEE
(Blessed Virgin Mary of Perpetual Help)
The third and smallest bell pictured to the far right is 31
and 3/4 inches in diameter and is
IN HONOREM S.S. ANGELORUM
(In honor of all the Angels)
According to the information provided by Brosamers Bells at
http://www.brosamersbells.com/church.html, the bell size
determines it's pitch or tone and also it's weight. Therefore, the
following would apply to our three bells:
49 inches= key of E =2300 lbs.
37 inches= key of A =1000 lbs.
31 inches= key of B = 600 lbs.
The bells were brought from St. Louis by horse and wagon
and Wien history tells that the largest bell tumbled off
the wagon, but was not harmed.
After the bells were installed, the Wien people were used to
hearing the Franciscans ring them three times a day for the
which is a
dedicated to Mary, and said in the morning, at noon, and in the
evening. (The history of the Angelus can be found at
www.newadvent.org/cathen/01486b.htm and at
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01487a.htm".) The famous
by Jean-Francais Millet was one that many of the parishioners at
Wien displayed in their homes.
The bells of St. Mary's also rang to gather people together for
They were tolled solemnly when someone died and the number of tolls
indicated the age of the deceased.
After the Franciscans left Wien in 1914, the ringing
of the Angelus was not as consistent, but different parishioners took
over the task of ringing the bells for Mass and for
funerals. I believe that the bells were also rung on other important
occasions, and I am hoping that the Wien Detective will soon
come up with those facts so I can share them with you.
Stories also abound regarding the mischievious activities
of the altar boys who were assigned to ring the bells for Mass. Since
the bells are very heavy,
it takes several pulls on the rope before the bells actually ring and
the boys quickly found out that they would be pulled high in the air
as the bells went through the full cycle.
I understand that some of the youngsters tried to swing high enough
to put their feet on the ceiling of the vestibule--only to be
disciplined by the sisters when caught in the act!!
We'll see what other stories abound!
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