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Inconspicuously tucked away north of Loop 410 and in the shadow of Wurzbach Parkway in San Antonio, the Coker Cemetery contains the graves of more than 600 people. Several Texas Ranger and Texas Historical Markers serve as obvious signs this turf is fertile with stories. Beginning with the arrival of Americans on the eve of the Texas Revolution, Haunting the Graveyard: Unearthing the Story of the Coker Settlement offers a regional perspective of a century of Texas history.
While a schoolhouse and Methodist church served as anchors for the Coker Settlement, men who went off to fight in bloody battles of the Civil War, spent months pursuing Indians and herded cattle and horses northward, found settling back into everyday farm chores difficult. Struggling to survive, families battled rattlesnakes, endured extended droughts and suffered through the Great Depression.
Many overcame these obstacles, only to find their rural lifestyle vanquished by San Antonio itself. As the city grew, increased demands for housing convinced some to sell. Roads to reach new homes chopped up dairy farms with wider and wider ribbons of asphalt, and airport runways buried fields.
The headstones in Coker Cemetery are almost the only evidence of the former farming community, but the tales of its residents are rich. Expect to encounter some heart-breaking tragedies, a bit of mayhem and even an unsolved murder as their lives unfold on these pages.
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In 1995 Mary C. Earle was hospitalized with acute pancreatitis.
Like others who suffer from serious or chronic conditions, she found that living with illness requires major adjustments in life.
Using St. Benedict’s ancient Rule – his way of ordering the life and days of religious communities – Earle explores how the concepts of stability, obedience, and conversion can help anyone live with illness.
“In this extraordinarily comforting and challenging book, Mary Earle takes the setbacks of chronic illness or disability and reframes them as powerful tools for keeping a rule of life. The ancient Benedictine ways of humility, prayer, and self-knowledge counter the urge to rush, multitask, push and shove one’s way into the superficial busyness that so often passes for excellence in the world.”
Barbara Cawthorne Crafton, author of Some Things You Just Have to Live With
Mary C. Earle is an Episcopal priest, poet, author, spiritual director and retreat leader. Until her retirement, she taught classes in spirituality for the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. Mary has authored nine books; the subjects include the spirituality of living with illness, rule of life, Celtic Christian spirituality, the Desert Mothers, and Julian of Norwich. Mary has offered presentations and retreats in a variety of ecumenical settings, including conferences of the Academy for Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Directors International, the International Thomas Merton Society and hospice organizations. She has written articles for a variety of journals, including Presence: the Journal of Spiritual Directors International, Radical Grace, Reflections, and The Lutheran. She was included in the Living Spiritual Teachers project of Spirituality and Practice.