Holy Sepulchre Cemetery

Holy Sepulchre Cemetery

6001 W. 111th Street

Worth, IL. 60482-2197



Holy Sepulchre is a large Catholic cemetery established on July 4, 1923 by the late Cardinal Mundelein and also cares for and maintains the records for Sacred Heart ( Palos Hills ) and St. Michael ( Homer Township, Will County, Illinois).  From about 1901 to 1910/11 this was the location of the Worth Race Track.  Until since 1964 the entrance gate was the original racetrack entrance with stone or lime balls, one on each side of the gates.  Holy Sepulchre bought property and began development in 1918/19.  The cemetery is rectangular in shape and contains 320 acres and is one of the largest cemeteries in Metropolitan Chicago.  The cemetery parallels the entire111th Street boundary of the Village of Chicago Ridge extending from Austin Avenue to Ridgeland Avenue.  Since its consecration, well over 90,000 interments have been made in the cemetery and approximately 1,800 are buried annually.

The late Mayor Richard J. Daley is buried in Section 19, near the cemetery entrance on 111th Street.  The same section also contains the burial place of Dan Ryan, long time Cook County Board President after whom the Dan Ryan Expressway is named.  Helen Morgan, famous blues singer is interred in Section 14 and more than 500 priests, brothers and sisters are also interred here.

Within Section 7, visitors will find the highly decorated grave of Mary Alice Quinn sometimes referred to as “Chicago’s Miracle Child.”  Mary was born December 28, 1920 to an Irish family.  She was very mystically inclined; almost the Chicago version of Saint Theresa, to whom Mary was very devoted.  She claimed to have seen a religious image on her wall and since that day became very devoted to religion.  Before she died, Mary told her parents that she wanted to come back to help people after death.  She died on November 8, 1935 at the tender age of fourteen.  Many incidents have been related, especially in the late 1930's and during the early 1940's of Mary’s apparition appearing to people throughout Chicago’s south-side.  In fact, she has appeared to people around the world!  They come to the cemetery and leave candles at her grave and also pray for favors.  Some take away handfuls of dirt while others leave behind prayer books, rosaries, crucifixes, religious medallions and notes requesting divine intervention.

The current manifestation that is most often reported at the gravesite is the overwhelming scent of roses even in the dead of winter when there are no trees or flowers in bloom.  The odor is not somebody’s perfume or stray smell as it is concentrated within a few feet of the grave and nowhere else.  Even though there may be a stiff breeze blowing, the psychic odor does not drift away with the wind!

There is also an alleged recent medical cure attributed to Mary Alice Quinn.  A young couple gave birth to an infant that doctors diagnosed as terminal and would not live out the year.  The couple refused to give up hope for their child.  They had heard about the stories of Mary Alice Quinn and decided to pray to her for help.  They brought the infant to the site, laid her on the grave and began to pray.  All at once there was an overpowering scent of roses in the air.  From that day the baby’s health took a turn for the better and lived, mystifying the puzzled doctors.

The cemetery has also been the site of a very interesting monument to an Irish martyr, a Saint who was executed some centuries ago in England .  Saint Oliver Plunkett Ashley’s remains were brought back and buried in Ireland.  During the past several years, he has gained some very unusual status on the south side of Chicago where a number of people have been trying to get him to resolve their medical problems.  He has said to have cured a number of people.

Mrs. Shennan, mother of former Alderman Shennan of the 19th Ward, who was related to a priest who came from the same parish that Saint Oliver was from, was given two relics by this priest in 1970.  A first-class relic, a piece of the head of St. Oliver, which is on the altar on display in Dublin, Ireland and a second-class relic which was a piece of clothing that belonged to him while he was living.

That first-class relic has been passed around the southwest side of Chicago to a number of people suffering from all kinds of illnesses.  The most dramatic and most easily documented case regarding a cure took place in 1974.  Mrs. O’Neill of St. Barnabas on the southwest side was diagnosed with cancer with only six months to live.  She had this first-class relic and kept it with her.  Shortly after receiving this relic, her cancer went into remission.  The cancer, which was a tumor of the stomach, suddenly disappeared.  The monument to Saint Oliver Plunkett Ashley is located near the 111th Street and Ridgeland Avenue side of the cemetery.

The cemetery fence has also been the scene of numerous traffic accidents over the years especially on the 111th Street side.  During a five-week period in 1981 there were over four similar incidents where people ran into the fence and took out massive parts of the fence.  Recently the entire 111th Street side was replaced with green cyclone fencing instead of the green bronze vertical slat kind that had originally been here.  There have been just a very few explainable accidents in the past few years.


Worth Race Track

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