Mary Magdalene of Briar Cliff


The hungry consume his harvest,
    taking it even from among thorns,

Job 5

I marveled that my kindred, Mother Mary Dominica, founded the Catholic University of Briar Cliff, she naming it thus because of the thorny bushes at the edge of a cliff where the college would be built. Above, is a photograph of the ground-breaking ceremony. Most of these people are my kindred. I need this to be blown up so I can find my mother’s mother. Looks like the Sermon of the Mount. There is a Mount Saint Francis.

“In 1929, only briar patches covered a 175-foot hill on the western outskirts of Sioux City, Iowa. But two people — Mother Mary Dominica Wieneke, Major Superior of the Sisters of Saint Francis, and the Most Rev. Edmond Heelan, Bishop of the Sioux City Diocese — had a vision. They saw that hill crowned with a Catholic college for women.

My grandmother, Mary Magdalene Rosamond, saw something special in me, and on her death-bed she asked to see me. I did not go because her daughter, June, had all but banned me from her home because I brought Melinda Frank over, and, she was not wearing any shoes! Melinda was written up in TIME magazine because she was speaking sentences when she was six months old. Her father was a Jew, who called up my family and threatened to kill me.

What I got from the cryptic clues my kindred spoke in, was that Mary Magdalene Wieneke was destined to join the Order of Saint Francis, but, she fell in love, and she and her boyfriend had rode on a motorcycle from Iowa to Los Angeles. Mary’s cousin is the founder of Briar Cliff. She never had children, nor did her two siblings, thus, Mary Magdalene was the designated – Mother! Mary, not being a virgin, and having four beautiful daughters, was the big hidden agenda in our family, that caused my father to say this about Rosemary Rosamond;

“From the beginning, I felt she was writing a book, and thus wanted to be in control, and control everyone!”

Victor never knew what he got himself into when he married on of the daughters of Royal Rosamond, the failed writer, who descends from folks who were Swan Brethren, and later member of the Orange Order that fled Ireland where we had come as Huguenots. I am sure he did not know this. It was Rosemary who wanted me to be named John. Vic wanted to give me a different name. I suspect it was Victor, because this is the name my younger sister received, after my father rebelled. He wanted to author his own chapter. As it turns out a man who marries a woman named Rose, can take the name ‘Rosamond’.

And, I let go a cosmic chuckle! The way I read it, my parents fought over me to see who I would resemble most, and God settled the argument. I died, and He made me with one with Him. I learned, in order to become a Nazarite – like John the Baptist – one had to declare you are a Nazarite on a piece of paper, and, sign your name. This “separated and consecrated you to God” …..directly. I AM GOD’S. I answer to no one – but God!

Pope Francis spoke about us being a Nation of emigrants.

“The History of Mount St. Francis The Sisters of St. Francis of the
Holy Family were founded in Herford, Germany in 1864. Forced to
emigrate by the Kulturkampf, the small community arrived in Iowa
City on Sept. 8, 1875. Here they established the first orphanage
under Catholic auspices in the state of Iowa. In 1878, Bishop
Hennessy invited them to move to Dubuque to establish a diocesan
orphanage. Today, 125 years later, Mount St. Francis Center in
Dubuque is the home for approximately 375 sisters. It is also home
for those who are retired and those who need full-time nursing care.
It houses the central administrative offices of the congregation as
well as the novitiate community, where young women live and study as
they prepare to become members.”

briarc briarc2Rosamonds 1914 Mary & Bonnie popesp

To enhance students’ knowledge regarding St. Francis of Assisi, Briar Cliff has instituted a core class for all freshmen which is named “Franciscan Core”. This class focuses on the life and work of St. Francis, as well as how those teachings are connected to the global landscape of modern America. Some of the aspects of this class include discussions over environmental responsibility, peacemaking and social justice. This class also includes a service component in which students support local causes and nonprofit organizations.

There’s a family story that says three of John Wieneke daughters married Starks and three entered the convent– from the ridiculous to the sublime! I have a document saying that there were two Stark families near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, related only through the Wieneke’s. Heinrich and Anna Catharina (sp) Kleinschlau Wieneke’s son John (Johan, in our family lore, 12-9-1834) had a sister, Anna Maria (7-23-1832), who married Andrew Stark.

Here are my Stuttmeister kindred being looked over by ‘The Good Shepherd’ who guards God’s Sheepcote. Below is the Stuttmeister tomb is Colma, wherein my daughter nurses my grandson.


cypress-lawn33 cypress-lawn44

As I told my newfound daughter; “Don’t despair, all’s well, that ends

I began my biography of Christine – and her three sibling – with the
visitation of Blue Angel that appeared at the foot of Christine’s bed
when she was ten. My little sister Vicki also saw this angel. She was
six. The old crone wh lived up the street ant befrinded the Presco
saw this blue angel that entered he beroom as a intence light, and
showed me a wreath of tiny burn holes it made in her lace curtain. I
titled my biography `Bonds With Angels’. For many years I wondered
about this angel.
Is God Calling You to the Secular Franciscan Order?
The process of becoming a professed Secular Franciscan is a journey that involves three separate stages and culminates in a lifelong commitment to live the gospel following the example of St. Francis of Assisi. This formation process unfolds in regularly scheduled formation sessions during which the home study material is thoroughly discussed.
The first stage, Orientation, provides time for dialogue and developing relationships in fraternity. During Orientation you will be introduced to the lives of St. Francis and St. Clare and share in Franciscan prayer life. You will be given general information about the Secular Franciscan Order. Orientation is a time to discern if the Spirit is calling you to a Secular Franciscan vocation. The period of Orientation is a minimum of three months.

There is evidence that Joan Clifford was given the title ‘Rose of the World’ by the common people. Rosamond became at Nun and lived at Godstow. It is being suggested a Nun should become the next Pope. This is to suggest Catholic World in looking for the ‘Rose of the World’ the embodiment of ‘Our Sweet Lady’ that was worshipped by my Rosemondt kindred in De Bosch.

Several years ago I completed my Holy Communion after looking at my Wieneke kindred who belonged to the Order of Saint Francis. Mother Mary Dominica founded Briarcliff College. Mary is Mary Magdelene Rosamond’s cousin. Dominica’s brother, John, was a priest, and her sister, Philopena became Sister Mary Calista in the OSF. Rosa Wieneke became Sister Mary Petronella.

My mother Rosemay (Rose Mary) wanted me to a Franciscan Monk. I believed she named me after Father John, but, wanted my name spelled Jon. When a nurse put an H in Jon, my mother went into a rage and never called me John. At fifty I read about the argument Elizabeth and Zachariah had over the naming of their infant son. My younger sister was named, Victoria Mary, and was sent to Catholic school. Rosemary Rosamond had a hidden religious agenda. Let us make a list of the Marys.

Mother Mary Dominica
Sister Mary Calista
Sister Mary Petronella
Mary Magdalene Rosamond
Rosemary Rosamond
Victoria Mary Presco
Heather Marie Hanson

For Rosemary Rosamond to name her first daughter after the Christ, speaks volumes. When it came to the fame of Christine Rosamond Presco, Rosemary declared on several occasions;

“You prepared her way.”

This is a reference to John the Baptist.

Above is a photo of Mary Magdalene Rosamnond who looks like a Madonna, a Fair Rosamond.

What is interesting to me, and no other family member, is that my daughter, Heather Marie Hanson, was named after a flower followed by a form of Mary. Her mother put a Rosamond print over Heather’s crib, like one would the Virgin Mary, who was titled ‘The Rose of the World’. Patrice did not know my mother’s name, or, that we were raised Catholic. Heather was born on Rose Mary’s birthday.

Jon Presco

Copyright 2013

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About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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