Edgewater photographer’s work depicting Maryland’s Mallows Bay to be featured on a US postage stamp
Peter Turcik still remembers the shot. Leaning forward in his kayak, holding his camera still, he snapped a vertical picture of the sunken ship, with the setting sun as its glistening background. “I actually laid down in the kayak to get down to the water level so that I’d get the composition that I wanted,” he said. “And I remember it was pretty buggy out. So I was trying to hold still, while flies bit in my legs.”
That was in August 2016 in Mallows Bay, an alcove in the Potomac River known for its array of sunken “ghost ships,” including vessels hurriedly constructed for merchant shipping in World War I, then scuttled after the war.
Now, Turcik’s photograph will star on a U.S. postage stamp as part of a series on National Marine Sanctuaries.
The stamp debuts Aug. 5, and it’s an exciting moment for Turcik, an avid photographer and outdoorsman who lives beside Glebe Creek in Edgewater.
atone for the role of Catholic missionaries in the forced assimilation of generations of Native children — a visit that has stirred mixed emotions across Canada as survivors and their families cope with the trauma of their losses and receive a long-sought papal apology.
Francis had time to rest before his scheduled meeting Monday with survivors near the site of a former residential school in Maskwacis, where he is expected to pray at a cemetery and apologize.
Using a wheelchair, Francis exited the back of his plane with the help of an ambulift. Sunday’s simple welcome ceremony took place in an airport hangar, where Indigenous drums and chanting broke the silence. As Trudeau and Simon sat beside Francis, a succession of Indigenous leaders and elders greeted the pope and exchanged gifts.
At one point, Francis kissed the hand of residential school survivor Elder Alma Desjarlais of the Frog Lake First Nations.
“Right now, many of our people are skeptical and they are hurt,” said Grand Chief George Arcand of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, who greeted the pope. Yet he expressed hope that with the papal apology, “We could begin our journey of healing.”
Indigenous groups are pressing for access to church archives to learn the fate of children who never returned home from the residential schools. They also want justice for the abusers, financial reparations and the return of Indigenous artifacts held by the Vatican Museums.
Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald, one of the country’s most prominent Indigenous leaders, said several members of her family attended residential schools, including a sister who died at one in Ontario. She described it as “an institution of assimilation and genocide.”
Francis’ weeklong trip — which will also take him to Quebec City and Iqaluit, Nunavut, in the far north — follows meetings held in the spring at the Vatican with delegations from the First Nations, Metis and Inuit. Those meetings culminated with a historic April 1 apology for the “deplorable” abuses committed by some Catholic missionaries in residential schools.
The Canadian government admitted physical and sexual abuse were rampant in the state-funded Christian schools that operated from the 19th century to the 1970s. Some 150,000 Indigenous children were taken from their families in an effort to isolate them from the influence of their homes, Native languages and cultures and assimilate them into Canada’s Christian society.
Then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a formal apology over the residential schools in 2008. As part of a lawsuit settlement involving the government, churches and approximately 90,000 surviving students, Canada paid reparations that amounted to billions of dollars being transferred to Indigenous communities.
Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015 called for a papal apology to be delivered on Canadian soil, but it was only after the 2021 discovery of the possible remains of around 200 children at a former residential school in British Columbia that the Vatican complied with the request.
“I honestly believe that if it wasn’t for the discovery ... and all the spotlight that was placed on the Oblates or the Catholic Church as well, I don’t think any of this would have happened,” said Raymond Frogner, head archivist at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.
Frogner just returned from Rome where he spent five days at the headquarters of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, which operated 48 of the 139 Christian-run residential schools, the most of any Catholic order. After the graves were discovered, the Oblates finally offered “complete transparency and accountability” and allowed him into its headquarters to research the names of alleged sex abusers from a single school in the province of Saskatchewan, he said.
The Inuit community is seeking Vatican assistance to extradite a single Oblate priest, the Rev. Joannes Rivoire, who ministered to Inuit communities until he left for France in the 1990s. Canadian authorities issued an arrest warrant for him in 1998 on accusations of several counts of sexual abuse, but it has never been served.
Asked about the request, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said last week that he had no information on the case.