Thursday, August 30, 2012


After the war, Luta (Rota) was under the care of the American Capuchin friars.  One of the longest-serving priests there was Father Cornelius Murphy, known to the Chamorros as Påle' Cornelio.

He is pictured in a white habit, standing with a visiting Trust Territory official.  In the background is the old konbento, under repair.

One of the things that made reconstruction of the island difficult was, besides the lack of imported material, the US military did not build up a military presence in Luta, as it did in Tinian.  When the military operations closed down in the late 40s, the people and the church in Tinian benefited from a huge amount of military equipment and supplies that the US didn't need anymore.  With those, they could build homes and a church.

Not so in Luta.  But Påle' Cornelio got the people going and they eventually built the present church of San Francisco de Borja in Songsong.

The Church of San Francisco de Borja, Songsong, Luta
Built under the leadership of Capuchin Father Cornelius Murphy

At times, in the late 40s and 1950s, the Capuchin priest on Luta (Fathers Marcian, Cornelius) was the only caucasian living on the island.

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