Not quite the grail? Deal hunters hit Northampton rectory estate sales

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  • Alicia Ralph of Northampton inspects linens in the dining room of the now-closed St. Mary of the Assumption Church rectory on Elm Street in Northampton during a one-day sale put on by the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Parish on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • A statuette of Jesus and several busts are displayed in the parlor of the now-closed St. Mary of the Assumption Church rectory on Elm Street in Northampton during a one-day sale put on by the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Parish on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • The pendulum, in foreground, of this grandfather clock was removed by Mary Klepacki, left, and Trish Duffy and Barbara Kaczenski, both working behind the clock, as they prepared the clock to be moved from the St. Mary of the Assumption Church rectory on Elm Street in Northampton after it was sold on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Patrons leave the St. Mary of the Assumption Church rectory, right, on Elm Street in Northampton after attending a one-day estate sale put on by the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Parish on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Three of the six stained glass panels mounted in the walls of the basement hallway of the St. Mary of the Assumption Church rectory on Elm Street in Northampton. Photographed during a one-day sale put on by the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Parish on Saturday STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Zelda Mazor-Freedman of Northampton browses a small room of wicker baskets displayed under a rendering of the Last Supper during an estate sale in the rectory of the now-closed St. Mary of the Assumption Church on Elm Street in Northampton on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • A table in the entrance hall of the St. Mary of the Assumption Church rectory holds crucifixes and other small items during a one-day sale put on by the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Parish in Northampton on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • A statuette of Jesus and several busts are displayed in the parlor of the now-closed St. Mary of the Assumption Church rectory on Elm Street in Northampton during a one-day sale put on by the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Parish on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • St. Mary of the Assumption Church and its rectory, right, on Elm Street in Northampton were closed in 2010. Photographed during a one-day estate sale put on by the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Parish on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 11/3/2019 11:32:49 PM

NORTHAMPTON — It’s been a 25-year-long tradition for Kai Holden to spend most Saturdays hunting around various tag and estate sales in the area for curios with his mother, Christa Holden.

But this past Saturday, the Holdens, of Florence, found themselves perusing for-sale couches, rugs, religious items and more in the living room of the rectory at the now-closed St. Mary’s of the Assumption Church on Elm Street — an out-of-the ordinary stop for a pair who can usually be found at a stranger’s front yard sale or at more traditional estate sales.

The one-day sale was one of three put on by the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Parish, with the other two happening simultaneously across town at the St. John Cantius Church rectory and at nearby Parish Hall off of Hawley Street.

“As an architecture guy, who studied architecture, it’s sad to see no purpose for this wonderful church,” Kai said. “So it piqued my interest, because of that … I love the thrill of the hunt.”

Both St. Mary’s and St. John Cantius closed in 2010, and have been for sale since. The St. John Cantius Church property is still owned by the church, but plans for a 23-unit townhouse condominium complex are currently being reviewed by the city planning board, said Carolyn Misch, Northampton’s senior land planner and permits manager.

Although the properties are no longer in use, the rectories are still full of useful appliances, decorations and novelties left behind by past priests and staff. Since the properties may one day be sold, parish members Barbara Kaczenski and Patte Shaughnessy organized an estate sale to start clearing out the old buildings with a team of volunteers.

The proceeds from the estate sale will go back to the parish, said business manager Nicolette Growhoski, although the money will not go to the parish’s operating costs.

“We might put it into savings until we can figure out a project, or something that the parishioners will see upgrades to the parish,” Growhoski said.

At first, Growhoski thought an auction would be the best way to get rid of the furniture and other items, but on the advice of an auctioneer, she decided to go ahead with an estate sale instead.

In the late morning, the four floors of St. Mary’s rectory were full of curious deal-hunters, shuffling through carpeted rooms to look at displayed furniture, glassware and other items.

In the basement, a $1 portrait of the Virgin Mary leaned on a wall next to a $3 portrait of what appeared to be a 20th-century pope. Around the corner and past stained-glass depictions of Jesus, a few side rooms held items such as a $200 safe, a $10 artist’s depiction of the Last Supper and an $8 staff with a broken crucifix.

Almost immediately at the entrance to the rectory on the first floor, a table held an assortment of $1 crucifixes and other small plates. Just down the hall, a large wooden grandfather clock stood silently near the entrance to the kitchen, on sale for only $100.

“We just bought a retirement home in North Carolina, and that would look perfect in it,” said Patty Paskewitz of Connecticut, seconds after handing the cashier five $20 bills for the clock.

Paskewitz said she was surprised the clock hadn’t already been purchased before she arrived. Other items did not last as long, including a $250 cabinet set. One of the highest-priced items at the sale, Kaczenski said, was a $450 wood bureau on display on the second floor.

“It’s a good assortment of stuff, it really is. And the prices are fantastic, obviously,” Paskewitz said. “I was surprised at what they had.”

Michael Connors can be reached at mconnors@gazettenet.com.

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