Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, GA
330 Bonaventure Road
Type of Prayer Place
Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia is an incredible place for prayer and meditation for a number of reasons which include the serene cathedral like alleys of live oaks, the benches for peaceful contemplation on the bluff overlooking the Wilmington River and the amazing religious sculptures. The cemetery itself is on the grounds of a former plantation and encompasses over 100 acres. The minute you drive under the shade of the 250 year old live oaks, you feel an incredible peace and a feeling of stillness and reverence missing at most historical sites. As you slowly navigate the soft sand roads between grave sites, you are encompassed by a sense of the passage of time by the memorials to those who have gone before us for the last two centuries. Then you become captivated by the sculptures and the symbols of faith erected throughout the cemetery.
The most breath taking sculpture in my opinion is at the Lawton family plot located at Section H, Lot 168 which is very near the bluff on the river. Here you’ll find a huge, beautifully carved marble arch, at least one story in height. As you round the corner you see a life-size sculpture of Christ standing atop the three stairs up the arch. Christ is depicted in a pose that suggests he is beckoning a soul to pass through the arch into eternity with Him. When you stand on the front side of the arch, you can glimpse the water of the river through the trees beyond. There is also a very moving statue of the eldest daughter of Alexander Robert Lawton seated next to a cross with the inscription, “Allured to brighter worlds and led the way.”
Other notable points of contemplation and prayer include the gravestone in Section O which marks the burial of the ashes of 353 Holocaust victims, buried here in 1950 after being transported from a concentration camp in Germany. You’ll find the headstone covered with small rocks following Jewish tradition. The rocks have been left there by those who have passed through in remembrance of these victims. This makes a very good place to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for social justice.
There are also historic graves in the cemetery, the most visited being that of song writer Johnny Mercer who wrote “Moon River.” Missing from the cemetery is the famous “Bird Girl” statue that was featured on the book cover of the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” The statue has been relocated to the Telfair Museum of Art.
How I used this place of prayer
I was caught off guard by the atmosphere of peace and sacredness I felt simply driving through the cemetery. When we visited, there were very few other people there and often we were alone in our slow pilgrimage through the sandy lanes. When I saw the Lawton sculpture of Christ at the door to eternity, I had to stop and get out and stand a moment to soak in the unexpected site of Christ ready to welcome us into heaven. Amazing!
Hours of Operation & Admission Requirements
8 AM to 5 PM; No admission charge
Contact Information / Sponsoring Organization
City of Savannah 912-651-6843
The use of a good mosquito repellent is a must! It’s about 4 and a half miles from the city, and the route isn’t well marked until the end, so make sure you have directions, a map or a navigational device. There are many azaleas in the cemetery, so traveling during the azalea season which is typically the end of March or the first of April is a beautiful time of year to go. When we exited we spotted a small area of picnic tables by the gate.
Added by Karen Barber on August 20, 2012