ST. GENEVIEVE GROTTO:
A Collection of Remembrance Stories
by Patricia Anderson
EUDORE ARTUS–HIS LOVE FOR GARDENING FED AND BEAUTIFIED ST. GENEVIEVE
To work is to be happy was his simple philosophy of life, but a man must love his work to do it well. So stated Eudore Artus, a native of France, who served as the gardener for St. Genevieve’s for more than twenty years.
In 1910, shortly before immigrating to the United States, the young man received commendation for excellence in gardening after passing written and oral examinations in landscaping, truck gardening, floriculture, agriculture theory, ornamental agriculture and practical agriculture. After tending the gardens of an Asheville estate for seven years, Mr. Artus began his long association with St. Genevieve’s in 1917.
Working from a two-acre tract on campus, he raised crops to supply the school with all of its fresh vegetables and flowers for nine months each year. He enjoyed farming by hand, “just like in Bible times,” he noted, creating a rich and pliant soil that yielded to a hand spade. He loved the earth and said of the fertile black loam, “She’s as soft as the flour in the bag.”
In addition to managing the school’s gardens, Mr. Artus maintained his own gardens, including a vineyard and fruit trees, at his home adjoining the St. Genevieve campus. A man who loved growing plants and making the soil productive, he asked, “What would all the money in the world mean if when you came home from work in the evening, there was no happiness or joy in the home and nothing growing in the yard?” He gained neither fame nor fortune, but his gardening brought Eudore Artus happiness and a comfortable living.
Mr. Artus hand-erected the school’s stone grotto encircled by pines and a rose garden. In a niche to the right stood a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, imitating the grotto at Lourdes, France. The niche included an altar where Mass could be said. When AB Tech planned to remove the grotto in 2013, a group of dedicated women who had graduated from the Academy gathered support to save the grotto and move it to the campus of Carolina Day School.