Homecoming of St. Mary's Kaukauna 40th Anniversary July 1926

St. Mary's Catholic Church, Kaukauna, Wisconsin

Homecoming of St. Marys 40th Anniversary

Text From the Homecoming of St. Mary’s 40th Anniversary book. Scanned and OCR with a few corrections

History of St. Mary's Parish

St. Mary's Parish, Kaukauna, had its beginning in the fact that the Fox River with its numerous rapids affording unlimited water power furnished a splendid site for paper mills and other manufacturing industries. In 1880 the Kaukauna Water Power Co. was organized and soon this region became a lively industrial center. The sudden increase of population on the south side of the river, however, was a result of the moving of the Milwaukee, Lake Shore and Western R. R. shops here from Manitowoc, whereupon the office force, locomotive engineers, fire- men, conductors, machinists, and other employees of the company located here. On account of the growth of population on the south side, it soon became apparent that provisions must be made for the spiritual welfare of the Catholics who had come to this new center of industry. There was a thriving Catholic parish on the north side, but Holy Cross could no longer accommodate the families of both sides of the river. When the Rev. Julius Rohde, pastor of Holy Cross Church, was consulted, he immediately presented the case to the Rt. Rev. Bishop of Green Bay. Permission for organizing a new parish was obtained, and the work was begun. Four lots were acquired in the highest spot of the town, and the Milwaukee Lake Shore and Western R. R. (now the Ashland Division of the Northwestern) donated two additional lots. Thus in the year 1885 the Catholic congregation on the south side was organized and incorporated under the title of St. Mary of the Annunciation. The incorporators were the Rev. Julius Rohde, Michael Donohuc, and Joseph Klein. The preliminaries in connection with the organization of the parish having been attended to work was at once begun on the new building. The architect was Mr. Tcnnbusch who resided here for a time and married Miss Annie Klein, a daughter of Joseph Klein. Mr. Tennbusch, by the way, is now a prosperous architect of Cleveland, Ohio. The erection of a simple brick veneered structure, amply large for that time, was begun in October, 1885, and completed, without the brick veneer, the following January. The dimensions were 51x80. It was a two story building; the upper story having been arranged for church purposes, and the lower for a school and a Sisters' home. On the first Sunday in January, 1886, the first mass was celebrated in St. Mary's Church by the pastor, the Rev. Julius Rohde who attended St. Mary's as a mission from Holy Cross. After a few months of service he realized that the work was too heavy for him, and asked to be released from attending the former. The Capuchin Fathers of Appleton were then put in charge of the congregation until a permanent pastor would be appointed. The Rev. Nicholas Hens received the appointment on December 1st of the same year and thus became the first resident pastor of St. Marv's Church. At first Fr. Hens found little to encourage him in his new field of labor. A heavy debt of about $5,000 hung over the parish like a pall which seemed to overwhelm the struggling little congregation. However, with his fine business tact and zeal, and the hearty co-operation of his parishioners, he soon overcame all existing difficulties. At the end of his six years' incumbency, the parish owned a brick veneered combination church and school building 51x150, affording seating capacity for 662 persons in the church and room for over 400 children in the school. Besides this enlargement of the original building he had built a Sisters' house and a rectory which was considered at that time one of the finest in the diocese. During this period there were also purchased five acres of land for a cemetery. The total valuation of the property of St. Mary's parish at the time of Fr. Hens' departure was $U6,000, and there was not a dollar of debt upon the property. A noble record to leave behind! It is not surprising that the members of the parish submitted the following resolution to the Rt. Rev. Bishop of Green Bay: Rt. Rev. Bishop S. G. Messmer, We, the undersigned committee, representing four different nationalities, English, German, Holland, and French, comprising St. Mary's Parish of Kaukauna, Wis., having learned with deepest regret that our beloved pastor, Rev. N. Hens, will be removed from our midst, send with most profound humility to your Lordship the following resolutions: Resolved, First: Not one of our parishioners has ever had or made during the six years of his pastorate amongst us the least complaint. Second: He has always and everywhere been our guide, our model, and our spiritual father in whom we all without exception had entire and full confidence. Third: Fathers, mothers, and children and our sick see him leave with breaking hearts and deepest regret. Fourth: Our hearts and fervent prayers will accompany him to Chilton, his new sphere of work in the Vineyard of the Lord. Fifth: At his most soliciting prayer we submit, though reluctantly to your Lordship's decision, as faithful and humble children of our Holy Mother, the Church. Sixth: May Almighty God reward him for all he has done for us spiritually and temporally, and that we may all see him again in a world where there will be no separation. Seventh: That a copy of these resolutions he sent to the Rt. Rev. Bishop of Green Bay, and also a copy presented to the Rev. Nicholas Hens, and published in our local and other papers. By Order of the Committee.

In the issue of The Kaukauna Times of January 20, 1893, we find the following relative to the removal of Fr. Hens: "There was surprising and startling news in store for the members of St. Mary's parish on Sun- day, January 15th. Before they departed from their church last Sunday, Fr. Hens had informed them that he was about to leave the parish. Such has been the decision of the Rt. Rev. Bishop and he must abide by it. This announcement was like a thunderbolt upon the congregation for, aside of a few members of the parish, this change was unknown to the large majority. The members of St. Mary's parish had looked upon Fr. Hens as well established in the city as the church itself, and none could but feel regret that he was to leave. Persons of other denominations like- wise expressed regret and astonishment at this news. Since Fr. Hens had taken charge of St. Mary's congregation the attendance had rapidly increased so that on the day when he announced his departure from his beloved flock, he saw gathered around him members of between 400 to 150 families. The labor in a parish of this size had naturally increased in volume, and as age was beginning to show itself in the venerable pastor's snowy locks, the Rt. Rev. Bishop concluded that it were for his own good to relieve him of so arduous a charge and assign him to an easier pastorate. An opening having been caused at Chilton by the sickness of Fr. Honeymann, Fr. Hens was appointed to the pastorate of St. Mary's Church at that place. He left Kaukauna on January 20th for his new charge." The Times then relates the wonderful advancement of the parish during his six years of leadership, and publishes the tribute paid him by the Patterson Press when he left the diocese of Newark, N. J., to join the Green Bay diocese. The Times then continues: "This fine tribute is paid to a noble priest, and is proof that Fr. Hens has at all times in his priestly life and career made a memorable mark in the annals of the various parishes to which he was sent to labor. An arduous, untiring, unceasing worker, seemingly never discouraged, but always pursuing to accomplish a set purpose. Now in his declining years he was assigned to a quiet little church at Chilton. There he could live peacefully with just enough work to occupy his time, and recall memories of the past which tell him of a great and noble work done in the vineyard of the Master. His closing words of his farewell sermon to his parish on Sunday, January 15th, were as follows: 'May Almighty God bless you and protect you all. Let us pray for one another. Good-bye noble people of Kaukauna, Catholics and Protestants, fathers, mothers, and children, good-bye all'."
Fr. Hens was succeeded by the Rev. Joseph A. Geissler who came here from Two Rivers, Wis. This was a case where a pupil succeeds his master in the same capacity. Fr. Geissler had been an altar boy for Fr. Hens in Patterson, N. J. From him he had received his first Latin lessons, and by him was helped through college, and after his ordination was initiated by him into the work of a parish priest by being his assistant for two years. At the time of his coming to St. Mary's, Fr. Geissler was thirty-five years of age. He was an impressive and eloquent speaker, well versed in many languages, an intelligent and deep thinker, and in every way qualified to succeed his former guardian and tutor as pastor of St. Mary's. After four short years he was re-appointed to his former charge at Two Rivers, where the beautiful SI. Luke's Church which he had built ever beckoned for his return and where he remained until his death.
Then on January 25, 1897, came the young, able, energetic, and enthusiastic Fr. Steinbrecber, who soon after his arrival realized that the congregation, which now consisted of 600 families, had far outgrown its present accommodations, and that there was a crying need for a larger church edifice, and the use of the combination church and school building entirely for school purposes. Many will recall the young pastor's eloquent address to the congregation one Sunday morning, in which he caused his audience to visualize the new St. Mary's in all its splendor on the heights of Kaukauna, with its lofty spires gleaming in the sunlight, saluting the mother churches of the valley. The enthusiasm of the congregation aroused that memorable morning, rose high and the decision to build was immediately Plans were procured from Mr. A. Druiding of Chicago, and the contract was allotted to Mr. Henry Hoffmann of Appleton, with subcontracts to contractors of this city. Peter Coppes and Sons had the contract for the mason work. As a result of this planning, and the untiring efforts of Fr. Steinbrecher, there arouse the beautiful St. Mary's Church of Kaukauna, at the time of its construction the topic of conversation on all sides, and still today, after twenty-five years of its existence considered one of the finest edifices in the diocese. St. Mary's is unique in its construction. Built along Gothic lines it deviates from the strict interpretation of this style in so far as there are no pillars in the body of the church to carry the weight of the roof which is carried by wooden trusses that support the beautiful groined Gothic ceiling. This is an advantage as there is nothing in the body of the church to obstruct the view of the altar which can be seen from all parts of the church so that devout worshippers can follow the beautiful and impressive ritual of the Mass. Ample provision was made for the lighting of the interior, princi- pally by two large windows in the transept, each measuring 14'x26', by - the eight windows in the body of the building, and eight smaller ones in clerestory. The sanctuary is lit by a half circle of windows which bring to view the graceful Gothic finish of that part of the church. The walls of the main body of the church are 26 feet high, while the sanctuary and the transept walls rise to a height of 46 feet. The crest of the roof rises to a height of 75 feet from the grade of the street. The spires, three in number, when completed, will be of the following dimensions according to The original plans. The center spire is to rise 210 feet into the air, and the smaller ones on the sides are to be 125 feet in height. The turret over the transpet stands 110 feet high. The church has a seating capacity of 1200. The cost of the building, not including furniture, windows and interior decorations, was a little less than $25,000. The interior furnishings are notably handsome. The exquisite high altar of pure Carara marble, with onyx pillars supporting the dome over the tabernacle, a masterpiece of altar building, was constructed by the Conradi Co. of St. Louis. It was donated by Mr. H. L. Vandenberg, as —were also the stations of the cross. The beautiful stained glass windows, also works of art, representing the mysteries of the Rosary, were produced by the Tyrolese Art Glass Co. of Innsbruck, Tyrol. One of the largest ones in the transept was a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Evart Sanders. All the rest were donated by the various societies of the church, and by various generous individuals of the parish, whose names are perpetuated on the windows as well as in the hearts of the grateful members of the parish.

Thanksgiving Day, November 21, 1898, was a happy day for the pastor and congregation when the new St. Mary's was dedicated, lo the service of (rod by the Rev. S. G. Messmer of Green Ray. At nine o'clock in the morning of that eventful day, almost every seat in the church was occupied. At 9:30, twenty alcolytes followed by thirty-five priests and the Rt. Rev. Rishop formed a procession and marched around the interior of the church, after which the Litany of all Saints was sung. After the dedication, the Rev. Henry Olten, S. J. of Marquette University of Milwaukee, preached an eloquent sermon in English, taking his text from the 19th chapter of St. Luke: "Salvation has this day come to this house." Fr. Otten congratulated the bishop, the pastor, and the congregation on the attractive house of worship. He referred to the fact that it was a fitting day to rejoice and to offer thanks to Almighty God for the erection and completion of such an edifice, as it was the Thanksgiving Day of the Nation. One of the beautiful thoughts he brought to mind was his comparison of the human soul to the graceful lines of architecture in the building, the former being made by the Supreme Master, while the latter was designed by the hand of man. At ten o'clock, Pontifical High Mass was sung by the Rt. Rev. S. G. Mes::mer. Following the gospel of the Mass, the Rev. Joseph Rainer of St. Francis Seminary preached the sermon in the German language. His text was "How beautiful, () Lord, is the place of Thy Rest." Much of the success of the beautiful ceremony of dedication was due to the masterly way in which the choir conducted the musical parts of the service. Just before the Mass with great sublimity they sang, "The Heavens are Telling the Glory of God." The large concourse of clergy from far and near added greatly to the enhancement of the ceremony in connection with the dedication. The following clergy were present: Monsgr. J. J. Fox appeared in his purple robes. Assistant priests of honor were Rev. Joseph Rainer, Deacons of honor, Rev. Theodore Richard and Rev. ,T. A. Selbach, asssitant deacons of the mass, Rev. John Hummel and Rev. Michael Clifford; Masters of Ceremony, Rev. .1. Loozc and Rev. P. Schmitz. Besides these mentioned were the following: Revs. N. M. Zimmer, J. Bach, Julius Rhode, John Kaster, A. Smith, J. Vcrstegen, W. J. Fitzmaurice, Justin Vander Elsen, George Clifford, Joseph Tcipel, A. Van Susteren, Fr. Honoratus O. M. Cap., T. Knegtel, Joseph Hemmer, G. J. O'Connor, E. Kabat, J. O'Malley, L. A. Ricklin, and B. H. Pennings. P. J. Lochman, T. Ryan, A. Cipin, L. C. Becker, A. O'Connor. The pastorate of Fr. Steinbrecher was not only characterized by these material achievements but more particularly by the phenomenal growth in the spiritual life of the members of the parish. During the twenty-seven years of his service, he was ever most insistent upon the people living good Christian lives, urging as a means to this end, frequent Holy Communion. He also endeavored to reach this ideal by frequent missions, retreats, and other spiritual exercises. The results of his efforts are visibly manifested by the fact that St. Mary's has taken the lead in the number of Holy Communions, some years the number having reached 70,000, and also that during his pastorate fifty girls from the parish entered the Convent to consecrate their lives to the service of God, and four young men of the parish are now serving God as His priests, namely the Rev. Mathias Kraus, the Rev. Mathias Hauch, the Rev. William Koutnick, and the Rev. Frank Melchior.
One of the red letter days in the history of the parish was the Jubilee celebration on June 22, 1913. On this day the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the parish, and the silver jubilee of Fr. Steinbrecher's ordination to the priesthood were jointly celebrated. It was a happy occasion as the two former pastors, Fr. Hens and Fr. Geissler were both present. The solemn high mass at 10 o'clock was celebrated by the aged and feeble Fr. Hens, assisted by Fr. Geiss'er. Fr. Hens also delivered the sermon. In the evening at 6:15 there was a sermon and benediction by Fr. Lochman, following which came the big banquet in the church hall which was beautifully decorated with festoons of roses. The banquet was in charge of the Young Ladies Sodality who very efficiently served the ___ people present. Ernest Landrcman was toastmaster. The Rt. Rev. P. J. Lochman, V. G., responded to the toast, "Our Holy Father, Pope Pious X." Fr. Geissler spoke next and delighted his former parishioners with his humorous remarks. Fr. Grosnick, a former assistant, responded to the toast, "St. Mary's Church, Past, Present, and Future." John Callahan, State Secretary of the C. K. of W., was the next speaker. Mayor John Coppes then presented Fr. Steinbrecher with a silver dish containing two hundred silver dollars, a collection from the congregation, as a fitting memento of the occasion — his silver jubilee. The orchestra in charge of Wm. Gantter furnished the music. The following committee had full charge of the arrangements: Ernest Landreman, L. F. Nelson, Jos. Heckle, N. M. Haupt, A. R. McDonald, Mich Xytes, Malachi Ryan, and Jos. Thelen.
Another event worth noting was the celebration in connection with Fr. Steinbrecher's twenty-five years of service in this congregation on January 31, 1922. About one hundred clergy were present. Bishop Rhode delivered the sermon during the 10 o'clock mass. At one o'clock a banquet was served, and in the evening a program prepared by the school children and the choir was presented. In appreciation of Fr. Steinbrecher's work and zeal, the congregation presented him with a Buick sedan. Failing health making it impossible to continue his labors here, Fr. Steinbrecher resigned in July, 1921, and was put in charge of the church at New Holstein, where the work is less strenuous. During his pastorale at St. Mary's the church membership had increased to __50 families, and the school enrollment to about 600 pupils in charge of fifteen teaching Sisters. The old school building had long been too small to accommodate this large number, the annex furnishing four additional rooms. The church property in 1922 was valued at $125,000 free from all debt. The successor of Fr. Steinbrecher and the present pastor is Fr. Conrad Ripp who came here from Hear Creek. During his two short years of service here, Fr. Ripp through his unassuming and kindly attitude has accomplished much, and made many repairs and improvements in the church property. A new roof has been put on the church, the electric conduits changed to conform with the state requirements, the walls redecorated, and a terrazzo floor laid in the sanctuary. St. Mary's now as in the past is willingly and readily making sacrifices to meet all the expenses thus incurred, and besides is increasing the school fund to such an extent that the new building will soon be erected.

The Sisters Connected With St. Mary's School The Past Forty Years
Mother M. Generose
Sister M. Eugene
Sister M. Dolorose
Sister M. Pancratia
Sister M. Regina
Sister M. Victima
Sister M. Fidelia
Sister M. Rose
Sister M. Presentation
Sister M. Isadore
Sister M. Basilia
Sister M. Eulalia
Sister M. Ruftna
Sister M. Corona
Sister M. Mildred
Sister M. Lioba
Sister M. Blanche
Sister M. Geraldine
Sister M. Perpetua
Sister M. Borgia
Sister M. Clarissa
Sister M. Adalbert
Sister M. Firmina
Sister M. Camille
Sister M. Borremeo
Sister M. Thuribia
Sister M. Killian
Sister M. Solona
Sister M. Cherubim
Sister M. Grace
Sister M. Antoinette
Sister M. Regis
Sister M. Germaine
Sister M. Pelagia
Sister M. Antonella
Sister M. Clarita
Sister M. Ladislaus
Sister M. Isabelle
Sister M. Eusebia
Sister M. Lumina
Sister M. Paschal
Sister M. Imelda
Sister M. Sybilline
Sister M. Edwardinc
Sister M. Hyacinth
Sister M. Cletus
Sister M. Polycarp
Sister M. Assumpta
Sister M. Theodore
Sister M. Edmund
Sister M. Esther
Sister M. Cornelius
Sister M. Noel
Sister M. Candida
Sister M. La Salle
Sister M. Harriet
Sister M. Antolinda
Sister M. Gabriel
Sister M. Vincent
Sister M. Litgardis
Sister M. Rosina
Sister M. Leocadia
Sister M. Anaclete
Sister M. Martina
Sister M. Charles
Sister M. Jerome
Sister M. Josetta
Sister M. Clementine
Sister M. Edith
Sister M. Theodosia
Sister M. Andrew
Sister M. Prisca
Sister M. Ernesta
Sister M. Rita Marie
Sister M. Basil
Sister M. Kathleen
Sister M. Monica
Sister M. Leonette
Sister M. Cyprian
Sister M. Georgeen
Sister M. Beata
Sister M. Annunciata
Sister M. Mechtildis
Sister M. Amata
Sister M. Berchmans
Sister M. Rachel
Sister M. Magdala
Sister M. Mary Carmel
Sister M. Julian
Sister M. Palma
Sister M. Conrad
Sister M. Maronius
Sister M. Seraphim
Sister M. Louis Gonzaga
Sister M. Irene
Sistre M. Lucian
Sister M. Redempta
Sister M. Gervase
Sister M. Othelia
Sister M. Linus
Sister M. Anthony
Sister M. Fides
Sister M. Afra
Sister M. Anicetus
Sister M. Catherine
Sister M. Dolores Marie
Sister M. Brendan
Sister M. Theodoret
Sister M. Evangela
Sister M. Flavia
Sister M. Valentia
Sister M. Carolla
Sister M. Carmelita
Sister M. Jean Marie
Sister M. Odelia
Sister M. Joan
Sister M. Domingo
Sister M. Rose Gertrude
Sister M. Agatha
Sister M. Ann Marie
Sister M. Virgilius
Sister M. Thomas Francis
Sister M. Rita
Sister M. Cordelia
Sister M. Angelica

Names of the Superiors of St. Mary's Convent
Mother M. Generose
Sister M. Fidelia
Sister M. Selasia
Sister M. Calasanza
Sister M. Firmina
Sister M. Seraphim
Sister M. Dolorose
Sister M. Mildred
Sister M. Firmina
Sister M. Edith
Sister M. Pacifica

The Sisters Who Opened-the School in June of 1887 are:
Sister M. Pacifica
Sister M. Eugene
Sister M. Genevieve

Sisters of St. Mary's Who Have Passed to Their Reward
Sister M. Lucretia
Sister M. Kathleen
Sister M. Genevieve
Sister M. Fabian
Sister M. Cala/ansa
Sister M. Benigna
Sister M. Placida
Sister M. Boniface
Sister M. Alberta
Sister M. Francisca
Sister M. Pacifica
Sister M. Boniface
Sister M. Leonidas
Sister M. Anmmciata
Sister M. Joachim
Sister M. Columba
Sister M. Longina
Sister M. Eulogia
Sister M. Phillipine

ABOVE—Joseph Peter Melchiors, S. J. Rev. Francis J. Melchiors, Prof. John M. Melchiors. A. M., Mrs. Adelaide Melchiors and Mr. Joseph Melchiors.

BELOW—Sister M. Cecil Melchiors.

The Rev. H. Vande Castle, present assistant of St. Mary's, was born at De Pere, Wis., Sept. 9, 1895. He received his primary education at St. Boniface school. In 1908 he moved to Washington, D. C., where com- pleting his elementary education he entered (ionzaga College at Washington. In 1917 he entered St. Francis Seminary where he pursued his theological studies and was ordained there to the Holy Priesthood May 21, 1921. His first appointment was as assistant to Rev. P. Van Susteren at St. Willibrod s Church, (ireen Bay, Wis. Having served in the above capacity until May, 1923, he was transferred to St. Mary's, Kaukauna.

The Reverend Assistants of St. Mary's Church
The first assistant pastor appointed for "St. Mary's Congregation was the Rev. A. W. Huitink who came here in July, 1890, and remained until Septemher of the same year. Then in the monlh of December, 1892, the Rev. Francis W. (icier was assigned as assistant to the pastor, Fr. Hens, hut remained only a few months. From that date until the appointment of Fr. Steinbrecher as pastor of Ihe parish there was no assistant priest assigned to help along in the administration of the affairs of the parish. In the meanwhile, however, the parish had grown to such proportions that it wras impossihle for one priest to render satisfaction to the spiritual and temporal needs of the congregation and it was apparent that the appointment of an assistant was a crying need. So much Ihe more was this called for by the fact that the building program that was facing the pastor demanded his attention in other directions hesides the spiritual needs of the memhcrs of the parish. In the fall of 1897 the Rev. Joseph Teipel was appointed assistant to the Rev. F. X. Steinbrecher. He remained only a few months when he was succeeded hy the Rev. Louis C. Becker, (he present pastor of St. Joseph's Church at Oconlo, Wis. Fr. Becker came here in January, 1898, and remained until the fall of of the same year. He was then appointed pastor of the Sacred Heart Church at Shawano with missions at Gresham, Leopolis, and Cecil. Here he remained for 11 years, laboring zealously for the welfare of the people entrusted to him and in the years of his pas- torate at Shawano erected the hcautiful Sacred Heart School and Sisters' residence. He was then transferred to the St. Joseph's Church at Oconlo. For an interim of several months following the appointment of Fr. Becker to the pastorate of the Sacred Heart Church at Shawano there was no regular assistant here at St. Mary's hut the pastor was assisted in his arduous duties by the Capuchin Fathers of St. Joseph's Church at Apple- ton and by the Premonstratensian Fathers of De Pere, Wis. In the month of June, 1901, the Rev. Aloys Brunner, newly ordained, was appointed assistant to the pastor of St. Mary's. He remained here until the month of August, 1902, when he was made pastor of St. Peter and Paul's Church at Hortonville, Wis. Here he remained until the month of July, 1906, when he was forced to resign from all pastoral work on account of ill health. He died a short time after this at his home in Milwaukee at the age of only 29 years. Fr. Brunner was succeeded here at St. Mary's hy the Rev. P. J. Grosnick who was shortly bcfore ordained to the Holy Priesthood in this church. He remained here as assistant until the monlh of July, 1901, when he was appointed pastor of the Sacred Heart Church at Manawa, Wis., where he remained for 13 years. He is now pastor of St. Anthony's Church at Oconto Falls and is also the Secretary of the Diocesan school hoard.
In August of 1901 the Rev. Joseph Kommers was appointed to succeed Fr. Grosnick as assistant to the pastor of St. Mary's. For two years Fr. Kommers faithfully and loyally assisted in the hard work of administering to the spiritual needs of the members of the parish and in July, 1906, he was appointed pastor of St. Peter and Paul's Church at Hortonville, to succeed the Rev. Aloys Brunner who had resigned. Fr. Kommers remained in Hortonville for 17 years which time was marked by signal success along spiritual and material lines in the parish. A heavy debt was paid off, many other needed improvements were made, and great strides in the spiritual uplift of the parish were accomplished. When, after a successful administration of the affairs of the parish for 17 years, he found himself obliged to resign his pastorate on account of ill health, the people of the parish gave expression, in a very creditably way, to their feelings of highest regard and deepest appreciation for what Fr. Kommers had done for them during his pastorate. His departure was witnessed with deep regret by all who had been associated with him in those seventeen years. Fr. Kommers was succeeded here in St. Mary's by the Rev. P. J. Nilles newly ordained. He remained here until the month of March, 1908, when he was appointed pastor of St. John's Church at Morrison with East Wrightstown as a mission. Here he labored for four years amidst pri- vations and difficulties, making the trips to the mission regularly four times a week. From here he was transferred to the pastorate of St. Charles Church at Charlesburg, Wis., where he remained for 12 years. He is now the pastor of St. Mark's Church at Two Rivers. Upon the appointment of Fr. Nilles to the pastorate of St. John's Church at Morrison the Rev. Fr. A. L. Buytaert was appointed assistant to St. Mary's. In the fall of 1910 Fr. Buytaert was made pastor of St. Ambrose Church at Wabeno where he remained for 14 years when he was appointed pastor of St. Paul's Church at West Wrightstown to succeed the Rev. L. Vande Castle who had been called to his eternal reward May 8, 1924. The Rev. Henry Halinde was then appointed to succeed Fr. Buytaert as assistant to the pastor of St. Mary's. After one year's labor in that capacity Fr. Halinde was transferred to the pastorate of St. Joseph's Church at Crandon. From there he was appointed pastor of St. Leonard's Church at Laona, where he labored for some time when he was trans- ferred to Hurnboldt, Wis. From here he was again appointed assistant to St. Mary's, Kaukauna, where he organized the new St. Paul's Parish at Combined Locks. After a pastorate of the new parish for three years he was transferred to St. Ambrose Church at Wabeno, his present charge.
The Rev. S. Trajanowski was next appointed assistant to Fr. Stein- brecher at St. Mary's. He remained until the month of June, 1912, when he was assigned to a parish. He is now pastor of St. Anthony's Church at Niagara, Wis. Fr. M. Hauch succeeded as assistant at St. Mary's. He remained until September, 1911, when he was transferred to Appleton to assist Fr. Fitzmauricc. A year later he was appointed pastor at Lanark with the missions at Buena Vista. In 1918 he was transferred to his present charge at Morrison with the mission at East Wrightstown. Rev. Aloys Schueller took up the work of assistant following Fr. Hauch. He remained until the month of December, 1919, when he was appointed pastor of St. Francis Solanus Church at Gresham with Leopolis as a mission. From there he was assigned to the pastorate of St. Anne's congregation at Franics Creek his present charge. Here he built a beau- tiful new parochial school and made many other needed improvements. The Rev. John DeWild was next appointed assistant to St. Mary's. He remained but a short time and was then transferred to the pastorate of St. Joseph's Church at Wauloma with Almond as a mission. Here he labored successfully for almost six years when he was transferred to St. Joseph's Church at Crandon. From the latter place he was trans- ferred to St. Paul's Church at Combined Locks, bis present charge. Fr. A. J. Reindl succeeded Fr. DeWild as assistant here at St. Mary's. He remained here from May, 1916, to October, 1!>17, when he was assigned to the pastorate of St. Mary's Church at Reedsville. In 1919 he passed away to his eternal reward.
The Rev. H. Van Sempelc succeeded Fr. Reindl as assistant here. He remained until February, 1918, to be succeeded by the Rev. L. P. Strohofer who remained here until October, 1918. The Rev. A. F. Schorn assisted Fr. Steinbrecher for a short time until the appointment of the Rev. Roman Peil, who remained from January, 1919, to July of the same year. The Rev. John Nurnberg was next appointed here. On account of severe illness which incapacitated him to comply with the many arduous duties of his priestly career he was obliged to give up for a while all work in the ministry and to seek rest and quietude. He is now pastor of St. Joseph's Church at Wautoma. The Rev. Constantine Ullrich then acted as assistant for a short time until the appointment of the Rev. C. Raymakers in the month of January, 1920. Fr. Raymakers remained until the month of April, 1922, when he was assigned to assist the Rev. H. Pfeifcr of Corpus Christi Church at Sawyer, Wis. From there he was transferred to the Holy Name Church at Kimberly where he is acting at present in the capacity of assistant to the Rev. F. X. Van Nistelroy, pastor. The Rev. T. Lugowsky then came here as assistant. He remained from April, 1922, to December of the same year. By this time it bad become apparent that the health of the pastor of St. Mary's had become seriously impaired and that the work of collecting funds and making preparations for the building of the badly needed new school, besides the other pastoral work was too much for him. It was deemed advisable then to appoint a second assistant here to take charge principally of the work of collecting funds for the new school. The Rev. Joseph Kalisek came here then to assist in the administration of the affairs of the parish with Fr. Halindc who came here from the parish of Humboldt, Wis. By and by other charges having to be filled, Fr. Halinde was appointed the first pastor of the newly organized St. Paul's Church at Combined Locks while Fr. Kalisek was appointed temporary pastor of St. Mary's Church at Antigo, from whence he was reappointed assistant at St. Mary's remaining only a few months, after which he took charge of St. Joseph's Church at Montpelier, Wis., his present pastorate. The Rev. Henry VandeCastle was then appointed assistant to the Rev. F. X. Steinbrecher and remained over after the appointment of the present pastor to St. Mary's.

Since the organization of the St. Mary's congregation, the parish has sent four young men into the field of priestly duties, and has three youths pursuing their studies in anticipation of ordination. Those of the parish who have been ordained are the Reverends Matthew Kraus, Mathias Hauch, William Koutnick. and Francis Melchiors, The three young men studying for their entrance into the holy work of God are Joseph P. Melchiors, S. ??? who is now at St. Louis University, and who will be ordained in 1927, Norbert Bernard Rank at St. Francis Semniary, St. Francis, and Albert J. De Witt, now at the Salvatorian Seminary at St. Nazianx. St. Mary's Church may well be proud of her record in preparing the way for the entrance of these fine types of manhood into the paths of religious learning.

The Rev. Matthias Kraus was born in Ratisbonne, Bavaria, on the 22nd of May, 1884. He came to the United States at the age of 14 landing in New York March 1, 1898. He entered St. Lawrence College, Mt. Calvary, where he remained until June, 1899. From here he went to St. Norbert's College at DC Pere, Wis., where he continued his studies graduating from that institution in June, 1903. He next entered St. John's University at Collegeville, Minnesota, where he remained from 1904 to 1907, completing a course in philosophy. From there he went to St. Francis Seminary, St. Francis, \Vis., where he completed the three year course of theology and was ordained to the Holy Priesthood in St. Mary's Church at Kaukauna on the 9th of October, 1910, by the Rt. Rev. J. J. Fox, Bishop of Green Bay. He said his first solemn High Mass in St.Mary's Church on the 16th of October. He was then appointed assistant pastor of St. Patrick's Church at Green Bay and served in that capacity until the month of April, 1914, when he was transferred to St. Mary's Church at Oshkosh. On the 8th day of December, 1914, he was appointed pastor of the newly organized parish of St. Joseph's at Green Bay. Here he built a combination church and school building. On the 14th of November, 1915, the Rt. Rev. Bishop P. P. Rhode blessed this building. In the fall of 1916 school was opened in the new building. There being no home for the Sisters the rectory was turned over to the Sisters, the pastor living in one of the sacristies of the church. In the spring of 1924 the new rectory was ready for occupancy. So amidst privations and sacrifice was the foundation laid for St. Joseph's Church at Green Bay with Fr. Kraus the principal actor in the scene. ( In grateful acknowledgement to the former pastor of St. Mary's, Kaukauna. the Rev. F. X. Steinbrecher, Fr. Kraus wishes to specify in this biography the encouragement he had received in the course of his studies for the priesthood from the same, and also the many and great sacrifices brought for him by Mrs. Anna Kraus, his aunt, to both of whom he attributes the fact that he was enabled to say his "Introibo ad Altare Dei."

The Rev. Mathias Hauch, son of Frank Hauch and Elizabeth Philipps Hauch, was born in Meeme, Wis., September 6, 1886. His father having died when he was a little child, his mother moved with her three children to Kaukauna to be near her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Philipps, Sr. After graduating from St. Mary's School, he attended the Pontifical College, Josephinum, at Columbus, Ohio, where he was ordained to the Priesthood, June 13, 1912. He celebrated his first Mass in St. Mary's Church, June l6, 1912. He was immediately appointed assistant to Rev. Fr. Steinbrecher, and about two years later as assistant to Rev. Fr. Fitzmaurice at Appleton. In 1915 he was appointed pastor at Lanark with the mission at Buena Vista. He built a new church at the latter place. In 1918 he was transferred to St. John's Church at Morrison with the mission at East Wrightstown, where he is still in charge.

The Rev. William Koutnick, son of Jacob Koutnick and Elisabeth Nusshart-Koutnick, was born on the 22nd of April, 1895. He attended St. Mary's School from which he graduated in June, 1909. In September of the same year he entered Campion College at Praric du Chien and took up the classical course at that institution. After having spent two years at Campion he entered St. Procopius College at Lyle, 111., where he continued the classical course graduating from that college in June of 1914. He then entered St. Francis Seminary where he studied Philosophy and Theology and was ordained to the Priesthood on June 11 th, 1920. He said his first Mass at St. Mary's Church on June 13, 1920, and received his first appointment to St. Vincent's Church at Oshkosh, Wis., where he remained for three months assisting in the pastoral work of the parish in the absence of the pastor, the Rev. Aloys Bastian. He was then appointed to the pastorate of St. Joseph's Church at Montpelier, Wis., and remained there for two years. His next appointment was to St. Mary's Church at Antigo where he is now pastor.

Sister M. Louise Koutnick, daughter of Jacob Koutnick. was graduated from the St. Mary's school in 1895. In 1901, hearing the call to God's work, she entered the Holy Family convent at Silver Lake. Sister Louise is now the oldest living Sister at the Holy Family convent from St. Mary's parish, and is to celebrate her silver jubilee this summer.

Son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Melchiors, was born on the 21st day of February, 1911, in Kaukauna, His grammar school education was obtained at St. Mary's school from which he graduated in June, 1914. In September of this same year he entered Campion College, Prairie du Chien, Wis., where he pursued the classical course of studies in preparation for the priesthood. The end of his preliminary studies in June, 1920, permitted his entrance into the school of philosophy and theology in September, 1920. He was ordained by the Rt. Her". Paul Rhode, D. D., on May 20, 1926, and read his first Holy Mass on Pentecost Sunday, May 23, 1921). at St. Mary's church.

Born March 3rd, 1895, attended St. Mary's school whence he graduated in June, 1909. Entered Campion College, Prairie du Chien, NVis., in September, 1909, finishing his classical studies in 1914. In September of that same year he entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Florissant, Missouri. His activity in the capacity of professor and instructor thus far was confined to the St. Francis Mission, St. Francis, South Dakota, where he spent two years and subsequently at Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska. At present he is completing his theological studies at St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri.

Born August 27, 1904, at Kaukauna. Attended St. Mary's school graduated from there June 2nd, 1918, beginning his studies at St. Francis Seminary September 9, 1918, completing Commercial course and Philosophy. Will enter first year Theology September, 1926, expecting to complete the 12 year course in 1930.

Born March 14, 1912, at Kaukauna, Outagamie county. Entered St. Mary's school September, 1917. Made his first Holy Communion in 1919. Was confirmed at St. Mary's church 1921, and graduated from St. Mary's school June, 1925 September, 1925, entered the Salvatorius College, St. Nazianz, Wis.

Since the organization of St. Mary's School thirty-fight young ladies, former pupils of St. Mary's school, have devoted their lives to the work of (God, in entering the Sisterhood. The following thirty-six have entered the Franciscan Order in the Holy Family Convent at Silver Lake, Wis :
Alban Seggelink
Alphonse Renn—Deceased
Angela Majaris—Deceased
Bernard Killian
Cecil Melchior
Cyrilla Schmidt—Deceased
Eileen Colligan—Deceased
Eligius Hoolihan
Engelbert Svab
Emilia Zink
Flavian ierend
Francisca Loderbauer
Francis Henry Steinbrecher
Francis Xavier Aufreiter—Deceased
Francis Xavier iertz
Harold Hennes
Ininuiculata Lorrig
Julitta Hennes
Louise Koutnik
Aloyse Mayer
Daniel Collins
Edward Schmidt
Gerard Killian
Rosina Miller—Deceased
Miriam Johnson
Modesta Michalek
Monica Banguard
Komanus Ditter
Rose Mary Powers
St. John Sprangers
Teresita Kittell
Vera Nagan
Vincentine Theisen
William Ditter
Noreen McCrorie
Carol McCrorre

Sister M. Benedict (Catherine Kyan) Dominican Order, Sinsinawa, Wis.
Sister M. Harold (Agnes Taugher) Dominican Order, Sinsinawa, Wis.
Sister M. Elizabeth (Anna Hyde) Our Lady of Mercy Order, Milwaukee, Wis.

The success of St. Mary's Parish is largely due to the untiring efforts of the various church organizations and fraternal societies organized with- in the congregation. Each one of these societies have at all times been ready to do their share in both the spiritual and material work for which purpose they were organized. Upon their efforts will depend the future progress of St. Mary's. A brief history of each of these organizations will be found on the following pages.

Improvements Made During The Pastorate Of The Rev. Conrad Ripp
St. Mary's Congregation has called her former members back from far and near, once more to enter its spacious and beautiful church edifice which some have not seen for many years, to recall pleasant memories of the past, to again mingle with relatives and friends, and to enjoy a few happy days amidst the scenes of their former activities. St. Mary's bids a cordial welcome to all. An enthusiastic congregation, pleased with its efforts of the past forty years, will gather in celebration of the event, and wishes all ex-members to be present. Some changes will be observed by visitors. Beautiful St. Mary's church, at one time admired by all who saw it, in the course of time showed the need of renovation. During the past two years a number of repairs were made in the church property. At a meeting of the congregation in January, 1925, it was decided that the old leaky roof be replaced by asbestos shingles, that a new lighting system, the wiring all in conduit to prevent danger of fire from this source, be installed, and all other needed improvements be made. The job of re-roofing was given to the Kaukauna Lumber Co., and the work of re-wiring and putting in new modern fixtures to the Kaukauna Electrical Department. The members of the parish responded very nobly to the appeal of the pastor to defray the expenses thus incurred, and by the end of the year, all the improvements amounting to $7,352.34 were paid for, with a surplus in the treasury of $1,122.90. Improvements to the amount of $1,000 had been made in 1924 on the parsonage and Sisters' residence so that altogether within two years $8,352.34 had been thus expended. Besides this, the school fund, which is kept separate, was raised from $8,000 to $12,000. The present year marks still greater achievements. The church has been re-beautified within. The walls were re-decorated by John L. Kitslaar, architect and decorator of Green Bay. When the visitor now enters the church he is impressed by the artistic and attractive decoration. The plain, light colored walls with only simple narrow borders around the doors and windows, make a suitable background for the wonderful, richly colored art glass windows. Gazing aloft at the beautiful groined ceiling, the eyes alight on the oil paintings of the four Evangelists, St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John. The attention is also attracted by two large oil paintings in the front, one depicting the Espousals of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, and the other the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin in the Temple. Under such surroundings the mind cannot fail to be uplifted and the soul disposed to send a prayer to the Throne of the Almighty in whose Honor and Glory all this work was done. Along the walls of the church and in the transepts there were pedestals, ready and waiting all the years since the completion of the church, for statues to occupy them. Recently, statues of the patron saints of the pastors and first assistant have been placed thereon. On the Epistle side are St. Julius, in memory of the Rev. Julius Rohde; St. Nicholas in memory of the Rev. Nicholas Hens; and St. Aloysius in memory of the Rev. Jos. A. Geissler. On the Gospel side, the first is that of St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of the Rev. F. X. Steinbrecher; the second, St. Conrad, patron saint of the Rev. Conrad Ripp; and the last that of St. Louis, the patron saint of the Rev. Louis C. Becker. In the transept on the Epistle side is found the statue of St. Claire, and on the Gospel side, that of the popular new St. Therese. These statues were donated by societies and individuals whose names appear on another page of this book. The two new side altars of Scaliola or imitation marble made to harmonize with the marble main altar costing $500 each were also donated. They were made by the Daprato Bros. Altar Mfg. Co. of Chicago. A terrazzo floor was laid in the sanctuary by the VandeZander and Widi Co. of Green Bay, at a total cost of $599, which includes the cleaning of the main altar. The expense of this undertaking was borne by the Altar Society. Every window in the church will be of art glass purchased from the Tyrolese Art Glass Studio. The two in the transept complete the series representing the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary. The eight in the clerestory contain the eight Beatitudes. Two new confessionals have been procured from the Kewaunee Church Furniture Co., Kewaunee, Wis. In order to accommodate the numbers that attend St. Mary's church on particular occasions, additional pews, in the course of time, will be placed in the open space in the rear, and in the choir loft. The total cost of the improvements made, and the various articles added during 1926 so far amounts to $10,713. Adding to this the sum expended in 1924 and 1925, the amount is $19,063. Well done St. Mary's and God Bless You. A grand record for these few short years; a telling tribute to and a magnificent testimonial of your faith and spirit of sacrifice. Your generosity thus manifested, gives us all great hopes for the future, for the work that remains to be done. St. Mary's we have just begun. There is before us the task of building a modern school to replace the one that has outlived its usefulness, and can no longer house the large number of pupils. A great undertaking! But basing our calculations for the future upon our experience of the past, there is no doubt in our minds that the new school will soon be a reality, a credit not only to the parish, but to the diocese of Green Bay as well. Be strong of heart, therefore, St. Mary's. You have reason to be proud of your record of the past, and this record is our hope and our guarantee for the future.

First baptism in old St. Mary's church, Joseph Edmund Kelly, son of Thomas Kelly and Louise Kelly Weisensteim, born February 6, 1886, baptized February 15, 1886. Godparents, John Haupt, Theresa Haupt.
First marriage in old St. Mary's church. John D. Blake, son of William Blake and Catherine McCarty, married to Elizabeth Jacobs, daughter of Bernard Jacobs and Margaret Jacobs. Witnesses were John Kemp and Mary Jacobs.
First funeral in old St. Mary's. Margaret Sprangers, daughter of R. Sprangers and Sophie Buehler, born November 27, 1886, died December 20, same year.
First adult funeral was that of Julia Abb, wife of Michael Abb, who died on January 20, 1887.
First baptism in new St. Mary's. Francis Michael Sprangers, son of John Sprangers and Mary Roshek Sprangers, born December 3, 1898, and baptized December 4th, same year.
First marriage in new St. Mary's. Joseph Salm, son of Nicholas Salm, and Mary Kavanaugh, daughter of John Kavanaugh, were married on February 1, 1899. Witnesses were Frederick Dries, Mary Salm, Thomas Kavanaugh and Ruth Shilcox.

Through an error the following names were omitted in the list of original members of St. Mary's: Jos. Grafe, Peter Miller, Matt Carney, Maurice Hoolihan, John Michalek, John Reichel.
St. Mary's was always very fortunate to have a number of members who, inspired by true Christian faith, upon which is based a spirit of sacrifice, were willing to help the good cause along by donating various articles of devotion to the House of God. Since the completion of the beautiful St. Mary's Church in the year 1898, various substantial donations have been made toward the interior furnishings and it is meet and proper that the names of the donors be embodied in this volume. Soon after the completion of the church edifice the call went forth for donations for an altar suitable to the church, for windows, stations, etc., and no sooner was the call sounded than noble souls responded and the halls of .St Mary's were resplendent with new. articles of devotion and decoration. The following are the names, of the donors and the articles donated;
The Marble Main Altar. ...-. H. L. Vandenberg
The Stations of the Cross, * H. L. Vandenberg
St. Joseph's Side Altar Charles Gottfried
St. Mary's Side Altar John Schmidt
The Art Glass Windows, Representing the Fifteen Decades of the Rosary
The Joyful Mysteries
The Annunciation Junior Young Ladies' Sodality
The Visitation Members of the German Altar Society
The Birth of Christ Mr. and Mrs. Evart Sanders
The Presentation in the Temple
The Finding in- the Temple Senior Young Ladies' Sodality
The Sorrowful Mysteries
The Agony in the Garden St. Mary's School Children
Scourging at the Pillar Mr. and Mrs. John Brill
Crowning With Thorns Members of Joseph Salm Family
Carrying of the Cross Senior Young Ladies' Sodality
Crucifixion H. L. Vandenberg
The Glorious Mysteries
The Resurrection of Christ Peter Coppes Family
The Ascension of Christ Court No. 118 C. O. F.
The Descent of the Holy Ghost German Altar Society
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary The Altar Society
Art Glass Windows in the Sanctuary
St. Rose of Lima St. Mary's Congregation
St. Patrick Faithful Children of St. Patrick
St. John the Baptist Branch 64 C. K. of Wisconsin
St. Joseph St. Mary's Congregation
St. Boniface St. Boniface Society
St. Elisabeth of Thuringia St. Mary's Congregation
Windows in the Clerestory, representing the Eight Beatitudes, were donated by the following: St. Boniface Society, The Lady Foresters of St. Mary's Parish, the Misses Bose and Margaret Philipps in memory of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Philipps, Sr. These windows have been donated so far and the others that are still left will no doubt be promised by generous souls in the course of time.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus Mrs. Joseph Lehrer
The Blessed Virgin Mary Mrs. Margaret Zink, Mrs. Mary Helf, Mrs. Anna Geiger
St. Joseph A Friend of St. Mary's Parish
St. Julius The Michael Klein Family
St. Nicholas Mr. and Mrs. John De Bruin
St. Aloysius Mr. Leo Feehan
St. Francis Xavier St. Mary's School Children
St. Conrad Men of the Third Order of St. Francis
St. Louis, King of France Branch 64 C. K. of Wisconsin
St. Therese of Lisieux Mrs. Anna Nagan
St. Claire Ladies of the Third Order of St. Francis
The Two Angels on the Communion Railing Mrs. Margaret Zink
The Doors in the Communion Bailing Mr. and Mrs. John Sprangers
The Sanctuary Lamp Mrs. Robert Fitzgerald
The terrazzo floor recently put into the Sanctuary was paid for by the members of St. Mary's Altar Society.
Two new Confessionals were also installed with all the other improvements and were purchased by the newly reorganized Young Ladies' Sodality and by Branch No. 64 C. K. of Wisconsin.

St. Mary's Congregation is indeed very much indebted to the donors of all these articles of devotion, statues, windows, etc. mentioned above and their generosity will never be forgotten. These donors have their names inscribed upon the roll of honour in the annals of St. Mary's Parish, but as these annals will perish in the course of time, their names and deeds are forever recorded in golden letters upon the pages of the Book of Life where the tooth of Time will not gnaw and destroy, and rust or moth will not efface. May God bless them all.

This site powered by The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding ©, v. 12.0.1, written by Darrin Lythgoe 2001-2019.

Maintained by Jay. | Data Protection Policy.

Please consider making a donation to help offset costs.

All content © 2001 - 2019 Jay Wilpolt and 1Familytree (except where otherwise noted.) Powered by The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding 12.0.1

Ads start here.