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Clerical bead roll of the Diocese of Alton, Ill. online

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secular clergy of this and many other
dioceses. Wherever Father Michael
was known, there he was honored, re-
spected and loved. The impressions
he created are to be lasting. The

Alton Diocese is particularly affected
by his demise, for it was at Teutopolis
and Quincy that for many years he
was successfully active not only as
College Rector and Convent Guardian
but likewise pastor of various parishes
such as Antonius, St. Joseph and Al-

Father Michael's personality was
one of striking physique and com-
manding appearance. Mis strong-
voice in pulpit discourses and ser-
mons was audible for blocks and as
a Franciscan said he caused the pul-
pit to shake and tremble. As mission-
ary and retreat master Father Michael
was known from New York to San
Francisco. Twice his brothers voted
him a Provincial of their Order 1891-
'97. In 1895 he became a delegate to
the ''Congregatio Intermedia" which
on Pentecost Sunday of that year as-
sembled at Assisi, Italy; the birth-
place of their holy founder, St. Fran-

When the health of the good aged
Father began to fail, he was retired
to the Convent of Santa Barbara in
sunny California, where on above
mentioned date he calmly and peace-
fully expired at the age of 72 years.

Father Michael was born Sept. 25,
1844 at Effelder near Muehlhausen in
the Province of Saxony, studied at
Heiligenstadt and entered the Fran-
ciscan Order at Warendorf in 1861.
Having completed the theological
studies, his superiors sent him to their
American Missions in 1867. The
following year, Dec. 4, 1868 our
young Franciscan Friar received Holy
Orders from Archbishop Kenrick in
St. John's Church, St. Louis.

May this true, intrepid and loyal
champion of God's Holy Church rest
in peace.

Page One Hundred and Seventeen


"Grant him rest where never sorrow
Enters more, nor pain nor foe ;
Grant him light that neither morrow,
Night, nor yesterday shall know;
Joy that ever shall increase,
Light perpetual, rest in peace'".

Among the teaching staff of pro-
fessors of the former College of Ruma
we find the name of Rev. A. B.
Rinkes enumerated. Before he took
up college work he had been actively
engaged in parish work at various
places in the diocese. In scanning
over the different congregations, we
meet him as pastor of St. Mary's
parish of Pittsfield from 1861-'62. It
was he who shortly after coming to
that place laid the foundation to the
present solid brick structure in 1862
which was however, not completed
till 1864 when on Christmas morning
the first Holy Mass was celebrated
in it. The next two years from 1862-
'64 we find our subject installed as
pastor of Mt. Sterling, from which
place he was transferred to Bunker
Hill when he built the church of the

"Annunciation B. V. M. His stay
here lasted also but two years. From
1865-'66 he served Marshall. From
Marshall it seems that Father Rinkes
was called to the newly created Ger-
man parish of East St. Lo'uis which
at the time became a factor inde-
pendent of St. Patrick's. He was still
young and energetic. Twenty-five
adults represented the full parish.
Father Rinkes assembled the children
for daily instructions and thus soon
established the first parish school.
Next he purchased ^ building site,
and the erection of a two-story frame
building was 'begun in which the
school occupied the first and the
church the second floor. The young
parish was placed under the protec-
tion of St. Henry. At this time Father
Rinkes took sick. He left East St.
Louis March 9, 1867 and went to
Ruma to accept a position as college
professor. He died a priest of the
Green Bay diocese. R. I. P.


In Te Domine Speravi,

Non Confundarin Aeternum.

It is but meet and just that deserved

tribute be paid to the moral intellec-

tual and spiritual excellence and
power of a good man, and that his
name be perpetuated and his memory
be preserved from oblivion and de-
cay. The honorable record of our
subject's priestly life, the accomplish-
ments as teacher in the class-rooms,
the loveafole disposition toward his
fellow-confreres, all unite in demand-
ing that mention be made of Father
A. Roettger.

Whilst professor at the College of
Ruma and again at the Salesianum
near Milwaukee where he occupied the
chair of philosophy he had shown his
great capacity for the excellent per-
formance of vocational duty and
loyal devotion to the interests of
these institutions. They were worthy
of the highest encomium. The kind-
ly nature of the man, the strength of
character which distinguished^ him,
and his agreeable ways won for him
a multitude of friends and admirers,
especially among the student body.
He passed away at a time whilst on

Page One Hundred and Eighteen

a visit at the rectory of Highland
when the powers of his mind were
attaining their greatest strength, and
the largest opportunities were offered
him for their exercise.

His reputation was that of genero'iis
faithful and conscientious priest, less
qualified, however for parochial work
than for a professorial chair. The
pale messenger approached Father
Roettger under the guise of a sun-
stroke, within 48 hours he was a

Particulars of his death and funeral
may be culled from the entry made in
the church records of the Highland
parish by his friend Rev. Jos. Meckel
the pastor. It reads as follows,

"Die 15 m. Julii 1878 sepultus est
Reverendus Antonius Roettger, Pro-
fessor Philosophiae in Seminario Sti.
Francisci Salesii, prope Milwaukee,
qui recreationis causa hue venerat die
12 h. m; bona, ut apparebit, vale-
tudine gaudens. Die 13 Missa in hon.
B. V. M. celebrata, horis p. m. de
aegritudine qua laboraret conquereba-
tur; cuius periculosa conditio die se-
quenti, Dominica V. p. Pent hora 8
p. m. apparuit, qua hora in Domino
obiit, Sacramento Extremae Unctionis
recepto. Die 15 hora 5 p. m. sepultus
est optimus meus amicus, cuius mem-
oria cordi meo impressa remanebit.
Reverendus Dom. W. Cluse lugubri
sermone dolorem patefecit, quern
morte amici sui concipiebat. Officium
defunctorum peregerunt Revdi.

Domini G. Cluse, Wm. Neu. Fr.
Reinhart, Th. Kamann, H-uckestein
and H. Eggenstein."

Rt. Rev. Mgr W. Cluse of Okaw-
ville who calls the deceased "a noble
priest, a noble scholar and a noble de-
voted friend" thus outlined the life
and activity of our subject:

Rev. Anthony Roettger was born at
Velen, Westfalia in 1850, made his
classical studies at Cosfeld, studied
philosophy and theology at the uni-
versity of Muenster and at Cincin-
nati, Ohio. After having been or-
dained a priest in 1874 at Alton he
was appointed a professor of philoso-
phy at the Sacred Heart College of
Ruma, 111., where he taught for two
years during which time he also acted
as rector of St. Boniface parish of
Edwardsville, 111. From 1876-78 he
taught philosophy at the theological
Seminary of St. Francis de Sales
near Milwaukee, Wise. Father Roett-
ger was admired for his proficiency
in scholastic philosophy and theolo-
gy, -unusual for so young a priest.
His piety, zeal, and cheerful character
endeared him to his fellow-pro-
fessors, priests, students and ac-
quaintances. Great was their grief
when the telegraph flashed the news
that he had died July 18, 1878, after
but one days illness at the residence
of his clerical friend at Highland
where he intended to spend a part of
his summer vacation. R. I. P.


Born at Muenster, in Westfalia, he
was raised to the priesthood in the
venerable Cathedral of his native city
in 1868. Coming to this country soon
after the young priest was assigned
to Rev. H. Schaefermeyer of Qoiincy,
Oct. 5, 1868-Jan. 22, '69. In 1874 he
was appointed to Fayetteville, a year

later to Lebanon, in 1876 to Marine,
from 1878-1884 to Grafton and from
Oct. 1884-Aug. '87, to Smithon. At
this time Father Rossmoeller peti-
tioned the Bishop for permission to
return to his native country. There
he died April 10, 1891.

Page One Hundred and Nineteen


"Who in the Savior's footsteps tread
Up to the world above are led. '

St. Mary's parish of Edwardsville
had continued from 1844-1869 the one
and only parish of that place. Trans-
ient as well as permanent pastors
had looked after the congregation's
interests. The English and German
speaking Catholics had so far wor-
shipped at the same altar and jointly
borne the expenses of the erection
and maintenance of church, school
and parochial residence of St. Mary's.
The teutonic forces of the parish
growing stronger and more numerous
however, the partition of the parish
together with the building of a new
church for a separate German congre-
gation seemed 'both feasible and desir-
able. This plan, already inaugurated
in 1867 under Rev. Father Kuchen-
buch, the pastor of St. Mary's, was
consummated under Rev. Anthony
Rustige in 1869. He is looked upon
as the actual organizer and founder
of St. Boniface parish.

Who was Father Rustige and
whence did he come? At the time
when starting the new parish, he was
a young man of about 28 years of
age. His native country was West-
falia, where he was born near the city
of Paderborn in 1841. In the latter
city he completed his classical studies
prepared himself at the American

College of Muenster for the priest-
hood and was ordained at Teutopolis
by Bishop Juncker for the Alton dio-
cese in 1866. By his Ordinary he
was assigned as assistant to St.
Patrick's of East St. Louis, and as
such had charge of the congregations
of Collinsville and Lebanon from
1866-'6S. In the latter part of Dec-
ember, 1868, he succeeded the Rev.
William Kuchenbuch as pastor of St.
Mary's of Edwardsville. When St.
Boniface parish of that city was
started he relinquished his prior
charge, handing it over to the Rev.
D. Burne. Incessantly he planned
and worked for the good of the new-
parish some six years, till his frail
constitution yielded to undue pressure
and collapsed under the continued
strain of mental and physical exer-
tion. His physician advised the young
priest to seek repose and rest at the
St. Mary's hospital of St. Louis.
All medical skill and human efforts,
however, proved futile. Father Rus-
tige had done his work at the ex-
pense of his health. Consumption had
set in, which claimed the good and
zealous worker when but thirty-three
years old, Sept. 8, 1874. In the death
of Father Anthony Rustige the dio-
cese mourned the loss of one of her
most exemplary priests. He was
buried in Edwardsville. R. I. P.


"Thy will, O God, be done".

A man of effable and sunny disposi-
tion, efficient and thorough in all un-
dertakings, popular with clergy and
laity, such was Father Daniel Ryan
the lamented late pastor of St. Mary's
parish of Mt. Sterling. He was the
son of William Ryan and Margaret
nee Kough, born at Kickapoo, 111.,
August 3, 1852, and ordained at the
Alton Cathedral by Bishop Baltes,
June 29, 1876. His first appointment
was to Grafton from October, 1876-
'77, whence he was assigned to Virden
where he remained from 1877-'81. At
this time it happened that Rev.

Manasses Kane, founder and builder
of St. Joseph's church, Springfield,
was induced to resign. No one was
thought a more capable man to handle
the entangled affairs of that parish
than Father Ryan, who during the
next fifteen years proved his un-
questioned ability as a wise and pru-
dent pastor and capable administra-
tor. He overcame the difficulties in
reducing heavy debt, built a commo-
dious parochial residence and sup-
plied the church with a splendid pipe
organ. Father Ryan's heart and mind
were justly centered in the affairs of
his beloved St. Joseph's, which in-

Page One Hundred and Twenty

creased and developed under his un-
flagging care and devotion steadily

and constantly. In 1895 our Spring-
field priest was requested to exchange
places with Rev. M. Clifford of St.
Mary's parish, Alt. Sterling. Father

Ryan continued his priestly activity
with the same eagerness and zeal in
the new parish as he was wont to do
at Springfield. For three years he
successfully directed the destinies of
the Mt. Sterling charge, when, on
November 23, 1899, he met with a
serious accident which, alas, was to
cause his premature death. On that
day the parochial residence burned
down. In his efforts to extinguish
the fire and save his home, Father
Ryan sustained injuries which ulti-
mately proved to be fatal. With the
house he lost his library and all the
church records. The badly burned
pastor was rushed to Our Savior's
Hospital at Jacksonville, where the
best of medical treatment was given
him. For awhile our patient seemed
to 'be on the road to recovery. But
this was delusive. He lingered till
July, 1900, when he had to yield to the

Father Daniel Ryan's remains were
buried in the Catholic cemetery of
Jacksonville. R. I. P.


' 'And Heaven awaits thee
And fills thy spirit with delight".

A good natured and always jovial
man was the late pastor of Virginia,
Father Michael Ryan. Tall of sta-
ture, habitually wearing a silk hat, he
towered above his confreres where-
ever assembled. St. Luke's of Virgin-
ia, held out but precarious emolu-
ments to its pastor, and yet he seemed
the exemplification of contentment
which is best demonstrated by the
sixteen long years which he spent in
this poor mission without ever in-

sisting on a change for the better.
And Father Ryan's memory remains
deeply engraven on the hearts of the
grateful parishioners of Virginia to
this day. Rev. Michael Ryan, son of
Michael Ryan and Mary Finnally, was
placed in the arms of his parents a
Christmas gift, 1850. He hailed from
Kil Macow, Ireland, and was ordained
to the priesthood at All Hallows on
June 24, 1875. From 1876-'92, the
year of his death, he proved himself
a persistent and faithful worker at
Virginia. R. I. P.

Page One Hundred and Tvtcnty-One


"Long ago Time's mighty billows
Swept your footsteps from the sand".

About the year 1852, Rev. Thomas
Ryan was appointed a missionary
priest of Central Illinois. His terri-
tory extended nearly all over the big

prairies. Nine counties he covered in
his ministry. Edgar, Vermillion,
Champaign, Douglas, Clark, Cumber-
land, Coles, Shelby, Moultrie and part
of Macon county. The principal ob-
ject of his appointment was to look
after the religious welfare of those
employed in the construction of the
Illinois Central Railroad. Shortly
after his appointment Father Ryan
undertook the erection of a brick
church at Urt>ana, (Champaign')
which, however, was blown down toy
a prairie cyclone just as the men were
preparing to put on the roof. In
1853, when he lived in Baldwinville,
(North Arm), he is known to have
attended Arcola. Some years later, in
1856, Mattoon was organized as a
station. Father Thomas Ryan was
appointed its pastor by the Chicago
Bishop and he at once located there.
In 1858 our pioneer priest commenced
the first church building in that thrifty

town, which, however, was not
finished till the following year, when
it was dedicated 'by Bishop Juncker.
The number of resident Catholic
families at that time were 'but eight.
The visits made by Father Ryan over
his extensive territory were neither
frequent nor regular. When pastor
of Mattoon he lived in a small house,
and in it he died in June, 1863.

The body of this pioneer of religion
in the West lies in the little village
churchyard of St. Mary's of the
Woods, Indiana.

One day, Father Ryan was visited
by a young priest, newly ordained,
and just starting out on the mission.
"When you go back to Alton, tell the
Bishop to leave you here with me. I
am too old and feeble to attend sick
calls. The people don't mind me any
more. My pews are rented to them
for $2.50 a year, and the blackguards
wont pay me." The young priest
would have been delighted to help old
Father Tom, but the Bishop could not
spare him.

Whatever Father Ryan may have
been intellectually, physically he was
a tall, fine looking old gentleman. He
had overflowing Irish wit and
shrewdness under his jokes and funny
ghost stories, few gave him credit for.

Like Father Alleman in Northern
Illinois, Father Ryan travelled mostly
on foot from mission to mission. His
historian vouches for the fact that
during retreat time he kept his fellow-
priests laughing by his funny stories.
That Father Ryan was a zealous
priest and founder of future churches
in Eastern Illinois, no one can dis-
pute. That he made light and merry
of his hardships was to his credit as
a representative of the 'buoyancy and
cheerfulness of his race,

May God rest the soul of old
Father Tom Ryan.

Page One Hundred and Twenty-Two


"And earth and heaven tell of rest that shall

not cease,

Where the cold world's farewell fades into
endless peace".

Among the first priests known to
have ministered to the Catholics in
the then sparsely settled places now
comprised within the confines of the
Alton diocese, was Rev. Paul Lefevre,
who subsequently became Bishop of
Detroit. In his wake came Father

Irenaeus St. Cyr, rightly styled the
Apostle of Chicago. He was sent
thither by Bishop Rosatn, of St.
Louis, at the instance of an urgent
petition signed by the first Catholic
settlers of that nascent city:

The following is Bishop Rosatti's
letter appointing Father St. Cyr to
the Chicago mission: It is of more
than passing interest to the priests oi
the Alton Diocese, hence we append
it in full. It read as follows:

Joseph Rosatti of the Congregation of
Missouri by the Grace of God and
the Apostolic See to the Rev. John
Irenaeus St. Cyr, Driest of Our Di-
ocese, Health in the Lord:

Dear Sir Whereas, not few Catho-
lic men inhabiting the town common-
ly called Chicago, and its vicinage, in
the state of Illinois, have laid before
me that they are deprived of all spirit-
ual consolation and vehemently desire
that I should send thither a priest,
who by the exercise of his pastoral
gifts should supply to them the means

of performing the offices of the
Christian religion and providing for
their eternal salvation. Wishing, as
far as in me lies to satisfy a desire
at once so pious and praiseworthy, by
virtue of the power of Vicar-General
granted to me by the Bishop of
Bardstown, Ky., I depute you to the
mission of Chicago and the adjoining
regions within the state of Illinois, all
of which have been hitherto under the
spiritual administration of the said
Most Illustrious and Most Reverend
Bishop of Bardstown, grant you un-
til revoked, all the powers as de-
scribed in the next page, with this
condition, however, that as soon as
soever it shall be known to you that
a new Episcopal See shall have been
elected and established by the Holy
and Apostolic See from the territory
of other Sees now existing, to that
Bishop within the limits of whose dio-
cese the aforesaid Chicago mission is
included, you shall render an account
of all things which shall have been
transacted by you, and surrender the
place to such priest as shall be by
him deputed to the same mission and
you with God's favor shall return to
our diocese from which we declare
you to be by no means separated by
this present mission.

Given at St. Louis from the Episcopal
Building the 17th day of April, 1833.

JOSEPH, Bishop of St. Louis.

After a hard, tedious journey Father
St. Cyr arrived in Chicago on the 3rd
of May, and received a most cordial
greeting from the people of Chicago.
Father St. Cyr, with the hearty sup-
port of both Catholics and Protest-
ants, commenced the erection of a
frame church on a lot donated by
the Beaubien family, situated on the
southwest corner of State and Lake
streets. The location was near the
fort, where Father St. Cyr obtained
hospitable quarters with Major Whist-
ler until his house of logs was built
and sufficiently out of town.

He dedicated it to the Blessed Vir-
gin Mary. This was in 1834. Under

Page One Hundred and Twenty-Three

date of January 11, of that same year
he reports to his Ordinary of St.
Louis, that he had visited Sugar
Creek, Bear Creek, Springfield and
other missions."

From June 12, 1837-May 1839,
Father St. Cyr periodically visited
Quincy and the outlying missions in
Missouri and Iowa, having St. Aug-
gustine in Fulton county as head-
quarters. He looked av:er tne spirit-
ual needs of the English speaking
people of Quincy till relieved by the
advent of Father Tucker.

The life of Father St. Cyr was
naturally' an eventful and self-sacri-
ficing one. The manifold hardships
he underwent in those now distant
pioneer days, are almost beyond be-
lief, and yet he but did what almost
any one priest had to do in those early
years, building rough log churches
for the growing flocks, gathering the
scattered members into congrega-
tions, riding for months from one
town and village to another, fording
streams, driving over impossible
roads, often sleeping on saddle-bags
or wrapped in a blanket seeking a
night's rest under some protecting
tree, sharing with the poor settlers
their scanty meals which mostly con-
sisted of but rancid bacon and hard
corn bread, etc. And yet our sub-
ject bore all such hardships and pri-
vations cheerfully whilst we in our
day and generation would soon des-
pair of such missionary efforts. His
visits were always looked forward to
by the Catholic people with eager

He was accustomed to travel the
prairie of Illinois on a little white
horse, says Larmer, and when he was
expected it was the custom of the
Catholics to look out for him as he
could be seen and known from great
distance from the upland prairies.

On one occasion a prairie cyclone

arose and the Catholics were looking
out for the priest. Father St. Cyr
came near one of the settlers cabins
as the wind increased in fury and the
people fearing he and his horse would
be blown away, a tall herculean Ken-
tucky Catholic ran and lifted Father
St. Cyr and his little white horse into
a cellar and saved both. It was after-
wards a common joke to point to the
man who had lifted alone a little
French priest and his little white
steed into a cellar and saved both
from destruction by the cyclone.

After Father St. Cyr was removed
from Chicago he devoted his life en-
tirely to the missions, principally to
those of Central Illinois. He at-
tended the French Socialists at War-
saw, who had abandoned the Socialist
colony of the Icarians founded by
Etienne Cabet at Nauvoo, in 1848,
after the Mormon exodus from that
place, and succeeded in bringing most
of them back to the Catholic Church.

After years of toil and extraordi-
nary zeal in Northern Missouri and
the prairie of Illinois, Father St. Cyr
was retired as a chaplain to a Con-
vent at Carondolet, St. Louis, where
he died at the ripe old age of more
than eighty years, in 1882.

Father St. Cyr had the reputation
of a mild and scholarly priest. His
simplicity of character and refined
manners were often a source of mer-
riment to the big earnest and honest
but rough Kentucky Catholics who
had settled Central Illinois. But he
inspired all with respect and venera-
tion for him.

Our pioneer priest of the present
Alton territory was a native of Lyons,
France, where he was born January
2, 1804. He was ordained to the
priesthood at St. Louis by Bishop
Rosatti, April 6, 1833.

May he rest in peace.

Page One Hundred and Twenty-Four


"Rest to the weary spirit
Peace to the quiet dead".

When, in September, 1872, Rev.
Francis Ostrop was transferred from
St. Mary's parish of Alton to assume
the rectorship of St. Boniface congre-
gation of Quincy, Bishop Baltes ap-
pointed Rev. John Sandrock, at the
time pastor of St. Marie, in Jasper
County, to become his successor at
Alton. He was a picture of robust
health. Though his priestly life of
some fourteen years had been spent in
hard work, accompanied by many
hardships and trials. A pioneer priest
he had been inured to these many au-
sterities and self-denials. Before long
he was enthroned in the hearts of the
people of Alton. By his earnestness
of demeanor, genuine piety and elo-
quent sermons, he soon gained their
respect and affection in an uncom-
mon degree. His countrymen, the
people from the Eichsfeld, were just-
ly proud of him. But his administra-
tion of the affairs of St. Mary's was

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Online LibraryAnthony ZurbonsenClerical bead roll of the Diocese of Alton, Ill. → online text (page 15 of 19)