St. Elizabeth's Hospice And Parish History

Source: The Rise and Progress of the Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin order in the United States 1857-1907, by A Member of the Order, Published by Benziger Brothers, New York, Cincinnati, Chicago, 1907

See also: St. Francis Seminary
See also: Holy Cross Catholic Church
See also: Province of St. Joseph of Capuchin order in the United States

ST. ELIZABETH'S parish will ever be considered a token of the good-will of the late Archbishop Fred. X. Katzer toward the Capuchin Order and an acknowledgment of the services tendered by the Fathers in his episcopal city. The necessity of organizing a parish in the northern part of Milwaukee was felt as early as 1880. After several secular priests had made fruitless attempts, Archbishop Heiss offered the parish to the Order in 1890, but for want of sufficient men the offer could not be accepted. Again subscriptions were taken up, but the risk appeared too great for an individual priest. Archbishop Katzer once more requested the Fathers to provide for the neglected Catholics in the northern wards of the city, who for want of a church were drifting from the Faith. The Chapter, in 1900, yielded to the wish of his Grace, and charged Father Alphonse, the Guardian of St. Francis monastery, to take the necessary steps. He, with Mr. A. Menke, made the rounds of the district, and found one hundred and twenty families ready to join the new parish. They were not all zealous Catholics, but willing to assist in furthering the project.

July 28, 1901, a plot of land 200 X 234 feet was purchased from Mr. A. Schuhknecht for $6,000; the foundation was begun Oct. 4, 1901 ; the cornerstone was laid Oct. 25th, without any solemnities, and the building dedicated June 29, 1902, by the Very Rev. A. Schinner, V. G. For the time being a two-story building was erected with a basement 58 x 109 feet; the first story is used as church, while the second story contains six class-rooms 22 X 29 feet, very practically arranged, and fitted out with all modern improvements. The building is worth over $50,000.

The new house remained subject to the Guardian of St. Francis' Monastery, but Father Pacificus and Brother Stanislaus lodged in one of the schoolrooms until the little parsonage was built. While the Father visited the surrounding families and invited them to attend his church, and attracted the little ones to their parochial school, the Brothers attended to the housework and attracted the littel ones to their parochial school, the Brothers attended to the housework and changed a wilderness into cultivated grounds. They were often reminded of their vow of poverty during the first months, but the fruits of their work made them less sensitive to the hardships.

On Sept. 2, 1902, the school was opened with one hundred children; there were some sixty from St. Francis' parish, with a few from St. Boniface and SS. Peter and Paul's, besides a respectable number from the public schools, some of whom, though old enough to receive their first holy communion, were scarcely able to bless themselves. Since Sept. 22d, Father Jerome is laboring in the parish, and it is his constant endeavor to bring back those estranged from the Church to their duties and to endear the house of God to the practical Catholics by occasional fm tivities-let us call them religious treats. The mission in March 6-13, 1904, given by the Franciscan Fathers Daniel and Titus, effected much good, and sowed the seed for a rich harvest in the near future. The enrollment in school is already doubled, the different societies are organized, great activity is displayed in reducing the debt, and a new church is now the general topic in the congregation. St. Elizabeth's is very favorably situated; the vacant lots in the neighborhood are disappearing, the parish is steadily growing and promises much for the future.