The History of St. Mary's Parish in Elgin, IL

From the book "St Mary's Golden Jubilee 1851 - 1901"

Contributed by Source #14

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St. Mary's Academy

Until the year 1880 there was no Catholic school in Elgin. No Catholic school? Rather, every Catholic home, though but a cabin, was a school in itself.

There, the fathers and mothers, who, through adverse circumstances, if not fleeing from tyranny and oppression, had left other lands, with all that tender association and long established Catholic faith had made unspeakably dear, laid the foundations of true Christian education.
There, though obliged to toil early and late for the necessities of life, they taught their children the grand truths of Catholic faith, the same prayers which had been on the lips of the wisest and holiest through all the Christian ages, and by their example taught still more eloquently self-denial, honesty and charity.

They were surrounded with difficulties. In a new land, where civilization itself had scarcely been established, they had to endure cold and heat, loneliness and poverty, and often the taunts and jeers of neighbors, hostile to them and to their holy faith. Did they falter? Did they give up one single principle of religion in order to conform to the easy-going ideas of those outside the church? On the contrary, the errors and indifference of others were but spurs to urge them to renewed effort to guide the little souls entrusted to their care, safe into the one fold of the one Shepherd.

They were in earnest, these men and women, and enforced parental authority with a vigor that might be wholesome if put in practice today. They impressed upon the child's mind the fact that lessons must be learned, regardless of indolence or caprice. It is not unlikely, as regards the effect of this training, that many who, decades of years ago, were taught the Catechism under their supervision could today, if given a little start on the first question, rattle off the whole Catechism, question and answer, without pause, and with the old time stumble upon the big words.

Ah, yes! they were good teachers, and the wonder is, not that the children who grew up amidst the rude conditions of pioneer life in Elgin should have kept the faith, but that any of them could possibly forget the lessons of such teachers.

Bishop Spalding says that a father or mother, simple and unlet-tered, but endowed with good sense and love of ,truth and justice, has a more lasting educational influence on the child than can be exerted by a doctor of a university.

But as time went on, with the growth and prosperity of the city came evils and temptations which weakened the influence of Christian homes, and the good seed in good ground was, all too often, choked by the tares, everywhere abounding. The Catholics of Elgin saw that their only hope lay in good Catholic schools, where the priceless inheritance of faith would be guarded, where heart and mind and soul alike would be educated, and where truth would illumine young minds to see and spurn error. Their zealous pastor, Father Fitzsimmons, was most anxious to provide a parochial school, and early in the '70's sought for a suitable sit. He bought a lot on Villa street, began the erection of a school, and although the completion of the building was delayed for some years, owing to lack of funds, the stately edifice now known far and near as St. Mary's Academy is the outcome of this generous effort.

In 1878 Father Mackin, who had succeeded Father Fitzsimmons as pastor, with the approval of Bishop Foley, invited the Sisters of Charity of the B. V. M. to purchase the school property and open a parochial school. These Sisters, whose mother-house is at Dubuque, had the reputation of being great teachers, and Father Mackin was well pleased when he secured their services for Elgin.

The Sisters, on taking the property, assumed the mortgage of four thousand dollars already on it, and at a cost of eight thousand more completed and furnished the building. It was agreed, also, that a certain sum be paid annually by the parish for the support of the free school. In February, 1880, the girls' school was opened by Sister M. Agatha, Superior, Sisters' M. Alexis, M. Severin, M. Theodore, M. Eliz-abeth and M. Emerentia, under the direction of Sister M. Olympia.
Father Mackin gave the school every aid and encouragement. The Catholics eagerly availed themselves of its advantages, some making great sacrifices in order to send their children there. Some non-Catholics also quickly recognized its superiority and sent their children to the school.

The musical department, being under the direction of teachers eminently fitted for the position, was immediately appreciated, and very soon the Sisters, by unfailing kindness, gentleness and patience, had won all hearts., They were cultured and experienced teachers, and entered upon their duties with zeal.

Besides the arduous labors of the school room, the Sisters, also took charge of the Sunday school, were active in works of charity, and their coming was felt by all to be a blessing. While working earnestly for the girls of the parish, the Sisters aimed also to provide for the boys, and in the year 1886 Sister M. Hillary the Superior, opened a department for them.

This department, during the sixteen years of its existence, has been noted for giving the pupil's thorough training in the common studies, thus fitting them for practical business life. Better than this, it has done untold good in cultivating in the boys habits of neatness and industry; in guarding them from evil example, awakening conscience to shun the vices so rampant amongst the boys around them. The Sisters had encouraged all pupils, during the second year in the academic course, to try for teacher's certificates at the public examinations of the county superintendent. That the pupils have been remarkably successful in obtaining these certificates is evidence of the thoroughness of their teaching. St. Mary's Academy is recognized as a first-class school by other educational institutions, notably, the normal schools, where its pupils are admitted as coming from a reputable school, and where they have succeeded in passing most rigid examinations. During the twenty odd years of its existence St. Mary's Academy has had eight Superiors, namely Sisters M. Theodore, M. Angela, M. Hillary, M. Fredrica, M. Alexis, M. Annunciata, M. Theodore and M. Ignatia. These have all been teachers of the highest attainments, gifted with rare talent and zeal, and possessing business ability which has placed the finances of the school in a satisfactory state of improvement. The pupils who have graduated from St. Mary's Academy are now, with credit to themselves and their alma mater, filling various positions, both in the home and as artists, teachers, musicians, business people, and one, having chosen the bigger life is now Mother Superior in a large convent of the order.
Whether numbered amongst these or in whatever walk of life Providence may have placed them, each has the opportunity to bear witness to the effect of St. Mary's teaching, by unselfishness and help fulness, by devotion to duty, and unceasing effort to attain to high ideals of wisdom and virtue. To such a one, however lowly her station, St. Mary's Academy offers the laurel wreath of approval, and points with satisfaction, as the result of Christian education. And now, after nearly a quarter century's existence, here is St. Mary's Academy in the front rank of educational institutions, with a reputation for tireless effort and, good results. Determined to advance, she unites with all Catholic in-stitutions of learning, and, as they, face the hosts of schools whose curriculum includes everything but knowledge of God, and who are made powerful by unlimited means and the patronage of the multitude, they hold aloft the banner of Christian education and proclaim to the world, though it be well nigh deaf to the cry, that Godless education leads back to paganism; that the relation of the creature to its Creator is the alpha and omega of knowledge; that to elevate the human above the brute, heart and mind and soul alike must be educated. They falter not at the inequality of the struggle; but, eager to save immortal souls, they stand their ground, convinced that right is might. They confidently look for aid from all right-minded people, and knowing that God will never permit the darkness of unbelief to overshadow faithful souls, they listen even now for the voice of the little child of the future, crying, "Lead, Kindly Light."


HELEN DUHY, secretary

Societies and Clubs of St. Mary's Parish

ELGIN COURT, No.137, C. 0. F.

The preliminary meeting for organizing a court of the Catholic Order of Foresters was held at St. Mary's Academy, January 14, 1890, and was called to order by Mr. John Ward of Chicago. The necessity of a Catholic organization was recognized by all present and the result of this meeting was a canvass among the men of St. Mary's parish and a ready response to form a permanent court in Elgin. On February 4th twenty-six men met at the committee rooms of Turner Hall, and were duly initiated as members of Elgin Court, No.137, C. 0.. F., by High Chief Ranger J. P. Lauth of Chicago, assisted by Deputy Organizer Ward of the same city. The following officers were chosen to preside over the affairs of the court:

The history of Elgin court since its inception has been one of harmony, progress and prosperity, and from its humble beginning it has grown to its present large proportions with a total membership of over 190 members, and is conceded to be, second to none in the entire organization for progressiveness and the successful conduct of its business management.

Sick and death benefits are the prominent features of this fraternal organization, and the grand total of funds disbursed by Elgin court to sick and deceased members is a record to which its members point with pride, conscious of having by organized efforts, relieved many cases of want and suffering.

Catholicity and its upbuilding have ever been promoted by Elgin court through a strict adherence to the religious obligations, which the order imposes, and the united efforts of its members in sustaining our church and school. Nor has Elgin court been remiss in fostering the social life of St. Mary's parish; picnics, balls and entertainments, whether' for gain or diversion, have during the life of Elgin court furnished many hours of social intercourse which have united in closer bonds of friendship the members of this parish.

Officers, FEBRUARY 4, 1890

The officers for 1890; at the April election, were same as above, all being re-elected. J. P. Mann was elected to fill J. F. O'Connor's place as Recording Secretary, Mr. O'Connor being obliged to leave the city.






Chief Ranger Daniel Gahan resigned before his term expired. Vice Chief Ranger Roche succeeded Bro. Gahan, and B. O'Neil was elected to the office of Vice Chief Ranger for the unexpired term.




Aubertin, J. C. Aubertin, N. Brahan, James Burke, E. D.
Ahrens, Frank Auseon, Frank Bellew, Francis Burns, M. F.
Anselman, Wm. Buel, C. M. Burke, Wm. Burns, C. F.
Bolger, G. F. Bourque, Fred Bopp, Henry Burzell, David
Burns, Robt. Bogpnynski, M. Burke, Daniel Bopp, Ed. H.
Connor, Matthew Copley, Robt. J. Grady, Wm. Gahan, D. F., Sr.
Cox, Patrick Cleary, T. J. Gahan, A. T. Gahan, D. F., Jr.
Carr, C. E. Cleary, M. Gildea, Rev. P. Gannon, Wm.
Crosby, J. J. Christie, Eugene Hines, P. J. Howard, F. A.
Cleary, Frank J. Connor, J. T. Howard, Joseph Hilley, George
Cannon, Thos. Cassin, B. Hausberry, Peter Hennessey, John
Dorley, H. A. Danner, George Hennessey, Jas. F. Hunter, D. C.
Doyle, Miles Doherty, John Higgins, Ed. S. Jones, J. H.
Driscoll, Chas. Doran, John Jackman, T. G. Jeffers, Jas. W.
Elbert, J. G. Eberlein, M. Kray, John Keating, Ed. P.
Elbrink, F. J. Foley, Wm. Kinnane, M. H. Kennealy, James
Fay, P. W. Foley, Dr. E. A. Kane, David Kannaugh, J. F.
Frymark, Peter Forkins, James Knowles, J. F. Keegan, Jas. H.
Fay, John Frisby, Edwin Kohn, E. J. Kelley, C. H.
Freeman, Patrick Farrell, Wm. Kennealy, E. J. Kramer, P.
Farrell, John Fish, Ed. P. Kelley, J. E. Kothe, E. C.
Gahan, Daniel, Jr. Glennon, John Kothe, John F. Kray, Jacob
Graham, P. J. Gahagan, Dr. H. J Logan. J. T. Logan, E. A.
Gannon, Geo. Gannon, Thos. Lyons, T. P. Ludford, Wm.
Landers, Wm. Lies, H. J. O'Bierne, James Larkin, Ed.
O'Flaherty, Frank Pfister, Geo. McOsker, S. J. Pilcher, Geo.
McKenzie, Joseph McQueeney, B. Pendergast, W. R. Powers, John
McCue, Thos. McKeon, Thos. Phalen, Edwin Pease, A. J.
McGarrity, M. McArdle, J. Quinn, John Roche, W. L.
McCarthy, W. McGuire, Thos. Roche, John Rice, John J.
McCartney, J. A. McCormick, John Ryan, John Rohles, John
McNamara, H. J. McCarthy, Thos. E. Ring, John G. Roche, John F.
McCorry, Chas. McCarthy, C. J. Rohles, James Sheehan, T. P.
McGraw, J. J. McGarrey, T. E. Schevers, B. A. Sturn, Henry
McCartney, G. P. McCann, Rev. J. J. Sheehan, Chas. E. Spillard, C. E.
McSorley, Frank Meehan, James Schevers, E. S. Spillard, A. F.
Meenagh, James M. Meehan, E. J. . Spillard, Theo. Spillard, M. A.
Mann, J. P. Moran, P. J. Shehan, R. E. Sweeney, F. L.
Meehan, Thos. Mann, B. F. Smith, P. J. Sullivan, Thos.
Mullen, Jas. Muironey, Jas. Tobin, M. C. Sullivan, J. W.
Meredith, M. Mullen, H.P. Thiel, J. J. Tiffaney, D.
Murphy, Jeremiah Murphy, J. D. Tennant, M. A. Tennant, John
Meyers, W. J. Naughton, W. T. Ward, Chas. Weber, N. P.
Norton, Daniel O'Rourke, Jas. Whalen, John Walsh, Wm.
O'Neil, B. O'Connor, Y. J. Wagner, J. W. Wilson, W. J.
O'Leary, John O'Brien, M. Wagner, Adolph Wills, John J.
O'Brien, W. J. O'Leary, Joseph Ward, P.  



The Women's Catholic Order of Foresters was founded in Chicago, July 17, 1891. A charter was secured and the organization incorpor-ated under the insurance laws of the State of Illinois, January 31, 1894.

It is a fraternal beneficiary society with a ritualistic form of work and a representative form of government. Its objects are: To promote friendship, unity and charity among its members; to aid sick and distressed sisters, and to provide for the families of deceased members. The endowment rank provides insurance in the sums of one and two thousand dollars, as the applicant may elect.

Applicants are obliged to pass a rigid examination as to character and physical condition. Catholic women between the ages of eighteen and fifty years are eligible to membership.
The Women's Catholic Order of Foresters has had a very pros-perous career. It has spread to nearly every State in the Union; and has a membership of 37,000,560 subordinate courts, and a reserve fund of over $82,000.

St. Regina Court, No. 92, W. C. 0. F., was instituted Monday evening, October 5, 1896, at Knights of Pythias hall, Elgin, Ill. The court was organized by Mrs. Mary Rayburn and publicly installed by Mrs. Elizabeth Rodgers, founder and High Chief Ranger of the order. The court was the largest in the State outside of Chicago, there being forty-four charter members and twenty applications for membership. The membership continued to increase rapidly; 167 persons have been enrolled, with a loss of five by death. The regular meetings are held the first and third Saturday evenings, at Pythian hall.

The annual banquet and reunion takes place about October 5th, the anniversary of the institution of the court.

St. Regina Court provides a special benefit in the form of a funeral fund. At the death of a member, $25 is paid the family or beneficiary of the deceased. A requiem mass is offered annually for deceased members of the court.


Representatives to Convention... Mrs. Mary Scott, Miss Julia Butler.


  • Chief Ranger Mrs. Mary Scott
  • Vice Chief Ranger Mrs. Cecelia Higgins
  • Recording Secretary Mrs. Mayme Myers
  • Financial Secretary Miss Sarah Guilford
  • Treasurer Mrs. Mary O'Neil
  • Mrs. Mary Lewis
  • Trustees Mrs. Louise Long
  • Miss Julia Butler
  • Conductors Miss Josephine Butler, Miss Mary Frisby
  • Sentinels Mrs. Sarah Norton, Miss Katie Duffy
  • Representatives to Annual Convention: Mrs. Mary Scott, Mrs. Mayme Myers


  • Chief Ranger Mrs. Mayme Myers
  • Vice Chief Ranger Mrs. Julia McKenzie
  • Recording Secretary Miss Julia Butler
  • Financial Secretary Miss Catherine Colford
  • Treasurer Mrs. Mary O'Neil
  • Trustees Mrs. Mary Burney
  • Mrs. Stasia Knox
  • Miss Maria Grady
  • Conductors Miss Ella Younger, Miss Delia Conway
  • Sentinels Miss Elizabeth Keenan, Mrs. Kate Ryan
  • Chaplain Mrs. Margaret Souster
  • Representatives to Annual Convention: Mrs. Mary O'Neil, Mrs. Mary Scott


  • Chief Ranger Mrs. Mayme Myers
  • Vice Chief Ranger Mrs. Louise Long
  • Recording Secretary Miss Julia Butler
  • Financial Secretary Miss Catherine Colford
  • Treasurer Mrs. Mary Mann
  • (Miss Ella Younger)
  • Trustees Mrs. Mary Hanson, Miss Clara Peabody
  • Conductors Miss Maria Grady, Miss Delia Conway
  • Chaplain Mrs. Margaret Souster


  • Chief Ranger Mrs. Louise Long
  • Vice Chief Ranger Mrs. Stasia Knox
  • Recording Secretary Miss Julia Butler
  • Financial Secretary Miss Catherine Colford
  • Treasurer Mrs. Mary Mann
  • Miss Ella Younger
  • Trustees Mrs Margaret Roach, Mrs. Mary Paulson
  • Conductors Miss Mary Grady, Miss Delia Conway
  • Sentinels Mrs. Mary Glass, Miss Elizabeth Keenan
  • Chaplain Mrs. Margaret Souster
  • Representatives to Annual Convention: Mrs. Mary Scott, Miss Julia Butler.


  • Chief Ranger Mrs. Stasia Knox
  • Vice Chief Ranger Mrs. Sarah Norton
  • Recording Secretary Miss Julia Butler
  • Financial Secretary Miss Mary Freeman
  • Treasurer Mrs. Mary Mann
  • Mrs. Mary Paulson
  • Trustees Mrs Anna Kramer, Mrs Nellie Doherty
  • Conductors Miss Lizzie Sands, Miss Nellie Pease
  • Chaplain Mrs. Margaret Souster.
  • JULIA BUTLER, Recording Secretary


St. Mary's Social and Benevolent Society was organized March 11, 1894, for what its name indicates. Its motto has been "Each for all and all for each." The 150 members have made an honest effort to live up to the high standard of its motto. Many needy families can testify to the kind acts performed in an unostentatious manner by the ladies of this society. The first officers of the society were:

Mrs. E. Lynch, president; Mrs. Geo. Souster, vice-president; Miss S. A. Guilford secretary, and Mrs. Jas. Meehan, treasurer.

The present officers are: Mrs. Alex. Scott, president; Miss Ella McOsker, vice-president; Miss Maria Grady, treasurer, and Mrs. Clara E. Jencks, recording secretary.

In the intervening time a number of ladies have filled the various offices to the entire satisfaction of their sister members. This is especially so of Miss Mame Connor, who was treasurer for five years, and resigned on account of ill health. The money disbursed by the benevolent com-mittee since 1894 has been $1,500. Socially the society is a success. It is grateful to the general public for the liberal patronage that has always been bestowed upon it. The society appreciates the favors of philanthropic friends.


  • President - Mrs. Mary Scott
  • Vice-President - Mrs. Stasia Knox
  • Treasurer- Miss Maria Grady
  • Secretary - Miss Mary Cull


  • President - Mrs. Eugene Lynch.
  • Vice-President - Mrs. George Souster
  • Secretary - Miss Sarah A. Guilford
  • Treasurer - Mrs. James Meehan

All re-elected in November.

MAY 1895

  • President - Mrs. Eugene Lynch
  • Vice-President - Mrs. John Long
  • Secretary - Miss Mary Cull
  • Treasurer - Miss Mame Connor

Miss Connor was re-elected at each succeeding election until May, 1901, when she declined to accept the office any longer


  • President - Mrs. Eugene Lynch (re-elected).
  • Vice-President - Mrs. George Souster.
  • Secretary - Mrs. C. F. Irwin.

MAY, 1896

  • President - Mrs. Eva McOsker
  • Vice-President - Mrs. N. Aubertin
  • Secretary - Miss Rose McGuire


The only change in officers, Miss McGuire declined re-election, and was succeeded by Miss Mary Flynn

MAY, 1897

  • President - Mrs. W. C. Thiers
  • Vice-President - Miss Ella McOsker
  • Secretary - Miss Mary E. Larkin

MAY, 1898.

  • President - Mrs. Alex. Scott
  • Vice-President - Miss Ella McOsker
  • Secretary - Miss Rose Roche

MAY, 1899 and 1900

Same officers re-elected. Miss Roche resigning in December 1900, was succeeded by Mrs. Clara E. Jencks.

MAY, 1901

Miss Maria Grady, treasurer, to succeed Miss Connor. All the other officers re-elected

ST. JOSEPH'S COURT, 235, C. 0. F.

This Court was organized in the fall of 1891, and was initiated on November 21 of the same year, with sixteen charter members, by High Treasurer Henry Dettmer of Chicago, in the presence of a large delegation from Elgin Court and members of other out-of-town courts.

The first officers of the Court were:

The record of the Court shows a remarkable success and growth in the past eleven years, having paid out in that period the sum of $1,500 for sick benefits and $4,,800 for endowments, and having at present a membership of sixty-eight good standing Foresters. One of the most remarkable features of the Court is the fact that it has not lost a single member by death during all the time of its existence, and it may be stated right here, that this is probably the only Court in the whole order with a record of that kind.

Two beautiful flags, a society banner and a United States flag (silk), a handsome large marshal staff, won in a Forester's contest, and a fine bronze crucifix, a gift of Rev. Father Riss to the Court, are among the notable acquisitions of the Court.

It has been an established custom of the Court to celebrate its annual anniversary on Thanksgiving evening of every year, and to invite on that occasion all the members of the St. Joseph's congregation and their friends to a social gathering and a free entertainment to their
meeting hall.

Rev. Father Rhode, the present chaplain of the Court, is an eager promoter and admirer of the C. 0. F., and with his assistance the prospect for the future of the Court is a very bright one.
St. Joseph's Court meets every second and fourth Tuesday of each month in the Strauss hall on Grove Avenue. The present officers are:


The Knights of Columbus was organized in Connecticut in March, 1882, its councils are represented in most of the states and territories; its' membership is made up of the intellect and sinew of the country, and its principles are for the advancement of Catholicity and developing a better social condition. The society has an insurance feature which is optional with the candidate. The initiatory ceremonies of the Knights of Columbus are beautiful, instructive and inspiring.

Elgin Council was organized on April 20, 1902, with a charter list of seventy-five members.

Officers of the Council are:


This society- the oldest in the parish - was organized by Father Fitzsimmons about thirty years ago, its object being to assist the priest in obtaining articles for use during the solemn services of the church, and to keep the sanctuary in proper order. During the greater part of Father Mackin's pastorate, the work of caring for the altar was done by his nieces, Mrs. Meenagh, and the Misses Murphy. Though a work of no small responsibility, it was admirably done. With the new church in 1900, came new life and vigor. Father McCann reorganized the society, and in a short time, one hundred and five members were enrolled. Officers were elected, the first ones being Elizabeth Conway, president; Mrs. Foy, vice-president; Kathleen Tobin, secretary and treasurer.

At the annual election of officers in 1901, Mrs. Geo. Souster was elected president, Miss Conway, vice-president, Mary Duhy, secretary, and Mrs. B. Kelly, treasurer. Father Gildea, as spiritual director, instituted a series of lectures, explaining the meaning, origin and use of the altar, and all pertaining to it. So instructive and interesting were these lectures, that the members took the greatest pleasure in being present at them; and with the meetings well attended, the work of the society was much more easily accomplished. In the beginning of the year the president, with characteristic energy, proposed the purchase of a carpet for sanctuary and sacristy. The members generously seconded her efforts, and on Holy Thursday the congregation had the pleasure of seeing both covered with a beautiful new carpet

The work in connection with caring for the sanctuary is much more than one would think. The president appoints from four to six ladies each month to do this work; their efforts have been most suc-cessful, and the appreciation shown by Father McCann and the assist-ant pastors has been extremely gratifying to them. To make the sanctuary in the smallest degree a fitting home for the King of Kings is a work in which the priests and altar society gladly and gratefully join.

MARY DUHY, Secretary.


The Apostleship of Prayer in League with the Sacred Heart was solemnly instituted in this parish on Sunday evening, January 28, 1900, by Father Blackmore, S. J., of Holy Family Church, Chicago. Previous to this time a number of people here had become affiliated with a Chicago center, and not a few received holy communion on the first Friday of every month; but this parish was not made a center until the above date. On February 23, 1900, an election of officers was held, with the result that Mrs. William Higgins was made president, Miss Agnes Duffy, vice president, and Miss Nellie Reirdon, secretary and treasurer.

The First Promoters, reception was held here on January 6, 1901, when ten promoters received crosses and diplomas. Twelve more promoters were enrolled on June 26, 1901. There are now on the roll seventy-nine promoters, and a membership of over twelve hundred. A fair number have taken up the second degree. On an average, about one hundred and fifty make the communion of reparation each first Friday.

There are two meetings in the month, the league meeting on the second Sunday evening, and the promoters' meeting on the third. An instruction by the director, and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament are always features of these meetings.

During the month of June communions are offered daily for members of the parish who may have neglected their Easter duty, and for the conversion of fallen-away Catholics.

In June, 1901, we commenced the practice of keeping the Holy Hour, from 7:30 to 8:30, the evening before the first Friday.

Sunday evening, September 29, 1901, there was an unveiling of a beautiful statue of the Sacred Heart, the gift of a member of the con-gregation. Rev. Thomas Sherman, S. J., archdiocesan director, was present on the occasion and preached an eloquent sermon. After benediction the promoters had the pleasure of meeting Father Sherman. It was an evening of great joy to those devoted to the loving heart of Jesus.

The Feast of Blessed Margaret Mary, October 25, 1901, was duly observed, a large number of the league members attending mass and receiving holy communion. During the last six years thirty-two associates have departed this life.

NELLIE REIRDON, Secretary and Treasurer.


The Isabella Club is a society composed of the young ladies of St. Mary's Church for social and literary purposes. It was organized June 16, 1901, with the following officers: Miss Celia Howard, president; Miss Nellie Riley, vice-president; Miss Mary M. Donoghue, recording secretary ; Miss Grace Tennant, financial secretary; Miss Winnie McNerney, treasurer.


This club is composed of the young men of this parish. The following are the officers: President, John R. Powers; vice-president, Lawrence McHenry; treasurer, John J. McGraw; recording secretary, James Hennessey; financial secretary, George E. Hoelscher.

St. Joseph's Hospital

In the spring of 1900 some Sisters of St. Joseph, from the hospital in Belvidere, called on Father McCann and asked permission to canvass the parish for the benefit of their hospital. Father McCann readily granted their request, and in the same breath asked them why they had not come to Elgin instead of Belvidere, Elgin being so much larger. The Sisters said they might in a year or two be ready to come to Elgin. A year later the Sisters came down to look for a suitable piece of property. Father McCann and Mr. Frank E. Shopen had been looking about the city, and suggested the property at the south-west corner of Prospect street and Jefferson avenue, known as the Gail Johnson property, and owned by William Hewins. The Sisters liked the place, and through Mr. Shopen bought it of Mr. Hewins for $6,300. This was in July, 1901.

Two members of the Order came to Elgin as the guests of Mrs. Shopen in order to canvass the town for funds. Mrs. Shopen took them to her many friends, and the result was a subscription list of about two thousand dollars. Part of this was collected in cash, and was at once spent in improving the house and ground. People of all denominations were on the subscription list, and have continued to take an active interest in the institution.

Owing to obstacles that arose, the St. Joseph Sisters could not open the hospital, and, therefore, in February, 1902, they transferred their holding to the Franciscan Sisters of Joliet.
Mr. and Mrs. Shopen, together with Father Rohde, of St. Joseph's Church, deserve the credit for interesting the Franciscan Sisters in Elgin.

The hospital was formally opened to the public on March 31, 1902. A large number of people, interested in the work which will be done by the Sisters, took advantage of the reception that day to see for the first time the interior of the new hospital.

From the beginning the institution has been kept full of patients, the reputation of the Sisters as nurses making their hospitals popular with the sick.

The Elgin Court of Foresters, St. Regina Court of Women Foresters, St. Mary's Social and Benevolent Society, all connected with St. Mary's parish, have each furnished a room in the hospital. Another society of the parish, the Isabella Club, is now raising funds for the same purpose. A number of St. Mary's young ladies, together with a number of non-Catholic young ladies, also raised funds and furnished a room.

The Forester Court connected with St. Joseph's Church, and a ladies' society of the same church, each furnished a room at the hospital. Rev. J. Rohde was appointed by the late Most Rev. Archbishop P. A. Feehan, as chaplain for the hospital. St Joseph's hospital has been a decided success from the start, and we predict for it an equally successful future.

The Elgin State Hospital for the Insane

The Elgin State Hospital for the Insane was opened for the admission of patients in 1872, with a population of about 300, the present number being 1,300, the greater number of the patients being from Cook County. The Elgin institution is for the northern district of the State, each county being allowed a quota in proportion to the population. The tendency in the present treatment of the insane is to give to the patient the greatest liberty possible, commensurate with the proper discipline and to divert his attention by placing before him the more attractive in life, and to this end this institution has a wide reputation. The grounds of the hospital are a revelation, beautiful lakes, and drives, boulevards, cement walks, knolls, rustic bridges arching over numerous rivulets, acres of flower-beds, rose bushes and shade-trees is the scene which greets the eye of one strolling through the grounds.

The common belief that an insane person is a wild, ferocious person, manacled and confined in a padded cell, peering through the bars with an uncanny, fiendish looking expression, uttering demoniacal yells, is very much overdrawn in these days of modern treatment of the insane. Personal liberty is the watchword in the insane hospital of today, and great credit is due Dr. Arthur Loewy, late superintendent, for his practical application in this direction; restraint was placed upon the patient only at the direction of the physician, and then only in an emergency; the doors of the private rooms and dormitories were opened night and day, allowing the inmates the freedom of the wards-the latter measure was an innovation in hospital curriculum. The wisdom of such a step, together with other scientific methods of treatment, was apparent, however, in the rapid increase of recoveries, the doctor's report of 1894 and 1896, showing a recovery rate of fifty-three per cent or over a half of those discharged and twenty-three per cent more than any other insane hospital in the country. Dr. H. J. Gahagan of this city was assistant to Dr. Loewy during the latters incumbency as super-intendent; Dr. Frank S. Whitman, the present superintendent, with Dr. E. A. Foley, first assistant, are painstaking and careful to the unfortunates under their charge, and successful in the management of the institution.

Mass has been said in the chapel every Sunday morning at 6 since April, 1901, by the Rev. John J. McCann, of St. Mary's Church, or one of his assistant pastors, priests who always hold themselves in readiness, at call, to render the rites and consolation of religion to patients or employees of the institution who are members of their fold.

The regular chaplain of the hospital holds religious services Sunday afternoons at 3 o'clock.
The music, vocal and instrumental, has been a noted feature of these services.

[Webmaster's note: I've deleted a very long sermon that was in this space]

The services closed with the singing of the "Te Deum "by the choir and the congregation. At 1 o'clock a banquet was served at the parochial residence to all the visiting dergy, among whom we may enumerate the following:

Very Rev. J. I. Flaherty, Rev. A. Goulet, Harvard, Ill. Rockford, Ill. Rev. Jas. McGovern, D. D., -
Very Rev. P. Dunne, Lockport, Ill. Joliet, Ill. Rev. H. Quinn, Woodstock, Ill. Very Rev. D. J. Spillard, C. S. C., Rev. J. J. Kregan, Chicago, Ill. New Orleans. Rev. C. J. Hynes, Chicago, Ill.
Rev. F L. Rivard, C. S. V., D.D., Rev. P. J. O'Connor, Chicago, Ill. Bourbonnais, Ill. Rev. J. Nawn, Chicago, Ill. Rev. W. Donahue, Joliet, Ii]. Rev. T. I. Bobal, Chicago, Ill. Rev. G. Rathz, Batavia, Ill. Rev. J. F. Kinney, Chicago, Ill. Rev. J. A. Dunne, Pullman, 111. Rev. T. J. McCormick, Chicago, Ill. Rev. P. J. Gormley, Huntley, Ill. Rev. J. J. Jennings, Chicago, Ill. Rev. J. L. Maloney, Fulton, IH. Rev. S. P. McDonnell; Rev. Jos. Kramer, Chicago, Ill.. Kalamazoo, Mich. Rev. F. P. Cannell, Chicago, Ill. Rev. F. J. Hartman, Rev. P. J. Conway, Chicago, Ill. Maple Park, Ill. Rev. J. J. Dennison, Chicago, Ill. Rev. Thos, Finn, Rochelle, Ill. Rev. E. J. Fox, Chicago, Ill.
Rev. J. J. Bennett, Sterling, Ill. Rev. Jos. Joyce, Chicago, Ill. Rev. John F. Schmitt, Aurora, Ill. Rev. T. J. Whalen, Chicago, Ill. Rev. C. J. Huth, Hampshire, Ill. Rev. T. E. Cox, Chicago, Ill.
Rev. M. Stack, St. Charles, Ill. Rev. E. L. Dondanville, Chicago, Ill.


The success of the Jubilee celebration was due to the work of the various committees, and their names deserve to be recorded. The "General Committee" was composed of the officers of the yarious parish societies













Parish Customs


6:15 A.. M. Mass and Instruction at Illinois Northern Hospital for the Insane.
6:30 A. M. Mass at St. Mary's Academy.
8::15 A. M. Children's Mass ard Instruction, followed by classes in Catchism, Bible History- and Church History.
9::15 A M. Low Mass and Instruction.
1O:15 A. M. High Mass and Sermon.
2:00 Baptisms

Fur_ Sunday, Children of __
4:00 P. M. __aly.
7 :QQ P.. M. Sodality meeting.
7:3Q P. M. Vespers and Benediction or Benediction alone.

At the 8:15 mass, three or four hymns are sung by the children in chorus. Those who have made their First Holy Communion are given a copy of "Benziger's Magazine" once a month; the younger children receive a copy of "The Young Catholic Messenger" every second Sun-. day. ~i children who have attained the age of seven years are expected to attend this mass on Sundays and Holydays, and to remain after mass for Catechism class. Though there is no Catechism taught during the months of July and August, the children attend this mass the same as during the rest of the year.

The 8:15 mass is for the children; but parents who have pews are free to attend when necessity compels them.

The 9:15 A. M. low-mass, with instruction, is open to all.
??5 high mass and sermon.

The priest who preaches the sermon at the high mass, also gives the instruction at the two low masses. At the children's mass, he adapts. his instruction to the minds of the young. The same subject is treated at the three masses, in order that the whole congregation may hear the same subject on one day, and may be able to discuss it in their homes. The instruction at the low masses is the epitome of the regular sermon delivered at the last mass.

The high mass is the regular parish mass, and people ought to make it a rule to attend it. Those who never attend the high mass lose a great deal. They miss the music~, which is a most important feature of this service, and they also miss the development of the instruction. In the short discourses at the earlier masses, the reasons and detailed explanations of doctrine must necessarily be omitted for lack of time.

Baptism is administered every Sunday afternoon at 2 o'clock. For good reasons, baptism will be administered at any other hour and on any other day of the week.
A saint's name ought to be given to a child at baptism. The reason is that the child may have the saint as a patron, and as a model of conduct. When the child grows up it ought to be given the life of its patron saint to re_d. After first communion, the child would do well to receive communion on the feast of his or her patron. Observance of patronal feasts is an old and praiseworthy Catholic custom.

Only practical Catholics are permitted to act as sponsors. They ought to be people of mature years, who understand the obligations incurred. The father should always be present at his child's baptism. If the mother can attend, she should ask to be "churched" before leaving; for in this sacramental, a special blessing is invoked on mother and child. The law of the church requires that a child be baptized as soon as possible after birth, and neglect in this matter is sinful. Baptismal records are carefully kept in the parish house, and copies may be had on application to the pastor by those who have a right to them.


There is a meeting of some church society every Sunday evening at 7 o'clock, which all members ought to attend.
The Altar and Rosary Society meets on the first Sunday evening of each month.
The League of the Sacred Heart on the second; The Promoters of the Sacred Heart League on the third; the Isabella Club on the fourth. The Children of Mary meet at 4 P. M. on the fourth Sunday. A mass is offered once a month for each sodality.


On the first Sunday, the Altar and Rosary Society, and all the married ladies of the parish.
On the second, the married men.
On the third, the young men and all the boys who have made their first communion.
On the fourth, the Isabella Club, all other young ladies, the Children of Mary, and all other girls who have made their first communion.
On the first Friday of each month, all the members of the Sacred Heart League who can, receive holy communion.


6 A.M.
7:30 A.M. This mass is never omitted. High requiem masses at this hour.
10 A.M. Funeral masses. Funeral masses may be sung earlier, but are never sung later than 10 A.M.


Confessions are heard on Saturdays and on the eves of Holydays, from 3 P. M. to 6 P. M., and after supper, from 7:30 until all are heard. Confessions are heard before mass every morning; and will be heard at any hour for good reasons. The church law implies that children begin to go to confession as soon as they are old enough to know the difference between right and wrong, that is, about the age of seven years. It is a mistake to let children remain away from the sacrament of penance until their first communion. It is well to let them become accustomed to confession as early as possible. Going to confession early prevents them from contracting any serious bad habits. Besides, the sacrament of penance is a source of great grace which should not be denied them.


One of the precepts of the church requires us to contribute according to our means to the support of church and school The members of this parish deserve credit for the ready and generous manner in which they observe it. The regular revenue of the church is derived from pew rent, seat money, the box collection, and the Easter and Christmas offerings.

When the erection of new buildings is necessary, or when costly improvements are to be made, special collections and subscriptions are taken up. Money is also raised at intervals by bazaars, socials and entertainments. On or about the 15th of August each year, a picnic is held, the proceeds of which are used to pay for the papers and magazines given to the Sunday School children. This picnic is especially intended for the children, but the whole parish usually turns out, and the affair is like a general parish recreation day.


Children generally receive their first holy communion about the age of twelve. Attendance at Catechism classes every Sunday from the age of seven insures sufficient preparation for communion at the age of twelve. However, special classes three times a week are held in the church for two or three months before its reception. The Sisters of the academy have always been a most efficient aid in the preparation of the children for this grand event. The training given the children makes the reception of first communion each year a most beautiful and edifying sight.


Every year or two a mission is given in the church by members of some religious order. It is unnecessary to say that it is always a source of great spiritual good. There are always a number of conversions. Careless Catholics are made sensible of their mistake, and become regular again. Those who have always been faithful are made more fervent. In a word, new spiritual life is infused into the whole congregation.


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