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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page  1059~




The story of the work of Catholic priests in the opening settlement and up-building of the west has often been told. In fact, it is a main feature of the history of the period. To tell of :The Winning of the West," with the priests left out, would be like omitting the most vital chapters. They were especially conspicuous in missionary work, for which they have a natural aptitude and training. Give a priest a little shanty somewhere, with two or three members to listen to him, and in a few years that neighborhood reports a flourishing church, with a live membership, good school, necessary buildings to accommodate the workers and all the other adjuncts of a prosperous religious community. There will be Sunday school classes of course, and most likely a flourishing parochial school. In addition to all this, the priest, who is always a busy man, will find time to establish missions in other localities and do much mission work.


 This story, in brief, has been repeated in thousands of communities throughout the Northwest, where the priests and their congregations are always regarded as valuable additions to the life of the place. With this brief preface we will no proceed to give a few notes of the life and work of Rev. Frank Boeding, the popular priest of St. Lucas in Fayette county. He was born in Neuenkirchen, province of Westphalia, Germany, September 4, 1853. His parents were Conrad and Mary (Freise) Boeding, also natives of Westphalia, and people of humble circumstances so far as this world's goods are concerned. In early childhood Frank attended school near his home, but in 1865 entered a classical school in Ritberg, where he spent six years. The two years, 1871-3, he spent at Palderborn, followed by a course of two years at the University of Muenster.


In 1875, Mr. Boeding left his native land for the United States, where he completed his studies at various institutions in Milwaukee, Dubuque and Montreal. At the latter he was ordained a priest, December 22, 1877, and his first appointment was to the Catholic Church in Guttenberg, Clayton county, Iowa. This charge he left on the 22nd of September, 1882, for St. Lucas, with which place he has since been identified. His duties required him to attend the Catholic mission at Fort Atkinson and for fifteen years in similar work at Ciesco. There are now resident priests at both of these places.


Following is a summary of Father Boeding's work during his pastorate: In 1883 an addition was built to the church; in 1891 a new residence was erected; in 1894 two school rooms were added; in 1905 an addition of a chapel and of two school rooms and an addition to the boarding house were the much needed improvements.


Over one hundred families left the parish for the west, but one hundred and thirty-four families still remain despite the heavy drain. The members consist of eight hundred and fifty-six souls, one hundred and thirty-three men, one hundred and forty-three women, three hundred and three boys and two hundred and seventy-seven girls. It will be seen that Father Boeding's life has been a busy one and that he has done much for the uplifting of the community, morally, socially and in every way that leads to good citizenship.


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