|The Sisters of
ONE of the finest tributes ever tendered the Sisters of Charity of
Saint Vincent de Paul came from Bishop Loras, one of God's noblemen who
had the insight of the saint. “Since Divine Providence has entrusted me
with the administration of the Diocese of Dubuque”, reads his letter of
May 20, 1843, “I have always had the desire of admitting into it your
excellent Sisters. . . . Be so kind, Respected Mother, as to let me
know if you can give me some of your Sisters whom I might accompany
myself to Dubuque. . . . In the expectation of a favorable reply I
recommend you and all your community to God Almighty”. That petition is
but a duplicate of the one made by Bishop Loras on June 5, 1839. How
fortunate, we feel, would have been the Church here in our commonwealth
if only acceptance had come at that time. Well, at least it was a high
honor for our Sisters to be invited first or among the first.
Bishop Loras's entreaties were answered, but not during his
lifetime. September 21, 1867, was the day of triumph. By Father Louis
Decailly, a nephew of Bishop Loras, the word was received. As a matter
of fact his oft repeated appeals effected in large part the acceptance.
Had he rendered to Saint Peter's no service other than that, a grateful
parish should enshrine him in hallowed memory.
In 1867 then, the first group of Sisters of Charity came to Saint
Peter's. Sister Gertrude Balfe was the Superior, or as the Daughters of
humble Saint Vincent have it “Sister Servant”. For companions, Sister
Kenny, Sister Lutz, and Sister Fox were given her. To the Visitation
Convent, built in 1851, and the “little yellow building” they came.
Both were used by the Sisters, as we shall see later. The Convent as we
know it today (in its larger dimensions), was not built until the
“little yellow building” had been destroyed by fire.
Unfortunately only a hurried panoramic view of the thrice-blessed work
of the Sisters of Charity can here be given. On matters of major
importance at least, the writer would like to touch accurately.
First, so far as records and oral accounts inform us, the
education of our parish girls since 1867 has been in the trusted
keeping of the Sisters of Charity. Not always however, was it carried
on under conditions like those prevailing today. Time was when two
separate schools, having separate classrooms, were conducted by the
Sisters. That was in the early years, say from 1867 until 1877. The
parish girls went to school during that period, first in the “little
yellow building” and later in rooms of the Convent distinct from those
of the “Select School”. Soon after Father O'Reilly's coming the change
was made. The “Select School” was discontinued; all the students of
Saint Vincents in a given grade were taught in the same class and by
the same Sister.
Secondly, from the very beginning the Sisters of Charity
conducted a school for the parish boys under twelve years of age.
Evidently, too, that section of Saint Vincent's had some direct
connection with the parish. For in September 1874, Father Trevis had
to negotiate a loan to prepare new quarters or to remodel the old.
About $650.00 was spent on that project. The items listed by him carry
some interest at this time: two oak stoves, $45.50; 64 double desks,
(this would indicate a rather large enrollment), $288.00; two black
boards, $15.00. Further, Father Trevis's handwriting informs us that
“the things noted above, also for painting, plastering, carpenter work,
lumber, etc.” totaled $650.00.
Thirdly, “Saint Vincent's Female Boarding and Day School” was an
institution advertised for some years. Apparently it became about the
middle seventies a Boarding School in the fullest sense of the term.
Fourthly, the “Select School” was discontinued in 1877. Perhaps
the following important announcement pertains to that year. “The
Sisters have come to the conclusion of establishing a grade in their
school or making it a graded school after the most approved and
improved plan, thereby giving four grades to the school instead of two
which were had before, that is, four teachers are now doing the work
which two used to do.” That progressive step was announced by Father
O'Reilly from the pulpit. When it was taken we do not know with
certainty. The writer is inclined to think that the elementary grades
were meant. If that is true the probable date is 1877 when the “Select
School” was discontinued. Larger classes likely necessitated more
classrooms and consequently more teachers. In any event those familiar
with Church Finance will not overlook one likely reason for the
announcement. During those years only fragmentary data can be had.
During the early eighties it was placed at 200. At the time eight
Sisters were engaged in teaching. For the later years fuller records
are extant, which will be given presently.
In the later history of education in Saint Peter's Parish there
are four dates of transcendant importance: 1893, 1902, 1904, and 1914.
Briefly this is their significance. In 1893 Saint Vincent's became a
free school for the girls of the parish. Following are the statistics
of enrollment for that decade as found in Father O'Reilly's record:
1893, 160; 1895, 135; 1896, 135; 1898, 180. In 1902 a most fortunate
change in the boys' education was made; their school, that treasured
gift to them in 1899, was placed in the hands of the Sisters of
Charity. Henceforth capable teachers with time honored traditions and
standards would control the destiny of the Saint Peter's boys'
Two years later, 1904, a most logical consolidation occurred. Saint
Peter's educational system became coeducational. From that year to
this, our girls and boys have received their education in the same
classrooms at the same time. In the Convent the lower grades were cared
for, the former Boys' School having been given over to the higher
grades and the High School Department. Indeed the arrangement has been
a most happy one and economical as well. Under the watchful care of
the pastors, Father O'Reilly and Monsignor Gillespie, and the Sisters
of Charity a truly wholesome condition has ever prevailed. Finally,
1914 is a year to be remembered. On June 22, 1914, Saint Peter's High
School was fully recognized by and accredited to the State of Iowa
institutions of higher education. Since that time by strict right the
graduates of Saint Peter's have been admitted to the state colleges
and university without preliminary examination. The process of
recognition begun by Sister Isabella, was obtained by our Sisters with
the loyal, substantial help of Monsignor Gillespie.
Such is the resume, in very sketchy form, of the educational
efforts and progress of the Sisters of Charity in Saint Peter's Parish.
Nothing has been written here of their patient toil, of their whole
souled persevering efforts, of their splendid charity in this mission
that must be quite as dear to the Sisters as they are to the people of
this parish. The writer is not able to pen a worthy tribute to them. A
personal commentary by every member of Saint Peter's would be much more
meaningful. Nor is there need for profuse eulogy. We should like to
think that the relationship, one of love and loyalty, is akin to that
existing between mother and child. That relationship is the most
wholesome this wor1d knows. It is so obvious that professions are not
at all needed to make it known or to instill confidence. There is a
genuine compliment involved in the actions of those who take for
granted our love and loyalty. In Saint Peter's certainly the Sisters of
Charity are taken for granted. We can well imagine the removal from
Saint Peter's of the most firmly rooted family of the parish. Never,
though, would the homestead of the Sisters of Charity seem familiar
unless their kindly presence filled it. In a word, Saint Peter's feels
that their record is clothed in glory. May that radiant center of
education in Saint Peter's ever cast a glow over the lives of the
little ones of our parish.
The Sister Servants at Saint Peter's 1867-1929
1867-1881 Sister Gertrude Balfe
1881-1891 Sister Loretta Vaughan
1891-1898 Sister Clarisse Bresnahan
1898-1906 Sister Irene Maloney
1906-1910 Sister Isabella McCarthy
1910-1911 Sister Felicita Farrell
1911-1914 Sister Margaret Garvey
1914-1920 Sister Loretto Tobin
1920-1927 Sister Madeleine Morris
1927- Sister Ignatia
St. Peter's Church and School
THE BUILDING of Saint Peter's Church was a rather long, drawn out
enterprise. As early as 1872 Father Andrew Trevis purchased the church
lots on Ninth and Bank streets. According to his record $2,600 was the
purchase price of the property. A rather modest fee of ten dollars was
paid the law firm of Miller and McCrary for services in the
transaction. By December 7, 1872, an amount slightly over $1,350 was
paid by the parish. From the following promise it is seen that the
parish was as serious about paying for the property as about acquiring
it. “We, whose names are hereto attached in this book, do bind
ourselves to pay the amount opposite these our names for the purpose of
buying the three lots situated on the hill, corner of Ninth and Bank
streets, presently the property of Colonel Perry, in the City of
Keokuk, Lee County, Iowa, the purchase to be for the special benefit of
the St. Peter's Roman Catholic Congregation of the same city of Keokuk,
said amount to be paid to Rev. A. Trevis or his agent in two
installments, the first half on the 21st of September, 1872, and the
second half the first day of December, 1872.”
Briefly this is the rest of the story. By 1878 Father O'Reilly
had plans in hand for the magnificent Gothic church. Johann Dillenberg
of Chicago, the designer of many Churches in Iowa, was the architect.
Excavations were started in 1879. By 1881 work had advanced
sufficiently to lay the cornerstone with this inscription: “This Stone
was laid June 12, 1881. Rt. Rev. John Hennessy Being Bishop of Dubuque.”
On January 26, 1881, contracts were let for the floor, window
frames, etc. The writer's father sorted at Carson-Rand’s the lumber
that went into the church. The wide-board flooring that was used in the
church may not be in style today. It was in style then and in good
style, too. Then old Patrick Tigue (we remember him well) furnished the
limestone. James McNamara supplied the lime; John Spaan, the brick; H.
H. Gilliam, the sand. Besides there was an order to J. C. Bentley for
560,000 hard brick. Not until 1884 was the contract let for the fresco
work. It cost $1,100. The above is some information, by no means
complete, however that a lovely generation of Catholic people (not all
of them are with us today) will appreciate. Thanks to them and to that
inspired an inspiring man of God, Father O'Reilly, for the beautiful
and serviceable parish church they left as an inheritance to us. Truly
is Saint Peter's Church one of Father O'Reilly's achievements. Hopes
germinated upon his arrival in 1876; they blossomed into a plan in
1878 and they became a reality in the 1881-1886 period. Ours are
both the picture here given and the reality, a holy place, a solace for
our tired, and sometimes crushed hearts, a church whose steps are being
worn thin by the comings and goings of a devout people who feel they
need God and His blessed church, dear old Saint Peter's.
Unfortunately detailed figures cannot be given for the building
of Saint Peter School, Ninth and Timea streets. George D. Rand donated
the lots for that Father O'Reilly enterprise. We know too that work was
started in 1898 and that by September 1899, the Saint Peter's Parochial
School was ready for the boys of the parish. Solely for them until
September 1904, it was used. It was Father O'Reilly’s gift to the boys
he loved. In other sections of this sketch supplementary information is
given about the educational system of Saint Peter's during the period
At this late date an accurate statement of the total cost of
these two buildings cannot be given. Fragmentary records are extant,
as for instance, of the payment of $2,053.63 to the Carson-Rand Company
up to December 5, 1883. But such records are fragmentary. Likely the
best estimate of the cost of the church may be gathered from this fact
that Father O'Reilly negotiated with Thomas Connolly of Dubuque five
loans totaling $ 34,705. For Saint Peter's School loans totaling
$22,021.27 were made. The writer does not put forward those amounts as
the total cost of these two buildings. They are merely given as
indications of the cost, since more accurate information is not had. A
conservative estimate of the total value of the entire Saint Peter’s
Parish property is placed at $200,000 by Monsignor Gillespie.
THE EDUCATOR! Yes, historically that should be the first word in a
sketch of that well remembered pastor of Saint Peter’s. In that field
he was far ahead of his time, outdistancing all his rivals. The writer
has in his keeping some interesting documents dear to him and telling
in their evidence. One of them, for instance, bespeaks plainly Father
O’Reilly’s claim as a pioneer Catholic educator. It is entitled:
“Constitution of the Catholic Pay and Free School Association of the
City of Dubuque. Established March 15th, A. D., 1868”. That document
carries us back sixty years and brings us face to face with a man who
perhaps had more to do with the parochial school movement in Iowa than
any other. One of “Father O’Reilly’s boys”, Bishop John Carroll, might
be appositely quoted. Referring to the Father O’Reilly School in
Dubuque he said: "Father O’Reilly found it necessary to solicit money
for the erection of schools for the education of children and traveled
on foot from Dubuque to Sioux City to obtain money to erect the first
school in Dubuque, and during the whole of his life it has stood as a
monument to him and was known as Father O’Reilly’s school. The building
marked the beginning of parochial schools in Iowa and it was because of
Father O’Reilly’s work that Archbishop Hennessy took the aggressive
attitude which made him unpopular among many non-Catholics”. Charles
McLean has given testimony of the same work. “For industry and zeal
Father O’Reilly could not have been surpassed. His name was linked with
the school in the public mind and the pupils of Saint Raphael's became
known to the community as ‘Father O’Reilly’s boys’”. We are assured,
too, that Father O’Reilly’s boys did well in after life. Much as we
should like to linger over this phase of his work, we must hasten on to
his achievements in Keokuk.
In October 1875, came Father O’Reilly's first appointment to Saint
Peter’s. Father Trevis, a sick man, had been pastor up to that time.
About the fifth of December, however, Father O’Reilly left Keokuk,
went to Massachusetts for some time, and then returned to Iowa as
pastor of Saint Anthony’s, Davenport, early in 1876. About February 20,
1876, he returned to Saint Peter’s, this time to remain for more than
Now the merest understanding of the history of the parish
previous to his coming plainly indicates that mighty things would have
to be accomplished if Saint Peter’s was to assume its rightful place in
the march of Catholic progress. Still, we cannot hope to retrace
Father O’Reilly’s steps. Further, not a few of his accomplishments have
been touched upon in other sections. In this place we shall look
intently at his major achievements.
To begin with, the First Saint Peter's was not large enough in
1876 for the congregation; perhaps it was not brand enough either. For
some time there had been petitions for a new church, and we have no
reason to think they ceased with Father O’Reilly’s coming. Yet, his way
and his thoughtful mein must have generated confidence in his people.
The writer can well imagine an old Irish lady sagely remarking: “That
priest knows, and the church will be built in his own time”. The story
of the building of Saint Peter's Church and School also has already
been told. Our chief interest here is the method of paying for them.
Our forebears remember well the socials and “coffees” of long ago. Nor
have they forgotten the mammoth fairs that were held in the Estes
House. Those fairs continued through a week and sometimes enriched the
parish treasury by $4,000. They have not forgotten the scorching
Sundays of July when the coal collections were announced. All these
ways together constitute the method of paying for our magnificent
parish buildings. Economy, even to the point of penuriousness, built
and paid for them. Beyond that, it is the old story all over again. The
nickels and dimes of poor Irish servant girls built Saint Patrick’s
Cathedral, New York. The mites earned by our day-laborers fifty years
ago built Saint Peter's, almost a cathedral in our eyes. Verily, a
mighty place of worship was built by Father O’Reilly and his people.
Yet, we must remembered that his ideals soared far above the lofty
cross on the steeple. They took new life as they passed that emblem of
sacrifice, and went on to the Great White Throne of God where
whisperings of “a perfect people” might have been heard by angelic
eavesdroppers. Saint Peter’s is truly a sanctuary sacred to the memory
of those who built it, pastor and faithful alike.
But Father O’Reilly was more than a church builder. The inscription on
his tomb-stone would indicate that. “Very Rev. Thomas O’Reilly, V. F.,
1844-1909. Pastor of St. Peter's Church, 35 years. Apostle of Iowa
Parochial Schools. Earnest Advocate of Total Abstinence. May He Rest in
Peace”. There is one part of that inscription which implies a whole
world of activity: Earnest Advocate of Total Abstinence. Yes, by right
that should be on the permanent marker, for that service should not be
lost to posterity. It is not necessary here to rehearse the story of
conditions that demanded such an apostle. Suffice to say, Father
O’Reilly was a priest of true insight and he felt the need of
courageous work in that field. In his own day the public was not
oblivious of his success. “He taught temperance both by precept and
example, and lost no opportunity to illustrate its value. He rightly
held temperance to be a moral virtue, but he recognized that to be a
virtue it must be free and not forced. In this he was eminently
successful and the result of his efforts is a fine monument to his
Really though, Father O’Reilly's endeavors in the promotion of
temperance rose out of his interest in the problems of the common
people. “His life was animated by love of God and man and was spent in
ceaseless service for both at the altar, on the streets, in the homes,
and in the schoolrooms”. How true the following item must seem to the
older members of Saint Peter’s. “The reporter never rambles through
West Keokuk but that he sees the familiar figure of the Rev. Father
O’Reilly among the sick and needy. There is no truer nobility than that
of a life spent in the service of suffering humanity and such a life is
exemplified in that the good Father O’Reilly has for years been
administering largely to the temporal as well as the spiritual wants of
his people in West Keokuk. They tell many tales of the Father’s
generous gifts. More than one poor schoolboy can show the books and the
clothes furnished at the priest’s expense. More than one poor man,
sick and out of work, can tell of a needy family of hungry little ones
cared for until times were better. No one else bears such a share of
the respect and love of the West Keokuk people and especially their
little ones as does the pious Father, and no one deserves it more
highly than he.”
Little wonder that sixteen hundred people, either in the church
or on the nearby walks, attended Father O’Reilly’s funeral. Little
wonder, too, that the people of Saint Peter’s at the time had
sentiments akin to these: “A good man is gone from among us, and we
shall not soon look upon his like again. His saintly character and
blameless life are no longer in evidence in the community, but the
memory is a precious heritage which can never be taken away.”
The Right Reverend Monsignor James W. Gillespie, V. F.
Cordially invites you to be present at his
Investiture at St. Peter's Church, Keokuk, Iowa,
Sunday, October twenty-seventh,
One thousand nine hundred and twenty-nine
at ten thirty, a. m.
Investiture and Solemn Pontifical Mass
by his Lordship the
Rt. Rev. Henry P. Rohlman, D. D.
Bishop of Davenport, Iowa.
Sermon by the
Very Rev. William L. Hannon
SUNDAY, October 27, 1929, will be a festive day in Saint Peter’s
Parish. With a love and loyalty unsurpassed toward their pastor of
twenty years a mighty throng will testify on that day that Saint
Peter’s gladly honors him whom the Church has honored so signally. In
the annals of the parish the Investiture of Monsignor James W.
Gillespie will be recorded as a memorable event. Rightly will the
parish claim a share in the honor that will come to its pastor.
On that day the full significance can be felt only through a
knowledge of the past, the past of the parish and pastor alike. What a
wonderful transformation has taken place in Keokuk Catholicity since
Father Van Quickenborne's visit, back in 1832! We remember well the
primitiveness and informality of the first service. That motley crowd
at the river’s edge can almost be seen with the historical telescope.
The contrast today! A refined and cultured people will behold their
pastor’s investiture in the purple robes of an ecclesiastical rank that
one associates with a fully institutionalized Catholicism. And yet we
are proud of both, for both present Catholicism to us, the one,
beginnings, the other, mature development.
Then, too, the record of him who is to be honored should be reviewed.
In his blessed work at Saint Peter’s all are interested. But first a
James W. Gillespie, the seventh of eight children with whom
Almighty God blessed the marriage of James Gillespie and Anna Kiernan,
was born at Patterson, Madison County, Iowa, on January 10, 1869. In
the district school his elementary education was received. Like so many
distinguished priests in the Diocese of Davenport, he entered Saint
Ambrose College for preparatory studies that would bring him closer to
his destined vocation, the holy priesthood. For six years he attended
that institution. Then to Saint Paul Seminary, Saint Paul, Minnesota,
he was directed for the final studies, theology and kindred branches.
On May 27, 1899, thirty years ago, the tremendous powers and
responsibilities of the priesthood were placed in his hands. His Mother
in heaven prayed fervently for him that day.
Soon after, Father Gillespie received an appointment to Saint
Ambrose Parish, Des Moines, as Assistant to the late Monsignor Michael
Flavin. In September 1900, his first pastorate, Saint Mary’s,
Mechanicsville, was entrusted to him. Some years later an appointment
of major importance brought him to Keokuk. October 27, 1909, was the
date. By that appointment Father Gillespie became pastor of Saint
Peter’s and Dean of the clergy in southeastern Iowa. The day of
Monsignor Gillespie's investiture will also be the twentieth
anniversary of that appointment to Saint Peter’s. In this place a
resume of Monsignor Gillespie’s accomplishments will be attempted.
Maintenance and progressive improvements are the key words to the
period 1909-1929. In a previous section the writer has described the
splendid up building in Saint Peter’s effected by Father O’Rielly. That
achievement is surely worthy of our praise. Yet, the very
accomplishments of Father O’Reilly called for more accomplishments,
and of a very difficult kind. On many an occasion the writer has heard
from experienced priests that the problem of maintenance and
improvement in our day, at least in the larger parishes, is quite the
equal of that confronting the original builders. Right there is the
glory of Monsignor Gillespie’s pastorate in Saint Peter’s. He and his
parish have maintained an unusually large parochial institution, and it
has been improved in a commendable manner. On this point a few specific
instances will be given.
First, in the field of education. As regards educational
facilities, Saint Peter’s Parish has been quite unique. Two large
buildings wholly and one large building in part are given over to the
educative process. Saint Peter’s High School building, for instance,
has been a costly one during the 1909-1929 period. Constantly rising
standards of education have been determined upon by accrediting
associations, particularly during that period. Within the past few
years, records reveal the following expense items for that one
building: seats in the Assembly Hall, $3,000; lockers, $500; electric
clock, $300; remodeling the stage, $400; conditioning the winter chapel
for class room use, $400.
On the Convent property a larger sum was expended. Some of the
more important items are: the transfer of the Convent property to
Saint Peter’s Parish in 1912, $1,000; renewing the exterior of the
Convent building, $2,000; classroom improvements from 1909-1929, $500;
improvement of the property by grading, $700; improving steps and
Likewise the former Methodist Church property has been a source
of expense. No less than $6000, records reveal, has been expended in
making it suitable for parish functions and athletic contests. In the
light of these expenditures, the statement that maintenance and
progressive improvements create problems in parish administration
quite the equal of original construction is meaningful. The situation
has taken on that character, especially during the last fifteen years
of Monsignor Gillespie's pastorate.
Passing over to the strictly religious function of parochial
endeavor, we behold a similar condition. Here, too, some improvement
items will be mentioned that have been gleaned from the records. Soon
after Monsignor Gillespie’s coming to Saint Peter’s, the need of a
larger rectory was apparent. An expense account of $4,500 was the
result. Then, only recently the resurfacing of the streets about Saint
Peter’s Church imposed a burden of $7,000 upon the parish. A noticeable
improvement, made during the past summer, was the renovating of the
church in its entirety. In fine, it has been the work of maintaining
and improving an unusually large parochial institution that has
constituted the field of Monsignor Gillespie’s zealous efforts.
So burdensome a task has that work been that little surprise need be
evoked at the mention of a parish debt, which persisted until a few
years ago. At Monsignor Gillespie’s coming in 1909, the parish
indebtedness amounted to almost $12,000. Father O’Reilly’s records
distribute that debt in this way: school, $1,980; church, $4,766; the
former Methodist Church, $4,984. Those debts totaling $11,730 were
assumed by the present pastor and his congregation. Besides those
debts, the unusually large expenditures of the past twenty years have
involved indebtedness from time to time. And the sequel to that
indebtedness! What a magnificent act of generosity that indebtedness
has called forth on the part of Monsignor Gillespie! A princely gift
indeed was made to the parish when, in 1924, the entire debt was
erased from the parish books. $23,000 was the sum applied by him
personally at that time. The only obligation incurred by the parish is
the payment of interest to the donor during his lifetime. In other
words it was given on the annuity basis, precisely the basis on which
our colleges, for instance, are happy to receive substantial donations.
We should say that the soundness of the solution is surpassed only by
the generosity of the donor. One thing is most certain and surely
commendable: Father Gillespie has been most loyal to his own. It will
be difficult for him as Monsignor Gillespie to be more loyal.
Still, there has been no taint of “parochialism” in his actions.
The Diocese of Davenport has been the recipient of his generous gifts.
In 1915 Saint Ambrose College was in dire need of a larger gymnasium.
Monsignor Gillespie made one of the largest contributions, $5,000. Just
last year, when that same diocesan institution was about to erect a
Science Hall, another generous contribution from Monsignor Gillespie
was made. This time the sum of $3,500 was donated. Within the hallowed
walls of that college, he had received a part of his later education.
He could not forget the service it had rendered him, and he was
unwilling to forget it. Generosity is an admirable trait. It is to be
admired by every right thinking man. In fine, Monsignor Gillespie’s
heart is right: an admirable thing, indeed, and especially in one who
has consecrated himself to the service of Christ and his fellowmen.
May Monsignor Gillespie live long to enjoy the signal honor that
his Church has conferred upon him, and may his days be lengthened in
the generous service of Saint Peter’s Parish.
ON SEPTEMBER 21, 1925, Father Martin Horan was appointed to Saint
Peter’s as Assistant to Monsignor Gillespie. That was his first and
only appointment. Certainly in Saint Peter’s he has performed
commendably every duty to which he has been assigned. It is a sure
token of manly zeal in the priesthood when pastor and congregation
alike are fully satisfied. That condition exactly prevails in Father
Horan’s case. Monsignor Gillespie likes to speak of him as “a
considerate, conscientious Assistant”. There is not a trace of
exaggeration in the statement that everyone, and especially Monsignor
Gillespie, fondly hopes that Father Horan will remain at Saint Peter's
for many years.
The following priests have assisted Monsignor Gillespie at Saint
Peter’s during the 1909-1929 period: Fathers Maurice Kissane, Stephen
Davis, P. J. Ryan, John Courtney, Francis Phillips, Frank Barry, Hubert
Thoman, Michael Moriarity, Paul Kleinfelder, William Schmidt, Aloysius
Cone, John Coughlin, and Martin Horan.
The Priests WhoHave Served Saint Peter's Church
1832 C. F. Van Quickenborne, S. J.
1834-1837 P. P. Lefevere
1840 S. C. Mazzuchelli, O. P.
1840-1848 J. G. Alleman, O. P.
1848-1856 J. B. Villars
1856-1857 William Emonds
1857-1858 T. G. Reffe
1858-1868 Louis Decailly
1872-1874 Andrew Trevis
1872-1874 George Heer (quasi-pastor)
1875 M. J. Gaffney (temporary pastor)
1875 Thomas O'Reilly
1876 Michael Lynch (temporary pastor)
1876-1909 Thomas O'Reilly
1909 J. W. Gillespie
A Roll of Honor
IN THIS place is given a list of the Priests and Sisters who, at
one time or another during their lives, were members of Saint Peter’s
Parish or students in the parish school.
The Right Reverend Monsignor P. W. Tallon; the Reverends James Foley,
C. M., John J. Downing, C. M., Dennis J. Downing, C. M., Stephen E.
McNamara, S. J., Basil Vogt, O. F. M., Carl H. Meinberg, Joseph E.
O'Brien, S. J., C. Francis Griffith, Joseph Kenny, Paul D. Moore,
Joseph B. Code, Harry B. Crimmins, S. J.
Sisters of Visitation:
Sisters M. Francis Collins, M. de Chantal Myers, M. Aloysia Myers, M.
Clementine O’Connell, M. Theresa Bouvard, M. Aimee Burke, Candida O’Connor,
Vincentia O’Brien, Magdalen Strenzel, Martha Golden, Jane Moffitt,
Cecilia Creed, Louise Swartz, Josephine Rice, Margaret M. Middleton,
M. Anthony Steffensmeir, Gabriella Rice, Agnes Hickey, Bernardine
Weber, Immaculata Fegers, Alphonsa Weber, Augustine Kehoe, Aimee Grace,
Genevieve Friers, Simplicia Dillion, Beatrice Rice, Celestine Barker,
Hyacinth Green, Gertrude Quigley, Ligouri Mathhez, Francis Gonzaga
Claggett, M. Pauline Cove, Benedicta McCue, Emmanuel Wynne, M. Angela
Bridgman, M. Regis Ryan, Mary Fitch, M. Rose Ryan, M. de Sales Luby, M.
Xavier Huot, M. Agnes Journet, Anna Langan, Mother M. Agnes Egan, and
Mother M. Stanislaus Scott.
Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul:
Sisters Ignatia Browne, Ursula Hughes, Margaret O’Brien, Isidore
O’Brien, Loretto McKenzie, Callista Hickey, Rose Welsh, Hortense Moore,
Beatrice Mullen, Helen Birmingham, Eugenia McNeff, Rose McGuire, Alice
Moore, Zoe Maher, Margaret LeFevre, Alice McNamara, Genevieve Ewers,
and Andrea Hickey.
Sisters of Notre Dame:
Sisters M. Edwina McCaffrey, Consuela Applebaum, Eustachia Downing,
Kevin Kennedy, Odilo Jones, Godberta McNamara, Delphina Hoes and Mary
Sisters of Saint Francis:
Sisters Casilda Renwald, M. Leocadia Niess, Aegedia Seibert, M. Georgia
Myers, Catherine Myers, and Maxine McDowell.
Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
Sisters Helen Ryan and M. Alcantara Vogt.
Sisters of Saint Dominic:
Sisters Devona Burke and M. David O’Leary.
Sisters of Saint Benedict:
Sisters Catherine Cahalan and Celestine Downing.
Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament:
Sister Catherine Kenny.
Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth:
Sister M. Gertrude Barrett.
Sisters of Saint Joseph:
Sister M. Pius Neenan.
Sisters of the Good Shepherd:
Sister M. Josepha Powers.
Sisters of Mercy:
Sisters Ligouri Renwald and de Paul Collins.
Sisters of Saint Francis, Clinton:
Sister Mary Elizabeth Cameron
Compiled and contributed by Ernie Braida, Pastor of St. Peter's
in Keokuk from 1978-1984