Transcribed by Sean Furniss
BISHOP HENNESSY VISITS PAOLA.
Bishop John Joseph Hennessy was born near Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland, July 19, 1847, of Michael and Ellen (Cronin) Hennessy. He came with his parents to the United States in childhood, settling in St. Louis. He attended the Christian Brothers' College of that city, graduating from there to Cape Girardeau College, in which he studied philosophy. His theological studies were made at the Salesianum Seminary of Milwaukee, and by special dispensation he was ordained priest November 27, 1869, when only twenty-two and a half years old.
Shortly after his ordination Father Hennessy was sent to the Iron Mountain region, where his parochial duties extended over ten counties and where in 1876 he established the Ursuline convent at Arcadia, Mo.
He was consecrated Bishop of Wichita November 30, 1888, in St. Louis by Archbishop Peter R. Kenrick. He suffered a stroke of paralysis early in the morning of July 13, 1920, and died a few hours later. He was buried from the Cathedral which he erected in Wichita.
The Right Reverend Bishop Hennessy Administered the Sacrament of
REVEREND ANTHONY DORNSEIFER.
Father Dornseifer became pastor on October 5, 1894. He was but lately ordained in Louvain, Belgium, and had but a slight acquaintance with the English language. "He was very young, very humble and very kind;"--the people give testimony to all this, for, to this day, they speak his name reverently. His struggles with the English tongue were oftentimes amusing but it made him all the dearer to the people. They liked Father Dornseifer and, he in return, has always retained a sincere affection for this, his first field of labor in America.
During his time the Passionist Fathers gave a mission in Paola and Osawatomie and, incidentally, Father Michael, a famous missionary of that Order, induced the Ursuline Sisters to visit Paola. When Mother Jerome and her companions arrived at the priest's house, Father Dornseifer welcomed them as Little Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis from St. Margaret's Hospital. He was in a hurry to catch the train for Osawatomie where he had to go to instruct the children, etc., but he took time to place his visitors in touch with some of the leading citizens of the town and thus began the first chapter in the history of Our Ursuline Academy.
During this year the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin and League of the Sacred Heart were greatly revived. He took a great interest in the young folks and in many other ways endeared himself to the people. He was transferred to Rosedale in July, 1895, where he has labored successfully ever since. The church, school and pastoral residence at Rosedale are amongst the finest in the Leavenworth diocese.
Father Dornseifer has held the important office of "Defensor Vinculi" in the matrimonial court of the Diocese for several years.
REVEREND FATHER FRANCIS TATON.
The periodic changes have come to an end at last. Certainly, such frequent removals of pastors could not have a deteriorating effect on any organized parish, but, fortunately for Paola, all the priests who came and went so frequently were mostly of a high order of clerical excellence. Nothing but kindly memories enshrine their names in the hearts of the people so that, it is probable, the general effect was more favorable than otherwise. It must be said of the Catholic people of Paola that they have long memories and warm hearts for their old-time pastors. All the first settlers were Irish--direct from Ireland, and this fact explains it all. It was this beautiful sentiment in the minds and on the lips of the old people that induced the writer of these pages to note down, to collect and compile the many items that go to make up this history. The story of eighty strenuous years can not be told in this imperfect manner, but it is the best that can be done now and it may help others in days to come to give a proper setting to a very beautiful scene to which time will lend a halo and a warmth not now perceived.
Father Taton remained pastor of Holy Trinity church from July 17, 1895, to August 17, 1903. He was a native American, born in Illinois, of French parents and raised in Johnson county, Kan. He was in every way fitted for the rough usage of the western missions. He was a young priest of pleasing personality, with great courage and quiet determination. he seemed never to grow weary in his missionary work throughout all of Miami county. He knew every road and lane, and almost every farm house in the county. Linn county too was visited regularly, but his best efforts bore little or no fruit in that most remarkable county. Father Taton spent all his spare time visiting the people and teaching catechism to the children; he delighted in that kind of work. To be out in the sunshine and the fresh air, to get a wiff of zero weather or a blister from the summer sun was all in his line, he enjoyed it. No one ever seemed more happy in his work than Father Taton. Year in and year out he kept on, always accomplishing something, yet, never neglecting himself. he could eat everything, sleep anywhere and made friends of the very enemies of God Himself. It looks like over-drawing the picture, but it is not overdrawn, for more good things can be said of this young priest than any other since the days of Father Hurley. It is true he inherited a well equipped church from the labors of his predecessors, and he had a new and comfortable dwelling to enter when he cared to be at home.
The Catholic people were now increasing gradually and the church of the Holy Trinity was becoming an important congregation, but it lacked that most essential requirement, namely: a parochial school. The Sisters sought to meet this want ever since their Academy started in 1896, but it was never intended to be a permanent arrangement.
The Right Rev. Bishop, L. M. Fink, O. S. B., urged Father Taton to build a school for the children of the parish. The task looked formidable enough, financially considered, but the objection that the greater number of children lived too far from town to be benefitted by such a school could not be denied. In fact, the people were not unanimously in favor of building a school at this time; besides, the church needed repairs; the selfish ones thought that they should pay for their own homes first and that the public schools were good enough. Then came the unkindest cut of all: "Why could not the priest go around the parish in his buggy to teach Catechism as they did in olden times?" "Father Able used to walk the six miles to our place," said another, "to teach us youngsters the catechism, no doubt he went in other directions also." Thus the discussion went on but Father Taton kept his council and laid his plans carefully. He took up a subscription and gave some entertainments during 1900. He thus accumulated a fund of $1326. The following year he added $932 to this amount. In the spring of 1901 the foundations of St. Patrick's School were laid and the construction with its many details was carried forward successfully so that the following year, 1902, saw the building completed and the school put in running order with Miss Helen Lewis as the first teacher. In 1903, on September 8, the Ursuline Sisters took charge of the school and have continued ever since to render most efficient service.
Saint Patrick's school was a success from the beginning. Abut eighty pupils attended each year and occupied all the space that could be furnished with desks.
The names of the teachers down to the present time were:
The first Parochial school was begun at the new Academy, Paola, in March, 1896. The pupils, or day scholars, as they were called, were the following Catholic children of the town:
Myrtle Klassen, Grace Koehler, Katherine, Anna and Susie Finn, Genevieve Pickles, Irene Clark, Hazel Kelly, Mary Koehler and Florence Allen. The boys were Samuel and Edgar Harnden and Harry Strausbaugh. On the next session of school in September the following names were added: Mary and Ethel Bogle, Eugene, Paul, Mark and Mary Lewis, Guss and Grace, Mary and Anna Powers, John Finn, Mary, Anna, Rose and Lizzie Toelle, Marie Charland, Ethelyn and Florence Chamberlain.
This school was transferred to St. Patrick's in 1902.
The first cost of the building was $3076.13; to this amount was added $179.25 in 1902 as necessary preparations for opening of school.
Only $600 remained to be paid and this was borrowed from the Miami County National Bank at 6 per cent per annum. This amount ran on in the bank until July, 1907, when it was finally paid.
The following financial report for 1901 is taken from the parish books, a copy of which report was sent to the Right Rev. Bishop at the time.
Summary or Receipts, 1901.
Note--Donated to Holy Trinity Church the salary of
Summary of Expenses for 1901.
Note on St. Patrick's School for $600.00 at 6% in the
John Sheehan, Peter Keenan, Rev. John Taton - Consultors.
The foregoing accounts have been examined and are
List of graduates from St. Patrick's School is as follows:
Father Taton deserves great praise for his perseverance and his patience. He has been the author of untold blessings to this congregation by his many works of zeal. He reestablished the free library and revived the spirit of the Sodality and the League of the Sacred Heart. He prepared many classes for First Holy Communion and for Confirmation. he made innumerable visits to the sick and the dying. He reconciled many fallen away Catholics to the Church and converted some to the true faith. He acted as chaplain of the Academy for some years, in addition to his other numerous duties.
The parish records show that he baptized 164 persons from 1895 to 1903; he witnessed 28 marriages, and buried 70 persons in Holy Cross cemetery.
Father Taton's next appointment was to Axtell, Kas., when the parish was no more than a mission and his time was equally divided between Axtell and Beattie. In 1904 he commenced work on a new church and dedicated it in 1906. In 1909 a residence was built and early in 1913 work was started on a parochial school. It was about that time that Father Taton celebrated his silver jubilee.
He was promoted to the important post of chaplain of the National Military Home at Leavenworth in the spring of 1919.
The Right Reverend Bishop Fink Administered the Sacrament of
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