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The efforts and wise judgment of Rev. Terrence Fitzsimmons, who succeeded Father Eustis in the pastorate of the parish, caused the introduction to Elgin of the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the establishment of St. Year after year since the date of its establishment, it has continued to send forth classes of graduates that mark it as an educational institution of a high grade, and one that deserves well of the Catholic people ; indeed we might with truth say of all the people of Elgin.

The organization of St. The recent purchase of a splendid site for a new church edifice, to take the place of the present church, by the people of St. Father Rohde. The rise and progress of the Catholic church in Elgin from the early day when Elgin, the then pretty little hamlet by the Fox, was but little known, is so intimately associated with the rise and progress of Elgin, the now fine and thrifty city, that the growth of the one seems to be the growth of the other.

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Elgin, the small frontier settlement of not quite seventy years ago, has grown to be world famous because of its mechanical and other products. At the present time, owing to the wondrous development of mechanism, electricity and of other scientific accessories to human labor, it is impossible to set any bounds to the future growth of a city like Elgin, with a name such as it has acquired for its manufactured products.

The growth of St. The reverend rector is assisted in parish work by Rev. Fathers Gildea and Murray, both devoted workers, and Elgin, besides its great and central parish as we may name it, of which we write, now has its prosperous German parish of St. Joseph, with its fine parochial school, St. Among the early parishioners of the church were many who entered business in Elgin.

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Others there were who attached themselves to various pursuits in life, some professional, others agricultural, etc. Many of their descendants are, however, engaged in business and in the various walks in life here in the city of their birth. Mary's parish. In the soft and mellow days of the fall of , in the golden time of the year, the golden Jubilee of St.

Peter J. The Jubilee is fittingly described in the subsequent pages. And so, in a golden light, full of promise for the future, ended the first half century of St. All the former pastors of the parish have gone to their eternal reward.

Francis A. Lynde, for several years assistant pastor to Father Mackin and for a time to Father McCann, died recently at Boulder, Colorado, whither he had gone to recruit sadly impaired health. All the pastors, from first to last, it may be said to their credit, did their work well, and have left behind them indisputable evidences of that fact. And now, as we close this introduction to the story of the planting, progress, struggles and successes of this Christian church so dear to many in Elgin, we may well take a momentary glance backward. The retrospect again brings before us a wondrous scene.

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Again we see the indomitable missionaries, Fathers St. But still the two adventurous priests, plodding westward on their mission of mercy, seem inseparable from the picture, be it that of the past or that of the present.

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Elgin, October i, Priests ot St. Marv s Parish of Elgin.

Stefan Allsebrook

Though assigned the work of preparing a sketch of the priests who have administered to the needs of the parishioners of Elgin, it is with much reluctance that we attempt the task. First, we find of necessity we must trespass on the domain of others of the committee— a sketch of the priests is synonymous with one of the parish, and again, we are forced to a confession of consciousness of our inability to provide even a preliminary historical sketch of our most worthy subjects ; yet it is doubtful if any one would be satisfied, under the circumstances, with the result of his efforts.

No records of the parish prior to are obtainable. Edward Keogh, afford data that otherwise would have been lost. All our former pastors and our earliest pioneer parishioners have been called to their eternal home. The accounts received are brief; some do not correspond with those received from other sources ; in other instances none at all have been secured. Notwithstanding the defects in this record and the errors it may contain, owing to the reasons here mentioned, we present the result of our efforts, believing they are substantially correct.

This date found the territory under the jurisdiction of the Rt. This fort was the frontier outpost of the northwest. Established there was the government agency for the payment of the Indians for their lands. Traders and settlers began to assemble about it once more. Again the Canadian voyageurs appeared at the place. The majority of these people, a goodly number of the garrison, and many of the friendly Indians were Catholics at this time. Their venerable bishop, ever solicitous for the spiritual and temporal welfare of his people, did not neglect those at Fort Dearborn.

He sent priests as often as conditions would permit to visit them. He was elevated to the priesthood by Rt. Father Badin was probably the first priest to visit this section of Illinois.


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In crossing the State it is not improbable that he passed through what was later the parish of Elgin. He afterwards administered to the wants of the laborers during the construction of the Illinois and Michigan canal, and to those of the settlers in its vicinity; subseqently he was pastor at Bourbonnais Grove, near Kankakee. As with the Jesuit and Franciscan Fathers who immediately succeeded Marquette in the same field, the sufferings and sacrifices of these good priests in the cause of their Master and for the eternal salvation of the souls of His children are known to few but the recording angel.

After the suppression of the Indians under Black Hawk and the capture of that noted chief in , the remnant of the once powerful tribes of Illinois withdrew beyond the Mississippi. Mary's Parish , Elgin, The Sac chief, who rallied the assembled bands of Illinois Indians in their final, though futile, effort to retain from the encroaching white settlers the domain of their forefathers. The contractors who had this work in hand sent circulars to the seaports of the United States and Canada, which were distributed among the emigrants who were coming in multitudes to America.

Thousands started westward to find ready work, the majority coming from Ireland. Joseph Rosati, first Bishop of St. Louis, who then had jurisdiction over a part of Illinois, for a priest. Father John M. Cyr was sent in response to their call and became the first pastor of Chicago. As a great number of the men who came to work on the canal appeared first in Chicago, Father St.

Cyr found that he could not 24 Golden Jubilee Souvenir attend to the pressing needs of his flock. He wrote to his bishop for more priests ; his letter was referred to Rt. First Bishop of Vincennes. Palais the latter was afterwards pastor of Chicago and later Bishop of Vincennes , to help Father St. Cyr in his mission. From reports of old Catholic settlers Father De St. Palais was, without doubt, the first priest to visit and say mass in Elgin.


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  • This is thought to have been prior to From this station, on horseback, about once in four months, RT. Father Guiguen would make a tour of the missions under his charge, going as far westward as New Dublin and sometimes Galena, then south and east to Joliet, then north by way of Chicago to his home in the bush. Paul railroad now crosses it, but little more than a mile northwest of Elgin. The Stephens brothers, who owned land southeast of the church site, were the builders. A permanent floor was not laid in it until the winter of , and the building was never completed.

    John Guiguen was born in Brittany, France, near Gourin, a town in the department of Morbihan, January, 12, ; he was educated at the preparatory seminary at Plouguerneval, after which he entered the grand seminary at St. Brieux, in the diocese of that name, wherein he studied theology as a preparation for the priesthood and received minor orders before coming to the United States.

    In October, , he arrived at Vincennes, where he completed his theological course, and was ordained by Bishop De la Hellandiere, August 16, He was sent to Joliet, Illinois, where he remained about a year, and then removed to Little Fort Waukegan or near it, in Lake county; at the same time he had charge of the missions in McHenry, Kane and DeKalb counties, which were then parts of the diocese of Vincennes. In May, , the Rt. He set about founding a college which was the germ of the future University of St.

    He opened it June 3rd, less than a month after his arrival. Palais, Mr. Patrick McMahon and Mr. Bernard McGorisk. On November 21, , Mr. So worthy and capable did the bishop find him that he was made one of the trustees of the college. In January, , Father Faughnan was appointed the first pastor of Elgin and left Chicago on the 21st of that month for his new field and to establish the parish.

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    He said mass in the adjoining villages from time to time, and at such other places as best suited the convenience of his people. His flock, in the main, were very poor, struggling in a wild place to build homes and for a foothold in life. Their good pastor cheerfully shared their poverty, and, also, often his own raiment with those whom he believed in need of it more than himself.

    While attending his priestly duties in his mission, Father Faughnan contracted a severe cold, which developed into consumption and obliged St.