"But being old or even first does not, in itself, make a place "historic." It is what was done during its time, that can make the place historical. With that in mind, the Osage Catholic Mission was a very historic and important place."
We have been to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, in Wichita, twice lately. When there, I tend to gravitate toward the Cathedral Commons area that connects the main Church with the auditorium, offices and other facilities. I know what is there.
As you walk down a sloped entry into the commons there are two nicely done displays on the history of the Wichita Diocese. When you consider that reading material, or historical displays, are usually read from top-left to right; we here in St. Paul, Kansas are well represented at top-left. At the upper-left corner of the first display are two panels that discuss the first Catholic Parish in the Diocese of Wichita — Saint Francis de Hieronymo at St. Paul. That first panel shows a photograph of our current church and explains that the original mission was established by the Jesuits and Sisters of Loretto in 1847. It also explains that our current "new" church was built during the period of 1872 to 1884.
But being old or even first does not, in itself, make a place "historic." It is what was done during its time, that can make the place historic. With that in mind, the Osage Catholic Mission was a very historical and important place. That is where the second panel comes into play.
The second panel shows a picture of Father Paul Mary Ponziglione. Father Paul, an Italian Nobleman by birth, was one of Osage Mission's most recognizable trail-riding missionaries. The panel describes his far-reaching missionary work; and the work he did to bring the first Catholic Church into Wichita. But this is just a hint as to the role of the Osage Catholic Mission.
When the mission was established in 1847, the Jesuits had two important roles:
Priests like Father Ponziglione and Colleton started, and even built, several small churches in the region. In some cases, they even helped start Catholic schools. Father Colleton, in particular, provided literature and books needed to educate young Catholics and adults in the southeast corner of Kansas.
If you would like to understand more about the wide-reaching missionary work of the Osage Mission Jesuits, follow these two links:
Thoughts 'n Things
Some 'Thoughts' and short articles about past and present-day St. Paul and the Southern Kansas - 4 State Region.