The first post was a success story about the Greenbush, St. Aloysius Historical Society's work in beating their drum to keep their story, including Father Colleton's story, alive. However, Father Colleton's home base didn't do well.
A couple of weeks ago we published an article about a chapter in Marion Amberg's book Monument's, Marvels and Miracles, A Traveler's Guide to Catholic America. That chapter, about Catholic Places in Kansas, listed eleven Catholic Churches or other sites that stand out because of their historical relevance or beauty. Each chapter in Marion's book also includes an article about a special place or story. These articles labeled "Finding Faith" are about sites with stories that are unique to their state. We were delighted to see that the Kansas Finding Faith spot was Greenbush! Her comments include the promise missionary Philip Colleton made when caught in a dangerous prairie thunderstorm in 1869; and the historical society's efforts to keep the promise. For the first article, including the authors comments about Greenbush and Fr. Colleton, follow THIS LINK.
The Kansas Sites:
The eleven Catholic-related sites in Marion's book are:
It was hard to believe that the Cradle of Catholicism in southern Kansas missed the author's eye. Especially since Father Philip Colleton's home base was here at Osage Mission. The missionary trip that Fr. Colleton was returning from was one of many he made to the churches and mission stations between Mt. Vernon, Missouri and Pueblo. But even in talking about Father Colleton's fateful trip, she didn't mention the mission.
Puzzled, I took a look at the Oklahoma chapter that begins on page 384. Sure enough, the first Oklahoma church is the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Pawhuska, also known as The Cathedral of the Osage. I was encouraged for a moment because the central subject of the Pawhuska story is the spectacular Schoenmakers window, depicting Father John Schoenmakers, bringing the Gospel to the Osage Nation. BUT, no mention of the Osage Catholic Mission that Father Schoenmakers led for thirty-six years. Father Schoenmakers didn't take the Gospel to Oklahoma. He preached it to them right here in Southeast Kansas. In fact, our Jesuit missionaries weren't able to travel to Oklahoma very much after the Osages left Kansas in 1870.
Contacted the Author.
I sent Marion an email and was very polite. I told her we were pleased to see that Greenbush was the subject of her Finding Faith article for Kansas. I said that their local historical society was very active for a town of about 20, and they have a very effective communication network. But I also gave her a brief description of the Osage Mission and early St. Paul, and sent links to our acatholicmission.org website, as well as our St. Francis - St. Ambrose site. We were surprised we weren't included in her book.
Marion responded in six days — pretty quick since she was in the process of moving from Santa Fe back to the Midwest. "Honestly, I don't know how I missed St. Paul/Osage Mission." She explained her 'multi-pronged' research process which included contacting dioceses, state historical societies and tourism bureaus among other sources. We just didn't show up. She has a couple of other book projects in process and believes we will be in one of them.
Our Osage Mission, early St. Paul history has a lot of potential economic and community value if we develop it. Maybe we should see if we can borrow Greenbush's drum.
Some Reference Information.
1. For a brief bio on Father John Schoenmakers, including a photo of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Schoenmakers window at Pawhuska, Click HERE.
The tiny town of Greenbush, Kansas, has done a remarkable job of keeping their story alive. In doing so, they have kept a part of our Osage Mission story going.
A few weeks ago our daughter gave Rosie a couple of books for her birthday. One of them was Marion Amberg's Monuments, Marvels, and Miracles; a Traveler's Guide to Catholic America. Stacy knew it would be used because we tend to gravitate toward old churches and missions in our travels.
The Table of Contents of the 479 page book is arranged in seven main sections, each covering a geographical area: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest, Mountain West, Southwest and Pacific West. Each section includes a map of the geographical region, and individual maps of each of the states in that region. State maps have numbered travel symbols that correspond with articles about churches, missions or other Catholic locations in the state.
In addition to the numbered symbols and articles, each state chapter also has an unnumbered sidebar article titled "Finding Faith." These are special sites with stories that are unique to their state. Each state has only one Finding Faith article (except New York and Texas).
The Finding Faith article for Kansas is about — Greenbush! If the page shot at right doesn't enlarge well on a phone, it says:
How long is a promise? Forever, in Greenbush! In 1869 Father Phillip Colleton, SJ, was riding his horse on the prairie when he got caught in a fierce thunderstorm with pounding hail. Taking refuge under his saddle in some bushes, he promised to erect a church on that spot if he lived. In 1871, a small wooden St. Aloysius Church went up. The promise doesn't end there.
When an 1877 storm destroyed the church, a second church was built in 1881. A third and larger church was dedicated in 1907, and the 1881 church became a hall. When the third church burned in 1982, the 1881 church — the second church — was renovated and became the fourth church. When the fourth church closed in 1993, folks banded together to preserve the structure, now called St. Aloysius Historic Site, and to keep Father Colleton's promise alive."
Plan your visit: saintaloysius.weebly.com.
947 W. Highway 47, Girard, KS 66743"
Other Finding Faith Examples:
Were we surprised that Greenbush was selected for a special article? Yes - but no one had to pick us up off of the floor. They have always done a good job of beating their drum, so to speak. They have an active, incorporated historical society with a large number of members. They also have an attractive, well laid out website. But more than that, they have a strong community following; and their "community" seems to stretch across the country. The St. Aloysius Historical Society keeps Father Colleton's story alive, and also maintains their historic cemetery and church ruins. They, and the Southeast Kansas Education Support Center, complement one another well, and their annual celebrations attract hundreds of people! It is no wonder they were featured in the recent regional Kansas Samplers Foundation Big Kansas Road Trip.
But! When we looked through the book for Finding Faith comparisons in other states, we were very impressed. Greenbush is in very good company:
Some Reference Information:
1. Monuments, Marvels and Miracles, A Travelers Guide to CATHOLIC AMERICA, by Marion Amberg, copyright 2021, Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Company, Huntington, Indiana. The book is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and several catholic book outlets.
Thoughts 'n Things
Some 'Thoughts' and short articles about past and present-day St. Paul and the Southern Kansas - 4 State Region.