ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


St. Bernard’s Catholic Church




This was the prettiest valley I ever saw—standing boldly out in its native grandeur; grand groves of oaks and elms and maples and basswood; the banks of the river on either side fringed with red cedars; resembling hedge fences.  Within the forest abounded herds of deer.  I have seen at one time over one hundred of these animals gamboling over the very spot where St. Bernard’s Church now stands.  Recollection by James Rogan in 1879.



The history of the Catholic Church in what is now the city of Watertown antedates its settlement and Timothy Johnson, its founder and first settler.  When Mr. Johnson came to the site of Watertown he found a wooden cross on the ground which has been painted black, a hint that missions among the Indians had been held at this point by French missionaries.


In the year 1840 the Rev. Father Morrissey of the diocese of Detroit made a missionary tour to Wisconsin and visited the little settlement at Watertown twice, being the first to say Mass in this vicinity.  Later the Rev. M. Kundig of Detroit came to Milwaukee and took charge of the Watertown mission.



   The first Mass in Watertown was celebrated in the Crangle home by Father Kundig in the fall of 1841, and he continued to visit the village at intervals until 1845 when the first little church was completed on the site of the present St. Bernard’s.


Patrick Rogan shared in ownership of some of the land granted to James.  Patrick Rogan and his wife presented the land to St. Bernard's where the first frame church was built in 1846.  Patrick Rogan was active in community, church and civic affairs.


         Toward the close of 1841 the Rev. M. Kundig called a meeting for the purpose of securing funds and aid to build a church and the present site was chosen and work began in 1844 and during the fall that year Mass was celebrated on a temporary altar and floor by the Rev. Father Healy.


The building when completed was 30 by 40 feet and 16 feet high. 



St. Bernard’s Church was founded in January, 1843 in Watertown, Wisconsin by Irish emigrants. Among the founders were Bernard and Henry Crangle, James and Patrick Rogan, Daniel Crowley, William Barrett and Father Martin Kundig. They named the church St. Bernard, as a compliment to one of the founders, Bernard Crangle.


The first church building was built during the years 1843-1844 very near to the present church location on land donated by Patrick Rogan.  Rev. Patrick McKernan was its first resident pastor.  The church was expanded in 1850 to accommodate growth in the parish.


Work on first church began in 1843 and during the fall that year Mass was celebrated on a temporary altar and floor by the Rev. Father Healy.  The building when completed was 30 by 40 feet and 16 feet high. 



In 1846 a parochial residence was erected on the church grounds which, with occasional improvements, served its purpose until 1883, when it was sold and removed.




On the departure of Father Healy the Rev. Fathers Tierney and Mullen followed, but were soon transferred to other fields.  Then came the Rev. Joseph Smith, under whose administration matters went along quite smoothly with the people of Watertown until 1857 when it became necessary, owing to the rapidly increasing Catholic population, to enlarge the church.


An addition was therefore built equal in dimensions to the original structure, having galleries on both sides and at the end.  The old ceiling was also removed and an arched one substituted, new pews replaced the rough benches formerly used, and the entire building was painted within and without.  A bell tower was also elected, in which was placed the same bell which today summons the people to worship.


Still another step was taken, a parish school building was added to the church property.


All these improvements, including new churches at Crawfish, Clyman and Richwood were made during the administration of Father Smith who also engaged the Sisters of Charity to conduct the school.


Father Smith was succeeded by the Reverend Dr. Norris who died while in charge.  His successor was the Rev. Father Pettit. 


06 11       NEW SCHOOL HOUSE

St. Bernard's Congregation of this city are now building a large school house on Montgomery Street, west side of the river.  The grounds are ample and finely located.  This edifice will be constructed by Mr. Louis Charboneau, an accomplished architect and builder.  It will be 25 by 40 feet, two stories high, divided into apartments.  Particular attention will be paid to ventilation, convenient arrangement, and the health of the pupils.  Though so far as denominational influence is concerned this school will be under the immediate care of the Catholic Church of this city, all who choose to do so will freely have the privilege of availing themselves of the educational advantages which it will afford to the youth.  It will be ready to go into operation next autumn.     WDem, 06 11 1857


This “New School House” of 1857, erected approximately on the very site of the present school, is the building now standing on the northwest corner of W. Main St. and Monroe.  It was moved there when the 1892 school was built.     A Century at St. Bernard’s by George Meagher, 1946, pgs 19-20.


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The 1857 school building was moved to the northwest corner of West Main and Monroe streets, where it stood for many years.  It was later razed to make room for a private home built on the site by Ralph and Gen Klink (110 N. Monroe, 1989 city directory), longtime members of St. Bernard’s.            Built on Irish Faith, by Charles Wallman, 1994, pg 58.




St. Bernard's Catholic Church of this city was broken into last night, but nothing was secured by the robbers.  They used powder in their attempt to affect an entrance, placing it in a key hole, and then igniting it.   WD




Some weeks ago, the Rev. Joseph Smith, who for the past seven years has been the Pastor of St. Bernard's Church in this city, was transferred to Fox Lake, to take charge of the Catholic congregation at that place.  Having occasion to return to finally close up his affairs, his congregation here employed the opportunity to manifest their appreciation of his services as a clergyman and his character as a gentleman, by presenting him with a testimonial of their regard and friendship, and it is only just to say that this voluntary tribute of respect and confidence has been eminently merited. 


During Mr. Smith's residence here he has won the esteem and enjoyed the good will of the whole community.  Active and faithful, he has left behind him many evidences of his industry and fidelity, in the permanent improvements he has made and the flourishing condition of the congregation.  On the 31st of last December, the ceremony of the presentation took place in the Catholic school house.


His successor, the Rev. Dr. Norris, and large number of the congregation were present, all deeply affected with the thought that they were about to part with a beloved spiritual guide.  Mr. Patrick Rogan, on behalf of the committee appointed for that purpose, read the following address to Mr. Smith, on delivering to him a beautiful chalice of silver and gold:


REV. AND DEAR FATHER SMITH: — Having heard of your intended visit to your old congregation of Saint Bernard, we have with pleasure anticipated your arrival, and we have come to bid you welcome, and to present you a proof of our sincere gratitude and affliction.


The reminiscences of the past more than justify the high estimation in which you are held.  Your social intercourse with us has been gentlemanly, and while you rigorously preserved the dignity of self-respect, you exalted the sacredness of your office by strict attention to the spiritual wants of your people.  That you have merited more than we can convey in words, is evidenced in the works you have left us to be grateful for. 


Your labors amongst us during the last seven years have produced results that but few others could accomplish.  You found us in confusion, and you restored us to order; you brought the way ward to a sense of their duty; the careless and indifferent you made thoughtful.  Valuable and substantial improvements to our church and grounds have been made, and the heavy debt that so long weighed us down has been liquidated; besides, the erection of two handsome churches in the country stand as monuments of your efforts — leaving us an example of industry that we were long strangers to, and to which, in the future, we must look back to as an index, if we hope to succeed to a state of prosperity that is due only to a like energy.


But the crowning fruit of your pious labors may be seen in the elegant school house you have erected, wherein our children are taught virtue and religion from the lips of our pious and devoted sisters, and from whom you have a right to expect, as you will deserve, the daily morning prayers of the innocent.


We have come, Dear Father, in the name of all our Brethren of St. Bernard, to assure you of our dearest affections, and to present you with this token of our sincerest respect and regard.  It is a gift which portrays the feelings of the hearts of your children stronger than words can convey them.  To receive so appropriate an offering as this beautiful chalice, so indispensable in the performance of your sacred office, from which none can drink without profaning it, save those who are anointed of God, must indeed cause its acceptance with a degree of pleasure that will sink deep into the heart of one who has done well.


And now, Dear Father, while you receive this gift from us as the pledge of our fondest attachment, will you pardon such of your children as may have caused you pain, or may have yet failed to follow your gracious example, when, after offering up the holy sacrifice, for perhaps the last time in the church of St. Bernard, you descended to the foot of the altar and asked our prayers.  If, indeed, there are any so unhappy, the tears of your children, shed at your announcement to leave us, fully attest the esteem in which you are held, and if the power of silent eloquence can rebuke offenders, those tears should suffice.


Go, Dear Father, to your new congregation of Fox Lake, and while we wish your labors may be richly rewarded with success, we pray that God may favor you with every blessing. We ask that as often as you shall lift this Chalice in the Adorable Sacrifice of the Altar, you remember your children of St. Bernard.











On receiving the sacred vessel, Father Smith, evidently under influence of strong and conflicting emotions, made the following reply giving expression to his feelings and sentiments, in saying farewell to those who had so long been the objects of his pastoral care and solicitude:


GENTLEMEN:--Allow me to assure you of the high respect and devoted regard I cherish for the congregation of St. Bernard and vicinity, and the particular consideration in which I hold this community.  I shall never forget the kindness with which I have been treated by the people of Watertown.  Seven years have rolled away since I first came to your city.  From its respectable inhabitants, I have invariably received the most flattering attention.  The unexpected honor, and this beautiful gold chalice which I now gratefully receive, add too much to be borne without intense emotion.  My heart feels more than I can utter.  Whilst this chalice will always be to me a pleasing memento of affectionate delight and appreciation, for you it will be a testimony of your Catholicity and generosity.  I do promise that as often as I shall use this very precious gift in offering up the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, I shall specially remember the congregation of St. Bernard.  With you, I have spent many of my happiest days in America, and though I am now separated from you in body, I shall be always present with you in spirit and affection.


If I have in any way promoted the spiritual welfare of St. Bernard's congregation, it is to your own prompt cooperation, and the confidence reposed in me, that the merit is due.  “I have planted, Apollo watered, but God gave the increase.”  I am not so vain or arrogant as to claim the credit for myself.


In your address, you too kindly attribute to me virtues to which I ought to aspire but which, I fear, I cannot attain.  From the great model, I can easily learn my own imperfections and how little I have of that zeal which should always characterize the good Priest.


To the interests of this congregation I am warmly attached, and to you, Gentlemen, as its organ, I return you special thanks for your cordial and courteous expression of its will.  In again thanking you, I beg to assure that I shall never forget the good people of Watertown.


I Ever Remain, Gentlemen,

Your Very Obedient Servant,

Joseph Smith                                      Watertown Democrat, 01 08 1863




During the past ten days a series of religious services have been held at St. Bernard's Church, under the direction of the Rev. Fathers of the Society of Jesus, and of the Pastor, Rev. Mr. Norris.  These meetings have been constantly and largely attended by all classes of our citizens, and deep and lasting interest existed.  We learn that numerous accessions [conversions] to the Catholic Church have been the result, and much good accomplished.  These meetings, which have created great attention in this community, were brought to a close last Wednesday morning.   WD




The exercises of St. Bernard’s school, which took place on Tuesday afternoon, the 11th, in the church, were of a very interesting character, showing in what an excellent manner the affairs of the school are conducted by Sister Patricia, under the direction of the pastor, Rev. Dr. Norris.  Long before the church was opened the expectant crowd stood impatiently awaiting the commencement of the exercises.  The Watertown Brass Band was present and played many tunes during the intervals of the exercises. . .


The opening address was by Miss Louisa Johnson, who, although a very little girl and therefore timid, acquitted herself very well.  Now came one of the most pleasing features of the exercises – the “Birthday Congratulation” which was made by several of the young ladies in turn addressing their pastor, Dr. Norris, and ended by showing [showering] upon him a myriad of bouquets, showing fully in what estimation he is held among the children of St. Bernard’s.  Then followed music, dialogues and plays.  In music, both vocal and instrumental, the young ladies particularly distinguished themselves.  The song “Is that mother bending o’er me” struck us as being the best, on account of the pathos and heartfelt tenderness with which it was sung. . . .   WD



The ladies of St. Bernard’s church will give a social festival at the rooms in Dennis’ Block on the west side of the river on the 31st.  Their object is to raise a fund for charitable and benevolent purposes.  They will entertain their guests with a dance and supper.  They make these occasions pleasant and delightful to all in attendance.  We hope their efforts will be successful, for the object they have in view commands itself to the favor and liberality of all.   WD






In March 1871, St. Bernard's church and parish were placed in charge of the Fathers of the Holy Cross.  The month preceding this act, a mission opened by the Very Reverend W. Corby, provincial of the congregation of the Holy Cross, was conducted very successfully by the Reverend P. P. Conney, C.S.C., with fathers Peter and John Lauth, C.S.S., as assistants. 


At the close of the mission Father Cooney continued as pastor until 1872, when he was succeeded by Father Corby. 


This energetic and devoted priest did much to further the interest of the church; a notable undertaking of his would be the establishment of the University of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. 


In 1871, the administration of St Bernard’s parish was transferred from the Diocese of Milwaukee to the Fathers of the Holy Cross, then under the direction of Father William Corby, Provincial of Indiana of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana.  This was a result of the purchase of 51 acres on West Main Street in Watertown on which was to be built a college prep seminary.


Simultaneous care of both the seminary and St. Bernard’s was offered to the Fathers of the Holy Cross.  Father Corby became the pastor of St.Bernard’s in September 1872 after a brief 9 month pastorate of Rev. Peter Cooney, who was the first Holy Cross priest to be pastor. Father Corby served for 5 years until 1877.


During Corby’s pastorate, two significant accomplishments were achieved.  First, a new brick church was built that replaced the original wooden structure.  Secondly, Fr. Corby began work on the seminary buildings on the grounds of what is now Maranatha Baptist Bible University.  The seminary was known as the College of our Lady of the Sacred Heart and it was comparable to a high school or prep academy.  The new church was designed by Patrick Keely, a widely recognized architect of Catholic churches in the country.  The cornerstone, a piece of the Rock of Cashel from Ireland, was laid on September 14th, 1873. The building was finished and dedicated on November 12th, 1876. After two other priests served the parish as pastor from 1877 to 1881, Father Corby returned for a second pastorate of five years from August 1881 to September 1886.


1872       Rev. William Corby, C.S.C was pastor of St. Bernard’s 1872-77

   Cross Reference: Picture of Rev. William Corby granting last benediction to Irish Brigade, at Notre Dame   WG, 03 05 1909


1873       1873 CHURCH CONSTRUCTION BEGUN; Dedicated in 1876

Under the direction of Father Corby the erection of the new church was begun, in the spring of 1873.  This building had an exterior measurement of 152 by 76 feet, the height of the steeple being 213 feet and the length of the cross by which it is surmounted 14 feet.  The interior dimensions are nave 96 by 69 feet, chancel 58 by 38 feet, gallery 69 by 47 feet, height of ceiling from floor 60 feet.  The seating capacity is 1200 and estimated cost complete $100,000.


The cornerstone of St. Bernard’s was hewn from the celebrated rock of Cashel, which was sent as a present to the people of Watertown by the Town Council of Cashel, Ireland.  [Cross Reference:  Article on Rock of Cashel]  



The Rev. Father Corby has begun the construction of a new building on the college grounds [Sacred Heart].  It is situated on the beautiful ridge, in the Third ward, overlooking the city. 



Last week the St. Bernard's Catholic Society of this city received their cornerstone for their new church, all the way from "old Ireland."  The stone was taken from the celebrated Rock of Cashel, well known to every Irishman and student of Irish history.  The stone is a good solid chunk weighing 1600 pounds and was shipped from Galway about three months ago.  It has been seen by many since its arrival.  It is at present in McCabe's Marble shop, west side.






A high angle view of a town

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In the 1870s-80s the NW corner of Church and Emmet streets was the site of a busy hive of workers.   At that time Charles Wood manufactured hand rakes for farmers, wooden churns and a variety of other woodenware, including chairs.  The factory occupied the whole south half of the block.


Cross reference note:

From: Thomas Wood <> Date: 29 August 2023 at 10:41:41 IST

Subject: Cornerstone


Good day. This might interest your parishioners. It was 150 years ago this year. Tom.


Monday July 14th 1873.   From parishioners of Watertown, America, thanking the Cashel Town Council for the stone which the latter ordered to be forwarded from the Rock of Cashel to serve as a cornerstone for the Roman Catholic Church now in course of erection at Watertown.

Gentlemen.  The fine stone which your generosity has furnished from the time-honored Rock for the conversion of the new Watertown Church has arrived safely at its destination and we the undersigned deem it our duty to tender to you and the Reverend Mr. Quirke in the name of the parish our most sincere thanks for the truly Irish way in which you have put a hand to our undertaking. We are none of us Tipperary men unless Col Crane the originator of the idea, and he only is as much as his great grandfather came from near Cashel. But this mattered little to us. We knew that the stone came from the sainted isle of our race and we asked no more. Our lips pressed it with those mingled feelings of religion and patriotism inherent to the Celtic heart and tears that stood in our eyes were not those of fear or shame, but of love and fidelity. Your stone emblazoned with the cross and the shamrock shall be placed in bold relief in the wall of our new church to show to those who will come after us that at least the men of this generation were true alike to the faith of Christ and their national traditions. W Corby, Rector. John O Connor. John Malloy. Michael Amis. W D Stacy. J Cran?






At the Jewelry store of Mr. Joseph Salick may be seen these days a whip which is one of the handsomest specimens of fine workmanship imaginable.  Ivory handle, gold mountings, beautifully engraved, are some of the points of excellency about this whip, and we would advise all to go and see it.  On next Saint Patrick's Day, March 17th, this whip will be voted for at Turner Hall for the benefit of the fund to aid in the erection of the new St. Bernard Catholic Church.  Three candidates are proposed, namely: Mr. Jonas Sleeper, Mr. Fred. Miller and Mr. Joseph Lindon.  It is likely that there will be an exciting contest with such popular candidates and lively times are expected among the friends of the gentlemen from now until the decision is rendered.     The Watertown News, 04 Mar 1874



The members of the St. Bernard's congregation are actively employed in making the necessary preparation for the grand celebration which will be held on the 17th in honor of their glorious national Patron —St. Patrick.  The program will commence with a solemn high mass at 9 ˝ a. m., after which the fine body of stalwart temperance men will form in line and march to Turner Hall.  At one o'clock dinner will be served by the members of the different lady societies who will no doubt contribute everything in their power to render the occasion pleasant and entertaining for all.  In the evening a concert will be given connection with a dramatic performance by the members of the St. Patrick’s Literary Society.  We were informed by some of the personae dramatis that they intend to produce the popular play “Handy Andy.’’  We wish them success.  After the play the voting on the whip will take place.  This promises to be an exciting scene in the day as the competitors Messrs. Sleeper, Miller and Linden are the popular candidates.



         Construction of new church, alongside first church


1876       DEDICATION OF 1873 CHURCH    Three years in building

The church was solemnly dedicated on November 12, 1876.  The main altar was erected on April 16th, 1877, and soon after the pulpit, a beautiful piece of work, was built and an organ put up in the gallery.  In July, 1877, Father Corby was appointed president of the University of Notre Dame, which office he had already held before coming to Watertown.


St Bernard's Church was three years in building.  The foundation walls were seven feet deep and the structure rests on three-foot walls of native rocks taken from the farms here about.  It was a big undertaking, although a tidy sum had been left by Father Petit.


The methods of building now in vogue were not in existence then.  All the timbers, stone, and other material were hosted by horsepower, the cross to surmount the steeple was 14 feet in length and stands today defying the storms of half a century.


Albert Bushel, now dead, placed the cross in its socket and placed his arms about it while hundreds of people looked on.


The main plan of the church was designed by a man named Luby, a relative of the O’Rourke family, who were among the early business and social life of Watertown.  John Bonney, a prominent mechanic in those days, was the builder and worked under a salary.  He built well and the edifice today is a standing memorial to his thorough and faithful service.  [ John Booney superintendent of the carpenter and wood work on St. Bernard's]


Toward the close there was some dissension and Mr. Bonney was not allowed to complete the spiral which was erected by a man named Strathern of Milwaukee.


The church was built under a subscription plan and there was no contract.  Each one did his share in work or contributed money.  It was estimated that the church would cost $100,000 and a mortgage was taken which in years gone by was discharged.


At the laying of the cornerstone, October 13th, 1873, thousands gathered from all over Wisconsin.  Special trains were run from Milwaukee and other towns and the Sheridan guards, then a cracked military organization, camped across the street.


Bishop Henni of Milwaukee laid the cornerstone, assisted by clergyman from all over the northwest.  It was a gala day and a fine atmosphere pervaded the surging crowds who thronged the streets adjacent to witness the ceremonies preparatory to the dedication of the finest church edifice in Wisconsin.


The cornerstone of the church was hewn from the celebrated Rock of Cashel in Ireland, a token of the esteem from the town council of Cashel to the many Irish immigrants who settled here.  It was worked on by the late Thomas McCabe who had a stone cutting shop on West Main Street at the intersection of Warren Street.  The chips were made into small crosses and found a ready sale.  One of the stonecutters who work on the church is still alive, A. C. Krueger of this city.


Another stone cutter who worked on the church is Nicholas Murphy, still living in this city.



Father Colovin was then named pastor of St. Bernard’s and remained in charge until February 1, 1880, when he was transferred to the Lead City in the Black Hills, Dakota.  On his departure Father Cooney was appointed to the pastorate and held that position until the summer of 1881, when Father Colby return to Watertown and resumed charge.


Soon after his return the old pastoral residence was sold and removed, the erection of the present house being begun in October, 1883.  In August, 1886, the Rev. Patrick William Condon, for some time previous assistant to Father Colby, assumed the pastorate, continuing to administer the same until the summer of 1895, when the Rev. J. M. Toohey was placed in charge.  He was followed by the Reverend James Rogers in 1901, Rev. John S. Boland in 1908, Rev. J. Hennessey in 1909, Rev. W. H. Lavin in 1917, Rev. J. W. Piette in 1921 and the present pastor Reverend William Mahoney in 1921.


10 18       The steeple of the new St. Bernard's Catholic Church is surmounted by a fine cross of the Latin design, cast at the foundry of Mr. J. B. Bennett of this city. The height of the cross is 11 feet 1 inch, and across the arms it measures 6 feet 3 inches. Its weight is 450 pounds. The cross rests upon a lead cap weighing 430 pounds. The cross has a very fine effect to the eye, and, of course, at its great distance from the ground, nearly 200 feet, it looks diminutive compared with its actual size.   WR


11 02       The new Catholic edifice of this city will be dedicated, according to the usual formalities, on Sunday, November 12th.  The exercises will take place at 10:30 o'clock in the forenoon, during the course of which the dedicatory sermon will form the most important part of the services. 


The ceremonies throughout will be unusually impressive, and none should fail to be present at an occasion so rare in occurrence.  Arrangements have been made by Father Corby to have a special train leave Milwaukee on the day of the dedication, when it is expected that a large number of people will be in attendance from that city.  It is earnestly requested that the people living here and in the adjoining towns, be present, as the spacious edifice is ample enough to accommodate a large assemblage.  An admission fee of fifty cents will be charged to witness the ceremonies.   WD


11 02       A NEW CITY CLOCK

We have been informed that a committee to consist of a few of our best and most public spirited citizens, intends to canvass the liberal disposed portion of our people for the means to put a clock in the tower of St. Bernard’s Church.  It will cost about $709.  The dial will be of ground plate glass, and will be illuminated with gas on the four dials, so that the time can be seen at night from the most distance part of the city; and as the bell will be three thousand pounds weight, the hours can be heard as the hammer falls to strike the hours that will usher out this centennial year, while it will be a lasting memorial to all who place their mite in the silver-tongued monitor, which will tell the hour that each one of us will be of earth no more.


We think this latter enterprise deserves the liberal encouragement of our citizens, as Rev. Father Corby has changed the plan of the new steeple at the request of very many citizens, for the purpose of the clock, and as an illuminated clock will add to the imposing beauty of the edifice, while it will impart to the street throughout its entire length a panoramic view, which for rural grandeur cannot be equaled in any other city west of the lakes.  Put in the clock by all means.  Such a splendid opportunity should not be lost to test our appreciation of the great effort of the pastor and people of St. Bernard's Congregation, to place such a thing of beauty on the sight so prominent, while it looks down from the tallest steeple in the state, from a height of 204 feet over the city, and out over the country, furnishing to the eye of the beholder one of the finest views imaginable.  [NOTE:  It would not be until 29 years later, in 1905, that a clock would be installed in St. B’s steeple]  WD




Have recently fitted up a hall in the 3rd story of the building occupied by Chas. Lynch, in which they will hereafter hold their meetings.  They have established a reading room which will be open to the public every evening.  This is something that Watertown has long been in need of, and every encouragement should be given the society to sustain it.   WG


In September 1886, Rev. Patrick W. Condon became pastor in his first pastorate with St. Bernard’s for a 9-year period until 1895.  It was under his direction that a new school was built on the south east corner of West Main and Montgomery streets in 1892.






01 04       CHURCH FAIR

St. Bernard's Church fair closed last Wednesday evening.  The lot in Rogan's addition was raffled on that evening, and was won by Mrs. John Steel, she holding No. 83, the lucky one.  The fair has been a great success, considering the time.  The indications now are that the proceeds will amount to over $800.    WG



The main altar at St. Bernard's church has been beautifully painted and decorated by Straw & Murphy.  The side altars are also being retouched, the money for the former being donated by the will of a deceased member of the church, and the expense of the latter will be paid by a member of the congregation.    WG



As far as the weather was concerned last Christmas day was the most remarkable ever experienced here -- the day was a delightful one, the sun shone brightly all day, and the air was as balmy as in May.  Services were held in all the churches, and the decorations and music were particularly fine this year.  At St. Bernard’s and St. Henri's [today St. Henry Catholic] churches High Mass was celebrated at 5 o'clock in the morning at which very large congregations were present, many outsiders being among the number, to witness the impressive ceremonies.  Other Masses followed and were all largely attended -- at 10:30 o'clock Haydn’s Mass was sung by the choir at St. Bernard's, and an Ave Maria duet by Albert Schultz and Miss Mary Malloy.  The singing at this Mass was exceedingly fine, especially the duet of Mr. Schultz and Miss Malloy.  All the members of the choir are to be congratulated on the excellence of their singing on this occasion, and Miss Anna Brown, the organist, deserves special praise for the perfect manner in which she instructed and prepared them to sing so difficult a Mass as Haydn's.    WG



04 11       EASTER 1890

The "glorious” Easter morn was ushered in with a gloomy accompaniment of rain, a leaden sky overhead and mud and water under foot.  It was far from an ideal Easter day, but the atmospheric conditions seemed to have no appreciable effect on the sentiment of the people.  The devotional enthusiasm of the church goers was not dampened in the least, to judge by the attendance at the various churches.  There was the customary appropriate services at all the churches, the general theme being the resurrection of Christ, with the usual elaborate music and tasteful floral decorations.  St. Bernard's church was beautifully adorned with trailing vines, potted plants, cut flowers and a large floral cross, the latter being very handsome, and the gift of one who is ever generous to St. Bernard's.  The decorations in several of the other churches in the city were also very fine.    WG



Sprague Bros. have just an artificial stone sidewalk of the diamond pattern in front of St. Bernard's church, one of the finest improvements of the kind ever made in the city.    WR







01 09       CHURCH DEBT

The financial report read last Sunday at St. Bernard’s church by the pastor, Rev. Father Condon, shows that the debt of that church is not a little less than $2400, having been reduced $3760 since the reading of the previous report in September, 1889.  This is a good showing and reflects a credit alike on pastor and congregation.  The debt is now but a trifle and can be entirely wiped out at most any time.    WG


06 12       ST. BERNARD'S C.P.A. CADETS

The smart full-dress military suits worn by the St. Bernard's C.P.A. Cadets, and which were so favorably commented upon by all who saw them, both in this city on Decoration Day and at Whitewater, are from the enterprising business firm of D. W. Schwab & Co. of this city, and we hereby recommend all desirous of purchasing military suits to give them a trial before buying elsewhere.




St. Bernard's school house will be sold at public auction on Saturday afternoon of this week, at 2 o'clock.  This is a good building and will undoubtedly be sold very reasonable.   WG



[same date] The first regular monthly meeting of St. Bernard's church choir and St. Cecilian Society met on last Tuesday evening at the home of Mr. And Mrs. E. J. Brandt.  There was almost a full attendance of the society present, and all enjoyed a pleasant evening.  After the business meeting was concluded, the social part of the program followed, and refreshments were served by host and hostess.  The next meeting of the society will be held at the home of the Misses Angeline and Eva Boyne.   WG


Cross Reference note:  The Cecilian Society was formed on April 19, 1892 with Edward J. Brandt elected as its first director.  Brandt continued as director with the choir for 46 years



The “New School House” of 1857, erected approximately on the very site of the present school, is the building now standing on the northwest corner of W. Main St. and Monroe.  It was moved there when the 1892 school was built.     A Century at St. Bernard’s by George Meagher, 1946, pgs 19-20.


During the summer of 1892 German-born Milwaukee artist, Herman Michalowski, began the process of painting four murals within the church.  The project extended on and off over three years.  The murals continue to be enjoyed to this day.  They are the St. Francis mural above the south altar, the St. Bernard mural above the north altar, the mural of St. Patrick on the south sanctuary wall and the mural of St. Elizabeth on the north sanctuary wall.




More beautiful paintings are being painted in St. Bernard's Church by Herman Michalowski, the Milwaukee artist who painted those fine pictures that ornament the walls over the side altars there.  The work now being done will consist of a number of figures representing angels, and will be placed over the main altar.  When completed St. Bernard's Church will then possess the finest collection of paintings of any church in Wisconsin.  WG

Cross Reference:  Profile of Herman Heinrich Albert von Michalowski (1860 - 1903).  Also painted an 1898 portrait of Jesse Stone.   Excellent profile of Michalowski can be found in the book “Built on Irish Faith” by Charles Wallman, pp. 518-522.




The world-famed Passion Play at Oberamergau will be depicted in 100 stereopticon pictures at St. Bernard's church, Sunday evening, June 16.  An explanatory lecture by Prof. E. F. Grieb accompanies the representations, which include the most touching scenes of this wonderful play.  All who attend the entertainment are certain to be refreshed in heart and mind and edified in a pleasing manner.  Admission, 25 cents; children of St. Bernard's school, 10 cents.  Tickets on sale at Molzahn's and Stapleton's drug stores.    WR


10 30       OPERA HOUSE / Carroll property donation

Watertown is to have another opera house.  At a meeting of some of the members of St. Bernard's congregation, held Saturday evening, an offer was received from Michael Carroll donating the building sites at the corner of West Main and Church streets to the congregation for the erection of a building for society meetings, entertainments and Iike purposes.  A committee appointed at the meeting has the matter in charge, and it seems to be the consensus of opinion that a hall, built on the latest and best designs, should be erected.  The committee is composed of business men of good standing and it is safe to assume that what they take in hand in this matter will soon be an accomplished fact.  Success to the undertaking.   WR




Father McBride has about completed arrangements with St. Bernard's choir for a sacred concert in Oconomowoc shortly after Easter.  St. Bernard's choir is under the direction of Edward J. Brandt, and is one of the best choirs in the state outside of Milwaukee . . .   WR



As has been announced, Mr. Wilhelm Middelschulte, the eminent organist, has been engaged for the grand sacred concert to be given by the St. Cecilian choir on Monday evening, April 18.  Mr. Middelschulte ranks among the greatest organists in the world today and our music loving citizens will be gratified to know that final arrangements for his appearance on the above date have been made.   WR



Easter services at St. Bernard's Church were, as usual, beautiful and impressive.  Solemn high mass was celebrated by Rev. Father Toohey, assisted by Rev. Fathers Boland and Houlihan, and an entire attendance of acolytes and candle bearers.  A sermon appropriate to the day was preached by Rev. Father Houlihan.  The Cecilian choir rendered the musical program . . .    WR



Monday evening the contribution boxes in St. Bernard's church were robbed of their contents.  Several fellows were seen to enter the church about 7:30 through the front doors, the church not having been closed for the night yet at that time, but no attention was given them, as they were supposed to be merely visitors.  The police later made eight arrests of strangers suspected of the crime, but none could be identified.    WR




At St. Bernard's church Sunday morning the Rev. Father Condon made a deserved tribute to the memory of the late Father Coleman.  He spoke feelingly of the life and services of this young priest while assistant at St. Bernard's, and his unusual zeal in looking after the spiritual welfare of the members of the parish, and how he was ready at a moment's notice to hasten to the bedside of the sick and dying.  Father Condon urged his hearers to continue to bear in mind the good works performed by the late lamented Father Coleman, and offer up their prayers in remembrance of him.   WR



Miss Mazie Griscoll very pleasantly entertained the St. Cecilian Society last Tuesday night at her home, 100 Fremont Street.  She was assisted by Miss Etta Walsh, of Clyman; Miss Mary Brooks, of Shield; Miss Mary McHugh and Miss Robinson.  The musical program rendered included vocal, piano and violin solos, duets, trios and quartettes, and Miss Mamie Stacy read a very humorous selection.


A delicious luncheon was served, after which various amusements were indulged in, the cakewalk being a most interesting feature of the program.  It was led by two of the most agile young ladies of the society, who went through the pleasing antics of that popular dance with as much grace, dignity and alertness as professional to the great delight of all present.  The Cecilians did not bid their hostess good night until the midnight hour arrived, when unanimous thanks were extended for the generous hospitality extended, and all agreed that the meeting was one of the most delightful ever held by the society.  The next meeting of the society will be held at the home of Miss Angeline Boine on Western Avenue on the evening of November 6. WR



In accordance with the suggestions of Archbishop Katzer, the members of St. Bernard’s Catholic church have taken steps to organize into a corporation.  John G. Conway is secretary and James W. Moore treasurer of the organization.  These gentlemen, together with the archbishop and the vicar-general of the diocese, and the pastor, Rev. P.W. Condon, are the incorporators.   WR




The ladies having in charge the management of the St. Bernard’s church fair, which opens at Concordia Opera house next Wednesday, have hit upon the happy expedient of issuing a souvenir of the occasion in the form of a calendar.  The card to which the calendar pad is attached presents photographic views of the exterior and interior of St. Bernard's church, together with printed half-tones of Very Rev W. Corby, under whose pastorage the church was built, Rev. T. W. Condon, the present pastor, and Rev. W. J. Houlihan, assistant pastor.  The souvenir will be on sale during the fair and may be framed if desired by purchasers.  The halftones are clear and the cards will no doubt be a ready sale.   WDT




Dr. Edw. Johnson has been a pew-holder in St. Bernard’s church 55 years, having paid for an entire pew at St. Bernard’s during all of that time, besides contributing thousands of dollars for the benefit of that church and congregation.  He paid his yearly pew rent for the 55th time last Saturday.  He has given very generously of his means not only in this respect, but he has been very charitable in extending aid, sympathy and assistance in a substantial way to many others.   WG


03 22       ST. PATRICK’S DAY

There was general celebration last Sunday, St. Patrick’s day, at St. Bernard’s church at both the Masses in the morning special music as sung in honor of the day, and at the 10:30 o’clock Mass Rev. Father Carrol of the Sacred Heart College, preached one of the very best sermons ever delivered at St Bernard’s on St. Patrick and the Irish people.  All who had the pleasure of hearing him were indeed highly pleased.  He took his text the scripture passage. “And He said: Surely they are my people, and children will not deny me.   WG



Owing to the continued serious illness of Rev. Farther Condon, pastor at St. Bernard’s church for so many years past, the authorities of the Holy Cross order several months ago gave Rev. Father Hoolihan, assistant pastor for five years past, charge of the congregation until the annual meeting of the chapter which meets at Notre Dame in July of each year.  At the meeting of the chapter last week it was decided that only one priest would be assigned to St. Bernard’s congregation in the future, and Rev. Father Rodgers, an old and esteemed member of the order, was appointed pastor.  He arrived in the city the latter part of last week, and has already entered upon his duties.  Father Rodgers was vice-president of the Sacred Heart College in 1881-2, and is not an entire stranger here. He is one of the very best priests in the Holy Cross order, and his administration of affairs at St Bernard’s will no doubt prove very popular.   WG


08 02       DEATH OF FATHER CONDON, 07 25 1901

One of the most powerful messages that has ever been conveyed to the people of Watertown, and especially to the members of St. Bernard’s congregation, was the telegram received here shortly before noon last Friday announcing the death of Rev. Father Patrick W. Condon, which sad event took place at 11 o’clock p.m. on Thursday, July 25, 1901, at Notre Dame, Indiana, to which place Father Condon had been taken from this city a few weeks ago in a very enfeebled condition, having been a great sufferer for several years past.  Physicians disagreed in regard to his ailments, some claiming he was suffering from Bright’s disease, others that he was suffering from paralysis, and others that his stomach and liver were affected.    WG



Life is not so full of human goodness and affection but we can lose so good and true a friend as Father Condon without a pang of inexpressible regret.  For nearly a quarter of a century Rev. P. W. Condon was spiritual adviser and master of St. Bernard’s church, sympathizing in all the changes and chances of the congregation, soothing the sick, leading the benighted into the light and the way of life, and turning tear-dimmed eyes toward that better country, where the souls of the faithful are in peace and felicity.  By his pure, elevated and manly character commanding respect, and by his just, kindly nature, winning cordial affection.  He has gone to his reward and the lesson of his life “follow me as I have followed Christ,” is our example.  Stricken about three years ago with Bright’s disease, weak in body, but clear in mind, he passed these last years at his post of duty, until within a few weeks of his death.  And it seems most fitting when the end was at hand this faithful, tired soldier of God should enter into his rest in the bosom of his Order, the Holy Cross, of Notre Dame, Indiana.    WG


-- --           CROSS REFERENCE



Book published this month on the life of Rev. Patrick (William) Condon C.S.C. (1838-1901), former pastor of St. Bernard’s and President of Sacred Heart College in Watertown.  Copy of book donated to our Watertown History Center reference library.  Our society assisted in making this book possible.



The parsonage of St. Bernard’s church was entered by a burglar last Sunday night, and the lower rooms thoroughly ransacked. Nothing was taken only about 80 cents in change and some provisions found in the pantry. An entrance was gained by opening a window on the north side of the dining room, the screen being first cut and removed. It is supposed to be the work of someone well acquainted with the premises. The cellar was first entered through a window on the south side of the house, but the door leading to the cellar above was bolted, and another way of entering was found. More than one person is supposed to have had a hand in the work.    WG





07 31       Father Boland assumes charge of the parish.  Father Rogers, for seven years pastor, left for treatment at St. Agnes' sanitarium.   WG

07 31       Portiuncula services will be held at St. Bernard's church.   WG

07 31       Ice cream social, Young Ladies Society.   WG



03 19       St. Patrick's Day High Mass celebrated at St. Bernard's.   WG

04 09       Passionist Fathers conduct week-long mission at St. Bernard's.   WG

05 14       St. First Communion recipients.   WG

07 16       Rev. John Boland, pastor, becomes president of St. Edward’s College; Father Hennessey succeeds; Father Phelan his assistant.   WG

07 23       New heating system, contract for   WG

08 06       Ice cream social.   WG

08 27       Cemetery trustees elect officers.   WG

09 23       Monument to Father Corby on the Gettysburg battlefield.   WG



01 07       St. Bernard’s purchased the old Solliday home on Montgomery St   WG

02 11       Father Phelan injured by cutter tipping over   WG

02 11       Father Hennessey’s sprained ankle   WG

03 25       Cemetery Association By-Laws   WG

04 15       Fr. Hennessey sailed Ireland   WG

07 01       Fr. Hennessey returned from two months' visit to Ireland   WG

07 01       School Dramatical and Musical Entertainment   WG

07 15       Re-appointed Pastor and President:  At the chapter of the Congregation of the Holy Cross recently held at Notre Dame, Ind., Rev. Father Hennessey was re-appointed pastor of St. Bernard's Church for the ensuing year, and Rev Father O'Malley was re-appointed president of Sacred Heart College, with most of the old faculty of the college, which has been one of the best in the history of the college   WG

08 12       Musical Comedy “Mother Goose Up To Date"    WG




The ladies of the sewing circle of St. Bernard's Church will give a social card party at the church hall on Thursday evening, January 26, 1911, the third of the series.  Suitable prizes will be awarded.  Admission 25 cents.  The public is cordially invited.    WG



Next Sunday evening at 8 o’clock the junior choir of St. Bernard’s Church will give a musical and literary entertainment at Masonic Temple Hall, to which the public is cordially invited.  A small admission fee, 10 cents, will be charged.  An excellent program has been arranged and all who attend can count on being well entertained.  It was the intention to give this entertainment on either Thursday or Friday evening of this week but as it would conflict with the Sacred Heart College entertainment and the Knights of Columbus lecture, it was decided to have it on Sunday evening.   WG


04 13       HOLY WEEK AT St. BERNARD'S

Following is the program of services at St. Bernard's Church for holy week:  Wednesday evening confessions.  Thursday morning at 8 o'clock High Mass followed by procession of the Blessed Sacrament, exposition all day.  Thursday evening at 7:30, sermon on the Holy Eucharist.  [Good] Friday morning, services at 8 o'clock; Way of the Cross at 3 p. m.; evening devotions at 7:30.  Saturday morning, services begin at 7.  Thursday and Friday evenings the Cecilian quartette under the direction of E. J. Brandt will sing the "Lamentations," "Benedictus" and the "Stabat Mater."  The Cecelian choir are rehearsing a special musical program for Easter Sunday.   WG



The officers and trustees of St. Bernard's cemetery association have issued a report to all lot owners, which shows the association to be in a fine financial condition, especially when it is considered that the association is not yet two years old.   The report shows the receipts and disbursements from the time the association was organized, August 13, 1909, up to January 1, 1911. 


Any one desiring to have their lot perpetually cared for in the cemetery, without annually having to look after it, can have it so attended to by the donation of $60.  When the cemetery was first taken charge of by this association it was in a very deplorable condition, and though many obstacles were encountered, the association has succeeded wonderfully in its work, and now all who visit the cemetery, say it compares very favorably with the best kept cemeteries in the state.


At a meeting of the association Monday night it was decided to make the annual tax $3, the same as last year.  Fence repairs have to be made this year and other necessary work besides the regular care of lots that will require quite an amount of money, hence contributions for the present year may now be sent in at any time. The officers and trustees of St. Bernard's Cemetery association extend their sincere thanks to all friends of St. Bernard's cemetery, whose enthusiastic and substantial support has enabled the association to make a much needed improvement in the condition and appearance of the cemetery.



Last week the alms boxes in St. Bernard's Church were broken into and robbed of their contents, making this the second time this summer.  Suspicion rests on a local party, and the possibilities are he will be arrested and receive just punishment.   WG



The members of St. Bernard’s Church will hold a picnic on the Sacred Heart College grounds on Tuesday, August 15, to which the public is cordially invited . . . Years ago it was the custom of this congregation to hold an annual picnic on August 15th and it was always a fine social affair and conducive to much social good, hence Father Hennessey, at the suggestion of several of the members of the congregation, has decided to revive the custom.   WG




By the ladies of St. Bernard's Sewing Circle, on Wednesday, April 24th, at the church hall.  Lunch, consisting of sandwiches, coffee, ice cream and cake will be served from 2 pm until 8:30 o'clock.  The public is cordially invited.    WG



One of the largest congregations that has ever heard Mass at St. Bernard's Church was present last Sunday at the 8 o'clock Mass and hundreds of people received Holy Communion.  A large class of boys and girls received their First Holy Communion, the different ladies' sodalities of the church and most of the men of the congregation and Council No. 1478 Knights of Columbus received Holy Communion in a body.  The council was well represented, members being present from Milwaukee, Waterloo, Jefferson, Oconomowoc and Madison.    WG


06 06       CONFIRMATION

Next Sunday morning at 10 o'clock Mass at St. Bernard's Church, Archbishop Messmer of Milwaukee will administer the sacrament of confirmation to a large number of children, and in the afternoon at 2 o’clock at St. Henry's Church.  As the archbishop leaves the pastoral residence before the 10 o'clock Mass at St. Bernard's, the men of all the Catholic societies in the city will line up fronting the house and church in open ranks, and in the afternoon will escort the bishop from St. Bernard's to St. Henry's church.    WG



Citizens Help Hospital.  The management of St Mary's Hospital and Training School for Nurses take this means of expressing their heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to the good people of Watertown whose generosity went to make the hospital's first annual donation day a success.  The interpretation of our citizens’ attitude on this occasion can only incite the superintendent and management to emphasize their willingness to even better care for the poor and afflicted ones who come under their care during the year.  The committee who assisted by giving their time and efforts to this work can rest assured that their unsolicited services will be rewarded by the personal satisfaction they must know could only be consummated by this self-sacrifice on their part.  The hospital authorities feel especially indebted to the press for their persistency in bringing this matter before the public.  Following is a list of the donors . . .   WG


12 26       MIDNIGHT MASS

Everybody seemed to be blessed in Watertown on Christmas day.  The weather was ideal and rich and poor alike seemed to enjoy the day in its true Christian spirit.  There were special services in all the churches and all were beautifully decorated for the occasion.  The midnight Mass at St. Bernard’s Church was largely attended.  There was a large attendance also at all the churches of the other denominations and a more than usual religious spirit seemed to prevail with everybody in the city.  The day was given over to religious exercises and family reunions and spiritual joy, the most consoling of pleasures was apparently in most people’s hearts on that glorious day.   WG





Peter Coogan, Simon Checkai, Francis Ready, William Manchot, Ray Usher, Ziegfried Kaminski, Matt Coogan, Ray Ryan, Ray Donegan, _?_ Bergin, Marybelle Gallagher, Adaline Klinger, Mary Conway, Magdaline Casey, Alice Conner, Jerome Kaminski, Walter Muntz, Abigail Manning, Catherine Burns, Francis Linehan, Grace Garity, Mary Joseph Solon, Gertrude Bolger, Bertrice O’Bryne, Dorothy Jaehrling, Genevive Burns, Ellen Byrnes, Florence McGowan, Eugenia Coogan, Catherine Stacey, Stella Gritzner, Francis Donahue, Lorraine Gritzner, Gladys Heiden, Louise Kunitz, Bertrice Renk, Sylvia Burns, John Carmody, Raphall Laffey, Joseph Garity, Clifford Donahue, _?_ Coughlin, Francis Bolger, Arthur Schehenver, Wallace Klinger, Sylvester Carroll, Wallace Schehenver, Francis Bolger, Arthur Schehenver, Wallace Klinger, Sylvester Carroll, Wallace Schebenver, Rev. Thomas Hennessey, C.S.C.




A few days ago we received from Thomas Hoy, Milwaukee, formerly of this city, a picture which we prize very much, being a splendid photograph of the old St. Bernard’s Church which was torn down to give place for the present magnificent church on the same site.  The church is shown with splendid effect, as well as the high stone wall around the embankment, and the large poplar trees around the church.  Many of St. Bernard’s old parishioners have viewed the picture and it brings back many pleasant memories of over half a century ago.  Any one desiring a copy of this photo can get one of George S. Carney, Photographer, 268 West Water St., Milwaukee, Wis.   WG


03 12       ST. PATRICK’S DAY 1914

Tuesday next is St. Patrick’s Day, and in honor of the event High Mass and a sermon will be given at St. Bernard’s Church in the morning, and in the evening the Corby Club will give a dramatic entertainment at St. Henry’s Hall.   WG



At the annual meeting of St. Bernard’s congregation held last Sunday, James D. Casey was re-elected secretary and Joseph McFarland, treasurer.  At the meeting it was decided to redecorate the interior of the church at a cost of $3000.  Representatives of St. Bernard’s sewing circle were present and stated they had $1800 which they will donate for that purpose and with the assistance of Rev. Father Hennessey, the pastor, and the trustees of the congregation, it was the unanimous opinion that it would be easy to find one hundred and twenty in the congregation who would subscribe $10 each, thus making up the other $1200.  The work no doubt will be underway in a short time.   WG




The chancel and altars at St. Bernard’s church have recently been fitted out with electric lights and when turned on at service present a very beautiful appearance.  The expense was borne by the Sanctuary Society of the church.   WG



Second. That $100 be paid to St. Bernard’s congregation located in Watertown, Wis., for the permanent care of my burial lot in St. Bernard's cemetery. . . .

Fifthly. I give and bequeath to St. Bernard’s congregation, Watertown, Wis., $5000 for permanent improvements or repairs on buildings.



The heavy framework for a large set of playground apparatus was installed at the St. Bernard’s school grounds last week and is now ready for the amusement of the boys of the school.  There are turning bars, trapeze, rings and swings.  A similar set of apparatus has also been purchased for installation on that part of the playground used by the girls of the school.  St. Bernard’s parochial school now has one of the finest playgrounds of any school in this section of the state, and further improvements have been planned.  The large lot to the south of the school has been leveled and will receive a top dressing of sand and gravel.  It makes an excellent ball ground.  Through the generosity of ten members of the parish, who gave $100 each, the lot is now clear of debt.  The cement walk in the rear of the school house has been widened from time to time, until it is now about thirty feet in width, making a cement court protected on the north and west, a pleasant place for play even in cold weather, and it is planned to still further extend this cement before winter, to make a dry, warm corner for winter airings and play.   WG



Elegant new stained glass windows have recently been placed in St. Bernard’s church, each window containing a fine religious picture.  The windows are among the finest church windows to be found in any church in the state.   WG


11 04       St. BERNARD'S LOSES

For the first time St Bernard’s soccer team went down to defeat to the sturdy juniors of Sacred Heart College.  During the first half the advantage lay entirely with St. Bernard’s, but the stubborn defense of the college boys saved their goal time and again.  In the second half the gold and blue fought fiercely against the stiff breeze.  But the wind and the weight of their opponents finally forced the ball between the goal posts.  Another goal was registered just as the last whistle blew.  Score:  St. Bernard’s 0; College juniors 2.  For the college, McCarthy, Kob and Gerend played a fine game.  Manning and Usher excelled for St. Bernard’s.   WG




St. Bernard’s Catholic congregation has contributed over $100 toward the relief of the Poles in Poland.    Watertown Weekly Leader


1921       "FESTIVAL GLORIA"

                E J Brandt composed a "Festival Gloria" for church choir which he directed for nearly fifty years. 


1923       CHURCH JUBILEE Revives Styles of 1873

(Picture in paper)

Left to right – E. J. O’Byrne, G. A. Gallman, James W. Moore, J. D. Casey

Below – Mrs. E. J. O’Byrne, Mrs. G. A. Gallman, Mrs. Richard Irving, Sr. and Mrs. Hannah Griffin.


One of the most interesting features of the golden jubilee celebration of St. Bernard’s Catholic Church was the grand march at the dinner dance held at the Turner Opera house on the last day of the four day celebration, and which was led by eight persons who have been members of St. Bernard’s congregation for fifty years.  The four women wore costumes of 1873 and with the rest of the brilliant assemblage the scene was one of the most impressive on record here.


Four generations of singers have taken part in the choir programs of St. Bernard’s Church, it developed at the celebration of its diamond jubilee.  At the laying of the corner stone fifty years ago, Mrs. August Wiggenhorn, then a prominent singer and musician in this community took part in the service.  The four generations included Mrs. August Wiggenhorn, Mrs. Edward J. Brandt and Mrs. Earl W. Quirk, who are at present leaders in the choir and Catherine and Lillian Quirk, great grandchildren of Mrs. Wiggenhorn, who are members of the children’s chorus.


All but Mrs. Wiggenhorn took part in the jubilee exercise last week.




50 years ago the cornerstone was put in place, WDTimes article  

Today the golden jubilee of St. Bernard's Church is being celebrated in Watertown and the day will close with a congregational dinner served in Turner Opera House followed by music and dancing.  The day also closes a 40 hour devotions service which began November 16th under the direction of the pastor, the Rev. William Mahoney, while committees of the congregation look after the social events planned for today and in which all members of the congregation took a lively interest.  Great interest is being taken in the social mixer, which follows the elaborate dinner this evening and the occasion will long be remembered by those participating.




   At the Green Bowl in honor of Fr. Mahoney, by St. Bernard's ushers.





There was an immense crowd at the dedication services last Sunday afternoon of St. Bernard’s new school. 


Aside from members of the congregation turning out in large numbers, there were many Watertown people of other creeds present, as well as many people from outside the city, including a number of Sisters from St. Agnes College at Fond du Lac, Monsignor Bernard Traudt of Milwaukee, Rev. Father Mahoney of Madison, former pastor of St. Bernard’s church, Rev. Thos. Irving, C.S.C., Notre Dame, Indiana, Rev. Father Norton of Columbus, Rev. George Gormley of Hales Corners, Rev. Father Hertel of Sullivan, all four being former Watertown residents. 


Monsignor Bernard Traudt of the Milwaukee archdiocese had charge of the services and at the close of benediction in the church he delivered a fine address, laudatory of the good work of the people of St. Bernard’s church in providing such a fine school building for their children, and also conveying to the members of the congregation Archbishop Messmer’s blessing and commendatory message to them in what they have done in the cause of Catholic education. 


After the dedication and blessing of the school a short program was given in the school hall at which Rev. Thomas Irving, C.S.C., assistant superior general of the Holy Cross Order, with headquarters at Notre Dame, Indiana, and son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Irving, North Church Street, this city, was the principal speaker.  His remarks in regard to the need of Catholic education and the wonderful effect it has on the good works of our people, was the finest delivered in Watertown in many a day.  He also complimented the people of St. Bernard’s church for furnishing such a fine school building for their children. 


Owing to Forty Hours Devotion services at St. Henry’s church Rev. Father Schwinn, who was on the program to deliver an address, was unable to be present.  Short impromptu talks were given by Frank P. McAdams and James W. Moore, (the oldest graduate present of St. Bernard’s school, Rev. Father Minnick, C.S.C. pastor of St. Bernard’s church closed the program by extending a sincere vote of thanks to all who assisted and were present at the dedication services, as well as to the members of St. Bernard’s congregation in general who made it possible to erect this fine new building, a description of which will be given later in The Gazette. 


At intervals in the program musical numbers were rendered by the Weber-Bramer orchestra and a vocal solo by Edward J. Brandt, accompanied by his daughter, Mrs. Earl W. Quirk.


Wednesday afternoon and evening the ladies of St. Bernard’s parish, in honor of the event, gave a bridge party at the new hall in the school building, followed by a dinner and social dance, at which there was a very large attendance.   WG





   1936 Watertown Centennial Celebration  

The setting for the field mass was one of great beauty and solemnity.  The altar used was the first one erected in St. Bernard's church and was taken to the field for the occasion.  The baldacchino was designed by Baldwin S. Raue who spent more than a week in working it out, and this was a beautiful piece of work which, when carried out for the setting of the altar, proved to be a work of art.


The mass was graced by the presence of the Rt. Rev. William R. Griffin, D. D., auxiliary bishop of La Crosse.  There were also a large number of other Catholic clergymen here for the event.


The mass was celebrated by the Very Rev. Dean F. X. Schwinn, pastor of St. Henry's Church.  He was assisted by the Rev. Joseph Brasky, Grafton, as deacon and the Rev. Edward Hertel, Waterford, as sub-deacon.  The master of ceremonies was the Rev. Leo Heger, West Allis.


The sermon was delivered by the Rev. Thomas Irving, C. S. C., assistant superior general of the Holy Cross order, Notre Dame University.


The arrangements for the field mass were in charge of the Rev. Patrick Haggerty, C. S. C., pastor of St. Bernard's church.


The choir of Sacred Heart postulate, directed by Brother Arnold, C. S. C., sang during the mass and the 105th Cavalry band also participated at the service.


The complete text of Father Irving's sermon.





St Mary’s Hospital’s new $132,000 addition was dedicated at appropriate ceremonies at the hospital chapel, located in the new addition.  His Excellency, the Most Rev. Samuel A. Stritch, archbishop of the Milwaukee archdiocese, officiated at the dedication, assisted by a large number of clergymen. . . . Assisting Archbishop Stritch were the archbishop’s assistant, the Rev. Roman Atkielski; Rev. Francis Xavier Schwinn, of St. Henry’s parish here; Rev. Fr. Hess of Waterloo; Rev. Patrick Haggerty, C. S. C., of St. Bernard’s parish here; Rev. John Devers, C. S. C., of Sacred Heart College here; Rev. Alfred Wiemer of St. Henry’s parish here; Rev. Edward Malloy, C. S. S. R., rector of the Redemptorist Seminary of Oconomowoc; Rev. Ray Miller, C. S. S. R.; Rev. Fr. Zingen of Jefferson and Rev. Edward Hertel of Waterford.







From May, 1950 to August, 1961, Rev. Patrick Dolan served as pastor.  It was under his direction that the building now known as the Parish Center at 114 S. Church Street was purchased (1958).  It had formally been the home of Dr. A.F. Solliday.  It served as a convent for the sisters of the parish school.  Father Dolan also oversaw the building of a new addition to the school.  Groundbreaking was on St. Patrick’s Day in 1960.  The school addition was completed in December, 1960.



05 02       First Communion



         Entry for parishes of St. Bernard’s & St. Henry’s



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Bids for the new school and gymnasium were opened on February 25.  They totaled approximately $240,000.  Maas Bros. Construction Company of Watertown entered the lowest base bid for the general contract for the construction of the new school and gymnasium of St. Bernard's Catholic Church.  The company's bid was $161,000.  Other low base bidders were: Electrical - Gregory Electric, Oconomowoc, $15,900; plumbing - H. Golden and Son, Oregon, $19,320; heating contract - went to Kehr Bros., Watertown.


The new structure included four classrooms, two offices, an all-purpose room [gymnasium-auditorium with stage], kitchen, and several auxiliary-use rooms.  It was built so that it could be expanded, if and when desired.  The building was designed by the Milwaukee architectural firm of Eschweiler & Eschweiler.


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05 11       REV. DELBERT D. KLINK, solemn High Mass    WDT



The Rev. Patrick Dolan, C.S.C., pastor of St. Bernard's parish, will mark the 40th anniversary of his ordination as a Catholic priest on Monday.  Father Dolan has served as pastor of St. Bernard's for the last 10 years, coming here in 1950 from North Easton, Mass.  He received his education at Notre Dame University and Washington University.  He was ordained at Notre Dame in 1920.   WDT



The cornerstone laying ceremony for the new school of St. Bernard's will be held after the 11 o'clock mass Sunday morning.  Among the items to be placed in a copper box in the cornerstone will be copies of the Watertown Daily Times, pictures and a copy of St. Bernard's centennial booklet.  The ground breaking ceremony for the new school was held on March 17 with the pastor, the Rev. Patrick Dolan, C.S.C., turning the first spadeful of dirt.  The general contractor for the school is Maas Bros. Construction Company, Watertown.  Others are: Heating, Kehr Bros., Watertown; electrical, Gregory Electric, Oconomowoc, and plumbing, H. Golden and Son, Oregon.   WDT




The Rt. Rev. William P. O’Connor, bishop of Madison, will be in Watertown on Sunday afternoon to officiate at ceremonies in connection with the dedication of the new school of St. Bernard’s Catholic Church.  The new school was completed last December.  Classes were transferred from the old school in readiness for the new semester Jan. 4.  The first, second, third and eighth grades have classes in the new building.  The other grades occupy the old school.  The $250,000 building consists of four classrooms, two offices, an all-purpose room, kitchen and various auxiliary rooms.




Work has begun on altering the steeple and the front of the church.  Raue [Edward S. Raue] and Sons, Inc., of Watertown, has the contract for the work.  The steeple work will include giving it a spire appearance, following removal of some of the steeple windows, installing new sheet metal work, new shingles and painting it.  The contract also calls for removal of dangerous masonry and improving the front of the church.  The project is of about three weeks duration.




The Rev. Vincent Thilman, C.S.C., pastor of St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, ordained a Holy Cross priest at Notre Dame on June 24, 1939, will celebrate the 25th anniversary of this event with a mass and reception on Sunday, June 21.  The mass will be said at 11 a.m. with the sermon to be preached by the Rev. Louis Putz, C.S.C.  The reception will be held in St. Bernard’s auditorium in the afternoon from 3 to 5:30 o’clock.   WDT



08 14       Rev. JAMES BLANTZ

The Rev. James Blantz, C.S.C., new assistant pastor of St. Bernard's Catholic Church, has arrived in Watertown to begin his duties.  He succeeds the Rev. Gregory Green, C.S.C., who has been transferred to St. Joseph's Catholic Church in South Bend, Ind.  Father Blantz, who is 35, comes to Watertown from South Bend, Ind., where he was assistant pastor at St. Patrick's Church for the past four years.  Before that he served two years as chaplain at Gibault School for Boys at Terre Haute, Ind.  He also served one year in the Holy Cross foreign mission field in East Pakistan and Uganda, East Africa.  In addition to his priestly duties, Father. Blantz is well known as a magician: and is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.  He is a past president of the Kokomo, Inc., local of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.  His feats of magic earned him many awards.  He is the holder of the Fleming Trophy for two consecutive years, 1966 and 1967, awarded at the annual national convention of the IBM.  The Fleming Trophy is considered the "Oscar" of the magic world and was awarded Father Blantz for his original inventions in magic.  He is also the International champion in card magic and is runnerup in closeup (table) magic.



At the regular business meeting of the Rotary-Altar Society of St. Bernard’s Church, the society went on record as favoring open housing in Watertown.  This was done in order to acquaint the committee of the common council, which is studying the question, how this society feels about the situation.  The society is a large group and is a cross section of the whole congregation.  Father Vincent Thilman, spiritual adviser of the society and a member of the Governor’s Commission on Human Rights, spoke on the subject and explained certain facts after the vote was taken.



01 11       THE MAGIC PRIEST

Father James Blantz, “the magic priest,” will present two programs of his magical comedy at the Watertown High School auditorium on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 4 at 2 p.m.  The two magic shows are being sponsored by the Watertown branch of the American Association of University Women and proceeds will be used for their scholarship fund.  The public is invited.


Skilled in the art of magic, Father Blantz is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.  He is the international champion in card magic and is runner-up in closeup (table) magic.  He was awarded consecutive years, 1966 and 1967, for his original inventions in magic.  The Fleming trophy, the Oscar of the world of magicians, was presented to him at the annual conventions of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.  The latest award received by the priest is the Wisconsin Houdini Club trophy, a third prize award for the best presentation of a standard effect.


Father Blantz, associate pastor of St. Bernard’s Church, became interested in magic tricks while a missionary in Africa.  He started his hobby entertaining the villagers with his few feats of magic.  He discovered that his sleight of hand tricks were a wonderful means of communication and won acceptance for him among the children and adults.




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“Progress Through Discovery”   Theme of St. Bernard’s science fair

Kim Usher, Donna Raether, Mary Lessard



It was Irene Gormley Night at St. Bernard’s Auditorium on Monday. It has been said “we are known best by what we do, not by what we say.”  Mrs. William Gormley is a “doer” in the truest sense of the word.  She has given generously of her time and talents to her church and her community over the years.  Monday night a capacity audience showed its appreciation and paid tribute to Mrs. Gormley at the testimonial dinner held in her honor.  In attendance were former pupils, friends and associates in the various organizations in which she has played an active role and still is today, members of St. Bernard’s Church plus a goodly number of other guests from Watertown and away.  Plans for the testimonial started several weeks ago.  It was first planned to have a surprise party for Mrs. Gormley.  However, a member of the committee pointed out that Irene does not like surprises, so she was told of the plans for the testimonial.  She demurred. She said, “I am not worthy of it.”  The committee persisted and the end result was last evening’s wonderful party.



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The Hallelujah Kids of St. Bernard’s School.  Observance of National Music Week.  Margaret Kolata, Kathy Noon, Bridget McFarland, Mary Lessard, Cheri Johns.




Father Richard Papen, pastor of St. Bernard's; Mrs. Richard DeCono, president; Mrs. Thomas Lauer, family life commissioner; Mrs. Fred Huber, treasurer; Mrs. Richard McLaughlin, vice-president; Mrs. George Nimm, financial secretary; Mrs. John Bill, community affairs commissioner; Mrs. John Bradisse, membership chairman.



Restoration after 1974 steeple fire


Rev. Robert Epping became the pastor of St. Bernard’s from July 1978 to June 1985, the last Holy Cross priest to serve as pastor.  In 1978, a dedication was held to celebrate the newly restored organ.  This had been a two-year project begun in 1976 that repaired the fire damage of 1974.




In May 1979, the largest renovation ever of the interior of the church began.  The scope of project included removal of the baroque altars, removal of the communion rail, moving the confessionals, adding restrooms, adding a vesting room, installing new pews, adding carpeting and painting the interior.



I               n 1981, Jeff Allen became the first lay principal of St. Bernard’s School.




After June of next year, the Holy Cross Fathers no longer will provide priests for St. Bernard's parish.  The announcement was made Monday evening at a widely attended parish meeting at the school gymnasium.  It was made personally by Rev. Richard Warner, C.S.C., Provincial Superior of the Holy Cross Fathers.  The Holy Cross Fathers have been in charge of the parish for over 100 years.  The order has been in charge continuously since 1871, with the exception of eight years in the 1920s, when secular priests staffed the parish.



Administration of the parish became the responsibility of the Diocese of Madison in 1985.  Rev. Thomas P. Marr served as pastor from June 1985 to June 2009.  Among the many accomplishments during Father Marr’s pastorate were the 1986 renovation of the rectory into a convent for the teaching sisters, the 1986 renovation of the convent into the Parish Center and Rectory, the 1987 and 1997 renovation of the church’s stained-glass windows, the 1990 creation of a Parish Educational Endowment Fund, the 1993 accreditation of St. Bernard’s School, and the 1995 establishment of a pre-school program and “computerization” of the school and parish office.



--              SISTER JOANN SAMBS

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11” x 14” framed print.  Presented to Back of framed print:  In friendship – With love and appreciation.  St. Bernard’s Religious Education Staff.  Father Tom Marr, Michael Miller, Mary McFarland


Framed print was a gift to Sister Joann Sambs who was Director of Religious Education at St. Bernard’s from 1982 to 1986.  Sister Joann went on to work in Religious Education in St. Justin Martyr/St. Benedict, the African parishes in Chicago, before being elected to CSA’s General Council in 2001.  From 2005 to 2013, she served as General Superior of the congregation.  Afterwards she was Administrator and Executive Director of the Dwelling Place, a transitional shelter for women in New York.  Then in 2020, she was called back to Fond du Lac to serve as the local coordinator for CSA’s retirement center, Nazareth Court and Center.




St. Bernard's Church Cecilian Choir will celebrate its 95th birthday on Easter Sunday, April 19, with a concert at 9:30 a.m. followed by a special program during the 10 a.m. Mass.  The concert will include sacred and traditional works by Bach, Handel, Beethoven and John Ness Beck.  The choir has been directed by Clifford Lueck for the past seven years.  He is a part-time student in his senior year at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, majoring in music education.  Organist for the group is Erma Large.   WDT




St. Bernard’s Catholic Church Cecilian Choir will observe its centennial anniversary on Sunday with a concert of sacred music at 4 p.m.  The theme of the celebration is “When In Our Music God Is Glorified.”  A special centennial logo has been drawn by choir member John Byrne to commemorate the Cecilian Choir Centennial program.  Named for St. Cecilia, blind Patroness of Music, the Cecilian Society was formed on April 19, 1892 with Edward J. Brandt elected as its first director.  Brandt continued as director with the choir for 46 years. An award and perpetual plaque were established in his honor two years ago by the choir’s current director, Clifford J. Lueck.  Past recipients of the Edward J. Brandt Cecilian Choirminister Award are Gerald Mullen, 50-year member in the choir; Josephine McFarland, 42 years; Barbara Seibel, 25 years; and Joan Kressin, 22 years.   WDT



Sister Virginia Brunner is willing to reflect back on how things were when she became a nun 50 years ago, but not for long.  She has no regrets about the past but prefers her current lifestyle which is much less cloistered and allows her the option to be herself.  And don't ask her if she still has the nun's black habit she wore for over 20 years with the required head- dress, heavy serge skirt, two slips, cotton stockings and hand-me-down shoes.  "I gave those away as soon as I could get rid of them," she said with a smile and wave of her hand.  Sister Virginia, a pastoral associate at St. Bernard's Church for the past six years, will celebrate her golden jubilee in the parish hall tonight with a potluck after the 5:15 p.m. Mass and Sunday with coffee and doughnuts after the 8 and 10 a.m. services.  She will renew her vows at the 10 a.m. Mass and also on June 20 at St. Joseph Convent in Milwaukee and on June 28 at her home parish in Cross Plains.




The Cecilian Choir of St. Bernard’s Catholic Church celebrated its 102nd anniversary recently with a Mass and brunch at Windwood Country Club.  During the Mass, the Edward J. Brandt Cecilian Choirminister Award was presented to Gervase Jaehrling and Carmel Lueck.  The award honors Brandt, who founded the choir in 1892 and was its director for 46 years.  Presented annually, the award is given to those who serve with dedication, lead with inspiration, share God’s gift of music, and deserve appreciation.



10 25       STAINED GLASS WINDOW REPAIR, 14 year project completed   

The heart of a church is its parishioners, but the beauty of the building shows the pride and commitment of all who worship there.  At St. Bernard's Catholic Church, much of its beauty shines through its large stained glass windows which have been refurbished to ensure their enjoyment for future generations.  After 14 years, the stained glass window repair project has been completed, with 30 windows restored.  “I have been very impressed that this project has been completed in this short a time,” said the Rev. Thomas Marr, pastor of St. Bernard's.  “I never expected this to happen this quickly. It is a wonderful accomplishment.”   WDT




Parishioners of St. Bernard’s Catholic Church are closely following the progress of restoration of two large murals on the sides of the sacristy that have been covered up since the 1970s.  At the time the murals were painted over, the Catholic church was in the midst of an updating era, modernizing facilities to comply with mandates of Vatican II.  It was not an easy task to cover the murals because of opposition from parishioners when the church was renovated, and the process of undoing the updating of the two full-figure saints is a slow process.   WDT




St. Bernard's Catholic Church will dedicate two restored murals in the sanctuary of the church on Sunday at 2 p.m. as part of its yearlong celebration of the church's 160th anniversary.  The recently uncovered murals will be dedicated in memory of the late Charles Wallman, who initiated a drive to uncover the murals which were painted over in 1978-79 during an extensive renovation of the church.  Wallman died Nov. 15, 2001, before the restoration work began on the murals, which are full-length figures of St. Patrick on the south side and St. Elizabeth on the north side.   WDT



Josephine “Jo” McFarland is still singing, but the Watertown soprano is no longer gracing the balcony of St. Bernard’s Catholic Church where she has been a member of the Cecilian Choir for the past 55 years.  “After all these years, the time has come for me to sit downstairs with my husband (John),” said McFarland, who joined the choir at age 22.  “The activities are getting to be too much,” she added, referring to weekly practices, except in summer when the choir does not meet.  “I will miss it, but I will also appreciate the extra time with my family,” said McFarland.  She and John were married Oct. 29, 1949, at St. Bernard’s Church and raised eight children. They have 15 grandchildren and will soon welcome their first great-grandchild.  The McFarlands are retired from farming but maintain a large vegetable garden which produces extra food that they share with others.   WDT




The Diocese of Madison has taken a preliminary look at the economic affairs of St. Bernard's Catholic Church and concluded that a careful and independent examination of the church's finances and records is needed.


Concerns at St. Bernard's include the borrowing of funds from parishioners, the parish itself and the overall handling of parish business affairs.


As a results of its preliminary investigation, the Madison Diocese placed the Rev. Tom Marr on administrative leave effective July 16.  Monsignor Daniel Ganshert, vicar general of the Diocese of Madison, has been named administrator of the St. Bernard Parish.   WDT


Church members get update on finances


10 12       Parishioners of St. Bernard's Church were told at church services on Saturday and Sunday that approximately $55,000 in church funds is missing. In addition to church funds, parishioners were told over $340,000 was collected from 31 individuals or family units, including members and others outside the parish.


Monsignor Dan Ganshert, vicar general of the Diocese of Madison offered the information during services in lieu of the homily.  After services, questions asked by parishioners were answered by Ganshert, the Rev. Brian Wilk, pastor of St. Bernard's and St. Henry's, and also Harold Laufer of Madison, attorney for the diocese and St. Bernard's.


The Rev. Tom Marr, longtime pastor at the church, has been on a six-month leave of absence since July while the church investigated irregularities in its bookkeeping.  Marr has served the parish since 1985 as pastor and administrator. The priest was ordered by the diocese to take a leave of absence after concerns over parish finances were raised in May and confirmed in mid-July through an audit.


Investigations are being done by the Watertown Police Department and the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation independent of the diocese.


Marr invested the money in a “non-traditional alternative investment” that allegedly would greatly benefit the church. Marr conducted the unauthorized borrowing of funds through the church's bookkeeper, who is no longer employed by the church. Neither Marr nor the bookkeeper informed or consulted the church finance committee about the borrowing of the funds.


A civil suit to recover funds has been filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court by Laufer on behalf of St. Bernard Congregation against Arthur Eith of rural Juneau, who is a member of the parish. The case is listed on the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access Web site, commonly known as CCAP. Ganshert invited parishioners to follow the progress of the case through the Web site. The case was filed Sept. 8 and has a class code description of Intentional Tort.


Wilk said he has agreed to continue as administrator of both churches until the end of the year, and St. Bernard's is seeking a pastoral associate.   WDT


St. B’s sues member for alleged fraud


10 13       St. Bernard's sued one of its members for allegedly ensnaring parishioners and the church itself in an investment opportunity that was "fraudulent and non-existent," according to a lawsuit.  Fallout from the matter is proving widespread.  More than 30 individuals are thought to have lost about $400,000 combined, and the church is out another $55,000, according to church and Madison Catholic Diocese officials.


The church's priest, the Rev. Thomas Marr, has been removed from the parish and put on administrative leave by the diocese while his role is sorted out. Watertown Police Chief Tim Roets said his department is conducting a criminal investigation with the assistance of the white-collar crime unit of the state Department of Justice.


The parishioner at the center of the lawsuit, Arthur Eith, 66, of rural Juneau, told the State Journal on Monday he is "just sick" about how everything is playing out and that he will be vindicated once a windfall he's anticipating comes through.


"I still intend to make good on all this," Eith said, adding that he knows he "looks like the heavy."


According to the lawsuit, Eith approached Marr, his parish priest, about three years ago regarding a "purported investment opportunity."  Eith claimed he was owed millions of dollars from the Nigerian government for consulting work he'd done there but said he needed money up front in order to retrieve his paycheck.


Eith promised to make "substantial contributions to the congregation and various Catholic entities and charities upon his receipt of the funds allegedly due him," according to the lawsuit, filed Sept. 9 in Jefferson County Circuit Court.


Marr then apparently took about $55,000 from the church's account and gave it to Eith.  He also solicited money from parishioners and others and delivered it to Eith "supposedly in order to increase the return Eith was promising to pay the congregation," the lawsuit said.  All of Eith's representations "were untrue," the lawsuit said.


Monsignor Dan Ganshert, the diocese's second in command, said that Marr "inappropriately borrowed" the $55,000 from the church without the knowledge of the parish's various councils and trustees.  In addition, the diocese believes Marr borrowed the other money directly from parishioners, friends, family and other priests, perhaps giving different reasons for needing the money.


"Each of these persons (was) unaware of others that Father Marr had approached," Ganshert said. Marr was placed on leave July 16 due to concerns about parish finances.


Eith told the State Journal he has done international agribusiness consulting work for 30 years, primarily in the area of restoring land following the extraction of oil. He currently is owed several millions of dollars from the Nigerian government, he said.


Eith denies that he proposed an investment scheme to Marr. He said he went to Marr because he didn't know where else to turn and needed money to pay taxes and legal fees in order to get his Nigerian paycheck. He said he told Marr that if the church could somehow help him, he would donate $1 million.


"As self-serving as this sounds, I really wanted to do something for the parish," he said.


Eith said he has been a member of St. Bernard's for about eight years. He said he never asked Marr to take money from the church or from parishioners and had no idea where the funds were coming from. He said he used the money for business expenses, not personal spending.


Eith said he expects to be paid soon by the Nigerian government, perhaps within a week or two.   Wisconsin State Journal article


Parishioner being sued has twice

been convicted on felony bank fraud charges


10 13       Arthur Eith, 66, pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud in 2007 and was placed on probation for five years, according to federal court records. The 2007 case references a prior conviction in 1991 for federal bank fraud for which Eith spent two years in prison.


Records from the 1991 case were not immediately available for review due to the age of the case.


Eith is at the center of a lawsuit filed by St. Bernard's Catholic Church in Watertown. The congregation alleges that Eith convinced his parish priest, the Rev. Thomas Marr, that he needed a large sum of money up front in order to receive a paycheck he was due from the government of Nigeria.


The lawsuit says Marr provided Eith with at least $55,000 from a church account and another $400,000 or so from parishioners, priests and others. Eith allegedly had promised to donate $1 million to the church once he secured the Nigerian money.


Eith told the State Journal on Monday he did not pitch the idea as an investment opportunity but had simply turned to his parish priest for help. He maintained his innocence Tuesday and claimed again that he has been to Nigeria "many times over the years to do (consulting) business." He declined to provide proof to a reporter of his trips there.


In the 2007 conviction, federal prosecutors said Eith's wife, Barbara Haase, obtained a $305,000 loan from M&I Bank in 1998 to purchase cows. As collateral, she pledged to maintain a herd of at least 100 cows.


In March of 2002, Haase filed for bankruptcy and disclosed to the court that she possessed 77 cows. In June of 2002, M&I Bank seized 32 remaining cows.


Haase, principal of Saint Katharine Drexel School in Beaver Dam, a Catholic grade school, was not charged. Although Eith was not a co-signer of the loan, federal prosecutors say he handled the loan negotiations and sought to deceive inspectors about the number of cows in the herd.


In two instances, federal prosecutors say Eith approached other farmers about short-term loans, suggesting to them that if they bought cows from him, Eith would buy them back within a couple of weeks for a greater sum. Eith allegedly told the farmers he needed money fast to "participate in an overseas investment opportunity," according to court records.


Tuesday, Eith called the case old news and not relevant.   WDT


In July 2009, Rev. Brain Wilke was named as Pastor of St. Bernard’s, in addition to his duties as pastor of St. Henry’s Parish, Watertown.  This marked a new period of close interaction, cooperation and community between the two parishes.



In January 2010, Monsignor Daniel Ganshert was named Pastor of both St. Bernard’s and St. Henry’s parishes. In 2010, Monsignor Ganshert led the Aspire campaign which raised over $1.7 million dollars for the improvements to the church’s steeple, clock and roof. This work was completed in 2011.



02 23       A former priest at St. Bernard's Catholic Church in Watertown was ordered Tuesday to serve seven years probation with nine months in jail after being found guilty in Jefferson County Circuit Court in December 2010 on one count each of theft in a business setting in excess of $10,000 and theft of more than $10,000 through false representation.


Thomas Marr, 66, now of Madison, will be permitted to serve the jail sentence in Dane County with Huber work release privileges.  The first six months of the sentence will begin March 14 and after Marr completes the first three months in jail his time may revert to house arrest.


Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge J.R. Erwin on Tuesday accepted Marr's guilty pleas to the charges.  The maximum penalty for each of Marr's counts was imprisonment not to exceed 10 years or a $10,000 fine, or both, relating to each count.  Marr apologized Tuesday for the crimes.


A criminal complaint in the matter stated, between 2007 and 2009, Marr took money from various parish accounts.  In addition, Marr also allegedly solicited funds from members of the parish, family members, other clergy and friends, representing that he intended to use the funds to assist parish members in financial distress.  Marr promised he would repay these people quickly.


During this period, Marr provided the funds he obtained from the parish and others to assist Arthur Eith in recovering money Eith claimed was owed him from an overseas business transaction.  Eith had financial dealings in Africa. 


Marr and Eith's methods of funding became tangled up with numerous members of the church.  It was believed by investigators that Marr borrowed amounts as small as $800 and as much as $47,000 from particular individuals.


Officials from the state's Department of Justice said, at the request of the Watertown police, they investigated allegations of misappropriated funds from St. Bernard's, where Marr had served.  Church bills went unpaid for a period of time that is when an investigation began.


The problems with finances began to be noticed around November of 2008 when St. Bernard's administrative assistant Sue Nampel reported bills were unpaid.  Thomas Levi, president of St. Bernard's Church at the time, indicated to investigators he had learned the church had approximately $100,000 to $125,000 in unpaid bills.  St. Bernard's bookkeeper and business manager Alan Reinhard could not provide a good explanation for the unpaid bills and an IOU from Marr was subsequently discovered.


The books were reviewed by Thomas O'Connor, an independent CPA and member of the church, and discrepancies were found.  That led to getting authorities involved.


Marr's charges were the overall result of investigations by the Watertown Police Department and the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation. Assistant Attorney General Donald V. Latorraca represented the state.


A civil case involving the congregation of St. Bernard against Eith was dismissed in July in Jefferson County and any criminal charges against Eith relating to the St. Bernard's matter are not reflected in information provided by the state.


St. Bernard's recovered about 60 percent of its lost funds through payments from its insurance company.


Erwin also ordered Marr to pay restitution to St. Bernard's Parish of Watertown in an amount to be determined by the court within the next month.  She specified, as well, that Marr pay back various amounts of money he had taken from parishioners.  The amounts ranged up to $27,500.


Marr must also pay a 10 percent restitution processing fee and Erwin set a prohibition against any fiduciary responsibility in Marr's future employment.  He is to comply with a DNA sample provision and was directed to pay court costs totaling $210.   WDT story



     The current project at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church includes the repair and reshingling of the steeple and church roof and repairs to the clock faces and original downspouts.  It is being handled by Langer Roofing and Sheet Metal Inc. in Milwaukee, its cost is estimated at $976,825. 


The church had originally planned for cedar shake shingles on the spire, but Langer’s cost on a copper alternative was only slightly higher.  Given the estimated 100-year life of copper roof and less maintenance costs, the church decided to go with that material for the spire.  Grand slate shingles, which have an estimated life span of 50 years, will be installed on the church roof.


The exterior work will also include making the entire steeple water- and air-tight once again.  The deterioration over the years has included some missing boards and damage to the wood faces of the clock.   This has allowed both water and wildlife to enter through cracks and small openings, further causing deterioration of the structure.


The contractor is expecting to have the majority of the project completed by Nov. 1st.


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In June 2014, Father Patrick Wendler was named Pastor with Father Scott Jablonski named as Parochial Vicar of both St. Bernard’s and St. Henry’s parishes. In April, 2015, under Father Wendler’s direction, the two parochial schools agreed to operate together as one school at two campuses. Jeff Allen, principal of St. Bernard’s School for 34 years, also announced his retirement at the end of the 2014-2015 school year.




Allen attended UW-Whitewater for his teaching degree but started out as a journalism major.  He says he changed his major after doing some volunteer work at St. Coletta.  Allen worked for six years as a teacher at St. Coletta School.   WDTimes story




Beginning Monday, May 22, with the approval of the St. Bernard Pastoral and Finance Councils, the interior of St. Bernard’s (sanctuary, nave, main entrance, balcony and stairways) will have the plaster repaired and repainted.   Beginning the week of May 22 all Masses and services will be held at St. Henry’s.



The much-needed restoration, repainting and repair of the church sanctuary, nave, main entrance, balcony and stairways began in May of this year.  Repairs to plaster, cleaning of historical artwork and stained glass, painting of religious statues and the restoration of doors original to the 1873 church near the altar, were some of the focus projects. The cost of the project was funded by the $560,000 Aspire Campaign that was completed in 2011, and comprised of fundraising efforts and donations by the parish and community.


This month, St. Bernard continues its dedication to repair and restore the buildings with a three-year capital campaign project dedicated to raise $1.3 million for tuck pointing on all buildings, repair of the front porch of the parish offices, front patio and retaining wall repair for the church, roof replacement on the school, exterior painting on all buildings, repair/sealing of the parking lots and sidewalks, as well as becoming compliant with the American Disability Act in the different campus buildings.



12 13       NEW CHURCH DOORS

St. Bernard’s installed new mahogany doors at every entrance due to a sealing issue on the old doors and with locks difficult to operate. 



08 22       175th ANNIVERSARY

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In celebration of its 175th founding anniversary St. Bernard’s underwent a historical renovation.  The congregation implemented plans to remodel the sanctuary, renovate the chapel, update flooring through the main body of the church and install air conditioning.    


The 175th anniversary celebration included Bishop Donald Hying dedicating a refurbished altar in celebration of the Feast of St. Bernard.   


 St. Bernard Church received an altar, reredos and ambo from a church that closed in Pennsylvania.    


The sanctuary flooring was updated with a solid- surface floor.  New candle holders, chairs and other furniture reflect the decor of the sanctuary.  The fully refurbished chapel features multipurpose space for daily mass, religious education classes, faith formation and other meetings.    


Updates included plaster repair, fiberglass protection, painting, new lighting and flooring.  There is updated flooring throughout the main body of the church.  Porcelain tiles replace the carpet for greater durability, easier cleaning and water resistant.  Air conditioning will be installed for a stable air environment to maintain the newly remodeled structure and historical artwork throughout the church.









Dr. Edward Johnson gave largely of his means toward the support of St. Bernard’s.  Most of the fine statuary in the church was donated by him, and he also presented to the church a number of costly sacred articles used in connection with the Catholic services . . the erection by him of the fine school in West Main St, now the property of St. Bernard's.

St. Bernard’s Cemetery Association, chapter on


   First Communion, unknown year


   Classroom photo, uncertain year




Table of Contents 

History of Watertown, Wisconsin