HISTORICAL SKETCH OF ST. FRANCIS PARISH
(For more detailed information regarding the history of St. Francis Parish,
please consult the previous jubilee books that can be found at the rectory.)
1859: Fr. Servatius Altmix, O.F.M. arrived in Quincy to establish a Franciscan parish. East of Quincy College's administration building stood the first church of St. Francis Solanus. This church was paid for by the good parishioners of St. Boniface Parish.
1864: The first St. Francis School was started.
1886: The School Sisters of Notre Dame arrived to begin over a century of dedicated ministry, educating the parishioners of St. Francis. Still remembered is the 58 years of faithful service of Sr. Merici, who guided the steps of the little ones. In the same year the present church was completed at a cost of $62,000.00.
1899: While the school children were practicing for a Christmas play, fire broke out. Twelve children died in this tragedy. A School Sister of Notre Dame, Sr. Theotima, was maimed in trying to crush out the flaming clothes with her hands, and many others suffered serious burns. The deceased are: Mary Althoff, Josephine Bohne, Irene Freiburg, Bernadine Freud, Maria Futterer, Mary Hickey, Wilhelminia Kottenclorf, Coletta Middendorf, Olivia Timpe, Mary Wavering, Margaret Werner, and Celia VonderHaar.
1902: The church is first wired for electricity, and a weight-powered clock is installed in the steeple.
1930: During the Great Depression construction on the present school building was begun with $200,000.00 of borrowed money. The last payment on this loan was made in 1950 with interest amounting to $32,000.00 over the years.
1952: The western wing of the school was added, and the following year (1953) the kindergarten section was completed. Fr. Adolph Thillman was pastor at this time when the Parish had 4,500 members and the school enrolled 1,000 children!
1962: Bishop O'Connor asks St. Francis Parish to build a second school (St. Dominic's). This was completed at a cost of $500,000.00.
1967: Fr. Martin Wolter, pastor, forms the first Parish Council.
1975: The church was redecorated at a cost of $60,000. This did not include the bill for carpeting.
1977: Bishop McNicholas establishes a new parish in Quincy: St. Dominic's.
1980: The new rectory is completed at a cost of $450,000.00 - thanks to the efforts of Fr. J. Michael Ewert and his dedicated committee.
1982: Fr. Sylvester Micek, pastor, and the Parish Council decide to have kindergarten at St. Francis again.
1984: For almost 40 years the beloved Brother Martin Lang served the parishioners of St. Francis. Sister Death was to visit him as he crossed 18th Street the evening of January 20th. Also in this year Fr. James Hartke was appointed pastor, and we see the beginning of the Finance Council and the School Board.
1986: The convent was razed, and five Notre Dame Sisters moved into a rented home at 24th and Elm.
1987: Sr. Kathy Izer replaced Sr. Elise as Director of Religious Education; Mr. Selby replaced Mr. Seckman as Principal; Jack and Shelly Reed replaced Sr. Carolyn as Director of Music; Fr. Joe Carlos replaced Fr. Jim Hartke as pastor. In order to help stabilize the financial situation in the parish, tuition was introduced at St. Francis, and the staff was reduced by two faculty members. The transition was begun from the parish council to a pastoral council. The following year saw a parish wide census (May), completion of the handicapped entrance parking lot (October) and the beginning of computerization of parish records and information. The Quincy Deanery Pastoral Council was established, and Raymond Jochern, with Marvin Knuffman as alternative, represented St. Francis Parish. (Mr. Jochem was also a charter member of St. Francis Parish Council back in 1967.)
1989: A program was begun to serve luncheons after funerals, and a choir of volunteers came forward to sing for funeral Masses. The parish St. Vincent De Paul Society was resurrected. New gym windows were installed, and in October Fr. Kenneth Roberts filled St. Francis Church four consecutive nights as he preached a Mission.
1990: The parish completed the discerning process about whether or not to begin a pastoral plan of parish evangelization toward the year 2000. The church was rewired by men volunteering their time on Saturdays, and a committee continued meeting and working towards redecorating the church.
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