Home > Faith Formation, Franciscan-Belgian Foundations (1914-1917) > The Desire for a Parochial School

The Desire for a Parochial School


The conviction of the time was that every parish should have a Catholic school where children would not only receive the equivalent of a public school education, but be provided with solid catechesis in the Catholic faith and morals.

Father Hanssens wanted the Belgian children of Allouez to have exemplary character which should be taught to them from the earliest of ages. The Catholic heritage contains many examples from the lives of saints for the inspiration and imitation of many to live holy lives.

Moreover, Father Hanssens did not believe in co-education. In fact, his hope was that once the parish built a school, the boys and girls would be separated in both the classroom and the playground.

According to what he was quoted to have said by the Superior Telegram, he seemed to have a negative view of children in America believing that they had no discipline. Here is what he was quoted as having said in the Superior Telegram in 1914.

“In Belgium the girl is under the strict guardianship of her mother until after marriage. She is never allowed to be with a boy unless the parent is along. Over here they make love in the parks, in the woods, on the lake shore. Over there the father and mother are observers of the courtship. It is not possible to be so strict in this country, but it is certain that the boys and girls have too much freedoms. It is not good for the morals…

The children of my people who come to America are not as obedient as the youngsters at home. I noticed that at once. They do not mind their fathers and mothers. They are prone to do more or less as they please. I believe that this is wrong and we will attempt to show the parents the need of a change. “ (Superior Telegram, 1914)

Although the parish would not build a school for another ten years, in June 1916, five lots on Baltic Street were donated by Emma Corrigan which helped move the parish toward its goal. However, these were uncertain times. One of the reasons why the school was not have built as quickly as Fr. Hanssens would have liked, was the outbreak of World War I.
Dating and Sex Among Teens in 1900’s

During these early decades, dating was an unknown phenomenon, although courtship was sanctioned by adults as long as it stayed within certain rules. In the ideal arrangement, a boy chose a girl who would probably make a good wife; if both families approved, the boy called on the girl and most of their social engagements were enjoyed at home or in groups where adults were present. After a time, they could go out unchaperoned, but by the time things reached this stage, marriage would follow soon. Ideally, of course, both bride and groom were virgins.

Source: http://pongogirl2.hubpages.com/hub/Teen-Culture-in-the-Early-190#

It Has Struck “Sex O’Clock” in America

By 1913 William Marion Reedy famously declared that the American cultural clock had struck “sex o’clock,” and Current Opinion magazine concurred with a laundry list of reasons why the country’s “former reticence on matters of sex” had given way “to a frankness that would even startle Paris.” Current Opinion opined, was “concomitant to the movement for the liberation of woman from the shackles of convention that will disappear when society has readjusted itself to the New Woman and the New Man.” While the article admitted that the country was divided on whether and to what degree it would accept this new pair, it concluded that all factions agreed on one matter: “ Radicals and conservatives, Free-thinkers and Catholics, all seem to believe in solving the sex problem by education.”

Source: Pin-Up Grrrls: Feminism, Sexuality, Popular Culture by Maria Elena Buszek (2006)