Archive for the ‘Faith Formation’ Category

The Desire for a Parochial School

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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.


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)


The Grand Opening of the School

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Fall 1925

A group of school girls from St. Anthony in 1925.

The school opened on September 14, 1925 with 98 students enrolled in grades three to six. The following year, when the other four grades were added, the school’s enrollment increased to 152.

The new school was dedicated October 25, 1925 by Bishop Joseph G. Pinten (1922-1926), with the clergy of the city also present for the occasion. Father Francis Bertram delivered the dedication sermon.

Indeed, the day provided a great sense of satisfaction for the parishioners of Ss. Anthony and Margaret Parish. In just a little over a decade following the foundation of the parish, they were able to look back at their humble beginnings while observing the fruits of their patience, hard work and perseverance. The church, the rectory, and the school were all made possible by their generosity and willing cooperation.

School Enrollment over the years:

1926 – 98 students
1927 – 150 students taught by 4 sisters ($1,250); $125 utilities; $9.16/student
1928 – 181 students
1929 – 184 students

1930 – 208 students
1931 – 181 students
1932 – 156 students
1933 – 173 students
1934 – 161 students
1935 – 144 students
1936 – 130 students
1937 – 119 students taught by 4 sisters ($1,375); $130 utilities; $12.74/student
1938 – 118 students
1939 – 119 students

1940 – 132 students
1941 – 122 students
1942 – 121 students
1943 – 130 students
1944 – 147 students
1945 – 150 students
1946 – 139 students
1947 – 147 students taught by 4 sisters ($1,685); $137 utilities; $12.39/student
1948 – 157 students
1949 – 149 students

1950 – 150 students
1951 – 151 students
1952 – 145 students
1953 – 138 students
1954 – 144 students
1955 – 144 students
1956 – 141 students
1957 – 137 students taught by 4 sisters ($2,000); $237 utilities; $16.32/student
1958 – 142 students
1959 – 141 students

1960 – 138 students
1961 – 142 students
1962 – 136 students
1963 – 150 students
1964 – 147 students
1965 – 133 students
1966 – 151 students
1967 – 146 students taught by 3 sisters; 1 lay ($7,000); $720 utilities; $52.88/student
1968 – 120 students taught by 3 sisters; 1 lay ($8,500); $700 utilities; $96.84/student
1969 – 95 students

Teaching the Faith to the Children

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Each student of St. Anthony School received a certificate after  making their First Holy Communion.

Certificate courtesy of Arlene Osterlund who also will be providing a picture of Florence (certificate above) and her brother from their school days.

The school sisters taught the children religion using the Baltimore Catechism. Each student of St. Anthony School received a certificate after making their First Holy Communion.

The Children’s Daily Missal and the complete Daily Missal were introduced in the classrooms. These were purchased from the proceeds of two candy sales held by the children. A Mass Chart with movable figures was presented by the Parent-Teachers-Association.

The children also learned about the lives of the Saints.

In 1929-30, Father Kubelbeck was very fortunate in securing
four first class relics for the parish;

  • a relic of St. Anthony,
  • a relic of St. Margaret,
  • a relic of the Little Flower of Jesus, and
  • a relic of the true Cross.

These relics were added to the parish reliquaries which also contained a relic of St. Stephen, the first martyr and a relic of the crib.

Emerging Technology: The Radio

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Through the kindness and generosity of Father Kubelbeck the children and teachers had the privilege of enjoying every Friday an hour of music appreciation given by “The Nation’s Music Teacher,” Walter Damrosch, over the radio. Damrosch hosted “The Music Appreciation Hour,” a popular series of radio lectures on classic music aimed at students. The show was broadcast during school hours, and teachers were provided with textbooks and worksheets by the National Broadcasting Network (NBC).

The students were also privileged to listen to His Holiness Pope Pius XI’s first radio message to the whole world on February 12, 1931. Pope Pius XI concluded the first line of the discourse with these words,

“Listen, O Heavens, to that which I say; listen, O Earth, listen to the words which come from my mouth…Listen and hear, O Peoples of distant lands!” He continued, speaking in the voice of the Old Testament prophet, “To the City and to the World!” These words, of course, were said in Latin. Read More

Memories of the School

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The children had separate areas for outside recess time. The girls were out front in the field and the cinder covered street. The boys played out back in the baseball field. Before going back into the building, the students line ups on the stairway–single file–with no talking.

The school building and grounds were always very clean. The janitor’s name was Joe Laverdiere. He was well liked and respected by the students.

Brown paper covers were placed on all school books. At the end of the year the students would clean books with erasers and Q-tips soaked with bleach. Father Kubelbeck would come into each room to distribute report cards.

Giving and receiving Valentines was a big event. For several years the students were encouraged to exchange “holy cards” instead of commercial Valentine cards.

In 1948, the school plays in the gym were “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Cinderella.”

The Five Sisters:
First Grade–Sister M. Carmel
Second Grade–Sister Victoria
Third/Fourth Grade–Sister Verena.
Fifth/Sixth Grade–Sister Coronata
Seventh/Eigth–Sister M. Amanda who loved to sing, play the piano/organ, drama, and baseball.

In 1953, the Home & School Association purchased a movie projector. With many parishioners still without television, Shirley Temple films were a special treat for students.

Five simple school rules that the students were expected to follow were: 1. Take turns. 2. Do not be proud. 3. Be kind. 4. Don’t waste. 5. Pray often.

The students memorized the poems of “The Village Blacksmith” and “In Flanders Fields.”

SOURCE: Superior Catholics

Parish Life in the 1950’s

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Msgr Kubelbeck at a First Communion mass in May 1957.

Msgr Kubelbeck at a First Communion mass in May 1957.


In 1953, active organization included: Holy Name Society (150 members) and Ladies Altar Society (85 members).

The Choir had 25 members. There was also a Grade School Choir which would sing for funeral masses. The students were excused from early morning classes and were well aware of the solemn service in which they participated.

In 1953, school attendance was 152 in four classes. The school sisters were Sister M. Amanda, M. Coronata, M. Philothea and M. Josella. Sister M Clarentia was the house sister. School days started with daily Mass.

During Forty Hours Devotion, the students took one-half hour turns during the school day to be in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament which was exposed in church. Many candles and beautiful flowers adorned the altar.

Vocations to Priesthood and Religious Life

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During these years, the parish proudly claimed two priest sons, Father Kenneth Ebner, O.M.I. and Father Francis Madsen, O.F.M.

Eleven young women from the parish were in religious life: Sisters M. Renee Versehraegen, M. Arline Laverdiere, M. Eva Jean Laverdiere, M. Clarella Laverdier, M. Bartolmea Rotsaert, M. Camille Burm, M. Ardelle DeClereck, Maria Goretti Archambeau, M. Michele Machones, M. Conrad Loudner and Alice Mae Vergauwen.