Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Journal of Fidelis Steinauer

My first discovery.......I did find one really neat book, just donated to the library last year, but not cataloged or shelved yet, since the library had closed.  I had to take it home to read it.  The book is called "The Journal of Fidelis Steinauer".  He was a Capuchin priest at St. Lawrence Seminary in Mt Calvary, and his journal runs from 1863 when he first arrived, until his death in 1882.  I am not much for reading journals, but this one caught my interest.  I wasn't expecting any humor, but couldn't help but chuckle at his description of himself and his problems.  He rings the bell at the wrong times during Mass, and keeps getting Penance for his screw-ups.  He is supposed to ring the bell at 5:00  for Matins, but often rings it at 4:00 by mistake. (not sure if it's am or pm)  When taking part in his first Lenten processional, he spilled the Holy Oil all over the floor of the choir.  And this is no kid, for he was already 45 years old when he first entered the seminary.
His journal  mentions that the congregation at St. Joe was under an Interdict when he arrived (because they refused to dismiss a morally scandalous teacher).

I also learned that when priests were assigned to "The Wilderness", it meant that they were going to Dotyville!  Sometimes Dotyville was also called "the desert", which probably is what started it all.  St. Michaels Church in Dotyville was originally named "Jesus In The Desert".   

Now, this book was originally written in German, and later translated, so some of the names mentioned might not be spelled correctly, and with that in mind, I made another discovery. When Fr. Fidelis walked to Dotyville, often a parishioner would give him a ride back to Mt. Calvary at the end of the day.  In Dotyville, that parishioner was Philip Buese.  (Philip had originally donated the land for the church).  One diary entry mentions that Philip Buese drove him to visit my own Reinhardt family, who lived 2 miles from Dotyville, and were related to the Buese's.  The Reinhardt's had 4 sons and 1 daughter, and I suspect Fr. Fidelis might have been recruting for a future seminarian.  (He was unsuccessful with the sons, but the Reinhardt daughter did enter the convent in Campbellsport.)

I wonder what other things I will find mentioned in this book!

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