One Year Later (Continued)

Published by Saint Vincent Archabbey Public Relations on

“Pastoral ministry we practice in the two counties, Westmoreland and Indiana, with the exception of a limited region that lies between the two, surrounding the town of Blairsville. In that district, the vicar general of the diocese, Father Stillinger, ministers. He is of German descent, born in America. These counties have a combined length of approximately 90 miles and a width of about 40 miles. Westmoreland County has about 42,000 inhabitants, Indiana around 16,000. Here, the English population predominates; there, the German. Catholics constitute not much more than 20%. Among the Protestants, the Presbyterians of the old and of the new school, are the majority. In addition, there are Methodists, Baptists, Dunkers, Simonists (Anabaptists), all in a colorful array. Very many families live without church, without worship, without a preacher. The Catholics have five churches, of which ours is the original one [mother church] and the oldest one in all of Western Pennsylvania, founded by a Franciscan from Holland by the name of Brouwers. However, it exists in its present appearance only since 1837. Before that, it was a very small chapel, and even earlier, worship was conducted in the old house in whose venerable rudera5 some of my brothers now live. It is very roomy, but not solidly built …”

—Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B.

—From Boniface Wimmer, Abbot of Saint Vincent in Pennsylvania, translated by Dr. Maria Von Mickwitz and Father Warren Murrman, O.S.B., editor.