The Administration of Abbot Peter Engel from 1894 to the present time
Of those who were at St. John’s during the cyclone, no one seems to have been so deeply affected by the disaster as Abbot Bernard Locnikar. He had for years been in delicate health and the shock of the disaster evidently hastened the ravages of disease. After the new school year was well under way, he set out upon a journey of visitation to the various missions in charge of Fathers of the Abbey. Towards the end of October he broke down completely and on advice of his physician retired to Stillwater, where he received kind care and attention in the rectory of St. Mary's church, of which Rev. Alphonse Kuisle, O.S.B. was then pastor. He never recovered from his ailment, which proved to be Bright’s Disease, and on November 7th the wire carried the sad intelligence to the abbey that he was dead. The funeral services and interment took place at the abbey on November 14th, Abbot Alexius Edelbrock, his predecessor, officiating as celebrant. The bishops of Jamestown (Shanley), Sioux Falls (Martin Marty) and Winona (Joseph Cotter), the administrator of the vacant see of St. Cloud (Msgr. Bauer) and four abbots assisted at the services. Bishop Shanley of Jamestown delivered the sermon, in the course of which he paid eloquent tributes to the memory of the deceased as a priest, monk and superior.
Abbot Bernard Locnikar was born in the province of Krain, southern Austria, in the village of Bitnje, of poor parents September 29, 1848. His widowed mother lacked the means to give him even an elementary education, but a priest of his acquaintance furnished him an opportunity to study at the gymnasium of Krainburg and at the Aloysianum of Laibach. While reading of the labors of his illustrious countrymen, the late Bishop Baraga of Sault St. Marie, and Rev. Francis Pierz, among the Indians of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, he became inflamed with a desire of going there and spending his life and energies in the mission among the Indians. With this purpose in view he left his native soil in 1868 with his mother and brother and came to the United States. The terminus of their journey was Stearns County in Minnesota. Here, while his mother and brother settled on a small farm near Albany, he made the acquaintance of the Benedictine Fathers at St. Louis Abbey and concluded to remain with them, hoping that in course of time he might be able to carry out his original resolve. As he had already completed an excellent classical course, he was at once sent into the novitiate of the Order and spent the following three years in theological studies. On December 22, 1872 he was ordained a priest; he had been appointed vice-president of the college in November and retained this office to the end of the school year. During the next seven years he attended small missions in the neighborhood of the abbey, was also subprior of the monastery from 1875-1877, and prior from 1877-1879. Then, as has already been stated, he became assistant and subsequently rector of the church of the Assumption in St. Paul, where he remained up to the time of his election to the abbatial chair. His death was deeply regretted and lamented not only by his brethren but by a wide circle of friends among the clergy and laity.
Two weeks later, on November 28, the Fathers of the abbey met in Chapter to elect a successor to the late Abbot. The choice fell upon the subprior and Director of Studies, Very Rev. Peter Engel. Father Peter, by which name he is known to a large number of alumni, was born near Port Washington, Wisconsin, February 3,1856, a few months before the first colony of Benedictines entered Minnesota. In his early boyhood his parents removed to Minnesota and settled at St. Michael’s in Wright County, and the future abbot was sent to school to St. John’s College in 1869. While pursuing the course of studies, he felt attracted to the monastic life and determined to become a Benedictine. He was admitted to the novitiate in 1874, made simple profession July 19, 1875 and was ordained a priest December 15, 1878. On August 15th of the following year he was appointed subprior of the abbey and occupied that position to the time of his election as Abbot. Ever since 1875 he had been one of busiest professors at St. John’s, his specialties being philosophy and the natural sciences. In addition he performed the duties of a Director of Studies since 1882 and of a Master of Novices since 1887. No one was better acquainted with the state of affairs and the needs of such a vast institution than Abbot Peter, for he had spent two consecutive decades on the spot and had been intimately in touch with the work of both the monastery and college. The election was ratified by Rome and the documents arrived at the abbey towards the end of January 1895. His solemn benediction and installation was postponed to the summer months, but he entered at once upon the discharge of his duties.
The completion of the new observatory during the summer had been prevented by the unfortunate cyclone. In fall, however, work was resumed and within a month after the election of Abbot Peter, to whose efforts the building of the observatory was due, the instruments were installed. The observatory “crowns the hill which is about 200 yards east of the University and south of the road leading to Collegeville. The top of the revolving dome is 32 feet from the ground. The entrance faces south and leads to the computation room; its dimensions are 10x13 ½ feet. Adjoining it is the transit instrument and the chronograph; this part is 9 ½x12 ½ feet. From here we enter the round tower, which has a diameter of 16 feet. In the center rises a pier of masonry to the height of 19 feet. Altogether independent it pierces the second floor and wears a cap of Kasota stone 8 inches thick, to which the telescope is bolted.” (The Record, January 1895, p.2) The structure is built of red brick and the revolving dome is of tin. Immediately upon its completion it was equipped with appropriate instruments from the factory of G. N. Saegmueller & Co., Washington, D.C.
In February 1895 the new bishop of St. Cloud, Martin Marty, O.S.B. was installed in office, and on March 21, the feast of St. Benedict, he was the guest of the abbey, where he officiated at pontifical High Mass in accordance with the tradition established by Bishop Zardetti. Bishop Marty’s administration covered less than two years and yet within that time he favored the institution with many visits.
On May 25, 1895 Father Paul Rettenmaier O.S.B., professor of philosophy and other branches from 1872-77, died at Arlington, Minnesota, where he was temporarily stationed as rector. He was born in Wuerttemberg in 1853, made vows as a Benedictine 1871 and was ordained a priest December 25, 1875. With exception of the five years mentioned above, he was engaged in pastoral work in Minnesota and North Dakota. He was a man of keen mind, bright intelligence and very enthusiastic in every work he took in hand. His principal regret was that ill-health defeated all his best intentions, especially during the latter part of his life. His younger brother, Father Meinrad Rettenmaier, died four years before.
Nine days later, June 3, the venerable Bishop Rupert Seidenbusch, who had presided over St. John’s as its first abbot from 1867-1875, breathed his last in Richmond, Virginia, while on his way to Minnesota from Savannah, Georgia, where he had spent the preceding winter. His remains were brought to St. John's and interred in the abbey cemetery on June 11th. Bishop Rupert Seidenbusch was born in Munich, the capital of Bavaria, October 13, 1830, studied in the schools of his native country until 1850 when he came to the United States and entered the Benedictine Order at St. Vincent’s Abbey. He was ordained a priest June 22, 1853, served several years in the mission in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and was prior of St. Vincent’s from 1862-1867, which position be held when he was chosen first abbot of St. Louis on the Lake. After governing the abbey eight years he was appointed Vicar Apostolic of Northern Minnesota. For thirteen years he continued to administer this difficult office, when increasing infirmities compelled him to resign in November 1888. He spent the remainder of his life in retirement from active duties and usually sought relief during the winter months in Los Angeles or Savannah. Few tributes to his memory were as striking as that in the Ave Maria (Notre Dame, Indiana): “The late Bishop Seidenbusch, O.S.B. was another of those silent workers whose selfless lives have helped to up build the church in America. Twenty years ago he was called from the quiet Benedictine abbey to organize a new vicariate in Northern Minnesota over which he presided with singular success until the erection of the see of St. Cloud. The pioneer work had then been done, but Bishop Seidenbusch was broken in health and he willingly laid down the episcopal burden to labor not less devotedly in a humbler capacity. His life was as edifying as it was full of great deeds for the Church and he was especially devout to the Blessed Virgin.”
Apart from the inauguration of the observatory no prominent event in the development of the college is to be chronicled for this year. Abbot Peter continued to act as Director of Studies even after his election and to the end of the school year. Father Oswald Baran had been appointed Principal of the Commercial Department in the fall of 1894. The dramatic societies exhibited very few plays, the principal of which was “Garcia Morenos Tod” which was played by members of the St. Boniface Literary Association to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of its foundation. The total number of students enrolled was only 223 (36 seminarians and 187 in all other departments). On commencement day, June 20th, the degree of B.A. was conferred on 2 candidates, that of Ph.B. on 5 and that of M.A. on 25. Nine gold medals were awarded.
On July 10th a great meeting of the Alumni was held. On the 11th, Abbot Peter Engel was solemnly installed in office by the ordinary of the diocese, Bishop Marty, in the presence of the Archbishop of St. Paul, Most Rev. John Ireland, Bishops McGolrick of Duluth, Shanley of Jamestown, Fink of Kansas City, Kansas and Haid, Vicar Apostolic of North Carolina, four abbots and a great number of secular and regular clergymen.
In the second year of his administration, Abbot Bernard had resolved to extend the activity of the Benedictine Order to the pacific coast in response to an invitation from the late Bishop Junger of Nesqually, Washington. Property was purchased in Thurston County, Washington, about four miles east of Olympia and 29 miles from Tacoma for the purpose of founding a monastery and college. Here an elegant frame structure 100 feet long and 60 feet wide, four stories high, was built and ready for occupancy late in the summer of 1895. Fathers William Eversmann and Wolfgang Steinkogler were the pioneers in this western mission; they were joined in the spring of 1895 by Father Demetrius Juenemann, and when, in August of the same year, Abbot Peter paid his first official visit to the young foundation, he took with him Father Oswald Baran, whom he appointed Director of St. Martin’s College (as the new institution was named). In September followed Frater Benedict Schmit and three lay brothers, among whom was Brother William Baldus who for a quarter of a century had presided over the kitchen at St. John’s. The College was opened in September to a small class which, however, has been constantly growing until now it has crept far above the hundred mark. At later periods Fathers Matthew Britt, Justin Welz, Adolph Dingmann, Mark Wiechmann and Ulric Scheffold joined the faculty. Even the venerable pioneer of St. John’s, Father Cornelius Wittmann, in 1896 volunteered to go West, and devote the rest of his life to another pioneer task. Nine years later, however, having almost completely lost his eyesight, he returned to St. John’s, where if heaven grant him respite he will be able to greet the alumni of 1857 at the jubilee celebration. St. Martin’s developed so rapidly that in the winter of 1903 arrangements were made to organize the community as an independent priory. On March 9, 1904, Father Demetrius Juenemann was elected the first canonical prior of St. Martin’s and duly confirmed by the Holy See.
At St. John’s Father Oswald was replaced as Principal of the Commercial Department by Father Norbert Hofbauer. Having completed an advanced course in philosophy in Rome and graduated with the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Father Michael Ott returned from Rome in September and was appointed Prefect of Studies, which position he still occupies. In October of the same year Frater Bruno Doerfler was sent to Rome to pursue advanced courses at the college of San Anselmo.
Work during the second term was seriously hampered by a siege of diphtheria, which began in March and lasted to the end of April. None of the cases, which exceeded fourscore in number (including the pupils of the Industrial School), proved fatal. Classes were not, however, interrupted, even for a single day and those who were not afflicted, adapted themselves to the situation stoically while the quarantine lasted. For the closing event, a play was again resorted to; the dramatic societies selected the Shakespearean comedy “The Merchant of Venice,” in an adapted form, and played it fairly well on the eve of commencement day. The closing exercises were held on June 24th, the Bishop of St. Cloud presided for the last time (he died September 19th, 1896). Nine gold medals were awarded; the degree of A.M. was conferred on two candidates; that of Ph.B. on five; that of B.A. on three and that of M.A. on 33. The total enrollment was 227 (of which number 45 were seminarians and 182 in all other departments).
The Industrial School for Indian boys established in January 1885 was discontinued in June 1896 and the building occupied by the pupils became available for other purposes. The first floor of the building, the southern wing, which was damaged by the cyclone, was converted into shops and store rooms; the second floor was the temporary quarters of the abbey library; while the third floor was devoted to the museum and physical cabinet. Numerous generous donors had for years past presented curious and valuable specimens of every description, which for lack of proper space could not be displayed to advantage.
Among other improvements may be noted the organization of a reading room in connection with the students library, in its present quarters. The circulating library which at that time contained about 2,000 bound volumes, among them many valuable reference works, was henceforth daily at the disposal of those students who were ambitious to avail themselves of every opportunity to supplement their course of study by judicious reading. Shortly, magazines and newspapers were added to the equipment. (The first abbey library was on the second floor of the wing adjoining the south tower of the church, in a large room—since divided—facing east. The library had about 4000 volumes in 1880.)
Pleasant occasions for the students of 1897 were the visit of Bishop Shanley on September 29th and of Archbishop Gross on Thanksgiving Day. In the lecture course the most notable numbers were the lectures by Judge L.W. Collins and Mr. J.D. Sullivan, then county attorney of Stearns County.
Hitherto the twin church towers had harbored but one bell; in the spring of 1897 a chime of five bells was cast by Gardiner Campbell & Sons, Milwaukee, under supervision of Prof. John Singenberger. (Despite all the admiration our people had for Prof. Singenberger, they could never get him to come here in all the course of his long career in Milwaukee). They range in weight from 6150 to 1900 lbs. and are tuned to A, B, D, E, and F-sharp respectively. On May 12 Abbot Peter consecrated the chime; three days later its harmonious tongues pealed forth upon the evening air a song as full and sweet as these solitudes had never heard before.
One of first offices of the chime was to lament the death of one of the ancient figures in the history of St. John’s. On May 19 Brother Thaddeus Hoermann—Brother ‘Taddy’ he was familiarly called—closed his eyes in death after a life of almost fifty years spent in religion as a humble lay brother. For nearly thirty years his slow, lumbering conveyance had carried many a student or visitor from and to the railroad station, even before there was a railroad station at St. Cloud; nor did rain or shine either alter his schedule or the evenness of his temper. When advancing years incapacitated him for the service, he was sent to the monastery farm at West Union. The last days of his long life were spent at the Abbey. May his memory never perish.
A month after the installation of the bells, the great clock was put in position in the south tower of the church. Its mechanism operates the hands on the eight large dials (four in each tower) and connects with the chimes that strikes the quarters and full hours by day and night seasons. One of the last academic events was the oratorical contest on June 13th for a medal to be awarded in elocution. Only the board of judges, members of the faculty selected for the occasion, witnessed the struggle which lasted two hours and for which there were eight entries.
Commencement day was celebrated very quietly: no elaborate program had been prepared. On June 24th the usual award of prizes took place and before that day’s sun had set, the class had scattered in all directions. On the list of the faculty were the names of 32 professors, besides three lecturers: the total enrollment of students was 227 (of which 39 were seminarians and 188 students of all other departments). The degree of Ph.B., was conferred on one candidate, that of M.A. on 34 graduates of the commercial course. Eleven medals were awarded.
These annals now have arrived within a decade of the present time. The closer the chronicler approaches the present, the more embarrassed is he in his choice of material from the numerous sources at his disposal. Hence he will confine himself to the principal events, leaving to some future historian the task of narrating the story of this decade in greater detail.
Frater Alcuin Deutsch was sent to the college of San Anselmo in Rome to pursue a higher course in Philosophy and kindred branches; and Father Anselm Ortmann attended special courses at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. Father Ulric Scheffold was appointed Principal of the Commercial Department as successor to Father Norbert Hofbauer, who now permanently retired from this department with which he had been connected, with exception of a few years, since its establishment in 1878.
Repeatedly dissatisfaction was expressed with the system according to which sports were conducted: here and there a voice timidly queried, “Why not start something like an Athletic Association?” The question was finally taken up and an organization by that name was called into being during the second term.
On October 16th Bishop James Trobec, the successor of the late Bishop Marty in the see of St. Cloud, paid his first visit as a bishop to St. John’s and was accorded a reception. The students and members of the community formed a procession that escorted his carriage from the observatory to the abbey church where he was received according to the ceremonial. On the following day, which was the anniversary of the consecration of the church, he officiated at solemn pontifical High Mass and on the next day, the 18th, for the first time held ordinations here.
The best stage production of the year was Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” which was played on Washington's Birthday under the direction of Mr. Lawrence J. Vaughan, whose acquaintance with the stage eminently qualified him to produce something worthy of notice. Mr. Vaughan himself played the role of Mark Antony. We may observe in passing that since his ordination, Mr. Vaughan has gained the reputation of being a scholarly and convincing orator and lecturer in various parts of this country and Canada.
During the summer work was began at decorating the church: the work was designed and executed by Mr. George F. Satory of Winona, Minnesota.
On three evenings in June, the University Band gave open-air concerts on the lawn before the main building. During the same month Mr. John P. Winter, 1895, a graduate of the commercial course and just on the threshold of his career as an attorney at law, delivered several interesting lectures on topics on Commercial Law.
A hot week of examinations followed—heat, such as no class of students ever experienced here. All kinds of cooling devices were used in vain and it was a great relief that commencement was set for the 22nd. On that day Bishop Trobec celebrated Holy Mass for the students and administered the sacrament of Confirmation to a class of 33. At 9 o’clock a.m. the school year was formally closed with the distribution of prizes and award of degrees. The diploma of M.A. was conferred on 42 graduates of the commercial course and 8 gold medals were awarded. The total enrollment for the year was 259 (of which number 43 were seminarians and 216 in all other departments).
The Seminary, which had hitherto been under the immediate supervision of a Prefect now received a Rector, the first to hold the office being Father Athanasius Meyer. Then as now, the members of the two classes in philosophy as well as the students of theology were called seminarians.
Little by little the electrical era began to manifest its presence: there were electric bells, electric clocks, the telegraph, the telephone, even some demonstrations with wireless telegraphy and X-rays had been made, but the most substantial accomplishment was the introduction of electric light. Owing to the isolated location of the institution, it was necessary to build a powerhouse for the dynamos and engine, and to “wire” the vast buildings, not forgetting even the laundry, observatory and stables. Work was begun during the summer and on October 10th the service was tested. The study halls were now brilliantly lit up by dazzling clusters of lamps. In the church the old Bailey reflectors with their oil-lamps made way for scores of incandescent bulbs arranged artistically about the capitals of pillars and along the walls of the sanctuary and shedding a light that lent new charms to the soft colors and gleams of gold in the decorations.
On September 24th occurred the death of Father Anthony Capser, who is known to the students of several classes as a professor and disciplinarian. He was 57 years of age and had served many years in the mission in Pennsylvania and the Western States.
On January 19th, 1899, the students attended services for the repose of the soul of Rev. E.J. Lawler, 1884, who died January 17th. He was pastor of Hinckley when that town was wiped out by flames in 1894 and many lives were lost. On that occasion he did heroic service, but his health suffered such a shock in consequence that he never fully recovered. At the time of his death be was chaplain of St. Mary’s Hospital, Duluth.
By far the best dramatic production of the year was that entitled “Fidelis von Sigmaringen” by the members of the St. Boniface Literary Association during an entertainment complimentary to Bishop Trobec on March 21st.
In the lecture course appeared Judges Searle and Collins, and Mr. P.J. Winter, whose services merit the thanks of many classes that had the pleasure to listen to gentlemen of such distinction and ability.
On May 4th the seminarians in a body repaired to St. Cloud to assist at the obsequies of their late fellow-student, Mr. Matthias Meyer, whose life had been cut short by consumption when he was about to enter upon the course of theological studies. He was a brother of Father Athanasius Meyer, the Rev. Rector of the Seminary.
The school year terminated on June 23rd when the class honors were awarded. Bishop Trobec and Rev. Dr. Heffron, Rector of St. Paul Seminary, himself an old student of 1879, addressed the outgoing class. The degree of Ph.B. was conferred on two candidates, that of A.M. on one, and that of M.A. on 30. Eight medals were awarded. The total enrollment was 237 (of which number 47 were seminarians and 190 students in all other departments).
During vacation Father Placidus Wingerter went to Rome to be a professor at the Greek College of San Atanasio, and Father Bruno Doerfler, who returned from the Eternal City was appointed Director of the University to succeed Father Alexius Hoffmann.
From the catalogue of 1899 it appears that the old designation of classes by numerals (such as First Class, Second Class, etc.) was no longer acceptable. The preparatory course was now to be styled the elementary course, with three years assigned for its work. The classical course was made to comprise seven years: the academic department comprised the third, second and first academic classes, the collegiate department comprised the classes of humanities, poetry, rhetoric and philosophy. For the ecclesiastical course four years were assigned (one year of philosophy, in addition to that in the classical course, and three of theology and allied studies).
If the scientific course was up to this time treated as a “useful complement of a liberal education,” it was owing to the limited facilities for offering the student a comprehensive course. The time had arrived when it became advisable to establish a separate course for sciences. The faculty offered courses in general physics, applied electricity, mechanics, astronomy, zoology and botany.
In the Seminary, Father Bernard Kevenhoerster succeeded Father Athanasius Meyer as Rector; he has filled the office since that time to the present day. Father Athanasius was appointed to the responsible position of a master of novices in which capacity, in addition to numerous professorial duties, he is still active (He remained novice master to the end of his life in 1931).
During the vacation preceding the school year, the plastered ceilings in several of the class rooms were replaced by ceilings of pressed steel, and the rickety wooden staircase leading to the north side entrance made way for an elegant iron structure.
On Thanksgiving Day the several musical organizations presented a very interesting program, in which the vocal numbers were especially highly appreciated. On December 20, on the eve of the beginning of the Christmas holidays, the Alexian Literary Association presented the drama “William Tell,” an adaptation of Schiller’s famous drama.
Again relentless death knocked at the college gate, this time summoning in the prime of his life Father Lambert Thelen. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, August 25, 1874, and made his entire course at St. John’s, became a member of the Benedictine Order in 1895 and was ordained a priest March 22, 1899. As early as May 1898, his health gave way and he was compelled to retire from active work. In July 1899 he was sent to Colorado to find relief in the air of the mountain region. All efforts were of no avail; he died at Pueblo, Colorado, March 8, 1900, and his remains were brought to St. John’s for burial.
During the ensuing summer strenuous efforts were made to beautify the landscape with trees. The cyclone (tornado) had swept away many acres of woodland and the bitter blasts of winter had full sway. Several brave attempts had already been made at building up a new forest, notably on the peninsula opposite the laundry, called “Adrianople,” and in the tract between Caesar’s bay and Boniface bay. The good work was continued north of the buildings, along the lakeshore and wherever, as a writer for The Record puts it, there was place to dig a hole. Although neither the present, nor even the next generation will see St. John’s surrounded by such a forest as it had twenty years ago, the local arboriculturists have perpetuated their memories in a delightful way.
A prominent feature of the year was the revival of sports and the organization of the St. John’s Athletic Association on a grander scale than ever. Under the auspices of the association, baseball and football teams were trained, games scheduled and sporting goods furnished. The fates and fortunes of the association will be narrated in a later chapter.
Closing exercises were held June 22. The degree of Ph.B. was conferred on two candidates; that of M.A. on 41. On the rolls were the names of 226 students (37 seminarians and 189 in all other departments). Eight medals were awarded. The catalogue was larger than that of any preceding year and was adorned with twelve half-tone engravings. A change was introduced in the naming of the classes of the classical course: they were now called, beginning with the lowest, the first, second, and third academic, and the freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior class. In the schedule for the scientific course, the first two years are identical with the first and second academic, the following five are independent. The class of 1900 signalized itself by adopting college colors (blue and cardinal) and a college yell. July 18th and 19th witnessed an enthusiastic assembly of the alumni, at which the various branches were well represented.
During vacation the Rt. Rev. President, Peter Engel, departed for Europe and after visiting the principal cities and Benedictine monasteries of the continent, attended the consecration of the church of San Anselmo, connected with the Benedictine university of the same name, in Rome, on November 11. He returned to St. John’s December 16th.
The first class of the twentieth century sat down to its tasks promptly, resolved to set a pace for the following ninety-nine classes of the new age. A biological laboratory was fitted up in the first floor and classes in botany and zoology were organized.
On October 5 the students met in the Assembly Hall to celebrate the namesday of their Rev. Director, Father Bruno Doerfler. Music and addresses filled out a pleasant hour, and Father Bruno was made the recipient of several useful presents as souvenirs of the occasion. This may be a slight incident to commemorate; yet the event stands to the credit of the class of 1901, as demonstrating their respect for their superior.
As a pleasant close of the century, the Alexian Literary Association presented the stirring drama “Pizarro” on December 20th. So well was the play received, that the members accepted an invitation of Mr. Davidson, manager of the St. Cloud Opera House, to perform it in that city on January 16th following. The press notices were exceedingly complimentary.
An event, the first of its kind at the institution and one which turned out to be a veritable ovation, was the celebration of the Silver Jubilee of the priesthood of Father Francis Mershman, the senior professor at the institution, on January 9, 1901. On January 1st Father Francis had celebrated the anniversary at Luxemburg, Stearns County, where he had offered the Holy Sacrifice for the first time twenty-five years before. The seminarians at St. John’s felt that they could not permit the occasion to pass without a demonstration, for Father Francis had been a teacher in the seminary ever since 1876. On the evening of the 9th, an entertainment was given by the seminarians assisted by the musical organizations of the college. Bishop Trobec and a number of the secular and regular clergy of the diocese and from neighboring states were present. Addresses were made in German, English and Latin, and a valuable keepsake was presented to the Rev. Jubilarian. Father Francis’ name occurs in the list of the faculty as a professor since 1869. The snows of age are upon him now, but his cheerful disposition carries him triumphantly through the wear and strain of an educator’s life.
Washington’s birthday saw the debut of the newly organized St. John’s University Dramatic Association in that fascinating comedy, “The Old Captain’s Idea, or the Living Statue.”
Early in the year the public was informed that the faculty contemplated building a gymnasium and a library in the near future, and before many moons elapsed, the first important steps had been taken to realize the idea. Mr. C.R. Aldrich, the Minneapolis architect, was entrusted with the task of drawing plans for both buildings. Work at excavation for the library building was begun April 12th and within a month the foundation walls were completed. The masons at once were set to work on the foundation for the gymnasium, which stands a very short distance to the northwest of the buildings, while the library is located off the southwest corner of the middle building. The contract for erection of the library was let to Mr. J. Heimann of St. Cloud for $13,100. By the end of the school year both buildings were steadily progressing.
On June 20th, commencement exercises were held. Eight medals were awarded: the degree of B.A. was conferred on four graduates in the classical course and that of M.A. on 41 graduates of the commercial course. The total number of students enrolled was 243 (39 seminarians and 204 other students). “With the martial sounds of a drum and a fife” the outgoing class marched to the railway station with waving banners and streamers in college colors. The coaches placed at the disposal of the students, and even the locomotive, were decorated with the colors and so the first class of the twentieth century rushed out gleefully, hopefully into the broad field of action.
Four weeks later, July 17th, Father Norbert Hofbauer, whose name is familiar to many classes of students, closed his eyes in death. He had come to St. John’s as a slip of a boy in 1867; he had no wealth beyond a few musical instruments and exceptionally brilliant talents, not only for music, but for almost every other subject. In 1873 he entered the Order, in 1877 he was ordained a priest: from 1877-1879 he was sub-prior and from 1879-1889 prior in the monastery. He organized the commercial college in 1877 and was its principal for many years. In the 1880’s he organized the orchestra and was its director to within a short time before his death. A very brief illness preceded his death, which by reason of its comparative suddenness, came as a powerful shock to his many pupils and friends.
In consequence of the removal of the Collegeville station building by the Great Northern Railway Company, the authorities of the institution were compelled to erect near the station some kind of shelter for students and visitors to St. John’s. A spacious two-story frame building was erected to accommodate the station agent, Mr. A.J. Kugler and his family, as well as the post office and express and ticket office.
Hitherto the duties of a chaplain had been divided between the Director of the College and the Director of the Sodality; it was now deemed expedient that the work be confided to one person and Father Bernard Kevenhorster, who had been appointed Director of the Sodality, became the first official Chaplain of the students, and holds the position at the present time.
Failing health induced Father John Katzner, the director of the musical department, to retire from active college work and take medical treatment. He has not regained his original health and vigor, nor taken up college work since that time, but devotes himself to pomology and tree-culture, in both of which lines he has been very successful. His apple orchard and tree plantation are sights worth seeing. Some of the results of his experience have been communicated to horticultural journals. He is at present one of the vice-presidents of the Minnesota Horticulture Society. His successor in the direction of the musical department was Father Edmund Basel.
Father Ulric Scheffold, for four years Principal of the Commercial Department, resigned that position to go to Washington and help at building up St. Martin’s College. He left St. John’s just before the opening of the school term, and at once entered upon his duties in the west. At present he presides over a pastoral charge in Seattle, Washington. At St. John’s, he was succeeded in the position of principal by Father Kilian Heid.
The Record in October 1901 chronicles the fact that Mr. Rupp was erecting a general store within a stone’s throw from the cemetery. Since Mr. Broker’s discontinuance of the store at Collegeville years ago, there had been no store in the vicinity.
When the rugged season set in, the new gymnasium, although not finished in the interior, was opened for use. “The new gymnasium,” says The Record in November 1901 “presents a castle-like appearance of great symmetry and beauty.” It is constructed of the best quality of Menominee pressed brick upon a massive granite foundation. The extreme length and breadth of the building are 120 and 93 feet respectively. The total height from the ground to the top of the 16-ft. flagstaff is 67-ft. The main building (63 x 114-ft.) is divided into two large halls. The one to the south is 30-ft wide, 60-ft. long and 22-ft. high; it will serve as a gymnasium and recreation room for the smaller boys. The larger hall is 60 x 80-ft. on the ground and 22- ft. high, with an elevated track running around the entire hall at an elevation of 9-ft. The room will be used by the larger students and will afford ample space for gymnastics and athletics. Being entirely free from pillars and other obstructions, it is an ideal place for handball, basketball, indoor baseball, tennis and other games, the running track serving admirably as a grand stand to accommodate the spectators. The two large halls of the main building are separated by a solid brick wall, so constructed that, in case the number of students will greatly increase, it can be removed without impairing the strength of the building in the least, thus providing an immense track-hall 60 x 110-ft. and 22-ft. from floor to ceiling. Nearest the main entrance, is the office of the physical director, whilst to the left a winding stairway ascends to the upper floor, in the circular tower. On the south side of the main passage are the bath and toilet-rooms. A large basement 20 x 90-ft. in dimensions, under the front portion of the building, will accommodate two bowling alleys. The second floor of the front contains a billiard room, 18 x 25-ft. in dimensions, from which access is gained to the running track in the main hall. The entire building is heated from the central steam plant and lighted by electricity. Next in order was the appropriate equipment of the gymnasium and the installation of a physical trainer.
On the evening of St. Cecilia’s and of Thanksgiving Day the faculty and students were regaled by musical treats.
During the Christmas holidays the abbey library, the museum, musical department and photograph gallery were moved from their old-quarters to the new library building.
The latter is a three-story, fireproof structure, 52 x 88-ft. On the ground floor is the abbey library, which now contains about 21,000 volumes; on the second floor is the museum with office and storeroom. On the third floor are the photograph gallery and twelve music rooms, each furnished with either a piano or an organ. The space vacated in the college by the removal of the music rooms to the new building was utilized for classrooms.
Again the work of the classroom was crippled by the prevalence of sickness, so that not even a celebration of Washington’s birthday could be held. The buildings were under quarantine for a short time, and no case proved fatal.
In spring the outfit for the gymnasium arrived and the resources for exercise and amusement increased by the construction of a brick handball alley at the northern extremity of the campus, near the tennis court.
Father Bruno Doerfler found time amid his varied duties to promote fish-culture. It was through his efforts the institution obtained exclusive fishery rights in St. John’s Lake, and in course of the summer, the State Fish Commission placed a considerable number of walleyed pike in the lake. At the same time a trout pond was constructed near the Watab for raising that excellent variety of fish. The work has grown considerably in dimensions and is now in charge of Father Bruno’s brother, Father Hilary Doerfler.
At the commencement exercises June 20th the degree of B.A. was conferred on two candidates and that of M.A. on 40 graduates. Seven medals were awarded. The total enrollment for the year was 331, being the largest number hitherto enrolled. Of these, 46 were seminarians and 285 in all other courses. The great leap in numbers is partly due to the establishment of a winter school in 1901. This department was instituted for the benefit of young men whose circumstances did not permit them to attend school, except during the winter months. By way of an inducement, the terms were fixed for such students at $90.00 to cover tuition and board from November 4th to March 25th.
After three years of meritorious work Father Bruno Doerfler laid down the burdens of his office and became librarian of the abbey. He subsequently became instrumental in organizing the German Catholic colony in the valley of the Saskatchewan, Canada; in 1905 left St. John's to assume editorial charge of the “St. Peters Bote,” the organ of the colony, and since 1906 has been canonical prior of St. Peter’s Monastery, Muenster, Saskatchewan. His successor in the office of director was Father Leonard Kapsner, who for two years previous had been treasurer of the university, and disciplinarian.
During vacation a campus had been graded for the juniors north of the buildings, thus making it possible to separate the older from the younger students more effectual during recreation time. Part of the third floor of the college buildings was converted into laboratories and lecture rooms for the departments of physics and chemistry, and the room formerly used as a chemical laboratory was turned over to the class in mechanical drawing.
On October 4th occurred the death of Father Melchior Bahner. Born in St. Cloud, Minnesota, December 9, 1870, he entered St. John’s in 1883, made vows as a Benedictine on August 30, 1890, and was ordained April 25, 1894. Upon the advice of his physician, he went to the Bahama Islands in 1892 and after his ordination, assisted in the mission at Nassau. Early in the present year he felt that his earthly course was run and begged to return to Minnesota. He did not resume active work but continued steadily declining in health, until death released him from his sufferings at the age of not quite thirty-two years.
For Thanksgiving Day the St. John’s University Dramatic Association prepared a catching German comedy “Rinaldo Rinaldini,” and at the uuletide entertainment they performed “Major Andre,” a tragedy. On February 1st and on Washington’s birthday the musical organizations appeared in concerts.
After gracing the landscape for thirty long years, the romantic little chapel on the island fell a prey to flames on April 17, 1903. It had been built by students and clerics in 1872 and was much admired by all who saw its red walls and white spire gleam though its rich setting of forest.
It was a great year for athletics; the pages of The Record fairly bristle with glowing reports of victories along every line of effort. One event was well calculated to stir up a more general interest in physical development, a feature in education that is too generally disregarded. It was the Field Day held May 27th, the first event of its kind in our history. On the program were a 50-yard dash, 100-yard dash, running broad jump, shot put, discus throwing, half-mile relay race, not to forget the sack-race.
On Commencement day, June 19th, the degree of Bachelor of Science was conferred on one candidate and the degree of M.A. on 27 graduates of the Commercial course. The usual exercises were diversified by an address by Mr. William Markoe, 1869, a zealous worker in the interests of the International Truth Society. Seven medals were awarded. During the year 337 students were enrolled (39 seminarians and 298 in all other departments).
The staff of professors was increased by the return of Father Alcuin Deutsch from Rome, where he had spent six years in study at San Anselmo, graduating with the title of Doctor of Philosophy this year. He was at once appointed professor of philosophy and is active in that capacity to this day.
Although the Gymnasium and outfit were at hand for some time, physical training had not been organized on a systematic basis. In fall of this year (1903) a special instructor in this line of work was secured in Mr. Peter Boquel, of South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. As a first venture he was engaged to teach from October 1 to April 1, covering the period when outdoor exercises are at a minimum and when the continual indoor life is most apt to tell upon the physical health of the student. The trainer, besides conducting the regular culture classes, voluntarily acted as coach for the athletic teams.
During October Mr. J.W. Arctander spent several days at the institution and created two pleasant evenings for the students by illustrated lectures on Alaska, its history, resources, attractions and future. His glowing accounts were a revelation to those who imagined that the North was synonymous with ice and death.
The annual retreat in the seminary was conducted by Rev. H.J. Untraut, of the diocese of La Crosse from February 23 to 26.
During the year the several organizations found time to prepare programs for the chief festival occasions. On Thanksgiving Day an entertainment was given by the musical organizations, the only specialty introduced being an exhibition of Indian club swinging. On December 15th, the 25th anniversary of the Rt. Rev. Abbot’s ordination, an entertainment complimentary to him was given at which the St. John’s University Dramatic Association performed “Maurice, the Woodcutter.” On December 22 there was a concert, with gymnastical and legerdemain performances by Mr. A. Moosbrugger, of St. Cloud. On March 4, the Dramatic Association presented “Handy Andy,” on the 17th a small program was executed. The last entertainment was on Memorial Day. On the latter also the Field Day exercises were held.
Although sickness was less prevalent than in proceeding years, two cases proved fatal. The first was the case of Joseph Hall, of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, who died November 20, 1903 after a brief and apparently not very serious illness; the second was Frank Fuessy, of Royalton, Minnesota, who succumbed to a severe siege of pneumonia on February 12, 1904. In both instances the remains were shipped to their homes for interment. Three priests of the Order and former professors closed their earthly career during this school year. Father Timothy Vaeth, born, in Baltimore, Maryland July 14, 1854, professed as a Benedictine in 1882, ordained July 26, 1885, and pastor successively at Luxemburg, St. Joseph, Duluth, New Munich and East Minneapolis, where he was stationed since 1894, died November 4, 1903. He was followed on March 11, 1904 by Father Pancratius Maehren, born in Conzen, near Cologne, Germany, May 24, 1846, professed 1871, ordained September 21, 1874. He was the first professor of natural sciences at St. John’s and later labored in pastoral charges at Minneapolis, Meire Grove, Richmond, Pierz, Freeport and Farming. From September 1893 to April 1895 he was prior at the abbey. He died at Farming, his last station. On May 20, 1904 followed Father Joseph Vill, born January 8, 1835 in Germany, professed 1862, ordained February 2, 1867. He labored as missionary in many of the missions of Stearns County and towards the end of his life lived in retirement as chaplain at several charitable institutions.
The continual difficulty of procuring suitable male hands to conduct the kitchen led to the introduction of a number of Sisters of the Presentation from France in May 1904. A separate residence was built for them west of the library building.
On June 5th the members of the Alexian Literary Association held a public debate on the subject: Resolved that the adjudication of disputes between employers and employees should be made part of the administration of justice.
A distinguishing feature of the commencement exercises on June 23, was an address by the Rev. L.J. Vaughan, of Altoona, Wisconsin. On this occasion seven medals were awarded; the degree of Master of Arts was conferred on one candidate; that of Ph.B. on one; that of A.B. on two; that of B.S. on three; and that of M.A. on 21. Diplomas in shorthand and typewriting were conferred on three graduates. On the rolls appear the names of 310 students (32 seminarians and 278 in all other departments).
On June 29, after the class of 1904 had adjourned, the public celebration of the silver jubilee of the Rt. Rev. Abbot’s ordination was celebrated; at the same time a great meeting of the alumni was held.
After an absence of five years in Rome, where he had filled responsible positions in the Greek College, Father Placidus Wingerter returned to St. John’s and resumed his labors as professor of sacred scripture and languages. During his sojourn abroad he secured many valuable books for the faculty’s library.
Father Hugo Tell, who received a pastoral appointment, was succeeded as treasurer of the college by Father Richard Simmer. For the gymnasium the services of Mr. A. Moosbrugger of St. Cloud, were secured for this year.
No changes of importance had been made in the curriculum of studies, but special efforts had been made to render the scientific course more efficient and attractive.
Pleasant and memorable days of the year were November 6th, the Rev. Director’s namesday; Thanksgiving Day, on which “The Proscribed Heir” was produced; Yuletide entertainment, at which the German comical play “Der gescheiteste Schwabenstreich” proved the irresistible attraction; Washington’s birthday; March 7th, when the play “Falsely Accused” was performed; the concert on April 4th; and finally that on June 13 in honor of the newly ordained disciplinarians, Fathers Pius Meinz and Paul Neussendorfer.
The annual retreat in the seminary was conducted from February 27 to March 3 by Father William O.S.B. of St. Cloud.
On October 27th, 1904, Father Alphonse Kuisle died at the abbey. Born in the diocese of Augsburg, Bavaria, October 15, 1839, professed as a Benedictine 1869, ordained December 22, 1872, he was pastor at St. Cloud, Richmond, Minneapolis, Stillwater and of Collegeville congregation (since 1895). Since 1899 he had also been sub-prior of the abbey. On February 27, 1905 Father Theodore Kevenhoerster died at Nassau, Bahama Islands. He was a brother of Father Bernard, rector of the seminary, and born in Alten-Essen, Prussia, April 8, 1877. He made profession as a Benedictine August 28, 1897 and was ordained June 15,1902. Since 1897 he was a professor and disciplinarian in the commercial department. A few months after his ordination his health failed; upon the advice of physicians he repaired to Colorado, but returned to Minnesota in the summer of 1903. In October of that year he left for the Bahamas, never more to return alive. He spent the rest of his days in missionary work at Nassau and the news of his death caused deep regret. His remains were escorted to St. John’s by his brother, Father Bernard, and interred on March 7th.
On March 28 and April 5 Mr. Joseph B. Himsl, 1888 graduate, county attorney of Stearns County, lectured before the Commercial class on commercial papers and contracts. This was the second instance of a former alumnus ascending the lecture platform here.
Commencement day exercises were held June 21. The degree of A M. was conferred on one graduate (the late Rev. Nicholas Niedere of Hastings); that of Ph.B. on two; that of A.B. on one; that of M.A. on 20, and shorthand certificates on one. Seven medals were awarded. The entire number of students enrolled was 306 (34 seminarians and 272 in all other departments).
During vacation the Rev. Director, Father Leonard Kapsner, in consideration of the unsatisfactory state of his health, requested his superiors to relieve him from duty in the position he had held for three years. He continued in active service as a professor during part of the next school year, but in fall 1906 went to the Pacific slope to assist at St. Martin’s College. He was succeeded as Director at St. John’s by Father Albert Erkens, the present incumbent.
Father Albert is a native of Minnesota, being born in Jordan October 2, 1874. He pursued his course of classical studies at Teutopolis, Illinois, entered the Benedictine Order at St. John’s in 1896 and was ordained June 11, 1901. He has been active as a professor since 1896 and brought the shorthand and typewriting sections into prominence and efficiency.
On August 5th, Father Simplicius Wimmer died at the abbey after a long illness. He was born in Bavaria, December 10, 1844, professed 1869, ordained September 29, 1872. He was one of the founders of the St. Boniface Literary Association. During his long career he attended many of the missions in the vicinity, for a number of years was professor of moral theology in the seminary, and for a short time was stationed in New York City.
During vacation one half of the basement in the north wing was fitted up as a bathroom with ten shower baths housed in marble stalls. This improvement together with the new lavatories, which are in every way abreast of the times, contributes to the sanitation of the buildings.
In September Father Bede Mayenberger was sent to Rome for a course of higher studies at San Anselmo. He is the fourth representative of St. John’s at that institution.
For this school year Mr. Harry A. Comeau, of New London, Connecticut was secured as instructor in physical culture. He was well qualified for his line of work, having served his apprenticeship under skilled masters in the east. To the usual exercises he added, for such students as chose to avail themselves of the opportunity, lessons in fencing, boxing, wrestling, and athletics. He also had a set of physical examination instruments installed to examine and record the physical progress of his pupils.
Besides the usual monthly notes in deportment and application, monthly examinations and class notes were introduced. These notes were handed to the Rev. Director who supplied copies of them to parents or guardians, desirous of being informed of the pupil’s progress. It is a timely provision and makes for thoroughness, at the same time offering a good opportunity for cooperation between the faculty and parents.
In the evening of September 21st, General C.C. Andrews, of St. Paul, Chief Fire Warden of the State of Minnesota and a vigorous champion of the cause of forestry, delivered an illustrated lecture on American and foreign forests and forestry, and made an earnest plea for the preservation of what is still left of woods.
On October 14 a reception was held for the Rt. Rev. Albert Pascal, vicar apostolic of Saskatchewan, who paid his first visit to the abbey, accompanied by the prior of St. Peter’s, Canada, Rt. Rev. Alfred, O.S.B. Speeches and music filled the evening; the good bishop spoke very entertainingly of conditions in the north and of his labors in the Arctic Circle.
Four months later another prelate was accorded an enthusiastic reception. Bishop Augustine Schinner of the newly erected diocese of Superior was introduced by Bishop Trobec, of St. Cloud. In the forenoon of February 16th an entertainment was improvised for the distinguished visitor, at which he addressed the students in a vigorous and timely speech.
Fathers Alcuin Deutsch and Anselm Ortmann supplied the lecture course; the former delivered several illustrated lectures on Italy, the latter on astronomy. For these lectures an improved instrument, the reflectoscope, was purchased. It may be used for the purpose of projecting lantern slides in the ordinary way, but is especially valuable for reflecting colored prints and opaque objects.
In the life of the student, joys and sorrows alternate as well as they do in the rest of the world. The saddest feature of this year was the death of Eugene Whalen on January 18, 1906, after a short illness of tubercular meningitis. His sorrowing parents were present at his bedside when he surrendered his soul into the hands of his Creator.
The musical department suffered a loss (we hope, only temporarily) by the departure of Father Edmund Basel from Asheville, North Carolina early in March. He was afflicted with some throat trouble, found little or no relief in special treatment, and was advised to seek a milder climate. Last summer he left Asheville for Nassau, Bahama Islands, where he is at present.
The annual retreat for the seminarians was conducted from March 28 to 31 by the Rt. Rev. Abbot.
The first all-around Athletic Meet and Gymnastic Entertainment, the first of its kind given here, was held in the gymnasium in the afternoon of November 16,1905. All the participants were junior students. A similar event, in which all the advanced classes took part, formed part of the delights of Thanksgiving Day. The literary and musical societies entertained on Thanksgiving, by performing “The Malediction,” a drama in 3 acts; on December 21, there was a concert at which Professor Magnus G. Schutz, 1885 who had just left the far West to make his abode in the East, volunteered to sing some of his beat songs; on Washington’s birthday the farce “Freedom of the Press” was presented; on March 7, the members of the Seminary gave a polyglot and musical entertainment; speeches and declamations were delivered in nine languages, six of which are taught at the institution; on St. Boniface Day, June 5, the dramatic section of the St. Boniface Literary Association presented “Oblivio.”
On May 17, the venerable Father Cornelius Wittmann celebrated the golden jubilee of his ordination. Although his sight was impaired, he officiated at the solemn High Mass, at which Bishop Trobec, of St. Cloud, delivered an elaborate discourse on the labors of the Benedictines in Minnesota and of the share Father Cornelius had in the work. In the evening the dramatic association presented the historical drama “Alexander III.”
Much interest centered in the exercises of Field Day, May 30. It was an ideal day in every respect and many friends of outdoor sport from neighboring places had come to witness, the events. The exercises were conducted on the college campus.12 medals, gifts of alumni and friends of the institution, were awarded the winners in the several contests.
Commencement exercises were held on June 21. An address to the graduates was delivered by Mr. William F. Markoe, 1870, on “The Absolute Necessity of Christian Education for the Preservation of the Nation,” a discourse as striking and convincing as it was interesting. Eight medals were awarded. The degree of A.B. was conferred on two candidates; that of M.A. on 30 and Amanuensis Certificates in Shorthand on three. Total enrollment: 314 (of which number 36 were seminarians and 278 in all other departments).
At last the jubilee year has dawned: the fiftieth school year opened and as these lines go to print is still in progress. By way of preparation for a new era, new floors were laid thorough out the greater part of the college buildings: the dining room received a ceiling of pressed steel and new electroliers.
Father Kilian Heid assumed direction of the orchestra, and Father Isidor Siegler took charge of the violin class, in view of the fact that Father Edmund Basel was still abroad under medical treatment.
An important change was made in the commercial course. It was observed that students considered themselves fully equipped for commercial life when they had learned a system of bookkeeping. They had gone forth but soon discovered that they lacked essentials and that without an ordinary fundamental education, the knowledge of bookkeeping was a pure delusion and a snare. Hence the course was divided into two grades, the first of which, as the catalogue reads, “comprises those studies that compose the foundation for a profitable pursuit of the technical subjects.” For advancement to the second grade a written examination is required. This may oblige the student to remain longer at school than under the older system, but it ensures a better start and gives less occasion for dissatisfaction and regret.
On October 23, Mr. Warren Upham, secretary of the Minnesota State Historical Society, delivered a scholarly lecture on “The First White Men in Minnesota.”
According to custom the Reverend Director’s names day, November 15, was celebrated as a holiday. In the evening an entertainment was furnished by the college organizations. A magnificent leather armchair was presented the Reverend Director as a remembrance of that pleasant occasion.
A few days later Father Richard Simmer, chief disciplinarian of the junior hall and treasurer of the institution, left for a milder climate upon advice of physicians. He spent a part of the winter in Alabama, but intends to return before the end of the present term. The duties of treasurer were assumed by Father Pius Meinz.
Besides the lecture already mentioned there were three series during the winter: five by Father Alexius Hoffmann on North America, South America and the Insular Dependencies of the United States: two by Father Anselm Ortmann on Glacial Lake Agassiz, and two by Father Bernard Kevenhoerster on Yellowstone Park. Most of the slides used for illustrating these lecturers were made by the home photographic artist, Father Fridolin Tembreull.
For Thanksgiving Day “The Merchant of Venice,” adapted, was prepared, and rendered with exceptional success. It was followed up at the yuletide entertainment by a performance of “The Last of the Narragansetts.”
During the Christmas holidays, the students whose circumstances did not permit them to enjoy the sweets of vacation under their paternal roof-tree improvised an entertainment under the auspices of the “Hard Luck Club.”
This year, too, the angel of death claimed a victim. Leo J. Heck left college in good health to spend the Christmas holidays at his home in St. Paul. Towards the end of the holidays he was prostrated with typhoid fever and died January 20. His classmates conveyed their condolence to his bereaved parents in the shape of a beautiful floral tribute and a handsomely executed set of resolutions.
Father John Katzner celebrated the silver jubilee of his ordination on February 5, and although “there was none of the glamour and external signs of joy which usually surround such an occasion,” he received numerous felicitations from those of his friends who had known him in the days of his energetic activity as a professor of music.
An unusually severe winter with much snow defeated all efforts at outdoor sport beyond a stroll for a whiff of fresh air; still indoor amusements and exercises were the order of the day without intermission. A specimen of the work accomplished in the gymnasium was given on the evening of February 12 at a gymnastic entertainment in the Assembly Hall. The program was executed by the body of student instructors under direction of Mr. H.A. Comeau.
On the evening of Washington’s birthday an English sketch “The Hypochondriac” and a German farce “Der Dumme August” furnished an hour of pleasure. As at all functions of this kind, the orchestra filled the intervals with the best music at its disposal. On St. Benedict’s day the dramatic association presented Bulwer-Lytton’s “Cardinal Richelieu,” a drama in five acts.
The annalist has thus reached the present. Three months of the school year remain, but it will scarcely be difficult to forecast their history. The attendance during the year was 303 (32 seminarians and 271 in all other departments). Minnesota furnishes the bulk of students (219); next follows Wisconsin with 26; North Dakota, 21; Iowa, 14; South Dakota, 10; New York, Montana and Canada, each 3; Michigan, Illinois, Louisiana and the Bahama Islands, each, 1. Although the total enrollment falls slightly short of last year, the average attendance has probably the best of any year.