Archbishop John Baptist Purcell named this institution for his own Alma Mater at Emmittsburg, Maryland, when he founded it on the brow of the hill overlooking the Cincinnati basin on the east, with the sweep of sister eminences and the gleaming curves of the Ohio River spread out in panorama below. 1,800 ecclesiastical students have been educated for the Catholic priesthood in the century of the Seminary's existence, and the Price Hill buildings are now used by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd to uplift and educate orphaned, dependent and under-privileged girls for useful and happy lives.
After the Seminary, founded by Bishop Edward D. Fenwick, O.P., first head of the Cincinnati diocese, had been located in several places, including Seventh and Sycamore Streets, Eighth and Central Avenue, and at St. Martin's, Brown County, Archbishop Purcell decided to establish it permanently on Price Hill. Patrick Considine donated five acres for a site in 1847. A stone building was erected thereon by John and James Slevin at their own expense -- an approximate cost of $22,000. The Seminary was opened here in 1851. Additions to the building were made during the years 1856 and 1869-1870, a new wing being built in the last named year. The chapel, notably beautiful in design and furnishings, was badly damaged, with the college building, by a fire in 1863, but was at once restored to its former condition.
The financial difficulties of the Cincinnati Archdiocese, during the Seventies, caused Mount Saint Mary's to be closed temporarily, but it was reopened in 1887 by Archbishop William Henry Elder, $100,000 having been donated by Reuben R. Springer to relieve this crisis in Archdiocesan affairs. St. Gregory Preparatory Seminary was finally located in Mount Washington, and when the Sisters of the good Shepherd bought the Price Hill property in 1904 both the major and minor seminaries were consolidated at Mount Washington. The present fine Mount Saint Mary Seminary building at Norwood Heights was built and dedicated by Archbishop Henry Moeller between the years 1922-1923. There the major Seminary remains, while St. Gregory's is still at Mount Washington, likewise in a fine modern group of buildings. . .
Local Bishops Connected with the Seminary
The late Archbishop Henry Moeller, a native Cincinnatian, at one time headed Mount Saint Mary Seminary as Rector. Archbishop Francis J. Beckman, reared on McPherson Avenue, Price Hill, was Rector from 1913 to 1924, and Bishop Urban J. Vehr of Denver, Colorado, also a former Price Hillian, held the rectorship from 1929 until his appointment and consecration to the Western See last year. Archbishop Beckman preached the sermon at the centenary services, conducted by Archbishop John T. McNicholas, in commemoration of the Seminary's centenary, in St. Peterís Cathedral on December 1, 1929.
Others of the alumni who became Bishops are:
Bishop Frederick Reese of Detroit
Bishop H.D. Juncker of Alton, Illinois
Bishop Josue Young of Erie, Pennsylvania
Bishop Caspar Borgess of Detroit
Bishop John Quinlan of Mobile, Alabama
Bishop Edward Fitzgerald of Little Rock, Arkansas
Bishop A.M. Toebbe of Covington, Kentucky
Bishop Joseph Dwenger of Fort Wayne, Indiana
Bishop John L. Spalding of Peoria, Illinois
Bishop S.H. Rosecrans of Columbus, Ohio
Bishop Anthony Durier of Natchez, Mississippi
Bishop Richard Gilmour of Cleveland, Ohio
Bishop Nicholas Gallagher of Galveston, Texas
Bishop Henry J. Richter of Grand Rapids, Michigan
Bishop N.C. Matz of Denver, Colorado
Bishop Thomas S. Byrne of Nashville, Tennessee
Bishop Patrick McGovern of Cheyenne, Wyoming
Archbishop Samuel A. Stritch of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Bishop Alphonse Smith of Nashville, Tennessee
Bishop Francis W. Howard of Covington, Kentucky
Bishop John F. Noll of Fort Wayne, Indiana
Bishop James J. Hartley of Columbus, Ohio
Rectors of the Seminary Since the Forties
The first Rector of the Seminary, after its establishment on Price Hill, was Rev. Michael Hallinan, 1851-1854; Bishop Quinlan, 1854-1859; Rev. William Barry, 1859-1863; Rev. D. O'Regan, 1863; Rev. F.J. Pabisch, 1864-1879; Bishop Thomas S. Byrne, 1887-1894; Monsignor John B. Murray, 1894-1904; Archbishop Moeller, 1904; Monsignor John M. Mackey, 1905-1908; Rev. Joseph A. Shee, 1908-1913; Archbishop Beckman, 1913-1924; Monsignor Louis J. Nau, 1924-1929; Bishop Vehr, 1929-1930; Rev. George J. Rehring, present incumbent.
As noted above, the last four Rectors (Presidents) of Mount Saint Maryís have been connected directly with Price Hill, Monsignor Nau serving as pastor of St. Lawrence Church from 1917-1925. Bishop Henry J. Richter, one of its professors, was the first pastor of this parish, serving from 1869 until his appointment to the Bishopric of Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1883.
The valuable social service rendered by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in the Training School for Girls which has succeeded the historic Mount Saint Mary's Seminary carries on its earlier mission of spreading the truths of Christian faith and the principles of Christian morality in this modern day and time.
The site of the present hospital had formerly been known as the St. Peter German Independent Cemetery and had been used for internments from 1831 to December, 1870. Finally, in 1874, it was handed over to the Sisters for the erection of an institution for charitable purposes.
Owing to considerable bequests of the late Honorable Reuben Springer and Joseph Nurre, whose deeds of generosity and kindness are well remembered by the congregation, the Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis were able to erect a hospital not only to carry out the above obligations, but more especially to answer the urgent appeals for admission of incurable patients who could not be accommodated at St. Mary's Hospital, Betts and Linn Streets.
At present St. Francis Hospital has a capacity of 387 beds. In caring for the incurables, the Sisters carry on a work that was especially dear to the heart of their foundress, Mother Frances Schervier. Men and women of all creeds are united in their praise of the splendid work that St. Francis Hospital is doing.
By a coincidence, Bishop Joseph H. Albers, the second Auxiliary to the Archbishop of Cincinnati, was assistant pastor to St. Lawrence Church for a short time before serving as Secretary to Archbishop Moeller and as a chaplain in the World War. Rt. Rev. Henry Joseph Richter, first Bishop of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was first permanent pastor of St. Lawrence parish, and his brother's family resided many years on Elberon Avenue, near Phillips Avenue. Dr. Richter was on the Seminary faculty and was chaplain of Mt. St. Vincent (Cedar Grove) Academy of the Sisters of Charity, another local landmark; for a time his residence was on the extensive tract owned by the Sisters. The old Academy is now Seton High School for Girls.
Gen. E. P. Scammon was a professor also at the Seminary before the Civil War in which he won his high rank as a general officer. Rev. Xavier Donald McLeod, who left the Presbyterian for the Episcopal and finally the Episcopal for the Catholic faith, was too a contemporary faculty member at the Seminary. A brilliant lecturer, poet, historian, and general writer, Father McLeod was killed by a train at Sedamsville, in the Seventies, while serving as pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Church. . .
On the beautiful autumn morning of November 13, 1863, the sacred function of blessing the church took place, Bishop Rosecrans officiating and Father Wittler celebrating high mass. The congregation was by no means a rich one, but $1,881 was raised among the parishioners. The energetic young pastor took up the task of securing the balance and toiled on the streets of Cincinnati personally soliciting from outsiders financial aid and succeeding in raising the large sum of $6,350. This work, though not rich in temporal rewards, exacted the life of the young priest, frail in body and of delicate health, for, on one of his collection tours, he contracted pneumonia and died on May 14, 1866. Father Wittler was but thirty-seven years of age.
In September of 1866 came the Rev. Boniface Godfrey Topmoeller, a young man like his predecessor, full of energy and zeal. In 1867 the grounds were enlarged by purchase and in 1870 a school building was erected adjoining the church at a cost of $7,800. In this church and school have all the German Catholic families received both their religious and secular educations. Father Topmoeller served the church faithfully for many years, and like his energetic predecessor received his death blow while on a collecting tour. On a hot sultry day in August of 1887 he was stricken with apoplexy and after lingering many days passed from life August 24, 1887, aged forty-seven years.
The pastors of St. Boniface since 1873 are Revs. John Dominic Kress (1887-1900), Joseph A. Meyer (1900-1907), and the present pastor, George X. Schmidt. The following assistant pastors have also served: Revs. George X. Schmidt (1892-1896), Henry J. Winner (1896-1898), Anthony Moeller (1898-1900), Bernard Beckemeier (1900-1901), Herman Limbeck (1901-1902), Frederic B. Veil (1902-1905), Charles W. Kuehnle (1906-1913), Louis Evers (1912-1913), Francis B. Sieve and Bernard J. Wellman (1913).
St. Boniface had given four of her sons to the priesthood -- Revs. John T. Schopp, Louis H. Yauss, P. Robert Glassmeier, and P. Bede Knapke. Two churches have also sprung from this parent congregation -- St. Claire in College Hill and St. Pius in South Cumminsville.
On October 13, 1910, the present pastor of St. Pius Church, Rev. John Berning, was asked to organize the new parish. On December 1st, H. Bertke, Frank Fischer, A. A. Luckey, and Edward Meyer were appointed as the building committee and met at the Sacred Heart rectory, Camp Washington, and approved a plan for a temporary church. The northwest corner of Borden Street and Dreman Avenue was secured for the church purposes. The building was dedicated April 16, 1911, by Rev. F. Henry Bene. Shortly after the day of dedication the congregation met and elected a church committee made up of the following gentlemen: A. A. Luckey, treasurer; Joseph Fischer, secretary; H. Bertke, H. Laubernds, H. Kroner, F. Gerwe, Joseph Heyker, and J. Weitlauf. The congregation numbers 250 families.
Ground for St. Pius School was broken March 19, 1912. The building was dedicated June 28, 1913, by the Most Rev. Henry Moeller. The school building is 67X102 feet, and contains eight regular class rooms and two music rooms. An auditorium seating 750 is one of the possessions of the congregation in which they take great pride.
© 1998-2008 by David J. Endres