Cottonwood County MN Churches- Catholic

Catholic Church, Windom


While this denomination is not strong in Cottonwood county, there are good churches at a few points, including Windom, Jeffers and Westbrook. It is doubtful if any church in southern Minnesota has ever been organized under conditions similar to the Catholic church at Westbrook. It was the agitation and assistance of the non-catholics that made the church possible. After much solicitation and persuasion, M. J. Breen took up the task of securing money to build the church and in only three instances was he refused. Of all those who subscribed, only one man refused to pay. Lots for the church building were donated by John Sammons.

In February, 1914, ground was broken for the foundation and in April the masonry was completed: On the 7th of June, 1915, the church was dedicated, at a total cost of two thousand three hundred dollars. However, much work and material were donated. Recently an improvement, costing two hundred dollars, has been made. At the time the church was dedicated there were only eleven families connected with the church and since that time very few have been added. The congregation is served once a month by Father Prokes, of Windom, but arrangements have been made whereby the church is in a circuit with Dundee and now the congregation will have services semi-monthly.

Eighteen years ago the Catholic families in Windom could be counted on the fingers of the two hands. As immigration continued to increase, a few Catholic families moved into the town and community and the need of a church where they could assemble and worship according to the tenets of their faith was sorely felt. The little church on the east side of the railroad track, owned by the Lutheran congregation, was procured and moved onto the two lots donated by the president of the Cottonwood County Bank. This church was used about three years when it became quite inadequate to the needs of the congregation. An agitation for a new building was started, which resulted in the up-to-date and modern structure located in the northeast part of town. This building was dedicated, November 24-27, 1902, at a cost of twelve thousand dollars. Among the pastors who haye served the congregation have been the following: Father Sande, Father Vandeniker, Father Schmeider, Father Hennekes, Father Prokes. This congregation now has about sixty families.

On January 17, 1911, Catholics in Jeffers and the surrounding community met at the call of the pastor, Rev. Anthony Hennekes, at the chapel for the purpose of raising funds for a church building. One thousand six hundred dollars were subscribed in actual money; one hundred and forty dollars in subscriptions, and four village lots were donated by August PaufhaL On February 7, 1911, announcement was made to the people that Right Rev. P. R, Heffron had given his permission, for the erection of the church. Permission was also given to the Reverend pastor to conduct the Sunday vespers on the fourth Sunday of each month and mass the following morning. Albert Schoeider and Theophilus Tibbedeaux were presented to the elective board as the first trustees and their names were ratified.

On June 20, 1911, a meeting was called for the purpose of letting the contract for the building of St. Augustine's church. The contract was awarded to Louis Faucher, of Windom, at a cost of one thousand eight hundred and twenty dollars.

On August 20, the church was ready for divine service and the church was dedicated. It was impossible for the Right Reverend Bishop to be there for the occasion. The services began at ten o'clock in the morning, the dedicatory services being followed by high mass. The choir from Sandborn, assisted by local talent, furnished the music for the occasion. The parish of Sandborn also donated the altar for the church.

The first child baptised in this parish was Helen McShea, the daughter of John and Mary McShea. This church now has a membership of about thirty families.