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Kevenhoerster, John Bernard


Bishop, first vicar apostolic of the Bahama Islands; b. Alten-Essen, Prussia, Nov. 1, 1869; d. Bahama Islands, Dec. 9, 1949. He was the son of Bernard Kevenhoerster, an architect and contractor, and Agnes Plantenberg. The family left Germany in 1881 to settle in the German-speaking parish of St. Joseph, Minneapolis, Minn., where John attended St. Joseph's School until 1883. In 1887 he began his studies for the priesthood at St. John's Abbey, Collegeville, Minn., and entered the novitiate on July 25, 1892. He made his vows as a Benedictine a year later and was ordained on June 24, 1896. In October 1907, he was appointed pastor of St. Anselm's Parish, Bronx, N.Y., where he built a school, opened one of the first public playgrounds in the city, and constructed a church modeled after the Hagia Sophia. On Dec. 3, 1929, he was made vicar forane of the Bahamas, where he served for 20 years as a missionary of the poor. After becoming domestic prelate and prefect apostolic in 1932, he was consecrated bishop on Dec. 21, 1933. By the time the Bahamas became a vicariate apostolic in 1941, Kevenhoerster had introduced 19 churches and missions, 14 grammar schools, St. Augustine's Priory School, and the Bahamian teaching sisterhood. In 1946 Kevenhoerster was honored as an assistant at the pontifical throne.

[b. j. howard]

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