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Lemke, Peter Henry

LEMKE, PETER HENRY

Missionary; b. Rhena, Mecklenburg, Germany, July 27, 1796; d. Carrolltown, Pa., Nov. 29, 1882. His parents, J. Martin and Friederike Lemke, sent him to the Lutheran cathedral school at Schwerin, Germany, in 1811. Later he attended the University of Rostock, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and received his license as a Lutheran minister in 1820. After reading the works of Martin Luther in 1823, Lemke lost his faith. He then went to Regensburg, Germany; there he was converted to Catholicism in 1824 and was ordained on April 11, 1826. He began his American missionary career under Bishop Francis P. Kendrick of Philadelphia, Pa., in 1834. The next year he was sent to assist Demetrius Gallitzin, the prince priest of Loretto, Pa. Here in western Pennsylvania Lemke bought land and founded Carrolltown. On Feb. 2, 1853, as Father Henry, he pronounced his Benedictine vows at the Priory of St. Vincent, Latrobe, Pa. In 1855 he moved to Doniphan City in the Kansas Territory, becoming the forerunner of the Benedictines at Atchison, Kans. In 1858 he revisited Europe and wrote a biography of Gallitzin. After holding pastorates in Elizabeth, N.J. (186177), he retired to Carrolltown.

Bibliography: p. beckman, Kansas Monks: A History of St. Benedict's Abbey (Atchison, Kans. 1957) 943. a. a. lambing, Ave Maria 19 (1883) 4145; 6871; 110113; 128132; 141143.

[r. j. murtha]

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