Wisconsin, Catholic Church in
WISCONSIN, CATHOLIC CHURCH IN
A state in the North Central U.S., embracing 56,154 sq. miles including 1,449 sq. miles of inland water surface. It was admitted to the Union on May 28, 1848. Madison
is its capital; Milwaukee, its largest city. By 2001 the population of Wisconsin reached 5.2 million of whom1.6 million, or about 31% were Catholic. There were five Catholic dioceses in the state, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee (established as a diocese in 1843, made an archdiocese in 1875), and four suffragan sees: Green Bay (1868), La Crosse (1868), Superior (1905), and Madison (1946).
Early History and Missionary Activity. Widely scattered Native American mounds give evidence of a primitive culture that goes back 10,000 years. The oldest tools were fashioned out of copper by Woodland and Hopewell natives, who were at home in the middle and upper Mississippi Valley. Clay was used for making pottery and stone, for arrowheads, knives, and beads. Aztalan, a Wisconsin native settlement, reveals the influence of Mexican Aztecs. Water routes and barriers afforded by Lakes Michigan and Superior, and by the Mississippi, made Wisconsin the center of the native population in the Middle West and the goal of French explorers, traders, and missionaries. In 1634 French explorer Jean Nicolet landed at Redbanks near Green Bay where he was greeted by the Winnebagoes. After the Iroquois wars of the 1640s, missionaries returned to the Great Lakes seeking souls in the wake of Nicolet. Traders like M. C. des Groseilliers and P. E. de Radisson arrived in 1656; the latter wrote the first detailed account of Wisconsin natives and geography.
Fr. René Ménard, S.J., accompanied a band of Ottawa and wintered on the Keweenaw Bay in 1660 only to proceed the next year farther west to Chequamegon Bay. Wishing to minister to the remnants of Huronia, he traveled inland and became separated from his party some days southeast of Lac Court Oreilles. He was never seen again. Fr. Claude allouez, S.J., the "Francis Xavier" of the western missions, followed to serve the French and the natives at Chequamegon Bay, establishing the mission of the Holy Spirit across from La Pointe in 1665. Returning from a visit to Quebec, some Potawatomi convinced Allouez to travel with them from Saulte Ste. Marie and visit their settlement in Green Bay. On Dec. 3, 1669, the feast day of Francis Xavier, he dedicated a mission to that priest near De Pere. Allouez's successor at Chequamegon Bay, Fr. Jacques marquette, S.J., fled the area in 1671 with his flock after some of them had killed a Sioux leader and justly feared a reprisal. The Holy Spirit mission was next visited by Fr. Frederic baraga in 1835 who built a church and after eight years of ministry was serving about 700 native converts. Marquette became even more famous when he and explorer, Louis Joliet, traversed the Wisconsin River to the Mississippi and traveled down it in 1673.
In 1679 Fr. Louis hennepin, with two other Recollects, accompanied the sieur de La Salle aboard the Griffin arriving at Green Bay. They continued down the Wisconsin coast in canoes until they reached the St. Joseph River in southwest Michigan. The Fox War of 1682, Cadillac's establishment of a trading post and fort at Detroit in 1701 as part of the English and French struggle for control of the area, and the devastations of the liquor trade all led to a general hiatus of missionary activity in the Wisconsin area. In fact, there was no regular priestly service from 1728 to 1823, when the pastor of St. Anne's in Detroit began a church in Green Bay, completed two years later by another Detroit priest, Vincent Badin. Meanwhile, on the southwestern edge of Wisconsin, the St. Louis Trappist, Marie Joseph Dunand, served the Catholics at Prarie du Chien in 1816 and in one decade there were 700 Catholics.
Ecclesiastically, the mission territory fell under the Diocese of Quebec until the victory of the American colonists over Britain and the establishment of the Diocese of Baltimore in 1789. The Diocese of Bardstown was given control of the entire Northwest Territory after 1808 and then the Diocese of Cincinnati assumed control in 1821, whose Bishop Fenwick was the first bishop to visit Wisconsin (Green Bay, March 27, 1829). Wisconsin was transferred to the Diocese of detroit at its creation in 1833. Finally, with the erection of the Diocese of milwaukee in 1843, the Territory of Wisconsin (1836) now had its own diocese. Wisconsin became the 30th state in the Union in 1848.
In 1828, Samuel mazzuchelli, O.P., (b. Milan, 1806) answered the call of Fr. Frederick Rese (1828) to serve the Diocese of Cincinnati and its Dominican Bishop Fenwick. After ordination in Cincinnati in 1830, Mazzuchelli was soon roaming over the northern Michigan and Wisconsin areas ministering to natives and western settlers. He opened a school in 1834 in Green Bay for the Menominees. He used native languages and teachers and did not separate the native children from their parents. He published a Winnebago prayer book in 1833. By 1835 he was ministering to the newly arrived Irish lead miners along the western Wisconsin-Iowa border. After a respite in Milan, he returned to the Wisconsin missions where he established courthouses, as well as 40 parishes and nine schools, furthering the immigration of even more Catholics to these sites. He opened St. Thomas College for men at Sinsinawa Mound in 1846 (ceased after the Civil War). At the same site in 1847, he gathered women interested in becoming teachers, and there laid the foundation of the community of Dominican sisters. He died in Boston in 1864 and is buried in St. Patrick Parish, Benton, WI.
While Mazzuchelli centered his work in the southwestern portion of Wisconsin, his colleague, the Swissborn Fr. Martin kundig (1805–79), ministered to Catholics around Milwuakee. Like the Italian Dominican Kundig, a friend, John Henni, responded to Rese's call for aid to the church in Cincinnati. Kundig and Henni were ordained together in 1829, the year before Mazzuchelli. When Rese was named bishop of Detroit in 1833, he brought Kundig with him. He left Michigan in 1842 with Bishop Peter Paul Lefevere, coadjutor of Detroit, to care for the missions in the Milwaukee area of Wisconsin. Kundig set to work helping to found, in addition to Catholic schools, the first public school supported by taxes in Wisconsin in 1845 in the basement of St. Mark's church in Kenosha. In addition to his many other labors, Kundig founded the Palestrina Society at St. Peter parish, utilizing his own formidable singing skills.
Diocesan Development. Responding to the petition of the Fifth Provincial Council of Baltimore in 1843, Rome made Milwaukee a diocese, and Kundig's Swiss compatriot, John Martin henni (1843–1881), was consecrated the first bishop on March 19, 1844. He arrived in Milwaukee with Fr. Michael Heiss, a friend from Cincinnati, ready to serve the 19,000 Catholics and 19 priests in the territory. The largest ethnic group was and would remain German-speaking people. Henni was credited with the phrase, "Language saves faith," and his successors encouraged that Germanic culture. In 1857 Henni, along with Lefevere in Michigan, ceded pastoral care of the northern native tribes to Bishop Frederic Baraga of Saulte Ste. Marie. Henni made several attempts to start a seminary and finally the cornerstone of St. Francis de Sales was laid on July 15, 1855, and the seminary opened in January 1856 with Heiss as rector. The school opened to laity in 1972. Henni had Archbishop Gaetano Bedini, nuncio to Brazil, dedicate the new St. John the Evangelist Cathedral (1853); held the first diocesan synod to implement the Baltimore legislation (1847); and established the first St. Vincent de Paul conference (1849) to support the local orphanages. He also recruited several communities, including the Sisters of Charity of Emmitsburg who established St. Rose Orphan Asylum (1848); the Blessed Virgin Mary Sisters of Dubuque (1848); the Franciscan Sisters of Penance and Charity (1849; founded St. Clare
College in 1932, later moved to Milwaukee as Cardinal Stritch College); the School Sisters of Notre Dame under Mother Karoline Friess (1850); the Jesuits of St. Louis (1855); Capuchins for work with the natives (1857); the Sisters of St. Agnes (1858 at Barton; founded Marian College in 1936 at Fond du Lac); the German Dominican Sisters (eventually at Racine) under Mother Benedicta Bauer (1863; founded St. Albertus College in 1935, later named Dominican College); the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity (founded Holy Family College at Manitowoc in 1869); the School Sisters of St. Francis (1871; founded St. Joseph's Teaching College in 1936); and German Franciscans to minister in the northern Native-American missions (1878). The bishop traveled to Europe to recruit clergy and raise mission funds; began a German language paper to counter anti-Catholicism, Der Seebote, (1850s) and encouraged an English paper in 1871 which became the Catholic Vindicator (1874; changed to the Catholic Citizen in 1878 and by 1880 being edited by a lawyer, Humphrey J. Desmond, who later helped found the Catholic Press Association); and opened a church music school under the layman, John Singenberger (1848–1924). The Capuchins began a Latin School at Mt. Calvary in 1860, adding the College of Lawrence of Brindisi four years later. The Jesuits began Marquette College in 1881. Holy Hill was dedicated as a Shrine to Mary in 1858 (Discalced Carmelite Friars took charge in 1906).
Upon the recommendation of the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore (1866), Rome approved the erection of the Dioceses of Green Bay and La Crosse on March 3, 1868. Henni became the first archbishop of Milwaukee in 1875 with these two new dioceses and Marquette, MI, as the three suffragan sees. With this change, Henni took on a more public posture on the national scene and often became the object of Irish-American episcopal concerns regarding the effective Americanization of the immigrant population. This became especially noteworthy when Henni requested Rome to name his good friend, Michael Heiss (now the first bishop of La Crosse), as his coadjutor bishop. After two years of a German-Irish struggle over this matter among some Milwaukee priests and United States bishops, Heiss became coadjutor in April 1880. Henni died the next year.
The tall, dignified Michael heiss (1818–1890) was the first bishop consecrated in Wisconsin on Sept. 6, 1868, to serve the 30,000 Catholics and 15 priests of the La Crosse diocese. He brought with him from Milwaukee the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis who became the Francisan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. He dedicated the Church of St. Joseph as his cathedral in 1870, increased the number of schools from two to 24 and saw the number of priests rise to nearly 60. Heiss held the first diocesan synod at Prairie du Chien in July 1871 and would later convoke the first Milwaukee provincial council in March 1886, demonstrating the unity of the bishops in Wisconsin. Heiss also took over the care of the native missions in the north, inviting the Fathers of the Sacred Heart, St. Louis to serve there in 1878. He helped found St. John's College (later Sacred Heart College) in Prairie du Chien in 1871, with the help of John Lawler and the Christian Brothers.
The first bishop of Green Bay was the Austrian-born Joseph Melcher (1807–1873), who was consecrated in his diocese of St. Louis on July 12, 1868. Melcher began with 40,000 Catholics and 26 priests. He was succeeded by the Bavarian, Francis Xavier Krautbauer (1824–1885), who was consecrated in Milwaukee on June 29, 1875. The third bishop of Green Bay was the Austrian, Frederick Xavier katzer (1844–1903), his predecessor's secretary since 1878. He was consecrated on Sept. 21, 1886 in Milwaukee. Katzer was transferred to Milwaukee in 1891. He was followed by the Swiss-born, Catholic University of America canon lawyer Sebastian Gebhart messmer (1847–1930), who was consecrated in Newark, NJ, on March 27, 1892 (transferred to Milwaukee in 1903). Messmer welcomed the Canons Regular of Premontre who began St. Norbert's College in De Pere in 1893 and promoted other educational activities while continuing his own scholarship. Succeeding Messmer was Joseph Fox (1855–1915), consecrated on July 25, 1904.
Ethnicity and Catholic Schools. In Milwaukee, Heiss strongly supported the German heritage of the state and faced the growing opposition of Irish and Polish Catholics. The first Polish parish in Milwaukee was St. Stanislaus, founded in 1866. Michael Kruszka's Kuryer Polski ("Polish Crier") established in 1888, both criticized German control of the church in Milwaukee and agitated for Polish rights in the church. This became so pronounced that some of the bishops of Wisconsin, including Heiss's successor, Sebastian messmer, banned the reading of the paper by Catholics. Kruszka's lawsuit against this action was later dismissed. Messmer also fought with Kruszka's brother, Wenceslaus, one of his priests. Polish parish indebtedness and diocesan taxation of these parishes nearly led to a schism. Poles in Wisconsin felt accommodated, after the brief tenure (1914–1915) of the Milwaukee auxiliary bishop, Edward Kozlowski (1860–1915), and when Peter Paul Rhode (1871–1945) was named bishop of Green Bay in 1915. Poles succeeded to this post until the Most Reverend Robert Banks, auxiliary bishop in Boston, was named to the see in 1990. At the same time German Catholics were fighting for their own rights in the face of an Irish dominated American hierarchy. It was a Milwaukee priest, Fr. Peter Abbelen, whose 1886 memorial to Pope Leo XIII calling for better care of German immigrants triggered a hot contest between the German and Irish bishops in the Americanist dispute. In addition, all the German bishops in Wisconsin strongly supported and expanded the Catholic school system, often with the teaching in German, which ran counter to the Americanist's efforts to have education be an assimilating experience.
The Wisconsin bishops strongly opposed the Bennett Law of 1889 that required students be taught their major subjects in English and attend school in their own districts. Bishop Kilian Flasch of La Crosse voiced the official Catholic opposition in March 1890: "We have never received one single cent of state help for our schools—we want no state interference with them, either" (Fisher, 48). Lay Catholics were mustered into the battle and there was great cooperation with the Lutherans of Wisconsin. Candidates who opposed the legislation were elected in 1890 and they repealed the law in 1891.
When Katzer became the third archbishop of Milwaukee in January 1891, he strongly opposed the Americanist party in the American hierarchy. Thus he formally thanked Pope Leo XIII for his letter, Testem benevolentiae (1899), which took to task possible aberrations of the Americanist program. At the time, Katzer's colleagues in the hierarchy were claiming the letter had no application within the United States. Katzer witnessed the organization of the first Knights of Columbus Wisconsin council in 1900.
In the meantime, Catholic numbers in Wisconsin were growing. From 1870 to 1910 the number of priests increased from 197 to 837, serving 250,000 Catholics at the beginning of the period and 532,000 at the end. Katzer welcomed the Servites, Order of Servants of Mary, who opened a novitiate Mount St. Philip, at Granville Center in 1893 (closed in 1963).
Kilian Caspar Flasch (1831–1891), the rector of St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee, was named the second bishop of La Crosse and was consecrated on Aug. 24, 1881. His service at the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore on the committee for schools expressed his lifelong interest. Allied with the German bishops and some others in the Midwest he wanted the conciliar fathers to be stronger in their education legislation, demanding that parents send their children to Catholic schools under pain of mortal sin. Flasch's successor, James Schwebach (1847–1927), was consecrated on Feb. 25, 1892, at St. Joseph Cathedral. He and his fellow Wisconsin bishops continued their support of Catholic schools to such an extent that the percentage of parishes in Wisconsin with schools was higher than anywhere else in the nation.
Further Growth and Development. On May 3, 1905, Rome established the Diocese of Superior. Augustine Francis Schinner (1863–1937), the vicar general of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee was named the first bishop. Fear that the first bishop might be a Pole led Archbishop Messmer of Milwaukee (1847–1930) to write these strange words to Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore, "The longer I think over it the more it seems to me a dangerous experiment. The Polish are not yet American enough and keep aloof too much from the rest of us," (Barry, 275). Nothing more than this indicates the transformation that had quickly taken place in the German community and its assimilation to the American project. Schinner resigned in 1913.
Messmer's leadership in Milwaukee (1903–1930) marked a time of bureaucratization and centralizing control of the diocese. This was seen especially in his organization of the Catholic schools under an archdiocesan superintendant, Fr. Joseph Barbian. Like his colleagues, he also encouraged sodalities, the Holy Name Society, and conferences of Catholic men and women. He also confronted the rise of socialism in the early part of the century and muted his pro-German stance, along with many of his compatriots after World War I. In 1911 the Redemptorists began Immaculate Conception Seminary in Oconomowoc (closed 1987) and the Priests of the Sacred Heart established a novitiate in Hales Corners in 1929 leading to a Major Seminary in 1932. Messmer also established an official diocesan paper, the Catholic Herald, in 1922. In the midst of the Depression, his successor, Samuel stritch (1887–1958), organized an emergency fund drive in 1934, which was so successful that it became an annual diocesan appeal. Stritch had been transferred from the Diocese of Toledo to Milwaukee in 1930. Like his predecessors, Stritch supported education and especially the professional training of the sisters as teachers. He too held down diocesan expenditures during the Depression, refusing to rebuild his cathedral burned in 1935. Imitating structures in the National Catholic Welfare Conference, he established in 1937 a Secretariat for Catholic Action which coordinated youth, athletic, educational, devotional, and women's organizations. In 1935 he merged the Catholic Herald with the independent Catholic Citizen, under the leadership of Humphrey E. Desmond and Msgr. Franklyn Kennedy, and greatly increased its subscription rate. By 1981 the name was changed to the Catholic Herald. In 1940 Stritch was transferred to Chicago, and in 1946 he was created a cardinal.
Moses Elias Kiley (1876–1953), after serving as the spiritual director of the North American College (1926–1934) and bishop of Trenton (1934–1940), was named to Milwaukee. He has been described as the most autocratic of Milwaukee's archbishops. He also made great strides in recovering from the hiatus in building during the Depression. The cathedral was restored by 1943. He expanded St. Francis Seminary in 1956, creating separate high school and college seminaries by 1962. Kiley's time saw the development of the lay Cardign Movement in the diocese, the formation of the Catholic Family Life Bureau (1948) (which promoted the Cana Conferences and later Marriage Encounter), the beginnings of the Legion of Mary in Milwaukee (1946), and the arrival of the Ladies of Charity in 1956 to help needy children.
Wisconsin produced some significant priest-economists signaling a coming of age for the Church in this area; people like Francis J. haas (1889–1953), who advised President Roosevelt and was heavily involved in labor mediation and in 1943 became bishop of Grand Rapids; Aloysius J. muench (1889–1962), who challenged the Rev. Charles coughlin's monetary views during the Depression; and Peter dietz (1878–1947), who was involved in Catholic social justice issues and enjoyed the support of Archbishop Messmer.
Albert Gregory meyer (1903–1965) was transferred from Superior to Milwaukee in September 1953. He led the diocese on a building resurgence, especially with new schools trying to meet the growing suburbanization of Milwaukee's Catholics. In 1958 he was transferred to Chicago.
Alexander J. McGavick (1863–1948), an auxiliary bishop in Chicago, was named to La Crosse on Nov. 21, 1921. His greatest contribution was his support of the farmers. He appointed Fr. Urban Baer in 1936 to the Diocesan Rural Life Board. He also instituted the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine in all parishes in 1935. The Depression hit the churches as hard as other institutions and the bishop successfully prodded most of his parishes to pay off their debts. This frugality, however, prevented a raise in priests' salaries from 1928 to 1966. McGavick began a La Crosse edition of The Register in 1936 (which became independent as the Times Review in 1958). McGavick's old age gained him an auxiliary bishop, William Griffin (1881–1944), an old friend from Chicago, who was consecrated in Chicago on May 1, 1935. He was a strong arm for the bishop, especially in his relations with the priests, and was most noted for bringing the Catholic Youth Organization program from Chicago to La Crosse. By 1945, McGavick was 82 years old and thus needed the assistance of coadjutor John P. Treacy of Cleveland (1891–1964), who was consecrated in Cleveland on Oct. 2, 1945. The next year, Archbishop Cicognani, the apostolic delegate in Washington, DC, had to pressure McGavick into letting Treacy be of assistance. In fact, McGavick handed over the governance to him that year.
Treacy, after a very successful 1947 fund drive, began a seminary program that fall, and dedicated Holy Cross Seminary in October 1951 with 152 high school seminarians. He established the Brothers of Pius X in 1952 for various apostolates in the diocese, including the seminary. Treacy also built other high schools for the diocese, held the third diocesan synod (1955), and dedicated the new Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman in May 1962.
Peter Paul Rhode, an auxiliary of Chicago, was transferred to Green Bay on July 5, 1915, serving that diocese for 30 years, dying on March 3, 1945. Like his colleagues, he centralized much of the diocesan bureaucracy, especially the education and social service agencies. He also encouraged the develoment of sodalities for the laity. He was succeeded by Stanislaus Bona (1888–1967), transferred from Grand Island, NE, on Dec. 2, 1944, as coadjutor. Bona began a Green Bay edition of The Register in 1956. Bona also built a minor seminary during his tenure. Bona received the first auxiliary bishop for Green Bay in the person of John B. Grellinger (1899–1984), who was consecrated on May 16, 1949.
The Superior diocese saw a series of bishops in this time of growth. Schinner was succeeded by Joseph M. koudelka (1852–1921), an auxiliary of Cleveland, on Aug. 6, 1913, who worked to increase the number of parishes, missions, schools, and priests. Joseph Pinten (1867–1945) served as the third bishop from 1922 to 1926. He built a new cathedral for the diocese thus incurring a large debt with which his successor, Theodore Reverman (1877–1941), had to contend during the Depression. Next came William P. O'Connor (1886–1973), who served from 1941 until his transfer to the new diocese of Madison in 1946. He had been a chaplain in World War I and been awarded the Croix de Guerre for bravery. After the war, Albert Gregory Meyer (1903–1965), the rector of St. Francis Seminary and a very shy man, was named the sixth bishop of Superior in 1946. He spent his energy trying to create a sense of unity among the priests and parishes of this somewhat isolated diocese, and he established a diocesan paper to meet this goal. He was transferred to Milwaukee in 1953. While the diocese was established in anticipation of the growth of the port industry on Lake Superior, that growth never took place.
On Jan. 15, 1946, the Diocese of Madison was created from La Crosse and Milwaukee. The former semi-pro baseball player and current bishop of Superior, William P. O'Connor, was transferred on Feb. 22, 1946, to Madison. Like his brother bishops in Wisconsin, he rapidly expanded the educational opportunities of his people, brought in religious orders, enlarged the Cathedral of St. Raphael (1955), and held the first diocesan synod (1956), which served to unite the two sections of his diocese. O'Connor opened Holy Name Seminary in the fall of 1964 for high school seminarians, a culmination of the post-World War II Catholic confidence. After the Second Vatican Council, in another sign of the times, he organized one of the first Priest Senates on Sept. 21, 1966. On Sept. 3, 1963, O'Connor's secretary, Jerome Hastrich (1914–1995), was consecrated the first auxiliary bishop of the diocese. He spent most of his energies working with the poor, minorities, and migrants, establishing the Latin American Mission Program (1964) before his 1969 transfer to Gallup, NM.
Church in Change. The Dioceses of Wisconsin were very active in their implementation of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. This positive thrust was countered by the loss of priests and religious and the closing of numerous schools during the rest of the century. Social issues also caused some discord. Fr. James Groppi (1930–1985), a Milwaukee priest, participated in voter registration and anti-racism movements in the mid-1960s, and led an open-housing battle in Milwaukee in 1967 and 1968, leading to his frequent arrest and finally the passage of the ordinance. He was excommunicated when he married in 1976 and he continued to agitate for a married clergy and equal rights for women in the Catholic Church.
In La Crosse, Frederick W. Freking (1913–1998), having been transferred from Salina on Feb. 24, 1965, inaugurated a Priests' Senate in 1968 increasing the consultation with the clergy. He retired on May 10, 1983 and was succeeded by John J. Paul (b. 1918), an auxiliary of La Crosse since 1977, on Oct. 18, 1983. On Paul's retirement (Dec. 10, 1994), Raymond L. Burke (b. 1948) was consecrated the next bishop of La Crosse on Jan. 6, 1995.
Cletus F. O'Donnell (1917–1992), an auxiliary of Chicago, was named to Madison on Feb. 22, 1967, from which diocese he retired on April 18, 1992. He sought to implement the Vatican Council legislation, especially establishing a priests' council, Office of Marriage and Family Life, and a divorce support group. He also established a Board of Education. He obtained an auxiliary bishop, George Wirz (b. 1929), in 1978. William H. Bullock (b.1927) was transferred from Des Moines to Madison on April 13, 1993. In his first year in office, he wrote a pastoral letter on euthanasia, suicide, and the right to life. He also conducted a feasibility study of the seminary (1995) which concluded with the closing of the institution due to the number of priests needed to run it. Instead it has been turned into a diocesan center.
Joseph J. Annabring (1900–1959) succeeded Meyer in Superior (1954–1960). George A. Hammes (1911–1993) was consecrated for Superior on May 24, 1960, and retired on June 27, 1985, and was succeeded on that day by Raphael M. Fliss (b. 1930), who had been consecrated as coadjutor on Dec. 20, 1979.
In Green Bay, Aloysius J. Wycislo (b. 1908), an auxiliary of Chicago, was appointed on March 8, 1968 to succeed Stanislaus Bona. He retired on May 10, 1983, and was followed by Adam J. Maida (b. 1930), who was consecrated for Green Bay on Jan. 25, 1984. He was transferred to Detroit on June 12, 1990. His temperament was to see difficulties as challenges rather than problems and so he approached the governance of Green Bay in a very optimistic spirit. He held a diocesan synod in April 1988 which engaged some 400 delegates including ecumenical observers. He completed an educational endowment, the Lumen Christi Fund, of over $10 million, along with merging some schools and parishes and tightening the finances of the diocese. Robert J. Banks (b. 1928), an auxiliary of Boston, was appointed to Green Bay on Oct. 16, 1990, seen by some as a counter to his metropolitan's progressivism.
William Cousins (1902–1988), the bishop of Peoria, was transferred to Milwaukee on Dec. 18, 1958 and retired Sept. 20, 1977. He was followed by the Benedictine, Rembert G. Weakland (b. 1927), who was consecrated on Nov. 8, 1977. In 1979 he closed the preparatory seminary, opened by his predecessor in 1963, turning it into diocesan offices and a clergy retirement home. Weakland continued Wisconsin's service to various ethnic groups by establishing the first urban parish for Native Americans in 1989, as well as the ministering to the Hmong and Lao refugees during the 1980s. One of Weakland's last major undertakings was an extensive remodeling of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. Bishops from throughout Wisconsin, priests and representatives from each parish in the archdiocese, attended the Dedication Mass on Feb. 9, 2002.
In 1969 the bishops of Wisconsin, taking the cue from Vatican II that called upon the Church to be more involved in the world, established the Wisconsin Catholic Conference. The conference offered a forum where information and discussions are shared by the dioceses. It also coordinates the bishops' response, based on Catholic social teaching, to matters and issues of public policy that are of concern to the Church.
Catholic Institutions of Higher Learning. There are nine Catholic colleges and universities in the state, enrolling 37,000 students of all ages, races, and religions. Foremost of these is the Jesuit-administered Marquette University in Milwaukee. Established in 1881 as an all-male college, Marquette obtained a university charter from the State of Wisconsin in 1907. Two years later, in 1909, Marquette became the first Jesuit university in the world to officially admit women as students. In the 1960s, doctoral programs in religious studies, the sciences and humanities were introduced at Marquette. Other universities and colleges include Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee (sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis), Alverno College in Milwaukee (an all-women liberal arts college, established in 1887 by the Sisters of St. Francis), Edgewood college in Madison (sponsored by the Dominican Sisters, Sinsinawa), Marian College of Fond du Lac (sponsored by the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Agnes), Mount Mary College in Milwaukee (sponsored by the Sisters of Notre Dame), St. Nobert College in De Pere (established 1898, by the Nobertines), Silver Lake College of the Holy Family in Manitowoc (established 1935 by the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity), and Viterbo College in La Crosse (established by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in 1890).
Bibliography: h. r. austin, The Wisconsin Story (Milwaukee 1957). w. f. raney, Wisconsin (New York 1940). c. barry, The Catholic Church and German Americans (Milwaukee 1953). w. k. brophy, ed. Commemorative History, Catholic Diocese of Madison: Building our Future in Faith (Dallas 1997). p. l. p. johnson, Crosier on the Frontier: A Life of John Martin Henni (Madison, WI 1959). a. j. kuzniewski, Faith and Fatherland: The Polish Church War in Wisconsin, 1896–1918 (Notre Dame 1980). m. l. roman and e. m. gintoft, eds. "Catholic Herald Special: 150th Anniversary Commemorative Edition," Nov. 18, 1993. l. rummel, History of the Catholic Church in Wisconsin (Madison 1976).
[p. l. johnson/
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"Wisconsin, Catholic Church in." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wisconsin-catholic-church