Father Joseph Kundek invited monks from the Einsiedeln Abbey in Switzerland to come to Indiana to serve the needs of local Catholics. The monks responded to the call, establishing St. Meinrads as a school for Catholic children. It would also serve as a school to prepare men for the priesthood.
|St. Meinrads Abbey|
|A Visit to the Land of Lincoln, Indiana|
A native of Ivanic, Croatia, Father Kundek attended Catholic school at the Gymnasium in Zagreb. Bishop Alagovic of Croatia admitted him to the diocesan school of theology. After his ordination in August 1833, Father Kundek decided to migrate to America to serve the needs of the growing German Catholic population in the Midwest. After studying German for a year in Vienna, Austria, he departed Europe on the ship Alliance on June 8, 1838. He arrived in Vincennes, Indiana on August 7, 1838. Since the Vincennes diocese ministered to only a few Germans, the bishop of Vincennes, Bishop Brute, sent him to Jasper, Indiana, a growing German town. Father Kundek established the Jasper mission on September 28, 1838. By the end of 1839, he established the town of Ferdinand and founded a church there. To minister the needs of the Catholics in southern Indiana his ministerial route covered 700 miles as he traveled between towns. Through letters to his European contacts, he encouraged Catholic to move into the area and by his efforts; thousands of German Catholics migrated into the Jasper area over his lifetime.
|St. Meinrads Stained Glass Window|
|A Year of Indiana History - 2016|
The monks named the Abbey after St. Meinrad, a Ninth Century monk that lived in Einsiedeln, Switzerland. Known as the "Martyr of Hospitality," he lived as a hermit and solicited gifts from wealthy patrons, which he passed on to the poor. Thieves killed him in 861 to get the gifts he kept at his shrine. The monks that established St. Meinrads began teaching school classes shortly after their arrival. By 1861 the expanded their offerings to include courses in theology and philosophy. Today is one of two arch abbeys in the United States and nine in the world.
To visit St. Meinrad, contact:
Saint Meinrad Archabbey
200 Hill Drive
St. Meinrad, Indiana 47577
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
© Paul Wonning