a unit of the Pittsburgh Diocesan Union
of the Holy Name Society.
In March, 1910, the Holy Name Society was also introduced among
the boys of all grades of the parochial school.
The confraternity was resurrected in 1921 in view of the great
Holy Name Parade. In September of 1921 the confraternity was
reorganized at St. Augustine's and the members took part in the parade
on the second Sunday in October, October 16, 1921. On January 8, 1922,
a meeting was held and election of officers took place with a fairly
good attendance. Again on October 15, 1922, the confraternity took part
in the Holy Name Parade attending in full numbers and making a very
Likewise the members of St. Augustine's Holy Name Society took
part in the Holy Name Rally held on April 1, 1928, in the Arsenal
Theater. The theater was filled to its utmost capacity and the Rt. Rev.
Bishop Hugh C. Boyle expressed his genuine pleasure in reviewing those
large crowds of men and young men.(15)
The CONFRATERNITY OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE was introduced into the
diocese of Pittsburgh by Bishop Canevin on October 6, 1907, in
compliance with the command given by Pope Pius X. in the encyclical
letter of April 15, 1905, which had enjoined upon all bishops the
obligation to introduce this confraternity into every parish. This
confraternity is a society of lay persons who assist the pastor in the
work of giving catechetical instruction. To guide the pastors in their
efforts of introducing this confraternity Bishop Canevin issued a Manual of Confraternity
at Pittsburgh in 1907 and reprinted several times). To cover incidental
expenses every member of the confraternity was supposed to pay annually
twenty-five cents. As the book of the diocesan treasurer of the
diocesan confraternities shows, St. Augustine's parish paid the dues
for two years. But that it is all what was done at St. Augustine's; the
confraternity was never introduced according to the laws prescribed by
and lay persons
were never employed to assist in the work of catechetical instruction
to this day. The priests gave catechetical instruction twice a week in
all grades and on Sunday afternoons the pastor gave a catechetical
instruction to the graduates in church which was attended by the boys
and girls up to sixteen years of age. Accordingly the aid of lay
persons was thought to be unnecessary. On Sunday, September 23, 1923,
Fr. Philip Knupfer discontinued the catechetical instruction on Sunday
afternoons in church and entrusted such instruction to the Sisters in
school; this was to become the present custom.(16)
The SCAPULAR OF ST. JOSEPH was introduced into St. Augustine's
parish on April 15, 1894, when enrollment was given after High Mass and
Vespers in the afternoon. To spread the devotion more enrollment took
place every Tuesday after the St. Anthony's devotion in the evening. In
succeeding years larger enrollments were made on St. Joseph's Feasts.
On March 19, 1922, about 90 persons were enrolled and on the Feast of
St. Joseph's Patronage, May 7th, 1922, over 90 persons were enrolled.
Larger and smaller groups of people were enrolled up to our days (April
The purpose of the scapular is a threefold: devotion to St.
Joseph, sanctification of life, and protection of St. Joseph in the
hour of death. The blessing and enrollment of St. Joseph's Scapular is
a privilege of the Capuchin Fathers, so that in places where there
(15) Fr. Godhard Friedmann, O.M.Cap. in: St. Augustinus
, January 1910, pp.
5-6; March, 1910, p. 8. Cyprian Gehrling, in: St. Augustinus
, July, 1921, p. 3;
April, 1928, p. 68. On the confraternity in general see: Seeberger, op. cit.
, pp. 101-102,
391-394. Beringer, op. cit.
, Sept., 1921.
p. 9: January, 1922. p. 8; April, 1922. p. 8: September. 1922. p. 9;
October, 1922, p. 8; January, 1916, p. 12; December, 1916, p. 1-
January, 1917. p. 8: October, 1917, p. 8; October, 1911, p. 8;
November, 1911, p 8; April 9, 1905, pp. 1-2; May, 1905, p. 5.
(16) Cyprian Gerhling in: St.
, July, 1921, p. 3. Philip Knupfer,
in: St. Augustinus
October, 1923, p. 160. On the confraternity in general see:
Beringer, op. cit.
is a Capuchin house, no other priests have the faculty to bless it.(17)
The ALTAR SOCIETY was founded in January, 1902, at
the request of a group of parishioners. This society is a purely local
institution. The rules printed for the new society comprise twelve
points: promotion of the devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, furnishing
necessary church goods for St. Augustine's and other churches in need,
payment of one dollar or more annually to the treasury of the society,
benefit of a High Mass for all living and deceased members, benefit of
a Requiem High Mass for all deceased members, benefit of a Requiem High
Mass for every newly deceased member, thirty dollars constitute
perpetual membership. Donations in money as well as in kind were
solicited and a number of zealous promoters succeeded to have a
considerable number of members enrolled. In December, 1903, membership
was 220, among them 3 perpetual members. In 1921 the society counted
besides several perpetual members about one hundred sustaining members.
In July, 1927, however, Fr. Cyprian Gehrling complained that "the Altar
Society is at present not in a flourishing condition due to the
remissness of the promoters who lost much of their interest. Yet the
spiritual benefits as well as the good work should attract the
The MASS-ASSOCIATION,, established since 1727 at the church of the
Friars Minor at Ingolstadt in Bavaria, also called MARIAN
MASS-ASSOCIATION, was promoted by the Fathers at St. Augustine's
Monastery. The first enrollments were made about 1885 and the society
was promoted by several Fathers during the succeeding years. The late
Fathers Joseph Anthony Ziegelmayer and Godhard Friedmann were the last
promoters. In June, 1916, the St.
Augustinus carried an article recommending this society and
accordingly a larger number of parishioners were enrolled. Yet in 1919
both Fathers died and apparently no one continued their good work. The
obligations of the members are to have one Mass said every year for the
living and dead members of the society and to pay twenty-five cents on
the day of enrollment for diploma; no other charges are made or
demanded. More than 800,000 members are enrolled into the society, so
that actually more than 2,000 Masses are said for the living and
deceased members of the society, on every day of the year except the
three last days of Holy Week. This Mass-Association was never an
organized society of the parish.(19)
The ASSOCIATION OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE was introduced into St.
Augustine's parish in 1897. On May 30, 1897, as many as 1,029 members
were counted. In October, 1899, it was counted among the twenty
flourishing societies established in the parish. Later, however (after
1919), none of the Fathers promoted the society. Yet there are some lay
members still actively promoting the work among the laity. The members
enrolled into the association were never properly organized into a
separate branch-society, but in smaller or larger groups, or even
singly, have been promoting the work of supporting the missions in the
Holy Land, rescuing the Holy Places from the hands of the Moslems, and
caring for the Pilgrims who visit the Holy Sites. The association was
first founded in 1855 at Aix-la-Chapelle in Germany and was introduced
into the United States in 1882, when the Commissariat of the Holy Land
was established in New York City; since November 23, 1897, it is
established in Washington, D. C. The name of the society was changed
into "THE CRUSADE or THE HOLY LAND." The Crusaders collect alms for the
Holy Land and share in
(17) Cyprian Gehrling, in: St.
Augustinus, May, 1922, p. 8, April, 1923, p. 56, and May, 1927,
p. 95. Annales Prov. Pennsylvanicae,
On the Scapular in general see: Beringer, op. cit., vol. I, pp. 517-519. Analecta O.M.Cap., vol. IX, Rome,
1893, pp. 161-167, 201-202. Pius Reinhold, O.M.Cap. St. Joseph's Skapulier, Pittsburgh,
ca. 1894, p. 4, and St. Joseph's
Scapular Pittsburgh, ca. 1894, p. 4.
(18) St. Augustinus,
February, 1902, pp. 4-5; December 25, 1903, p. 2-3; May, 1904, p. 4;
September, 1904, p. 4; February, 1905, p. 5; February, 1906, p. 9;
July, 1921, p. 3; January, 1924, pp. 9-10; July, 1927, pp. 142-143;
January, 1929, p. 7.
(19) St. Augustinus, June,
1916, pp. 1-2. On the society in general see: Beringer, op. cit., vol. II, pp. 92-94.
many spiritual privileges. The Fathers Gregory Autsch (died 1902) and
Godhard Friedmann (died 1919) were the great promoters of this
At St. Augustine's Church as early as 1864 a Society for married women
and another for young ladies were established canonically by the
diocesan bishop M. Domenec. In 1869 the SOCIETY OF THE SACRED HEART was
likewise established by the bishop. Besides the ST. MARY'S SOCIETY for
married women and the ST. ROSE of LIMA SOCIETY for young ladies, a ST.
ALOYSIUS SOCIETY was established for the benefit of the young men about
1865. These Religious societies were restored later by the Capuchin
Fathers and merged with the various confraternities which were
introduced by them after 1874.(21)
II. Beneficial Societies.
At an early time some semi-religious societies were established at
St. Augustine's Church which besides practice of the Catholic Religion
promoted also temporal welfare in the shape of financial aid.
The oldest of those beneficial societies was the St.
Augustinus Verein which was founded on March 1, 1863, and legally
incorporated on June 8, 1863. The original charter is still preserved
in the parish archives. The society was chartered under the title of
"GERMAN ROMAN CATHOLIC ST. AUGUSTINE'S AID SOCIETY." The charter
members were the following men of the parish: Anton Happe, President;
Thomas Lindenfelser, Vice-President; John Kraus, Secretary; Gabriel
Weisser, Treasurer; Peter Gudenbur, Leonhard Vogt, George Baust, John
Frauenholz, John Adam Hofmann, Xavier Burkhart, John Schoepf, Michael
Helbling, John Elsesser, Jakob Elsesser, Alexander Wirth, Jacob Dietz,
Jakob Helbling, Jakob Wagner, Hermann Niehaus, Jakob A. Fuhrer, Peter
Schrankel, John Wirth, Karl Geiselhart, and Joseph Hart. From 1871 this
society met in the school-hall and paid annually $36 rent for the use
of the hall. In 1874 this meeting room had to be evacuated and the
members had to meet elsewhere. Certainly this society like similar ones
which were established at St. Augustine's in the course of time was not
strictly speaking a Religious society because its primary aim was a
worldly one, mutual aid to the sick and the families of deceased
members. Moreover, this like similar beneficial societies was
independent of the parochial clergy in their social affairs and formed
a legal corporation governed by the laws of the State. Yet on the other
hand all the members were Catholics in good standing who would receive
the sacraments in a body during Lent and several other occasions. The
society was placed under the patronage of St. Augustine and celebrated
his feast with great external solemnity every year. Moreover the
society took part in a number of solemnities as dedication of church
and school and contributed considerable donations of money to the
church fund. And for these reasons we must class it among the
semi-religious societies. For twenty-five years the members would at
stated times receive the sacraments in a body, would attend High Masses
and Requiems in a body and these functions were always announced in
church during the Masses. On July 4, 1875, the members of the society
together with members of other Catholic societies escorted the Rt. Rev.
Bishop Domenec from the Cathedral to St. Augustine's Church for the
purpose of re-dedicating that church. On March 4, 1888, the society
celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary of its foundation, attending a
solemn High Mass and receiving Holy Communion in a body. This was the
last official function. The society disappears from the announcements
made in church, because it soon after had broken up owing to financial
difficulties caused by having been placed upon an unsound financial
basis, so that the stipulated rates could not be paid in full. The
society had procured a beautiful banner from Anton Iske on January 5,
1865, at the price of $213.95.(22)
(20) St. Augustinus
1899, p. 2; November, 1899, p. 5; April 1928 p. 73.
On the Association in general see: Seeberger, op. cit.
, pp. 338-343, 453-454.
Beringer, op. cit.
, pp. 97-98.
(21) Cyprian Gehrling, in: St.
, August, 1922, p. 2; November, 1922, p.
7. Annales Prov. Pennsylv,
MS., p. 16.
(22) Cyprian Gehrling in: St.
, August, 1922, p. 2; December, 1922, p. 2; 1923. pp.
5, 20, 34, 35, 49, 84, 86. 101, 130. 131, 155, 196; 1924, pp. 6, 30;
1925, pp. 13, 67, 73, 127.
The SAINT LAWRENCE VEREIN was a rival beneficial or
aid society which was founded about 1865; the exact date of foundation
cannot be ascertained. This society met from 1871 till 1874 in the
school hall, paying annually $36 rent like the St. Augustinus Verein.
The members for many years received their Easter Communion in a body
together with the members of the St. Augustinus Verein during the same
High Mass. On July 4, 1875, the members were in the escort formed by
the different Catholic societies in conducting Bishop Domenec from the
cathedral to St. Augustine's. They marched under their own banner like
the other societies and under the strains of their own music band,
despite the heavy rain. On November 7, 1876, the members attended a
Requiem High Mass for the repose of the deceased members of their
society. This is the last announcement made in church about the St.
Lawrence Verein. Shortly after the society disbanded for the same
reason as the St. Augustinus Verein
24, 1873, the society marched
in parade from St. Augustine's to Old St. Philomena's Church to grace
the celebration of the patronal feast.(23)
The ST. RAPHAEL'S VEREIN was founded on December 3,
1869, and is still in existence. It was chartered as GERMAN ROMAN
CATHOLIC ST. RAPHAEL'S BENEFICIAL SOCIETY OF PITTSBURGH. Its aim is
mutual encouragement of the members for better practice of their
Catholic Religion besides aid to sick and needy members and in case of
death aid of the widows and children according to the Constitution of
the society. Since these aims may be obtained without demonstrative
pomp, the society shall turn out in gala only on its patronal feast, on
the day of the Easter Communion and at funeral of one of its members.
Habitual missing mass on Sundays and sending of children to the public
school will be punished by expulsion of those members. The constitution
of the society was printed in 1869 at Pittsburgh, Pa. (pp. 16) and
comprises 24 articles with many paragraphs. A copy is preserved in the
parish archives. On November 24, 1877, the society received a charter
and a revised edition of the constitution was printed at Pittsburgh in
1878 (pp. 26). This revision was necessitated by the extension of the
work of the society.
In an additional article (No. 25) the duties of the
committee for relief of needy persons are detailed in five points. Four
other additional articles (nn. 26-29) describe in 23 points the duties
of the librarian. On September 26, 1877, the priests announced in
church that the St. Raphael's Verein had established a library in the
upper floor of the school and would lend books to everyone. This
library was to form the original stock of the present splendid parish
library. A copy of the revised constitution of 1878 is likewise
preserved in the parish archives. The late Mr. Titus Berger, the
founder, (died March 11, 1909) was the first President of the society
and was continued in office for over thirty-eight years. The society
was founded with twenty-four charter members in 1869. Up to December 1,
1875, no less than 199 members were received, including the original
charter members. During that time 8 members died and 79 were expelled
for neglect of their duties, so that on December 1, 1875, a total of
112 members were counted. In 1899 the society had a membership of 180,
in 1902 had a membership of 216, and in 1938 of 55. Up to 1925 at least
500 unworthy members were expelled.
When on December 2, 1894, the society celebrated its
Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of foundation the secretary reported that up
to that date as many as 474 members had been received, of whom 27 died.
The receipts of the society during the. twenty-five years amounted to
$23,454.21, and the expenses to $18,898 and some cents. Their library
contained 326 books. Mr. Titus Berger had been President all these
years with the exception of one. At the Golden Jubilee on October 26,
1919, the secretary reported that the society had during the fifty
years of its existence paid out $64,832.45 for sick and death benefits
and for other charitable purposes. On September 5, 1938, the secretary
submitted the following figures: Paid out for sick relief, $43,621.00;
for death benefits,
(23) Cyprian Gehrling, in: St.
, August, 1922, p. 2; 1923, pp. 5, 20, 33. 4-9, 84,
101, 131: 1925, p. 13.
$20,948.25; for the poor, $1,714.35. In these figures the charitable
other works are not counted, as contributions to St. Augustine's and
other churches, missions, hospitals, etc. This society always took
active part in promoting the welfare of St. Augustine's. As early as
January 1, 1874, the three beneficial societies, St. Augustinus Verein,
St. Lawrence Verein and St. Raphael's Verein gave a social for the
benefit of St. Augustine's Church. During the first six years
(1869-1975) this society donated to St. Augustine's Church $252 and to
the St. Francis Hospital $88.50 ($18.50 payment for nursing the sick
members and $70 free donations) and expended on the ecclesiastical
festivities $287.The present officers are: Lawrence J. Fey, President;
John Zawart, Vice-President; Peter A. Halli, Secretary; Leo Hungerman,
Treasurer; W. A. Terheyden, M.D. The Finance and Appeal Committee is
composed of: George Doemling, Philip Kreckler, John Zawart, and Philip
J. Zeus. This society spread to many other parishes of Pittsburgh,
The ST. FIDELIS VEREIN is another beneficial society
established at St. Augustine's Church which was to replace the society
of Brethren (or sons) of St. Joseph. The latter society, called by Fr.
Maurice Greck "of dubious fame", is never mentioned in the pages of the
announcement book save once when it was announced on August 6, 1876
that the St. Fidelis Verein would replace it. The St. Fidelis Society
was constituted at a meeting on April 7, 1876, and its constitution and
by-laws were printed soon after in German under the title of: Constitution und Nebengesetze des St.
Fidelis Roemisch-Katholischen Unterstuetzungs-Vereines der St.
Augustinus Kirche zu Pittsburgh, Pa
. (Pittsburgh, Hugh Hagan,
1876, pp. 26). These constitution and by-laws differ only slightly from
those of the other beneficial societies. The society celebrated its
patronal feast with attending a High Mass and receiving Holy Communion
(Easter Communion) .in a body. The monthly meeting was placed on the
first Monday evening in the school-hall. A copy of the constitution and
bylaws is preserved in the parish archives. In 1885 Fr. Maurice Greek
wrote about this society that its "financial standing is fairly good,
but a great number of its members are somewhat easy going. An example
of their levity is the "Fair" of the year 1881 which realized $2,200".
However, on August 20, 1893, it was announced in church that the St.
Fidelis Society had ordered sixty Masses to be said for the living and
deceased members of the society. A few days before the society had
ceased to exist. Of all the beneficial societies the St. Raphael's was
the only one which continued its work.(25)
The sad failure of the parochial beneficial
societies gave rise to the foundation of inter-parochial societies. In
every German Catholic parish were established several parochial
beneficial societies which in the course of time were doomed to failure
or could hold their own only in a precarious way. The danger was great
that the Catholic men would join non-Catholic beneficial societies,
having been sadly disappointed in the Catholic institutions. To remedy
these evils in June, 1880, a number of Catholic men who mostly belonged
to the parochial societies sent out an appeal to recruit members for
the proposed inter-parochial beneficial society. This first society was
established under the name of: THE ORDER OF THE GERMAN ROMAN CATHOLIC
KNIGHTS OF ST. GEORGE, on January the first, 1881, and received its
charter on January 10, 1881. One of the thirteen charter members was
Michael Limpert, a member of St. Augustine's parish. The Order spread
rapidly. On May 7, 1881, as many as 391 members had joined it, and on
August 6, of the same year, well nigh one thousand members were
counted. The Constitution und
, first printed in 1881, were reprinted with
(24) Handbuck des Pittsburger
, Pittsburgh, Pa., 1899, p. 36. St. Augustinus
, February, 1902. p.
2: November, 1919, p. 6; October, 1922, p. 3; December, 1922, p.
7; January, 1923, p. 5; March, 1923, p. 34; June, 1923, p. 86;
August, 1923, p. 131; 1925, p.. 13. Bericht
die Wirksamkeit des St.
Raphaels Wohltaetigkeitsvereins von Dezember, 1869 bis Ende
November, 1875. Annales Provinc.
, MS., p. 314.
(25) Cyprian Gehrling, in: St.
, 1923. pp. 130, 155, 195, 196; 1924, pp. 31, 99, 145,
170, 224, 263; 1925, pp. 13, 31, 150, 173, 233; 1926, pp. 55, 155, 227,
and 245. Annales Provincae Pennsylv,
MS., pp. 152, 292.
(Pittsburg. p. 33) and in a revised edition at Pittsburg in 1894.
Originally the Order was restricted to the dioceses of Pittsburgh and
Allegheny but in 1907 the charter was amended to establish branches
outside those dioceses in the State of Pennsylvania and elsewhere.
(Charter, Constitution and By-Laws, Pittsburgh, 1907. pp. 97, also
German edition). In 1906 the Order counted in 64 branches about 7,500
members and had paid out during the twenty-five years of its existence
$1,300,000 in sick and death benefits. On January 1, 1938, the Order
had established 361 branches with a membership of 18,540 in the seven
states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, West Virginia, Michigan,
Illinois, and Maryland, and carried an insurance of $12,878,552.50. The
Past Supreme President of the Order, Honorable Mr. Joseph H. Reiman, is
a member of St. Augustine's parish.
The first three branches were established on January
8, 1881, at Old St. Philomena, St. Michael's, South Side, and St.
Mary's, North Side. The fourth branch was established at St. Anthony's,
Millvale, and the fifth at St. Augustine's on July 3, 1881. Before the
establishment of a separate branch many members of the parish had
joined the Order in those recently established branches of those
parishes. On April 17, 1881, it was announced in church that the
members of the Order of Knights of St. George were invited to attend
the celebration of the pattronal feast of the Order in St. Michael's
Church, South Side, on April 21st. Two months later, on June 26th, it
was announced in church that the Knights of St. George will have a
meeting next Sunday in the school-hall at 2 o'clock in the afternoon.
At that meeting, on July 3, 1881, Branch No. 5 of the Order of the
German Catholic Knights of St. George was established at St.
Augustine's. On August 7th a meeting of the Knights of St. George's was
announced for the following Sunday. Ever after every month the meeting
of the Knights was announced in church to this day. On February 9,
1902, the Branch 5 of the Knights of St. George had a membership of
400. President of the branch was Charles J. Jaegle and the meetings
were conducted on the second Sunday of each month up to date. On
September 14, 1938, the membership of the branch was 400. The officers
of the branch were then: D. R. Rolling, President; A. J. Boberg,
Vice-President; N. L. Martin, Recording Secretary; John J. Rodgers,
Financial Secretary and Treasurer; Messrs. Frank X. Fuchs, John J.
Link, and Louis P. Seemiller, Trustees; Louis Roth, Marshall, Joseph 0.
Grimm, Captain of Cadets.(26)
The FIRST REGIMENT OF UNIFORMED KNIGHTS OF ST.
GEORGE was established in Kunkel's Hall on Josephine Street, South
Side, Pittsburgh, on March 11, 1883, to grace the solemnities of the
various churches and to attend in full regalia the funerals of deceased
members of the Order. Besides, the family of a deceased Uniform Knight
receive a certain sum of death benefit. In 1899 the Regiment was
composed of 140 men who were divided into seven companies. Company C
was established in St. Augustine's parish meeting every third Sunday in
the month in Frecker's Hall on Butler Street. Major of the company was
then Mr. Leo Jost and Sergeant Mr. Albert Sauer. These uniformed
Knights graced the various solemnities of St. Augustine's parish, as
dedication of school and church, Easter Communion of the Company,
jubilees of the Order, First Masses of newy ordained priests, and
obsequies of deceased members at stated times up to our times.
Sometimes they received also their Easter Communion in a body and with
full regalias. (27)
The CATHOLIC MUTUAL BENEFIT ASSOCIATION was first
organized at Niagara Falls, N. Y., in December, 1876, with a view to
furnish cheap life insurance without joining secret societies condemned
by the Church.
(26) Cyprian Gehrling in St.
, 1924, pp. 99, 106, and Charles Speckert in St. Augustinus
, 1902, February,
1902, p. 2. On the Order in general, a rather extensive literature is
extant. We quote only: Handbuch des
, pp 31-32, and the files of: The Official Organ of the Catholic Knights
of St. George
, published monthly since January, 1907, which
contains regular reports on the branch established at St. Augustine's.
(27) Handbuch des Pittsburgh
, p. 32. St.
, November, 1899, p.7; April, 1900, p. 4. St. Augustinus
, July, 1919, p. 9;
1925, p. 130.
The society was incorporated under the laws of the State of New York on
June 9, 1879. The object of the Association as set forth in the Act of
Incorporation is: To improve the moral, mental, and social condition of
its members, to aid and assist its members and their families in case
of sickness and death. About the year 1882 the Association estabished
its first branch, Branch 26, in the State of Pennsylvania at
McKeesport. In 1888 as many as fifteen branches had been established in
Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, which founded an Advisory Council to
unite those branches more closely and to provide for employment for its
members in times of unemployment. On January 1st, 1889, the total
membership of the Association was about 20,000 of whom about 3,000 were
in the State of Pennsylvania. Up to that time the Association had paid
to the beneficiaries of deceased members upwards of $1,650,000. In 1899
the Advisory Council of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, had under its
jurisdiction a total of fifty-five branches of which 18 were
established in German parishes, and a total membership of well nigh
6,000 members. At that time (1899) the total membership for the State
of Pennsylvania was over 10,000. A revised edition of the Constitution
and By-Laws of the Catholic Mutual Benefit Association was printed at
Buffalo, N. Y., 1912. pp. 122, XV. An older edition in German was
printed at Buffalo, N. Y., 1886, pp. Ill, III.
Branch 45 of the Catholic Mutual Benefit Association
was established in St. Augustine's parish some time in 1888 or 1887.
Mr. Martin H. Hager was its first President; Charles M. Risacher,
Treasurer; Jacob L. Zinsmeister, Secretary. At first the Branch met in
some hall. However, on July 7, 1889, it was announced for the first
time in church that the Catholic Mutual Benefit Association would meet
in the school hall every second and fourth Wednesday of the month,
later changed to second and fourth Tuesday. In February, 1902, Branch
45 of the Catholic Mutual Benefit Association had a membership of 195
and met every second and fourth Tuesday in the month. Mr. J. B. Limpert
was Chancellor; J. G. Lauer, President, Joseph Irlbacher, First
Vice-President; Ed. Vilsack, Second Vice President; Phil. J. Scholl,
Financial Secretary; A. Green, Recording Secretary; John Fink,
Treasurer. Too low rates of assessment carried finally the mighty
organization upon the rocks of destruction and Branch 45 had to
disband. The members of Branch 45 met regularly up to December 23,
1919. On December 21, 1919, the meeting of the Catholic Mutual Benefit
Association was announced for Tuesday, December 23, 1919. This is the
last announcement made in church about this society and hereafter they
disappear from the church records of St. Augustine's.(28)
The GERMAN MILITARY SOCIETY (MiLiTAER VEREIN) was
founded on April 27, 1884, in the hall of the South Side Turner
(Athletics) on South Fourteenth Street. Three companies were organized
within the same year, four more followed, so that the Verein had in
1899 a membership of 500. Chief purpose of the society was mutual
support in cases of sickness and death or other calamities. Another aim
of the society was sociability and culture of German language and
customs. The 5th Company of this society met every fourth Sunday of the
month in Frecker's Hall on Butler Street. In 1899 Mr. Felix Fey was
Major and Mr. Louis Theilig Secretary of this company located in St.
Augustine's parish. Naturally also this society came to an untimely end
The GERMAN ROMAN CATHOLIC KNIGHTS OF PENNSYLVANIA
were founded in the Fall of 1894 as the result of several preparative
meetings. On November 1, 1894, the society received a charter and was
called Deutsche Roemisch-Katholische
Ritter von Pennsylvania
. About the same time it received also
the approval of the diocesan Bishop Richard Phelan. The purpose of the
organization was to grant a death benefit to the families of deceased
members, to keep Catholic men and
(28) Handbuch des Pittsburger
, p. 38. St.
, February, 1902, p. 2. St. Augustinus
, November, 1912, p.
16; February, 1913, p. 16; March, 1913. p. 16:
April, 1913, p. 16: July, 1913, p. 16; August, p. 16;
February, 1915, p. 16; March, 1915, p. 16; May, 1915. p. 16:
July, 1915, p. 16; September, 1915, p. 16. Announcement Book
, MS., on December
(29) Handbuch des Pittsburger
, pp. 38-39.
young men from joining non-Catholic societies, to care for unemployed
members, and to have certain Masses said. This society made rapid
progress, so that within four years it established twelve divisions
with a membership of approximately 600 in the city of Pittsburgh and
vicinity. Death-benefits were paid in 1899 for the families of deceased
members to the number of eighteen since the foundation of the society.
About 1888 Division 8 of this society was established at St.
Augustine's Church. In February, 1902, this division had a membership
of 85 and met every third Sunday of the month. Directors of this
division were in 1902: John J. Gerlach and E. Weismuller; Mr. Martin
Buster was President; Michael Deininger, Vice-President; M. N. Werries,
Secretary and Treasurer. Naturally this society shared the sad lot of
so many others. Within some years it was broken up. For many years the
society met elsewhere. On May 16, 1897, the meeting of this society was
announced in church and it was regularly after announced for the third
Sunday of the month.(30)
THE LADIES' CATHOLIC BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION was
founded at Titusville, Pa., on April 9, 1890, and incorporated under
the laws of the State of Pennsylvania on the same day. The constitution
and by-laws were later revised in July, 1910, and printed at Erie, Pa.,
in 1910 (pp. 127). This benevolent society spread rapidly. On January
7th, 1894, Branch 103 of this society was established at St.
Augustine's and is still in a flourishing condition. In February, 1902,
this branch had a membership of 196. The officers at that time were:
Mrs. M. C. Frecker, Past President; Mrs. B. Vilsack, President; Miss T.
Schiffhauer, First Vice-President; Miss M. Dietz, Second
Vice-President; Miss Minnie C. Berger, Recorder; Miss C. Lackner,
Assistant Recorder; Miss A. Besterman, Financial Secretary; Miss Cath.
Fey, Treasurer; Miss A. Gudendorf, Marshall; Miss A. Gerlach, Guard.
This branch met every first and third Friday in the month. All these
many years this branch was active in raising funds for St. Augustine's
Church and took part in all social works carried on in the parish. The
present officers (1938) of the branch are: Mrs. Catherina Limpert, Past
President; Mrs. Mathilda Kalchthaler, Acting President; Miss Minnie
Besselman, First Vice-President; Mrs. Dorothy Cooke, Second
Vice-President; Mrs. Lidwina Fogerty, Recorder; Miss Minnie Berger,
Financial Secretary; Miss Catherine Fey, Treasurer; Miss Mary Fey,
Marshall; Miss Elizabeth Raible, Guard. Actual membership of the branch
is 197. The branch meets now every first and third Tuesday of the month
in St. Augustine's parish-house.(31)
The CATHOLIC WOMEN'S LEAGUE OR UNION (FRAUENBUND) was first organized
at St. Augustine's as early as February 10, 1864, and must have existed
some time before that date. On November 23, 1864, this society loaned
sixty dollars to the church of St. Augustine's. How long it existed
cannot be ascertained. Probably this society was merged in 1875 with
the confraternity of Christian Mothers. In 1913 the Catholic Women's League of Pennsylvania
(Katholischer Frauenbund von Pennsylvania)
was founded with the
avowed purpose to unite the Catholic women and women's organization for
united action, to inform the Catholic women about the problems facing
them, and to do social and charitable work in a Catholic spirit and to
defend Catholic principles against the modern secular women's
organizations. The statutes of this new organization were printed in
German at Philadelphia in 1913 (pp. 20). This society was introduced at
St. Augustine's in February, 1915, and the meetings were arranged for
every Thursday in the Casino Hall, and later in the basement of the
school. Naturally the members took part in the social activities of the
parish, they raised money for the St. Augustine's church and charitable
works. During Christmas season of 1915 they distributed gifts to needy
families of the parish but after New Years of 1916 they extended their
work to other parishes. The members
(30) Handbuch des Pittsburger
, p. 35. St.
, November, 1899, p. 7; February, 1902, p. 2; January,
1928, p. 13. Announcement Book
(31) St. Augustinus
1901, pp. 1, 4; December, 1901, pp. 4, 5; February, 1902,
p. 2; 1924, pp. 101; 1927, pp. 14, 15, and at innumerable places
in the 38 volumes of the St.
gathered and mended clothes to distribute to needy persons, they went
after the Catholic children who were neglected and had them instructed
in the Catholic Religion by the teachers of the Missionary
Confraternity. The first officers of the Frauenbund were: Mrs. Harry
Acker, President; Mrs. Frank Schultz, First Vice-President; Mrs.
Koebert, Second Vice-President; Mrs. Walz, Secretary; Mrs. A. Stehle,
Treasurer, Mrs. Speth, Marshall. The present officers are: Mrs. Anna
Gauscheman, President; Mrs. Frances Berry, Secretary and Treasurer.
Membership is at present 65. The meeting is placed now on the fourth
Tuesday of the month and is held in St. Augustine's Hall.(32)
The ORDER OF CATHOLIC FORESTERS was incorporated on May 24, 1883, at
Springfield, Illinois, under the laws of the State of Illinois, as the
Illinois Catholic Order of Foresters. However, on June 4th, 1889, the
name was changed to Catholic Order of Foresters. The original
constitution and by-laws were revised and changed on August 11-14,
1903, and printed in a German edition at Chicago, 1903, (p.131). On
April 8, 1916, however, the Order of Catholic Foresters was
reorganized, taking the name of The Catholic Knights of America. Its
laws were printed at St. Louis, Mo., in 1916 in an English edition (pp.
122). The object of the Order is fraternal union, sick benefits and
widows' and orphans' benefit fund. Up to December 31, 1923, the Order
had paid in death benefits $36,100,000. The total amount of the reserve
fund was thirteen millions and total membership 130,000. In November,
1927, the Order had etablished 1,644 branches or Courts in twenty-nine
states and in eight provinces of the Dominion of Canada with a
membership of 122,589 and a reserve fund of $20,266,509.46. In 1938 it
had a reserve fund of over thirty-six million dollars and a membership
of 138,276. The Branch established at St. Augustine's is Court No.
1201. It was established on April 20, 1901, and the members have
regular meetings in the Casino from June, 1904, to date. At first the
meetings were held on every second Friday of the month; now they have
their meetings on every second and fourth Friday of the month.
The Charter Members initiated on the day of foundation, April 20, 1901,
were the following: John B. Limpert, Lawrence A. Schott, John P.
Schmitt, Arch. H. Gribbin, Patrick J. Galvin. Will. Glenn, John
McCusker, Will. Heilman, Thomas E. McGee, John Quinlan, Charles F.
Schaffer, Leo H. Schott, Patrick G. Salmon, E. J. Glenn, J. J. Bayer,
August Friedrich, F. J. Frank, John Hisdorf, Edward T. Miller, Edw.
Murphy, James McAllister, Edward T. O'Connor, J. Schmitt, Jr., and
Peter P. Yeager. Mr. Arch. H. Gribbin is at present the only living
member of the original Court. The officers for the year 1915 were the
following: S. L. Schaffer, Chief Ranger; Ed. J. Vogel, Vice-Chief
Ranger; Arch. H. Gribbin, Recording Secretary; A. Marchlewitz,
Financial Secretary; C. F. Schaffer, Treasurer. The officers for 1938
are: Edw. J. Vogel, Chief Ranger; Will. Speth, Vice-Chief Ranger; S.
Leo Schaffer, Past Chief Ranger; Will. J. Schaffer, Recording
Secretary; Francis E. Vogel, Financial Secretary; Francis A. Vogel,
Financial Secretary; Oskar N. Vogel, Speaker. Trustees are: George
McKinzie, Frank J. Schaffer, and Charles J. Kelly. St. Augustine's
Court has at present a membership of twenty-five men.(33)
The CATHOLIC RELIEF AND BENEFICIARY ASSOCIATION was incorporated under
the law of New York State on January 31, 1893, to maintain a sick fund
and establish a relief reserve fund to pay sick and death benefits. The
constitution of the association was printed in 1915 (pp. 141). At St.
Augustine's is established branch No.
since February, 1910, and meets every
second and third Thursday of the month in St. Augustine's Hall. The
branch was still meeting there on June 9, 1925, but later ceased to
(32) St. Augustinus
February, 1915, p. S; August, 1915, p. 10; January, 1916, pp. 8-9, 12;
August, 1922, p. 2; November, 1922. p. 6, and at many other places in
the volumes of this monthly, and report of the Secretary.
(33) St. Augustinus
1904, p. 3; January, 1915, p. 9; May, 1924, p. 100; November, 1927, p.
220; February, 1928, p. 22; March, 1928, pp. 48-49. Report
by the Secretary. MS.
(34) St. Augustinus
February, 1910, p. 13; March, 1910, p. 13; April, 1910, p. 13,
MS. on the respective Sundays.
The LADIES' AUXILIARY KNIGHTS OF ST. JOHN
established St. Mary's Ann Branch No. 86, of the First District of
Western Pennsylvania at St. Augustine's in September, 1903. This branch
met in St. Augustine's Casino Hall every first and third Friday of the
month from the beginning of 1919 till February 20, 1925, when they
moved their headquarters into a house on Bandera Street. However, on
January 15, 1926, they returned to their former meeting room in St.
Augustine's Hall, and at present Library, where they still keep their
meetings. On January 1, 1921, this branch reported a balance of $849.85
for the sick fund and cash receipts during 1920 of $164.25. In 1920
sick benefits were paid to the amount of $162. Expenses during 1920
amounted to $177.91. On December 3, 1927, these officers were elected:
Miss M. Eichenlaub, President; Mrs. D. Cook, First Vice-President; Mrs.
M. Speth, Second Vice-President; Mrs. M. Melchert, Recording Secretary;
Mrs. F. Berry, Financial Secretary; Mrs. M. Kline, Treasurer; Mrs. R.
Kress, Messenger; Mrs. M. Marchlewitz, Sentinel; and Miss A.
Overington, Guard. The officers for 1938 are: Mary Eichenlaub,
President; Mrs. Frances Berry, Secretary; Mrs. Mary Klein, Treasurer.
Membership at present is 29 in all.(35)
In 1902 the movement grew strong to have all
Catholic societies federated into one or more larger organizations.
Bishop Canevin favored the plan of THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF CATHOLIC
SOCIETIES and advocated it. According to his wishes Diocesan
organizations united different groups of societies. In 1904 the
PITTSBURGH COUNCIL OF CATHOLIC WOMEN was established. In 1923 this
organization had affiliated one hundred forty women organizations of
the diocese with an aggregate membership of 40,000. All the women
societies at St. Augustine's joined the Pittsburgh Council at one time
or another, but not all did keep up their affiliation.(36) In 1876 some
members of St. Augustine's belonged to the ST. JOHN SOCIETY, but this
society was never established in the church.(37)
ST. AUGUSTINE'S PARISH FEDERAL CREDIT UNION was
organized on March 26, 1935. The credit union system is a cooperative
organization to furnish money at cheap rates. This cooperative banking
system originated in Germany. Victor Aime' Huber (died in 1869) was the
first man to explain theoretically the system. Hermann
Schulze-Delitzsch and Frederick William Henry Raiffeisen formulated the
methods by which this cooperative banking system has attained success.
In 1850 Schulze-Delitzsch established the first credit association
which grew into a regular cooperative bank. The system of
Schulze-Delitzsch aims to stimulate thrift and help artisans and
farmers with credit. Raiffeisen in 1869 organized a society to provide
rural credit based on mutual aid among neighbors. The Raiffeisen banks
developed especially in rural districts. From these beginnings has
grown the cooperative banking movement that is to be found now in every
country: since 1900 in Canada and since 1905 in the United States. The
first credit Union law was enacted in Massachusetts in 1909, and
followed by most states. A federal law was enacted in 1933, and a
national federation of credit unions is now in operation. The first
credit unions were Parish Credit Unions organized by French Canadians
since 1905. The first Federal Credit Unions were St. Boniface Parish
Credit Union, New Haven and St. Mary's Credit Union, Meriden, Conn,
which both received their charter on November 15, 1934. St. Augustine's
Federal Parish Credit Union, Pittsburgh, Pa., is one of the first three
organizations of the Pittsburgh district. On December 31, 1936, as many
as 33 such Federal Parish Credit Unions were in operation in the United
States. Five of them had not reported but the remaining 28 counted
2,305 members with a share balance of $52,662; 1,127 loans for a total
of $104,593 had been authorized within the short span of two years. The
Parish Federal Credit Union at St. Augustine's, Pittsburgh, has made
since its organization on March 26, 1935, up to September 16, 1938, 199
loans to the amount of $22,978.25.
(35) St. Augustinus
1921, p. 8; March, 1923, p. 42; May, 1924, p. 101; March. 1925, p. 48;
January, 1926, p. 10; December, 1927, p. 246.
1919 to date. Report of the Secretary for 1938.
(36) St. Augustinus
1923, p. 76-77.
(37) St. Augustinus
1923, p. 123.
Bottom Row: Left to
right: Francis Jans, Leonard Quering, Earl Barbour, Richard
Marino, John Kozub, William Rotella, William
Zukowski, Edward Senge, John Baj, Joseph Bruckner. Second Row: Elmer Rudzke, Bernard
Mizgorski, Raymond Pidorski, William
Ashton, John Grubbs, Elmer Siegle, Robert Balaski, Peter Chepponis,
Joseph Carr, Gerard Staudt. Third
Row: Elmer Tenure, Anthony
Schmeck, Robert Bich, Richard Irlbacher, Raymond Fulton, George Bich,
Walter Pawlak, John Krupa, William Reissmann, William
Pottmeyer. Top Row:
John Gribben, Joseph Baj, Leon Borczyk, John Maier, Rev. Fr. Ralph,
Herbert Goetz, Charles Varasse, Robert
Dedig, Russell Mikszan.
The credit union numbers 173 members and meets every
Tuesday evening in the Parish Library. The officers are: Joseph G.
Trakofler, President; Joseph T. Kaduck, Vice-President; B. A.
Stadelman, Treasurer; C. R. Moffat, Clerk. Directors are: B. A.
Stadelman, C. R. Moffat, J. T. Kaduck, J. W. Penar, J. G. Trakofler.
Credit Committee: F. Vuchmanic, J. T. Kaduck, W. A. Hanna. Supervisory
Committee: Dorothy Schumacher, Paul C. Lyden, C. J. Kolling.(38)
The late Fr. Maurice Greek, O.M.Cap. (died in 1898),
one time pastor of St. Augustine's, held a low opinion about the
beneficial societies established at St. Augustine's. In 1885 he wrote:
"Although they are known to me, I can say but little about them. I do
not say that they do harm to the church, yet they do not much good
either. The men who join those societies comply mostly with their
Religious duties and none of those who neglect them was ever converted
to a better life. These societies are organized to give sick and other
benefits and keep men from joining secret societies." (Annales Prov. Capucinorum
vol. I, pp. 151-152; St. Augustinus, 1925, p. 13). This opinion was
based on the four parochial societies then established at St.
Augustine's. Three of them went upon the rocks and the fourth was saved
through the able guidance of its lifelong president, Mr. Titus Berger
(died 1909). If the good Father had witnessed the good work done by the
great diocesan and inter-diocesan organizations, he would have been
compelled to change his pessimistic view. As it is, the societies,
beneficial as well as Religious, are the mainstay of our parishes; the
pastor calls upon them first in every emergency and the members
cooperate most willingly in any parochial or diocesan undertaking. Men
who neglect their Easter duty are now impossible in our societies. On
February 21, 1875, the Fathers found themselves constrained to request
in church the Presidents of the different Catholic societies to exclude
members who neglect their Easter duty. (St. Augustinus
, 1923, p. 84).
The beneficial societies made many gifts in money to
St. Augustine's Church and raised large funds by sponsoring various
euchres, dramatic plays and socials. Since the account books of those
societies are not accessible, we cannot give a full account of their
work of cooperation to parochial, diocesan and national affairs. We
only record the few incidental facts which their secretaries deigned to
submit for publication. Branch 5 of the Order of Knights of St. George
presented to the new St. Augustine's Church a painted window with the
representation of their patron saint, St. George. Moreover the same
branch defrayed the expenses for purchasing the large bell of the new
church, costing $1,700, and weighing 5,500 pounds, which, by the way,
is the largest bell in the city of Pittsburgh. The President of the
Order, Mr. Joseph Reiman, presented this bell in the name of the Order,
delivering a spirited address. The bell was christened with the name of
St. George and according to a written agreement made with the pastor of
St. Augustine's this bell is always tolled at the notice of a death of
a member of the branch and at the funeral services. On February 27,
1889, the Knights of St. George donated the $100 Melodeon to St.
Augustine's Schools. (St. Augustinus
III. Charitable Organizations.
To a certain extent the beneficial societies must be classed also among
the charitable organizations; yet charity is primarily, though not
exclusively, dispensed towards the members of the society. The
Religious societies of Association
of Holy Childhood
Augustine's Altar Society
apparently pursue charitable aims only
secondarily. We are considering here organizations which primarily are
instituted to promote charitable works, outside the parish limits.
The MISSIONARY AID SOCIETY was introduced into St.
Augustine's in October, 1909, at the behest of the Rt. Rev. Bishop
Canevin. Its aim is to support financially poor parishes of our country
and in foreign mis-
(38) Report by the clerk of the Credit Union. On the general history
see: Warbasse, James Peter. Cooperative Democracy, 3rd. edition, New
York, 1936, pp. 72-76. Central-Blatt and Social Justice, vol. XXX, No.
3, June, 1937, p. 95.
sions. As Promoters were appointed the Messrs. Edw. Halli, Mat.
Werries, A. A. Kerner, Edw. Pottmeyer, Aloys. Nagel, and Miss Coletta
Sohl. The Rev. Pastor, Fr. Ignatius Weisbruch, wrote at that time that
a congregation of the size of St. Augustine's ought to furnish at least
twenty-five promoters and he urged all parishioners to join the
society. This organization has done good work all these many years. The
annual reports issued by the Director, Msgr. P. C. Banner, since 1909,
list the contributions received from the branch established at St.
Augustine's year by year. Likewise the annual financial reports printed
in the January number of the St.
since 1910, give also the contributions raised by the
branch of the Missionary Aid Society. In 1937 these contributions
amounted to one hundred thirteen dollars.(39)
THE CATHOLIC STUDENTS' MISSION CRUSADE was organized
at Techny, Illinois, July 27 to 30, 1918. The movement aims at
enlisting Catholic Students in the cause of the missions. The programme
includes education in mission facts and ideals by means of lectures,
correspondence with missionaries, books and pictures on the missions
and a periodical besides promotion of regular prayers and personal
sacrifices in behalf of the foreign missions. The Crusade
does not directly collect
money for the missions but leaves this part of the programme to the
affiliated societies. The founders of the Crusade expected to raise one
million dollars by getting the two to three million students interested
in the movement. On January 3, 1921, Fr. Philip Knupfer had the
children of the parish school affiliated with the Catholic Students'
Mission Crusade and the pupils who were actively engaged in the work
received the name of LITTLE MISSIONARIES. When Fr. Agatho Rolf left for
the distant mission of Kansu in northern China, January 1, 1922, the
Little Missionaries presented him a purse of $420. The Little
Missionaries are still in the field.(40)
The KANSU MISSION CLUB was organized in October,
1922, among the ladies of St. Augustine's to furnish the Kansu Mission
with church goods and money. The members met every Thursday evening
after Holy Hour devotion in the parish library. For the benefit of the
Kansu Mission they gave their first euchre party on October 24, 1922.
Besides large sums were collected by the members and their friends in
1923 and later years. Yet the depression has of late dampened the
missionary spirit of the club-members very much, so that by this time
the club has fallen into abeyance.(41)
The LITTLE FLOWER MISSION CIRCLE was established at
St. Augustine's by Fr. Agatho Rolf in March, 1916. The Circle was
composed of active and contributing members (ladies). They first
contributed money and work; they would work on altar linen and make
articles needed in foreign missions. The contributing members
contributed money to buy the articles to be worked up. Fr. Agatho wrote
in the April number of the St.
, 1916, that "the issues of the St. Augustinus
and the newly
created 'Mission Circle' are a consistent campaign to awaken interest
in the work for the support of the foreign missions. Of course we
expect some adverse criticism but this will only be a stimulus to the
missionary circle. The work of such a circle is an apostleship of its
own." When Fr. Agatho left St. Augustine's in July, 1918, the interest
of the members began to slacken but it was revived, when the founder of
the Circle showed by his own example that he meant what he had preached
these many years: support of the work of foreign missions needed him
and he heeded the call and he was finally laid to rest in distant
(39) St. Augustinus
November, 1909, p. 9, and January, 1938, p. 1.
(40) The Fortnightly Review
edited by Arthur Preuss, vol. XXV, 1918, p. 268. St. Augustinus
January, 1921, p. 8;
January, 1922, pp. 8-9.
The missionary spirit was instilled into the hearts of the pupils by
the annual celebration of the Association
and since 1915 by spreading the missionary
periodical "The Little Missionary" in St. Augustine's School. See: St. Augustinus
, August, 1915, p.
15; September, 1915, p. 9. Yet before 1921, the Little Missionaries
were no organized group.
(41) St. Augustinus
1922, p. 8-9; January, 1923, pp. 9; February, 1923, p. 1; June, 1923
(42) St. Augustinus
1916, pp. 9-10; April, 1916, pp. 10, 16; April, 1917, p. 2.
However, the oldest charitable organization of the
St. Augustine's parish contributed to the support of an institution
nearer home, namely, the GERMAN ROMAN CATHOLIC ST. JOSEPH'S ORPHAN
ASYLUM on Troy Hill, now Pittsburgh. In the meeting of the Board of
Managers of that asylum it was decided on April 9, 1863, that "since
the Congregation of Lawrenceville has sent a delegate to the Board with
the request to be admitted as a Filial-Verein, it was unanimously
decided that such a Filial-Verein be organized and the officers be
elected, so that their officers can be elected into the Board of
Managers in the near future." Accordingly the FILIAL-WAISEN-VEREIN was
established at St. Augustine's with the election of a president, a
vice-president, treasurer, secretary, and a number of collectors. This
was done some time before May 4, 1863. On that date the Board of
Managers recognized the Filial-Waisenverein of St. Augustine's as duly
organized and the Messrs. Jacob Dietz and John Elsesser and Gabriel
Weisser were elected as members of the Board of Managers, the latter as
treasurer of the Board of Managers. The pastor of St. Augustine's, the
Rev. Philip Francis Schmidt, was elected to serve on the committee of
schools. Ever since that time the Filial-Waisenverein of St.
Augustine's has contributed on the average from $200 to $300 to the
support of St. Joseph's Orphan Asylum on Troy Hill or a total of from
$15,000 to $20,000. The Filial-Waisen-Verein of St. Augustine's in 1936
was constituted with Peter A. Halli, President; Messrs. Frank X. Fuchs,
Adolph Jans and Frank Gronau, Directors; Misses Cecilia Dadowski, Mary
Schmolder, Mary Closs, Margaret Haas, Elizabeth Suewer and Elizabeth
Raible, Collectors. On July 1, 1938, the St. Joseph's Orphan Asylum
ceased to exist and accordingly the Filial-Waisen-Verein of St.
Augustine's came to a glorious end.(43)
IV. Educational and Literary Societies.
An educational society of a general character was
the VOLKSVEREIN (People's Union or Society) which was established at
St. Augustine's on October 27, 1912. The society was founded in 1890 in
Germany at the suggestion of the veteran leader, Louis Windthorst, to
educate the common people in the different aspects of the social
question and to enlist their cooperation in the great work of social
reform, and the repression of socialism. A staff of lecturers gave
special courses of social science to various classes of people to
familiarize them with the true Catholic principles of social reform. In
1907 the Volksverein had in Germany a membership of 565,000. About this
time the society was introduced into some German Catholic parishes of
the United States. By the year 1911 it had been
introduced into several German Catholic parishes in
the diocese of Pittsburgh. Finally on December 18, 1911, a
mass meeting was called with the view to establish it at St.
Augustine's. The pastor, Fr. Ignatius Weisbruch, urged the
parishioners, men and women, to join this new society and
to sponsor an important cause which would unite the
Catholics of this country in defense of their rights
and their Church. "Therefore, your pastor invites, nay
urges you, especially young men and ladies, to attend this
meeting." Yet the good people were slow in grasping
the importance of the movement. On October 27, 1912,
again a mass meeting was held in St.
Augustine'.; Hall which finally resulted in the establish ment of this
society at St. Augustine's. The new society, called ST.
AUGUSTINE'S VOLKSVEREIN, met every fourth Sunday at 8 o'clock
P.M. Thirteen promoters were appointed to recruit new
members. In the vestibule of the church pamphlets were placed on
a book-rack for free distribution. Seemingly the bulk of parishioners
was not prepared to get much benefit from the new organization and many
issues of the St. Augustinus
during the years 1912 to 1914 carried articles in defense of the
Volksverein. Up to February, 1915, the society met
regularly on the fourth Sunday. Yet on the fourth Sunday of February,
1915, the Volksverein was united with the Holy Name Society, another
society which could not thrive at St. Augustine's. The two
societies met together for about two years and with the entrance of the
United States into
(43) Minutes of the Board of Managers (Protokolle des St. Joseph
Waisen-Vereins). M.S., April 9, 1863: May. 4. 1863. Finanz-Berichte der St. Joseph
, 1864-1937, annual reports printed at Pittsburgh,
1864-1937. The Pittsburgh Catholic
the World War the Volksverein at St. Augustine's died out.(44)
The KNIGHTS OF ST. GEORGE CADETS, a semi-military
organization for young men, was founded in May, 1914. Catholic boys of
twelve years and over were banded together who upon reaching the
sixteenth year were to be initiated into the Order of Knights of St.
George. The Cadets receive drilling every week according to the
Infantry Drill Regulations of the United States Army and are otherwise
trained along usual Cadet lines enjoying also the advantages of
lectures and practical demonstrations given by business and
professional men. Each branch of the Order is qualified to establish
such auxiliary branches in the form of Companies under control of
commissioned officers. Each company must have at least twenty-four
cadets. The companies are formed into regiments. Up to April 1, 1916,
two such regiments had been formed. In the Summer of 1916 were also
printed the Constitution and By-Laws
of the Knights of St. George Cadets
(Pittsburgh, 1916. pp. 16).
Branch 5 of the Order of Knights of St. George established the first
company of Cadets, Company C, some time in Fall of 1914, and ever since
the Cadets have been part and parcel of St. Augustine's and their
"doings" are chronicled in the issues of the St. Augustinus
. The Cadets take
part in the processions, parades, and other public demonstrations;
their parades at the annual picnic prove a great attraction. The
present officers (1938) are: Joseph O. Grimm, Captain; Edgar Fry,
Lieutenant; Gregory Gottschalk, Lieutenant; Jerome Scheirer,
Lieutenant; Theodore Lach, Lieutenant; Roy Ludwig, Corps Instructor.
The Cadets maintain a Summer Camp and Outing at the Knights of St.
George's Home at Wellsburg, W. Va. The Cadets took part in the
Sesqui-Centennial Parades of Allegheny County in 1938 and took part in
the Memorial Services of the Knights of St. George, November 6, 1938.
St. Augustine's Company C is composed of 32 men of the Drum-Bugle Corps
and 75 men of the Infantry. The Company has meetings and drillings on
Wednesday and Friday of each week and the Drum Corps disturbs the peace
of the neighborhood many a time with their practices.(45)
The oldest literary society established at St.
Augustine's was the SAINT STANISLAS KOSTKA SOCIETY. It was a society
founded for the benefit of the young men of the parish. The exact date
of its erection cannot be ascertained but it was evidently established
at the end of the year 1863 by the pastor, Fr. Tamchina. On February 3,
1864, this young men's society gave a dramatic and musical
entertainment in the school building. The tickets printed for that
occasion read: "Unterhaltungsfest des
St. Stanislaus Costka-Vereins im Schulhause der St. Augustinus Kirche
, Mittwoch den 3. Februar 1864. Eintritt 10
Cents. Fest-Committee: Adam Dietz, Titus Berger, George Hegner."
(Tickets preserved in the scrap-book of the late Titus Berger). This
society existed -- yet in 1871 but must have gone out of existence some
time after that year.(46)
A more pretentious literary society was formed in
1869, or earlier, by a group of young men of St. Augustine's parish and
called ST. GEORGE'S LITERARY ASSOCIATION OF PITTSBURGH, PA. During the
fair of St. Augustine's parish which was opened at December 28, 1869,
and closed January 9, 1870 this literary association staged two plays
for the benefit of the school. The program printed for that affair
reads: "Grand Opening for the St. Augustine Fair and Hall by the St.
George's Literary Association for the Benefit of St. Augustine's
School. Play I. "The Peoples' Lawyer". Players: Emmanuel Schillo,
(44) St. Augustinus
December, 1911, p. 9; October, 1912,
pp. 24; November, 1912, pp. 9, 16;
December, 1912, pp. 4-5; January, 1913. pp. 4-5; February, 1913, pp.
4-5, 16; March, 1913, pp. 4, 16; April, 1913, p. 16; July,
1913,'p. 16; August, 1913, pp. 9, 16; April, 1914, pp. 9-10, 16; June,
1914, pp. 2, 4-5, 6, 16; February, 1915, pp. 5, 16; September, 1915, p.
16. On the Volksverein in general see: Der Volksverein
York, 1915, pp. 50, and English
translation, New York, 1915, p. 49, and Catholic Encyclopedia
, vol. XV, pp.
(45) St. Augustinus
1915, p. 8; February, 1916, p. 5; March, 1916, p. 9; October, 1916, p.
9, etc., April, 1919, p. 9, etc., July, 1921, p. 8, etc., April, 1922,
p. 8, etc., etc.
(46) Cyprian Gehrling, in: St.
, August, 1922, p. 2.
Joseph Rihn, James Voit, Frank Kuntz, William Hoeveler , William
Lindenfelser, Louis Urban, John Haas, Joseph Elsesser, Jacob Elsesser,
John Wurzel, John Yeaster, John Kloman. Play II. "Der Prozess". Players
were: Ed. Mulzer, Peregrin, Henry Averman, (Aloys.) Frauenheim, A.
Schillo and E. Schillo. In May 1870 the association staged again a play
for the benefit of St. Augustine's Church which netted $60.08. Towards
the end of 1870 were printed the: Constitution,
of the St. George's Literary Association of
, with the imprint of 1871. Yet the copy
preserved in the parish archives has the inscription on an inside page
by William Alexander Heyl, dated Pittsburgh, December 28, 1870. The
officers were: Henry Schmidt, President, William August Hoeveler,
Vice-President, Anton Carl Kloman, Secretary. A notable fact about this
booklet of sixteen pages is that it is printed in English, while all
the other constitutions of the parish societies had been printed in
German up to that time. The purpose of the association is defined in
this constitution as "mutual improvement in elocution, composition, and
debate and enlarging our fund of general information". The regular
meetings were held on Wednesday evening (later Thursday evening) at
7:30 of every week. The performances of the society meetings consisted
in "reading, essays, select reading, declamations, orations, dialogues,
and debating". "German performances were in order at any time and had
to be conducted solely in German. No person under eighteen years was
eligible to membership". The association had also been in possession of
a library and had appointed a librarian who had the duty to "keep all
books correctly numbered, and attend to giving them out". The
vice-president William Hoeveler attended St. Augustine's school in
1862. The member William Heyl was a pupil of St. Augustine's school in
1863 and served in 1888 and 1889 on the building committee of the new
schoor building. Likewise six other players had been former pupils of
St. Augustine's school between 1862 and 1868. A few of the remaining
players may have attended St. Augustine's school some time prior to
1862. Nothing is known of this literary association after the year
The literary association of 1869 was a spontaneous
effort on the part of the young men of St. Augustine's parish to which
the pastor, Fr. Kircher, owing to his deficiency in English had been a
stranger. It was different with the next following literary society
established at St. Augustine's. At a meeting of the young men of St.
Augustine's parish, called by the pastor Fr. Felix Lex, and presided
over by Fr. Gregory Schneiders, on January 25, 1885, it was decided
that a literary society should be organized among them. The
organization was finally effected on February 9, 1885, by the adoption
of a constitution and by-laws and the naming of the society was ST.
AUGUSTINE'S YOUNG MEN'S LITERARY SOCIETY. The constitution and by-laws
were printed in English at Pittsburgh, Pa. in 1885 (pp. 18). All the
members of this society were at the same time members of the Young
Men's Conference of the parish. The officers were Director, First and
Second Vice-Presidents, Secretary, Treasurer, Librarian and Assistant
Librarian. Meetings were held every Monday evening. This society had
organized at the same time an orchestra and brass band which were open
only to the members of the Literary Society. These musical
organizations were governed by special by-laws, each being ruled by a
Leader and Assistant Leader and an Instructor or Professor. Besides the
literary society had also organized a Singing Club from among the
members of the society, from which outsiders were excluded. The Singing
Club elected a Leader and appointed an Instructor or Professor and was
likewise governed by special bylaws. The Director and founder of this
multiform Young Men's Literary Society was Fr. Gregory Naziance
Schneiders, the best English scholar among the Fathers at St.
Augustine's in his days. He was ordained priest on August 30, 1873, at
Trier in Germany, was imprisoned during the Kulturkampf by the German
government on November 1, 1874. When he was later released
(47) Cyprian Gehrling in: St. Augustinus, August, 1922, pp. 2-3,
September, 1922, p. 1; December, 1922, p. 7. Constitution der Gemeinde zu Lawrenceville
, MS., Ill, p. 4.
he went to Scotland upon the advice of his bishop, where he stayed for
three months with a noble family and mastered the English language
(September 2, till December 1875). He went to England and taught for
five months in St. Bede's College at Manchester. The Bishop of Salford
appointed him there upon as assistant priest at Farnworth, where he
labored for two and a half years till he was appointed pastor of Mount
Carmel Church at Salford. Here he remained for four and a half years
organizing that congregation and building a church. Finally he left
England with the intention of entering the Capuchin Order. On November
11, 1882, he entered in the Bavarian Province, because the Capuchins
had been still expelled from Prussia. Finally on January 28, 1884, he
landed at New York and a few days later he arrived at St. Augustine's
Pittsburgh. To distinguish him from the older Fr. Gregory Autsch who
likewise stayed at St. Augustine's, the people nicknamed him "The
English Fr. Gregory". At St. Augustine's Fr. Gregory Nazianz made good
use of his mastery of English by introducing more English devotions and
sermons. Knowing the needs of young men in English speaking countries
he organized the literary society and directed it for over four years
as none of the other Fathers could have done. Upon the advice of the
physicians he returned to his native country on May 2, 1889, and died
there on November 24, 1905. His memory is still fresh among the few
remaining former members of his literary society and others. Since Fr.
Gregory's literary society was without peer in the Lawrenceville
district, a number of young men of the English parishes joined it, as
Len. B. Blanchard, Dan Driscoll, John Collins, Henry Collins, John
Lannigan of Millvale, J. P. Reardon, Harry Toner, Owen Mooney, Austin
McGrath, Charles McCarren, F. McMullen, Shannon, Nick Liveo. Finally
among the members was enrolled Mr. Hardy Wall, a non-Catholic, who
associated with the "boys" at that time and despite the "constitution"
he was made a member and as Mr. A. W. Liebler, Past President of the
Literary writes (under date of Sept. 17, 1938), "he proved a good one".
At present only three of the eighty and more members of the one-time
St. Augustine's Young Men's Literary Society are still living. Len. B.
Blanchard, a successful real estate agent (4506 Centre Ave.), John
Link, and Andrew W. Liebler, agent of the General Office Machines Corp.
(719 Liberty Ave.). The Officers of the society for the term 1889-1890
were: Fr. Gregory Nazianz Schneiders, Director. And. W. Liebler, First
Vice-President (the Director was also President), John J. Link, Second
Vice-President, D. A. Behen, Secretary, Will. J. Frecker, Assistant
Secretary, Nich. Ulich, Librarian, John Engel, Assistant Librarian. The
Committeemen were: Henry Werries, Jos. Nagel, John J. Schaffer, and
Henry Uhte. On April 8, 1889, Fr. Gregory Nazianz attended the meetings
for the last time. On May 2, following, he left and on May 6th his
successor was introduced in the person of Fr. Irenaeus Kolb, O.M.Cap.,
a native of Philadelphia (died May 10, 1936). The receipts of the
society from January 31, 1888 till July 1, 1889 amounted to $341.42 and
the expenses to $319.05. The Constitutions were revised and Mr. A. W.
Liebler was elected President of the Society in January, 1890. On
October 7th, 1890, the Brass Band was made an independent organization.
Yet the following month of November, 1890, the literary society as
founded by Fr. Gregory Nazianz came to an end owing to the formation of
the Jungmaenner-Verein, and the change of the Young Men's Literary
Society into a general LITERARY MUSICAL SOCIETY which was open also to
men as well as young men. St. Augustine's Young Men Literary Society
carried out the program outlined in the Constitution up to the
beginning of 1890. Then we notice a remissness both in attendance as
well as in the performances. The society held also regular
entertainments in St. Augustine's hall charging entrance fees. On
January 14, 1889, the society had a public debate with the Young Men's
Literary Society of St. John the Baptist Parish upon the question
Whether McClellan was a greater general than Grant. The debate was
carried through agreeably to both parties the judges having decided it
to be a draw. The Messrs. E. M. Behen and W. R. Berger defended the
affirmative for St. Augustine's and the Messrs. J. Greegan and Walter
McCormick the negative for St. John's. The judges were Fr. Gregory
Nazianz for St. Augustine's Mr. J. F. Miller for St. John's and Wm. A.
Golden, Esq., the third party.