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1863 - 1938
Pittsburgh, PA

St. Augustine's Church is now (2011) known as Our Lady of the Angels. It is located on 37th Street, Lawrenceville, PA

(Contributed March, 2011 by Nancy J. Smith,

1863-1938                                                                 ST. AUGUSTINE'S  PARISH HISTORY                                                                         Page 157  


Societies of St. Augustine's Church (continued)

This was to be the last public performance of St. Augustin's Young Men's Literary Society under the direction of Fr. Gregory Nazianz. This debate was announced in church.(48)

 At the Katholikentag (Catholic Day) of the German Catholics of the United States held at Pittsburgh, Pa., September 22-25, 1890, all German Catholic Young Men's Societies were united into a Central-Bund (Central Union) which embraced also the Young Men's Literary Society of St. Augustine's. However, the Young Men's Societies of Pittsburgh were also formed into a diocesan organization under the name of: DIOEZESAN-VERBAND KATHOLISCHER DEUTSCH-AMERIKANISCHER JUNGMAENNER-VEREINE VON PITTSBURGH (Diocesan Union of the Catholic German-American Young Men's Societies of Pittsburgh). The first meeting was held on November 9, 1890, in St. Michael's Hall, South Side and ten societies were affiliated to the diocesan organization. Eight other societies joined the organization later. St. Augustine's Young Men's Literary Society of Lawrenceville was among the first societies which were affiliated to the diocesan organization. The diocesan organization was aggregated to the Central-Bund. The former held two mass-meetings every year (April and October) and two general meetings (January and July). The Constitution, By-Laws, and Rules of Order of this diocesan organization were printed at Pittsburgh 1890 in German and English (p. 47). The officers of the diocesan organization in 1899 were: Rev. Bernard Hehl, C.P., President; Mr. Karl Wunderly, Vice-President; Mr. Joseph H. Reiman, Recording Secretary; Mr. Henry Gensler, Financial Secretary; Mr. August Rausch, Treasurer. The Board of Directors was formed by the Messrs. Nicholas J. Kolling (Secretary); Bernard Hahn, Joseph A. Schmitt, August

Rausch, Markus Reuss, Philip Zeus, Karl Mayer, Joseph A. Winter, Joseph Spinnen-weber, Joseph A. Mahler, Benjamin Hilde-brand, John Hickel, Karl Steedle, J. E. Eberle, Joseph Heitz. The Diocesan organization infused new life into the ST. AUGUSTINE'S YOUNG MEN'S LITERARY SOCIETY and at the same time put an end to the organization founded by Fr. Gregory Nazianz Schneiders by changing it from an English into a German society, in which German was the official language and English was only tolerated within a restricted sphere. Indeed the newly reorganized literary society was regarded as an entirely new organization which on January 6, 1901, celebrated its tenth anniversary of foundation with great solemnity in church and in the hall. In February, 1902, the St. Augustinus Juenglings-Verein had a membership of about 90. The officers were: Fr. Clement Pfeifer, O.M.Cap., Director; Mr. John Zeus, President; Mr. Philip Kreckler, Vice-President; Mr. J. George Hager, Financial Secretary; Mr. William Stapf, Corresponding Secretary; Mr. William Busch, Librarian. Two years later the St. Augustinus Juenglings-(Jungmaenner-) Verein was reorganized and received from the place of meeting the name St. Augustine's Casino.(49)

 ST. AUGUSTINE'S CASINO as an organized society was founded on February 7, 1904, and took its name from the building in which the society meets. The Casino building is the old school hall which was built in August, 1879, to have the necessary place for meetings on Sundays and schoolrooms on weekdays. The hall was opened with a play on November 5, 1879. After the dedication of the new church the old church was changed into a parish hall which was opened on October 22, 1901, with a great dramatic play staged by the Dramatic Circle of the St.

(48) Constitution and By-Lazes of St. Augustine's Young Men's Literary Society of Pittsburgh, Pa., Pittsburgh, Knapp,  (1885), pp. 18,  (a copy in the parish archives).  Minute-Book of St. Augustine's  Young Men's Literary Society, from August 27,  1888,  till October 7th,  1890. MS. (in parish archives). St. Augustinus, 1925, pp. 13, 71, 167.  Annales Provinciae Pennsylvanicae  MS., vol. I, pp. 109-110, 443.  Letter of information by Past President A. W. Lieblcr, dated Sept. 17, 1938.
(49) ferhandlungen der  Fierten  Allgemeinen  Fersammlung der Katholiken  deutscher Zunge der Vereinigten Staaten von Nord-Amerika in Pittsburgh, Pa. herausgegeben von Rev. A. Fischer und Chas. J. Jaegle. Pittsburgh, Pa.  1890, pp. 41-44, 101-106, 112, 152. Handbuch des Pittsburger Beobachters, pp. 35-36, 37-38.  St. Augustinus, October, 1899, p. 2, March, 1900, p. 3; September, 1900, p. 5; January, 1901, p. 3; September, 1901, p. 4, October, 1901, pp. 5, 8; January, 1902, p. 4; February, 1902, p. 2; December, 1903, p. 4; May, 1927, p. 93.

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Augustine's Young Men's Society. The old Parish Hall was remodeled changing the one-story building into a two-story building with different meeting-rooms for the societies and a bowling-alley in the basement. On the first meeting of the Casino the election of officers took place with the result: Rev. Clement Pfeifer, Director; Mr. F. L. Kress, President; E. A. Halli, Financial Secretary. A committee was appointed to draw up the rules and regulations of the society, composed of the Messrs. P. J. Scholl, J. J. Noulett, Philip Krekler, Joseph Irlbacher, George Hager, Frank Dittman, John Fritch, Philip J. Zeus and Frank Besselman.

     A second committee was appointed to supervise the repairs to be made in converting the one-time parish hall into a casino. The Messrs. Peter Kerner, Charles Fuchs, Anton Lackner, Louis Kwozalla and Mat. N. Werries were elected to serve on this building committee. It was decided at the same time that the amount to be expended on these repairs should not exceed two thousand dollars.

     The meeting of March 7, 1904, ordered the constitution and by-laws to be drawn as read. This constitution with the by-laws was printed soon after. The reprint of the Constitution of St. Augustine Casino of 1912 is in the parish-archives. The constitution comprises 16 articles with 29 sections and the by-laws 15 articles with 20 sections. The revised Constitution and By-Laws printed at Pittsburgh in 1921 comprises 17 articles with 34 sections of constitution and 9 articles with 24 sections of by-laws. Finally the Constitution and By-Laws were reprinted in 1928 (17 articles and 35 sections of Constitution and 19 articles and 46 sections of By-Laws).

     The members constituting the Casino on February 7, 1904, were the following: Adelman, Frank; Alland, Jos.; Besselman, Frank; Besselman, Lawrence; Bauer, Elmer; Bich, George, Sr.; Berger, August; Bieneman, A.; Boberg, W.; Bracht, Henry; Brennan, Patrick; Brunner, Charles F.; Bush, Wm.; Buster, Charles; Buster, George; Dittman, F. D.; Doemling, George; Dorn, M.; Dresbach, Joseph; Eberlein, George; Eichenlaub, Edw. D.; Eichenlaub, Eugene E.; Eich-enlaub, Frank; Eichenlaub, B.; Engel, And.; Farmerie, Wm.; Fey, Lawrence; Fey, Rob., Sr.; Fey, Rob., Jr.; Fisher, AL; Fisher, Otto; Fortwengler, Jos.; Fortwengler, Wm.; Fritsch, John; Fuchs, Charles; Fuchs, Frank; Fuchs, Louis; Fuhrer, Wm.;  Gauscheman, F.; Gerlach, John; Gerstbein, A.; Girty, Thomas; Golden, J.; Gottschalk, Henry; Gottschalk, John; Haag, John; Haber, George; Haeckler, Stephan; Halli, A. L.; Halli, Ed. A.; Halli, P. A.; Halli, P. J.; Hart, Mich.; Hoffman, L., Sr.; Hoffman, L., Jr.; Irlbacher, Jos., Sr.; Jacobs, H.; Kalchthaler, Frank; Kalchthaler, Wm.; Keiser, Nic.; Kelly, D. J.; Kemp, Edw.; Kiester, F. J.; Kerner, A.; Kerner, Frank; Kerner, Peter, Sr.; Kerner, Peter, Jr.; Klavon, J. A.; Kramm, Philip; Kreckler, Philip; Kress, Frank L.; Kuntz, Wm.; Kwozalla, L.; Lackner, Anton; Larkin, F. X.; Leas, Paul; Leisman, Edw.; Leisman, George; Leisner, Frank; McCabe, Frank; McGee, John; Meier, John; Meisner, Jos.; Meisner, Syl.; Nickel, George; Nickel, Jos.; Nieman, Ferd.; Nieman, L.; Noulett, And.; Noulett, John J.; Pottmeyer, Edw. M.; Pottmeyer, Harry; Pottmeyer, Jos.; Reckhaus, Henry; Reible, F.; Reiman, John; Riehl, Edw. P.; Reisinger, John; Schaffer, C. F.; Schaffer, George; Schaffer, Jos.; Schaffer, Will.; Schiffhauer, Frank; Schmidthammer, L.; Scholl, Frank; Scholl, Leo; Scholl, P. J.; Schultz, Frank M.; Skonetzi, A.; Skonetzi, C.; Schwer, Walter; Speth, Jos.; Stapf, Will. J.; Stehle, Louis; Steinkirchner, Edw.; Stierer, George; Strieber, Will.; Thiery, J.; Voelker, Fred.; Voelker, Frank; Voelker, Jos.; Vogel, Edw. J.; Walter, Charles; Weber, Frank; Weber, N. P.; Werries, Mat. N.; Westerman, Bernard; Wirth, Leo; Wolf, Math.; Wolfensberger, Victor; York, Charles; Zeus, John; Zeus, Phil. J.; Zinsmeister, L. A., Dr.; Zinsmeister, Will. J.; Zoeller, Edw. A total of 136. Possibly one or the other name is omitted through an oversight.

     On September 1, 1938, St. Augustine's Casino numbered 96 male and 53 female members, a total of 149. The officers for the 1938-1939 term were: Adolph Lutz, Jr., President; Henry Kins, Vice-President; Otto H. Werries, Financial Secretary; E. H. Hoellerman, Treasurer; R. J. Hinchcliff, Recording Secretary; Leo Schmolder, Marshall; Board of Directors is composed of the Messrs. Al. Weismiller, A. F. Lutz, Chas. Riedel, Leonard Dongweck, Walter Schwer, Jr., John C. Burlett, Airs. Cath. Rixner, Miss Ann Lakits and Miss Mary Rita Werries. Up to April 8, 1907, the meetings were con-

1863-1938                                                                 ST. AUGUSTINE'S  PARISH HISTORY                                                                       Page 159       

ducted in German and the minutes entered in German. With next following meeting, 37th Meeting of May 3, 1907, English was employed and kept up to date. On December 6, 1909, the Casino decided to affiliate with the County Federation of Catholic Societies but before long the County Federation of Catholic Societies was a thing of the past. In the course of time a number of standing and temporary committees were organized to manage the social, musical and literary affairs of the Casino.

    The Casino contributed in the course of time large sums to the support of St. Augustine's Church, school and other charitable works sponsored by the parish. For the last thirty years the Casino gave a treat to the school children of St. Augustine's during the Christmas season. Among the charitable works performed by the society to outsiders stands preeminently the sum of five hundred dollars contributed in 1923 to the Endowment Fund of the Central-Verein of America at St. Louis, Mo. The financial standing of the Casino had always been good. On January 1, 1921, the treasurer reported $1,193.40 cash balance.(50)

    The ST. AUGUSTINE'S DRAMATIC CLUB was organized in 1904. Dramatic plays proved a source of paying revenues to the church and school from the earliest years of existence of St. Augustine's parish. As early as 1868 the children of the school staged a play and the different parish societies followed suit ever since that date. The societies of men, young men and young ladies, the religious as well as the beneficial and social societies, formed dramatic clubs among their members from time to time to stage certain plays. These clubs formed units of longer or shorter duration, just as eventualities demanded.

    Twice a regular company of professional players was hired (1875, 1879) to attract people to the fair held for the benefit of the church.
    The GERMANIA THEATRE CLUB or LAWRENCEVILLE is perhaps the oldest Dramatic Club of St. Augustine's. A bill amounting to $20.75 for advertisements of the plays staged by that club during the church fair was presented by the manager of Der Republikaner in February, 1870, and was paid by the parish. This seems to prove that the Germania Dramatic Club of Lawrenceville was a parochial society; yet on the other hand it is possible that the parsih hired an outside dramatic club and paid for the advertisements. The St. Augustine's Young Men's Society was the first society which had formed a permanent Dramatic Circle within its society. This must have been done in 1891, when that society was first firmly organized. This Dramatic Circle became an independent parish society on the formation of the Casino in 1904. However, on October 16, 1921, the Dramatic Circle was incorporated into the Casino and ever since it is called the DRAMATIC CIRCLE (later CLUB) OF ST. AUGUSTINE'S CASINO. The officers of this dramatic circle were elected at the same meeting and they were: Mat. N. Werries, General Manager; Jos. 0. Vogel, Stage Manager; Anthony F. Haas, Secretary; Joseph Trakofler, Treasurer; the Messrs. Al. J. Nagel, L. H. Hufnagel, and E. J. Vogel, Directors. The Rules and Regulations of the Casino Dramatic Club comprise nine articles and limit membership to members of the Casino. These rules were never printed.

    Up to June 5, 1924, the secretaries would call the dramatic organization with the name Dramatic Circle. On June 12, 1924, they speak of the Dramatic Club for the first time, and kept this name consistently after that date. Finally on December 28, 1924, the Board of Directors decided that since there had "been a little confusion as to the correct name of our club, it shall be known as the 'CASINO DRAMATIC CLUB OF ST. AUGUSTINE'S PARISH' and this title is to be used on all

(50) Minutes of the Meetings of the St. Augustine's Casino. MS. From February 7, 1904 till December 7, 1919. Minutes of the Meetings of the Board of Directors of the St. Augustine's Casino. MS. From February 21, 1917 till October 19, 1921. Constitution and By-Laws of the St. Augustine's Casino, Pittsburgh, 1912, 1921. 1928. Report of the Secretary Otto H. Werries, dated September 13, 1938. MS. The files of the St. Augustinus records the doings outside the meeting rooms from 1904 to date, although in very irregular order. The Catholic Year Book of the Diocese of Pittsburgh carries a summary notice of St. Augustine's Casino. 1908. p. 133, 1910, p. 63, 1913, p. 194, 1917,p. 150. Of the numerous reports about the Casino in the St. Augustinus, we quote only February 1921, p. 9, 1923, pp. 56. 57. On the County Federation see: St. Augustinus, April, 1922, p. 8, and June, 1922, p. 8 .


First Girls of the Academy, about 1894
Camilla Frauenheim, Frances Hug, Clara C. Bastian, Mary Frauenholtz, Rose
Rehbein, Louise Kerner, Josephine Jaegle.  Bottom:  Stella Pechstein, Cecelia
Westermann, Anna Fey, Elizabeth Heyl, May Fay, Mary Kempen.

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tickets." According to an agreement made with the pastors of St. Augustine's parish the Casino pays all expenses and the Church receives 75 percent of the net proceeds and the Casino 25 percent. As a rule the plays staged proved a financial success. Yet it happened that the play was a failure financially and then the Casino and the Church paid the deficit. The club holds a picnic every year for the club members exclusively but since 1925 Casino members are also invited.

    The club gives also a treat to the acting members after every play. It had to be stated repeatedly that other club members who did not serve in the play, are not entitled to participate in the treat. The club staged as many as five plays and two sketches a season (1924-1925). One year it did not stage any play. Yet on the average it stages two plays in a season. The revision of the Constitution was accepted by the club on September 24 ,1934. According to this new constitution the parish is to receive 75 percent and the Casino 25 percent of the net profit of all public plays. The club has a Requiem and three low Masses celebrated at the death of a member.

    The meeting of February 6, 1922, ordered a sign-canvas to be stretched from the monastery walls across the street to the Casino-building and to post signs in front of the Casino building. Later the large sign-board on top of the monastery wall was erected which is still up for service.

    In December, 1923, the Rev. George A. Metzger, pastor of Holy Trinity Church, Brooklyn, N. Y., inquired about the plays staged by the club and information was forwarded. The officers of the Casino Dramatic Club for the year 1938-1939 were the following: Charles Riedel, General Manager; Hildegard Maisel, Recording Secretary; Otto H. Werries, Treasurer; the Directors were: Adolph Lutz, Jr., Edgar Fry, Walter Schwer, Jr., and Mary Rita Werries.(51)

    On February 11, 1910, the meeting of the Casino decided to establish a literary club as a branch and Mr. Mat. Werries was appointed chairman of the committee entrusted with the foundation of this new venture of the Casino. In December, 1910, nothing was done yet in that matter. However, in April, 1919, we read of a debate between two teams of the Casino on the merits and demerits of National Prohibition. In May, 1919, we read of a debate between the members of the Casino and Laetitia Club on the problem of equal rights. According to the verdict of the pastor the ladies should have proved superior, which would be an unusual feat of intellectualism. How long this literary branch of the Casino showed signs of life, was never told to the public.(52)

    The LAWRENCE PLAYERS were a body of unorganized volunteer players who were engaged by Fr. Clement Pfeifer, O.M.Cap., to raise funds for his mission of Avella, Pa. They were at one time or another members of the St. Augustine's Dramatic Club. Some time in 1915 they began their charitable work in behalf of the country missions. Later they staged also some plays in behalf of the Missionary Confraternity of Christian Doctrine of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. On June 18 and 22, 1917, they gave "The Seal of Confession" at Epiphany Hall, Pittsburgh. Some time after they disappeared from the scene.(53)

    ST. AUGUSTINE'S LAETITIA CLUB was founded on September 19th, 1913, to serve as a Casino society for the ladies of the parish. The officers elected at that constitutive meeting were: Mary Fey, President; Anna Hufnagel, Vice-President; Lizzie Burlett, Recording Secretary; Anna Kuester, Treasurer. The meetings were scheduled for every third Thursday of the month. On March 11, 1914, a board of directors was elected in the persons of Mary Fey, Minnie Berger, Cath. Besselman, Lizzie Raible, Lizzie Burlett, and Loretta Sweeny. At the same time the first Bowling Teams were formed. Regular gymnasium classes were held, basket ball playing and euchres and dances were on the

(51) St. Augustinus, 1924, January, 1923, p. 4. Minutes of the Dramatic Club from October, 1921 to date. MS.  The St. Augustinus carries many notes about the dramatic performances of the club, as of October, 1901, p. 8, November, 1901, p. 1, etc., February, 1910, p. 10, etc., December, 1922, pp. 9, 11, etc., February, 1923, p. 17, etc., etc.
(52) St. Augustinus, December, 1910, p. 9: April. 1919, p. 9; May, 1919, p. 8. Minutes of the Casino. MS. February 11, 1910.
(53) St. Augustinus, May, 1917, p. 8.

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program of the Laetitia Club. Banquets were had from time to time, as also socials of various kinds, old-fashioned sewing circles, an annual picnic, trips to different cities for sightseeing, Valentine receptions. The members assisted the Casino members time and again in arranging their socials. In January, 1918, the first joint meeting of the Casino and Laetitia Club was held, at which the newly elected officers were installed, and on July 4th following the Laetitia and Casino Clubs had a joint picnic. When a number of Casino young men had gone to war, the Laetitia Club had to keep the Casino open, and to "come across," as the President of the Casino expressed it. On May 9, 1919, a move was made by the Casino to have the Laetitia Club united with it, but on account of the opposition of the latter the movement failed. Finally on December 15, 1920, the Casino voted to consolidate with the Laetitia Club. Two days later the Laetitia Club held its last meeting as an independent society and made arrangements for the consolidation. According to the terms of union the Laetitia Club has two members on the Casino Board of Directors who are elected from among their club members. The Misses Catherine Berner and Margaret Legath were the first members of the Laetitia Club to sit in the Board of Directors. The pastor, Fr. Philip Knupfer, wrote in the Augustinus in January, 1921: "We heartily endorse this consolidation and we sincerely believe that it is to the advantage of both Clubs. We earnestly invite all the members of the parish to become affiliated with the St. Augusttine's Casino." The Constitution of 1921 changed the section regulating the Board of Directors raising the number from seven to nine and the Constitution of 1928 raised it to ten members. On September 1, 1938, the Laetitia Club counted S3 members.(54)

    The choir of St. Augustine's Church was organized into a reguar society under the name of ST. AUGUSTINUS MAENNERCHOR in January or February, 1892. The society gave a concert on New Year's Day (1894) for the benefit of the poor, the proceeds of which amounted to $147. Similar entertainments were given by the society in the course of time and no small sums were realized for the church or charitable works. The election of officers in the first week of December, 1901, had the result as follows: Charles F. Stuedle, President (re-elected unanimously); Francis Johannbroer, Vice-President; Richard Rinscheid, Secretary; Joseph Joos, Treasurer; Mathias Meis, Director. The Board of Directors was composed of the Messrs. Constantine Waldvogel, Charles Fuchs, John Nickel, and John Fink. Membership of the society was 67. On February 2 and 3, 1902, the society celebrated the tenth anniversary of its foundation in the church as well in the hall. On New Year's Day, 1904, the society gave a social for the benefit of the poor. In April, 1911, the St. Augustinus Maennerchor was reorganized and changed from a German organization into an English one under the name of: ST. AUGUSTINE'S CHORAL CLUB. On May 8. 1911, the newly organized society gave a concert for the benefit of the church. Two more concerts were given for the same purpose later in the year. The officers for the year 1915 were: A. Lutz, President; Joseph Trakofler, Vice-President; Frank Trakofler. Secretary and Treasurer; John Zawart, Librarian; Rudolph Christof, Organist and Choir-Director. On June 4, 1929, the following officers were elected: John Bienemann. President; Joseph Trakofler, Vice-President; Francis McLaughlin, Financial Secretary; August Rattay, Librarian; Adolph Lutz, Assistant Librarian; Lawrence Fitz, Organist and Choir Drector. At the electon on January 12, 1934, these officers were constituted: Charles Moffat, President; Leo Schakmar Vice-President; Francis McLaughlin, Secretary and Treasurer. On April 13, 1934, the last meeting was held and ever since the organization is in abeyance.(55)

(54) Minutes  of the  Meetings  of  St.  Augustine's  Laetitia  Club,  from  September  19,  1913  to August 19, 1919. MS. St. Augustinus, May, 1914. p. 6; January, 1916. p. 12; July. 1919. p. 8; September, 1919, p. 8; October, 1919, p. 9; December, 1919, p. 8: January, 1921, p. 8, etc.
(55) On the organizations of the choir see: St. Augustinus, December. 1901. p. 4; February, 1902. pp. 2, 4; January, 1904, pp. 4-5; April, 1911  p. 8: December. 1911. p. 9; January, 1915, p. 8; January, 1927, pp. 14, 16; May 1928, p. 90; July, 1929, p. 129.  Minutes of Meetings, MS. 1929-1934.

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    ST. AUGUSTINE'S SINGING SOCIETY was established about 1875. It was an organized society, apparently mostly composed of the church choir. The society had an annual excursion and grand concerts on their program in 1877. No other data are available about this society which may have continued to exist till 1892 and be merged with the ST. AUGUSTINE MAENNERCHOR.

    St. Augustinus Casino founded a Singing Society on February 11, 1910, as a branch of the Casino. The new society was called CASINO CHORAL CLUB and was recruited only from members of the Casino. In order to have a mixed choral club, including soprano and alto, it was necessary to have the ladies incorporated; yet the latter were regarded only as guests or outside talent. In December, 1910, the Casino Choral Club had an enrollment of 35 members. On December 29, 1910, the club gave its first concert for the benefit of the church. This effort was very reassuring. Mr. Louis Imgrund was director of the choir of singers and a band of musicians took part also in the concert. This seems to have been the first and last appearance of the Casino Choral Club.(56)

    ST. AUGUSTINE'S ALUMNI ASSOCIATION was founded in July, 1927, for the purpose of keeping up a spirit of fellowship among the graduates of St. Augustine's High School. Any graduate of that school is eligible to membership. The association meets every three months in St. Augustine's School. At the quarterly meeting on January 8, 1928, the following officers were elected for the year 1927: Al Nieman, President; Armella Dunmire, Vice-President; Annette Creighton, Recording Secretary; Leo Andres, Financial Secretary; Gerard Boberg, Treasurer. The pastor of St. Augustin's Church invited all former pupils of the High School to join the association. On February 15, 1928, the members of the association gave a social which proved very successful. This was the second social given by the association. During the ten years of its existence the association has raised handsome sums for the benefit of the school from which they had graduated.(57)

    In April, 1905, the Boys Choir of St. Augustine's Church was founded, and assisted the men's choir under the direction of their common choir directors. On September 17, 1917, however, the boys' choir was organized in regular form by the able organist John Baptist Grilly and was called the PEROSI BOYS CHOIR OF ST. AUGUSTINE'S CHURCH. The name was suggested by Mr. Grilly who was a great admirer of his compatriot Lorenzo Perosi, the famous Italian composer and choir director. The regular election constituted the following officers of the society: Joseph Aschenbrenner, President; Joseph Polk, Vice-President; Edwin Wagner, Secretary; Paul Benz, Treasurer. At that time the Perosi Boys' Choir numbered about 50 members. The director of the choir Mr. Grilly was to realize his expectation to increase the efficienty of the choir with the great number of good voices he had at his command. He was confident that a little encouragement given to the young singers would put greater zest into the work of the boys, since they were so willing to do their utmost in the use of their gifted voice for the greater edification of liturgical service. The blessing he invoked on the parents, patrons and well-wishers of the Perosi Boys' Choir was surely realized in God's own time. Probably the resignation of Mr. Grilly as organist was attended with a disorganization of the once flourishing Perosi Boys' Choir of St. Augustine's Church.(58)

    The members of the Juenglingsvereines (Young Men's Society) have been charged with the office of ushers in St. Augustine's Church. This arrangement dates back to 1899 and probably to earlier years. The society selected the young men who were willing and capable to fill that office either for a definite period or only for special occa-

(56) St. Augustinus, April, 1910, p. 9; December, 1910, p. 9; January, 1911, p. 8;  1924, p. 82. Minutes of the Casino. MS. February 11, 1910, and October 3, 1910.
(57) St. Augustinus, January, 1928, p. 8; February, 1928, pp. 28-29; April, 1928, p. 68; May, 1928, p. 88; January, 1929, p. 9.
(58) St. Augustinus, March, 1905, p. 7: May, 1905. p. 6; October, 1905. pp. 9, 10: September, 1917, P. 8.

Altar Boys, 1885

Standing, left to right:  Anthony Vilsack, Charles Heyl, (Father Edward), John Werries, Joseph Frauenheim, Christ Limpert,
August Vilsack, John Land,  Seated:  M. N. Werries, Joseph Limpert, George Zerr, Joseph Emerich, Albert Pechstein.

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sions. To obtain more concerted action the pastor, Fr. Philip Knupfer, suggested the formation of a regular society. Accordingly on November 22, 1926, a new organization was introduced at St. Augustine's Church under the name of "ST. AUGUSTINE'S USHER CLUB". The members constituting the new organization were the following young men: Louis Dadowski, Jr., Francis J. Dadowski, Ralph J. Dadowski, Joseph T. Peoples, Joseph Hungerman, Leo Hungerman, Al. J. Nagel, Edmund Werries, Matthew Werries, Jr., Aloysius Pottmeyer, Charles E. Benz, Joseph Frueh, Clem. Burlett, Leo Schmolder, Joseph Grimm, Ralph Stehle, Joseph Doemling, and Joseph Schmitt. At their first meeting these eighteen members elected from among their ranks the following officers: Charles E. Benz, President; Louis Dadowski, Jr., Secretary; Mat. Werries, Jr., Treasurer. The purpose of the club is to furnish efficient men who are able to keep order during services in church and to curb all disturbers in every emergency. The pastor exhorted the parishioners to cooperated with the ushers and not create any difficulties to them. The members of the club meet once a month to discuss the best ways and means towards maintaining order and well behavior in church. The annual election of officers in December, 1927, resulted in the constitution of the following men: Al. J. Nagel, President; Clem. Burlett, Vice-President; Matt. Werries, Jr., Treasurer; Al. Pottmeyer, Secretary. The pastor, Fr. Gilbert Stickelmeier, was not stinting in the praise he gave to these men writing: "This club is certainly to be congratulated for the wonderful work it has achieved the past year. Loitering in the rear of the church during services is a thing of the past. We hope that they will continue the good work in the future." The officers for the year 1938 are the following: Francis S. Dadowski, President; Michael S. Rixner, Vice-President; Louis Dadowski, Jr., Secretary, and Leo Andres, Treasurer. The society meets every last Monday of the month, in the Parish Library. The club counts at present eighteen members.(59)
    The late Titus Berger wrote in 1875 that "America, the land without pilgrimages, is deluged with secular societies and clubs". He deplored the fact that many Catholic parishes were not yet blessed with Catholic societies or only with such which had a semblance of Catholic societies harboring many members of bad repute. Yet the establishment of really Catholic societies did not prevent Catholic men and women from joining secular societies and clubs for various reasons. At present most of the members of secular or inter-denominational societies are at the same time also members of Catholic societies. Naturally the Germans hailing from various parts of the fatherland were drawn to join the societies or clubs of their racial kin and so we find the parishioners of St. Augustine's fraternizing with their Bavarian, Hessian, Alsatian, Badenian, Suevian, Austrian, German-Hungarian kinsmen in ever so many societies. The location of such clubs induced others to join the near-by German society. This is evidently the case with the "SINGING-SOCIETY "ElNTRACHT OF LAWRENCEVILLE (Gesang-Verein Eintracht von Lawrenceville). This society was founded on January 6, 1866, for the purpose of cultvating singing and music among the Germans of Lawrenceville. The Society met in the parish school of St. Augustine's from 1870 till 1872 and paid annually $36 rent. After that time they had their meeting-room in the bank-building on the corner of 34th Penn Avenue and Butler Street. Since 1900 the society owns a building on 36th Street in the rear of St. Augustin's Church. In 1899 the society had a membership of 212, a singing club of 28 voices and an orchestra of 16 men. At that time Anthony Schillo was President and Henry Frecker, Vice-President, and Emmanuel Schillo, Treasurer, all three were parishioners of St. Augustine's. The society is still in a flourishing state. See on this society, Handbuch des Pittsburger Beobachters, p. 40. Mr. Berger in: Stimme der Wahrheit, 1875. St. Augustinus, January, 1923, pp. 4, 5.

    This multiplicity of societies and clubs was partly the result of a need and partly

(59) St. Augustinus, November, 1899, p. 3; December, 1926, p. 240; December, 1927, p. 244; December. 1928. p. 288. Report of the secretary Louis Dadowski.

  Page 166                                                                  ST. AUGUSTINE'S  PARISH HISTORY                                                                    1863-1938

the creation of convenience and good fellowship. As long as they lasted they served a purpose and surely one or the other of the defunct societies or clubs will be resurrected in future under one form or another. Yet after all these societies and clubs exerted a beneficial influence on the parishioners and repressed the movements appealing to lower instincts springing up in various corners of the district. Naturally individual members belonged to various societies simultaneously, whilst others did not belong to any at all. St. Augustine's Casino has such a broad scope that it can minister to all possible recreational needs and tastes. A striking instance is the formation of the defunct BROTHERS' CLUB, a glee club, formed in 1912 under the direction of the Director of the Casino and dissolved in 1919. Naturally it was composed of members of the Casino and may be revived some future day. See: St. Augustinus, January, 1916, p. 9.

    The societies which we described in the present chapter were all established in St. Augustine's parish, partly at the church, partly at the hall and Casino. We may add two societies which were established at St. Augustine's Monastery, and not at the church. The first society of this kind is the SERAPHIC WORK OF CHARITY. The object of this society is to care for destitute children and to provide for their Catholic education by placing them in homes managed by the society, called SERAPHIC HOMES, or other Catholic institutions or, when feasible, with Catholic families. A second object is to assist boys and partly young men of poor families financially, or otherwise, to receive a training for a. future useful career in life. The Seraphic Work of Charity was a venture of the Third Order of St. Francis into the field of social welfare; it was a work of charity sponsored by the spiritual children of the Seraphic St. Francis and this is the meaning of the name. The Seraphic Work of Charity was founded on January 6, 1889, by the Tertiary Congregation at Ehrenbreitstein in Germany and was taken up in rapid succession by many other Tertairies' Congregations in Germany. Within the first four years the society had cared for three hundred children. In 1894 the society spent already $13,500 in support of destitute children in Germany. In 1893 the society was divided into two sections: North and South
Germany. On January 1, 1898, a third section was established for Switzerland at Luzerne and on January 1, 1899, a fourth section at Herman, Pa. for North America. In 1934 no less than 25 sections in Germany, Switzerland, United States, Austria, and Czechoslovakia had a membership of more than 500,000 and published 15 periodicals in behalf of the work and many thousands of Catholic children have been saved to the church and Christian civilization by the society. A long list of indulgences were granted by Pius X. in 1914 to the members of the society. To become a member of the society the name must be enrolled and some small contribution in money must be paid to the society. Moreover members share in the benefits of 4,000 Masses which are celebrated annually for the living and dead members of the society. The different sections issue 15 periodicals with a subscription of a half a million. The Seraphic Work of Charity is no confraternity and the consent of the diocesan bishop is not needed for erection of any branch. It may, however, be erected like a confraternity with the consent of the bishop and then the indulgences and spiritual benefits are bestowed upon the branch as such. The Seraphic Work of Charity was introduced into the United States by the late Fathers Pancratius Dockler (died September 17, 1932) and Godhard Friedmann (died June 14, 1919), at Herman, Pa. On December 3, 1898, these two Fathers received the letter of approval of the General of the Capuchin Order, the late Bernard of Andermatt and on January 1, 1899, they formally established the branch for the United States. The boys cared for by the society were first placed into a private family at Herman, Pa., and later a sort of separate home was acquired. During the first five years (1899-1903) the Seraphic Work of Charity had distributed $2,697.88 in the United States. In August, 1906, the headquarters of the Seraphic Work of Charity were transferred from Herman, Pa., to the St. Augustine's Monastery at Pittsburgh and reorganized on a broader basis.

    At the Directors' Meeting of the Order of Catholic Knights of St. George on February 26, 1908, the Order decreed to assist the Seraphic Work of Charity in the Juvenile Court and the Grand President, Joseph Reimann, appointed a special committee to act

1863-1938                                                                 ST. AUGUSTINE'S  PARISH HISTORY                                                                         Page 167       

in this matter. On January 22, 1911, the Constitution of the Seraphic Work of Charity was passed constituting a society governed by a Board of Directors and the officers of President, Vice-President, Recording Secretary, Financial Secretary, Treasurer and three consultors.

    At the same time By-Laws were passed governing the LADIES' AUXILIARY SOCIETY. These constitution and by-laws were printed at Pittsburgh in 1911. pp. 8. When on November 11, 1914, the present Toner Institute was assigned to the care of the Seraphic Work of Charity and the number of boys to be cared for was rapidly jumping from 71 to 125, the organization was not adequate any more to support the institution. Other means were resorted to, as drives, tag days, bazaars and especially the Juvenile Court, and naturally the organization lapsed, although many members continued to support the work to this day and enjoy the spiritual benefits in their fullest extent. The late Mrs. Mary C. Freker proved the greatest inspiration to the Ladies Auxiliaries. In 1907 she espoused the cause and for well nigh fifteen years she cared for the neglected boys of the Home as a real "Mother", even going so far that she performed the menial work of "maids" in the spirit of true and genuine charity. Through her efforts the work of the ministering ladies was organized to achieve greater efficiency. Naturally she was elected First President of the society and on resigning the post of trust, she continued the charitable work as ever before. In the "Home" the name of Mrs. Freker stood for real care and the sight of her was hailed by boys who had never experienced the charm of maternal love with greatest delight. Besides these personal services she was indefatigable in raising funds for the Home, by a great number of socials, euchres and collections. All this work was done by her when she had past already the sixty mark of age. .Yet even old age did not put an end to her charitable work for the boys in the Home. Through a concurrence of external circumstances the good work of the Ladies Auxiliaries was suspended and Mrs. Freker was deprived of the opportunity to carry on her ministrations to the neglected boys of the Seraphic Home. She died on March 16, 1932 at the ripe old age of 84 years and 7 months; her memory will remain fresh for many a year to come at the Home which she served so well. Mrs. Harry Acker was a valiant companion and support of Mrs. Freker for many years in the care for the neglected boys in the Home. She likewise was an officer of the society and proved a zealous and active member to the last. One of the principal means of propagating the Seraphic Work of Charity are the periodicals issued in its behalf. These monthlies bear the title of: SERAPHIC FRIEND OF CHILDREN. The periodical of the section of Northern Germany had at one time more subscribers than any other Catholic periodical of the Fatherland. The founders of the American section of the Seraphic Work of Charity, the Fathers Pancratius and Godhard, founded also a periodical called SERAPHISCHER KINDERFREUND, which appeared first in January, 1899, and is still in the field. For the last twenty-six years, since March, 1912, this periodical has been ably edited by Fr. Joseph Leonissa Trageser and has won many supporters of the Seraphic Work of Charity to this day.

    With January, 1902, the Seraphischer Kinderfreund began to insert an English section under the title of Child of Mary, which in September, 1904, was changed to Seraphic Child of Mary. With January, 1905, the Seraphic Child of Mary was issued separately up to January, 1912, when the title was changed to Seraphic Home Journal. Since January, 1931, the periodical is issued under the title of St. Francis Home Journal.(60)

    The second society established at St. Augustine's Monastery is the SERAPHIC MASS ASSOCIATION. This society was founded in 1899 by the Tertiary Miss Frieda Folger in Switzerland for the purpose of supporting

(60) The files of the Seraphischer Kinderfreund and of the Seraphic Child of Mary contain numerous articles and notes on the Seraphic work of Charitv in Europe and the United States, f.i. vol. I, 1899, pp. 3-5, 47-48, 100-102, 118-120, 132-135, 143-144, 148-152, vol. II, pp.16, 178-179, 192, vol. Ill, pp. 222, 224-226, 239, etc. On the spiritual benefits of the work see Beringer, op. cit., pp. 284-286.


Altar Boys, 1892

Beginning at top row, left to right:  First row, Jos. Leisman, John Fey, Aloysius Emmerich, Frank Besselman, Lawrence J. Fey, Harry
Frauenheim, Edward A. Pottmeyer, Edward D. Eichenlaub.  Second row:  John Zimmer, Joseph F. Steedle, August Berger, John Zeus, George
F. Hager, Clement Risacher, Charles Aufman, Edward Zunsmeister.  Third row:  Robert Fey, Frank Scholl, Father Joseph Anthony; O.M.Cap.,
John Kalchthaler, William Stapf, Brother Elsy, William Hager, John Welty.

1863-1938                                                                 ST. AUGUSTINE'S  PARISH HISTORY                                                                         Page 169       

the Foreign Missions which are in charge of the Capuchin Fathers. To become a member the name has to be enrolled and a stipulated sum to be paid once which will be used to support the Capuchin Foreign Missions. The members share in a number of Masses and prayers and good works during lifetime and after death.

    At first the members participated in the Masses said for all benefactors of the Order every day in every monastery church or chapel all over the world. These Masses amounted from 1899 till 1908 from 669 to 733 daily. In 1908, however, a number of Masses was stipulated to be said for the members of this association exclusively and the participation in those other Masses was maintained at the same time. This number of Masses was increasing with the increase of the missionaries and Fathers of the Order. Today the total number of Masses said for the members of the Mass Association amounts to more than 188,500 annually; besides the members share in the prayers and good works of over 13,000 members of the Capuchin Order, not counting the affiliated Friars and Sisters.

    In 1903 this association was introduced into all the Capuchin monasteries in the United States in accordance with the directions given by the General of the Order. An alms of fifty cents enrolls a person into the association for one year, may the person be living or deceased. Two dollars entitles deceased persons to perpetual membership and five dollars entitles a living person to perpetual membership during lifetime and after death. The Directors of the association established at St. Augustine's Monastery were Joseph Anthony Ziegelmayer (died May 25, 1919), Fidelis Maria Meier, Ansgar Zawart (died October 19, 1934), Patrick McGann, Cuthbert Schoeppner, and Cecil Nally. Naturally the association grew slowly at first but by the untiring zeal of the various directors it has spread all over the United States. At present the association established at St. Augustine's counts a membership of approximately 250,523 perpetual deceased members, 185,675 perpetual living members and 125,000 annual members. These figures include only the members enrolled since 1927. The older records were sent to headquarters in Rome and it is impossible to give an estimate of membership during the twenty-four years 1903-1927. In 1933 the headquarters of the association acquired a small office-room on the parish premises which proved inadequate within a year's time. To provide for larger office-room, the Director of the. Mass Association was graciously granted the present quarters by the pastor and the church trustees. This office-room was obtained by renovating the old Parish library room which on account of its height could well be divided into two stories, so that the present office is snugly perched above the library room. In February, 1935, the work of repairs was begun and came to an end towards the latter part of April, 1935.

    The Director of the association had also assumed the burden of having the approaches to the new library room remodeled. The new office of the association has a floor space of thirty-two by thirty-four. It contains complete files of all the records of the past nine years and the necessary office equipment of desks, typewriters and multigraph, mailing machine and the like. At present the Director employs seven stenographers to make the entries into the records and to handle the correspondence.(61)

(61) On the Seraphic Mass Association in general see: Analecta O.M.Cap., vol .XVII, 1901, pp. 104-105, XIX, pp. 166-167, XXV, pp. 39-42, XLVII, pp. 176-177, etc. On the association at St. Augustine's see: Seraphischer Kinderfreund, vol. VI, pp. 10-13, vol. VIII, pp. 103-105, etc. and a number of reports issued by the various Director and the Mission Almanac published during the last twenty years. St. Augustinus, May, 1925. pp. 81-83.

Next: The Missionary Confraternity of Christian Doctrine . . .

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