Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois,Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States.
(Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p. 195.
Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.

ST. JOSEPH'S DIOCESAN COLLEGE is located at Teutopolis, Ill. In 1858, at the request of the Rt. Rev. H. Damian Junker, D. D., first Bishop of Alton, several Franciscan Fathers of the Province of the Holy Cross, Germany, sent by their Provincial, the Very Rev. P. Gregory Janknecht, arrived in this country and took charge of St. Francis' congregation of Teutopolis, Effingham County. Prompted by zeal, and taught by experience that the education and religious training of youth demands particular attention, the Fathers soon became convinced of the usefulness and necessity of a higher literary institution. Accordingly, under the auspices of the Superior of the mission, the Very Rev. P. Damian Hennewig, O. S. F., a committee of prominent citizens of Teutopolis was formed for taking the first steps toward procuring convenient grounds and the necessary funds for the erection of a college.

Messrs. John F. Waschefort, Clement Uptmor, John Wernsing and Dietrich Eggermann, who composed the committee, deserve high commendation for the great interest shown in this undertaking and for the efficient service they rendered. An area of eighteen lots, partly donated and partly purchased, in the southern part of the town, was selected as the site for the institution, and funds were liberally subscribed by the members of the congregation, then comprising the greater part of Effingham County. The foundation stone was laid in 1861. A two-story brick house with basement and attic rooms was erected and furnished with the equipments belonging to an edifice of this kind. A spacious garden and extensive playgrounds were laid out, shade trees were planted, and the whole surrounded with a substantial fence. The Fathers and Brothers largely assisted in the work, and the Very Rev. Kilian Schloesser, O.S.F., with his own hand chiseled into the keystone over the main entrance the beautiful device, "Omnia Cum Deo Nihil Sine Eo." The work progressed so rapidly that in the fall of 1862 the institution, placed under the special protection of St. Joseph, was opened with Rev. P. Heribert Hoffman, O. S. F., as Rector, and other Franciscan Fathers as Professors. The Bishop of Alton, to whom the college was subsequently deeded for the benefit of the diocese, raised the institution also to an ecclesiastical seminary and sent his candidates for the holy ministry there to pursue the course in philosophy and theology. The number of Fathers was small, and the few were engaged besides in giving missions and in other pastoral duties. In consequence of such multifarious and exacting labors they could not possibly give the necessary attention to the seminary. They, therefore, deemed it proper to discontinue teaching philosophy and theology and devote their entire energy to giving young men a thorough classical education, combined with a good moral training.

Meanwhile Rev. P. Heribert Hoffman had resigned his position to apply himself for the rest of his life to teaching theology to the clerics of his order and to missionary labor. His death, which occurred at the Convent of Teutopolis, October 16, 1868, was deplored by the many witnesses of his indefatigable and devoted zeal for the honor of God and the salvation of souls. He was succeeded in the rectorship of the college by the Very Rev. P. Mauritius Klostermann, O. S. F., who held the office from 1864 until 1882. One year after his accession, the seminary being closed, the course of studies was made exclusively classical and, embracing six years, was divided into a preparatory and collegiate one. Subsequently a commercial course was added. The different branches taught are as follows: Catechism, Bible History and Evidences of Religion; Latin, Greek, German, French and English Languages; Rhetoric, Poetry, Ancient, Modern and United States History; Geography, Natural History and Natural Philosophy, Arithmetic and Mathematics; Book-keeping, Penmanship, Type-writing, Drawing, and Vocal and Instrumental Music. Special attention was paid from the first to the establishment of a good and copious library for the use of both professors and students. Grateful acknowledgment is due to the United States Government for contributing generously to the same by sending valuable official publications.

The aim of the institution, however, is not only to develop the mental powers, but principally to cultivate a relish for virtue and religion. Although for a time members of different denominations were received, yet to insure success it was finally thought best that all students should be of one faith. This reason, and the express wish of the Ordinary of the diocese, led to the decision that only Catholics should be admitted, and their spiritual wants were always carefully provided for. At first a room in the main building served as chapel, but soon a frame building was erected for this purpose, and this also, in the course of time, proving too small, was replaced by a larger and more commodious one. The number of students ever increasing, the building could no longer accommodate all those that applied for admission. On this account, during the summer of 1877, an addition, which the Rev. Rector had been planning for some time, was made to the east side of the college, thus securing nearly twice as much room as the old building had afforded. In order to have a spacious study hall, well provided with light and air, the entire first story of this wing was fitted up for this purpose.

In 1881, the Bishop of Alton had the college incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois, whereby it received the right to grant the academic degrees of A. B. and A. M. Henceforward it went under the title of St. Joseph's Diocesan . College, whereas before it was known as St. Joseph's Ecclesiastical College. The year following, the Very Rev. Mauritius Klostermann, O.S.F., compelled by dimness of sight, resigned the roctorale, having for a period of eighteen years, by his faithful and able guidance, greatly contributed to the growing prosperity of the institution. He is held in high esteem and grateful remembrance by all who were committed to his paternal care. After a few years of rest he was called to a more extended field of labor, being chosen by the chapter of his order Provincial of the Province of the Sacred Heart, which office he held for three years. He died in 1892, much lamented by his many friends. The vacancy in the rectorate of the college was filled by the appointment of the Very Rev. P. Michael Richardt, O. S. F., who entered upon the duties of his office in the beginning of the scholastic year of 1882. Owing to the fact that the extension of the building made in 1877 proved still insufficient for the constantly growing number of applicants, it was again found necessary to enlarge the edifice. Accordingly, in 1884, an additional wing was erected on the west side, corresponding to the eastern, but considerably larger. On this occasion, also, all the modern improvements, such as steam heating, water works and gas light, were introduced. Thus enlarged and equipped, the college was rendered capable of accommodating one hundred and fifty scholars. At the same time the chapel was greatly extended by the addition of a new sanctuary and a roomy sacristy, attached to the southern extremity of the new building. The dedication was celebrated with great solemnity, the Provincial, the Very Rev. P. Vincent Halbfas, O. S. F., performing the ceremony, assisted by a numerous attendance of priests from the diocese. The presence of the clergy at this, as on many other occasions, manifested the great interest they entertain for the institution and has had a cheering influence on professors as well as pupils; and the frequent visits of former students, now engaged in the various avocations of life, evince their lasting affection for "Old St. Joseph, " their Alma Mater.

The celebration of the jubilee, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the opening of St. Joseph's Diocesan College, occurred in 1887, taking place on the 21st, 22d and 23d of June. The brother clergy of the diocese of Alton were invited, and a reunion of former professors and students was arranged. The program was elaborate and attractive, and the occasion proved an enjoyable one to all who had the pleasure of participating in it.

            The college grew, and again improvements had to be made. For the accommodation and greater convenience of pupils an addition in the form of a wing was erected in 1890, consisting of a building 110x40 feet, two stories in height, containing a new study hall, 75x40 feet, furnished with elegant single desks that are adapted to the wants of the students. In the second story a spacious hall is appropriately fitted out for entertainments and exhibitions and for festival celebrations. It is adorned by a beautiful stationary stage, equipped with artistic drop-curtains and scenery, adapted to dramatic and musical performances. Adjacent to the new wing an extensive play hall, 125x45 feet, has been erected, where the pupils may exercise and amuse themselves during free time, particularly when bad weather prevails. The hall is fitted out with gymnasium apparatus and is a popular resort. The many services the Very Rev. P. Michael Richardt had rendered to the institution were highly appreciated and duly recognized by his promotion to the important office of Provincial of the Franciscans in the year 1891. In his place the Very Rev. P. Nicholas Leonard, O. S. F., was appointed Rector, who held the position until January, 1893, when he was transferred to the Rectorate of St. Francis' College at Quincy, Ill. Though Rev. Father Nicholas' stay as Rector was of short duration, still he had greatly endeared himself to those under his charge, who gave him a hearty farewell on his departure for his new field of labor. The present incumbent of the office is the Very Rev. P. Hugolinus Storff, O. S. F., for many years Professor and Sub-Rector of the institution. The college has at present accommodations for one hundred and seventy students, and its capacity is taxed to such an extent that in the near future another and supposedly final addition will be erected, as well as a large and elegant chapel. The college has all the modern conveniences steam heating, gas light, and hot and cold water. It is well lighted and thoroughly ventilated, enjoying the best sanitary conditions. The present value of the college property is estimated at $100,000.

Its rectors and time of service are, Rev. P. H. Hoffman, O. S. F., 1862-1864; Rev. P. Mauritius Klostermann, O. S. F., 1864-1882; Rev. P. Michael Richault, O. S. F., 1882-1891; Rev. P. Nicholas Leonard, O. S. F., 1891 to January, 1893; and Rev. P. Hugolinus Storff, who is the present rector. The present faculty are the Very Rev. Hugolinus Storff, O. S. F., Rector; Rev. P. Christopher Guithues, O. S. F., Vice-Rector; and Professors, Rev. Clement Moormann, O. S. F., Rev. Floribert Jaspers, O. S. F., Rev. P. Ignatius Reinkemeyer, O. S. F., Rev. P. Maurus Brink, O. S. F., Rev. P. Polycarpus Rhode, O. S. F., Mr. Gerhard Shuette, Brother Leopold Breuer, O. S. F., Brother Philip Staubtin, O. S. F., and Mr. Adam Mueller. The music teachers are Rev. P. Floribert Jasper, O.S.F.; Rev. P. Polycarpus Rhode, O. S. F., Brother Leopold Breuer, O. S. F., Brother Philip Staubtin, O. S. F., and Mr. Adam Mueller. The attending physician is Clement Westhoelter, M. D. The members of the board of Trustees are: President, the Rt. Rev. James Ryan, D. D., Bishop of Alton; Secretary, the Very Rev. T. Hickey , V. G.; and Treasurer, the Very Rev. Hugolinus Storff, Rector of the College.

 

Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p. 500. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.

 

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