behold, and take heart

St. Louis over the years - parish memories

Austin Gnomes
Bonnie Hayes
Marvin and Pat Henry
Mary Jackson
Will and Priscilla Jeffers
Sister Marie Joan
Charles Kaufman
Anna Marie Kratzer
Teresa Lynn Lake
Mondo and Vera Montez
Dr. Tim Moser
Virginia Parker Vobejda
Dudley and Millie Pitchford
Edward and Rena Puetz
Charlotte Pytlinski Collins
Jim and Irene Sirokman
Joe and Marie Kelly Smolski
Roy and Lucille Troxell
Syl and Margaret Walorski
Mary Walsh
Rosemary Wiemeyer
Ruth Woodman

Austin Gnomes

Austin Gomes was born in British Guiana, South America. Sponsored by a doctor and his family who were missionaries in Guiana, he immigrated to Englewood, Colorado in July, 1958. He joined St. Louis Parish because it was the closest Catholic Church to his new home. Monsignor Cullen was the pastor at that time. Not having any family in Colorado, Monsignor Cullen was like a father to Austin. He advised and counseled him on various matters. Monsignor Cullen baptized Austin’s last four children and administered the sacraments to all of his six children. His children attended St. Louis School. Austin feels that Father Reycraft is a very spiritual man and cares deeply for all his parishioners. Father Reycraft was been very supportive of Austin after his wife passed away and is always available when he needs to talk to someone.

Austin has been active in parish life. He has been a member of the Men’s Club (where he served as president), the Building Committee for the Parish Center, the Finance Committee, the Knights of Columbus, and the Social Club. He has also been Head Usher and spearheaded the Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal at the parish level. In addition to all of this, Austin is Games Manager for Bingo every Saturday night and has been involved in this program in one capacity or another for the past 48 years. He is most proud of raising $40,000 to $45,000 a year to support the school and parish as well as preparing and planting the lawn on the playing field.

The greatest benefits Austin has received from his membership in the parish are the close friendships he has developed and the many wonderful people he has met. With no family here in the U.S. St. Louis was his family and everyone made him, his wife, and his children very welcome. During his wife’s passing everyone – teachers, Home and School, parishioners – were all very supportive. Austin encourages the younger parishioners to be involved in all the various activities and clubs offered by St. Louis. This will help to keep us going for another 100 years. It will take the new generation to move forward.

Bonnie Hayes

Bonnie Hayes was born in Stanberry, Missouri in 1923. Andy, her deceased husband, was born in Hannibal, Missouri in 1921. They joined St. Louis Parish in the 1950’s. Their two boys attended St. Louis School and at that time there were 800 students. The Hayes’ were very close to Monsignor Cullen due to their parish activities. Andy was on the Parish Council and Finance Committee for several years. Bonnie counted the church collection for 22 years. Bonnie’s advice to our younger parishioners is to get involved and you will find out how nice everyone is.

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Marvin and Pat Henry

Mrs. Pat Henry was born in Illinois and attended school there. She met her husband, Marvin, at the local store where she worked at the soda fountain. He was from Alamosa, Colorado and had come to Peoria to study watch repair at the Bradly Tech School. After Pat graduated from high school they were married in July, 1945. The Henrys bought a home in Denver where Pat still resides. They joined St. Louis Parish in August of 1955. The parish was the “right one” for them. They had been married for 63 years when Marvin died, just 2 ½ years ago.

Pat still remembers the first Mass Fr. Reycraft celebrated at St. Louis. When their oldest son, Richard, came to live with them after being diagnosed with MS, Fr. Reycraft visited him in their home and gave him the sacraments. The Eucharist Ministers came often, too. Pat has been involved with the St. Louis Altar Society. Marvin was active in the Boy Scouts. He was the Institutional Representative for Troop 136. Richard was in this troop and received his Eagle Scout award and the Ad Altari Dei award.

The Henrys had three children, Richard, Karen and William. Richard started in the red school building, which has since been torn down and made into a parking lot. Fr. Volmer was the priest during the time the children were in school. There were 800 students going to St. Louis School at that time. The Henrys drove their children to school. Pat especially remembers the Eucharistic Ministers and Fr. Reycraft who came to their home during Richard’s and Marvin’s illnesses. Her advice to younger parish members is to be active in your church, join the Knights of Columbus, and contribute with prayer which is very important. Remember, “You get out of it what you put into it.”

Mary Jackson

Mary Jackson was born in Denver, Colorado in 1921 and joined St. Louis Parish in 1947. Her favorite priest was Father Walsh who was very kind. Mary was secretary for PTA, and a member of both Altar and Rosary and the Annettes. She also worked Bingo and was on the St. Vincent House Committee. Her children went to St. Louis School for a couple of years. Mary would tell the young people of the parish to get involved and take an interest in what is going on.

Bill and Priscilla Jeffers

Bill Jeffers was born in North Platte, Nebraska in 1930. Priscilla was born in Riverton, Nebraska in 1931. They have been members of St. Louis Parish since 1958. When the Jeffers came to the parish, Monsignor Cullen was the pastor. He ran the parish efficiently. Cline Hall was built during his time as pastor. Father Durrie was a collector of antiques. He always said if something got stolen, hopefully the thief would enjoy it as much as he did. He was a collector, not a possessor. He and Father Stansel were involved in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. During the Social Club’s St. Patrick’s Day Dance they would make their appearance in their green jackets and hats. Father Roger Mollison was very pastoral and kind. One morning he looked out and saw a man sleeping on the front lawn. The man had a loved one in the hospital and could not afford a motel room. That gave Father Roger the idea to have a place that could help such people – that was the start of the St. Vincent House. Father Reycraft is a pastor in every sense of the word. St. Louis has been blessed.

Bill and Priscilla have been involved in the St. Louis Choir, Parish Council, Finance Committee, Bingo, St. Vincent House, Knights of Columbus, Altar and Rosary, Home and School, Annettes, Eucharistic Ministers, and Lectors. They are most proud of working in the formation of Bingo and 25 years of having children in St. Louis School – 1959 to 1984. The greatest benefit the Jeffers have received through their years at St. Louis is the lasting friendships they have made. They were helped by the Annettes who brought food in after surgery and Father Reycraft’s hospital visits. Their advice to the younger parishioners is to be a volunteer. It is a wonderful way to make new friends.

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Sister Marie Joan

When Sister Marie Joann’s career in education was winding down and she was planning to leave St. Mary’s Academy where she had taught 1st grade for 23 of her 33 years in education, Father Roger Mollison was looking for someone to open his retreat house. The house was located in South Deer Creek Canyon. It had not yet been opened to the public as Father was too busy with St. Louis Parish’s church and school (not to mention all the other ways he served the people of Englewood) to take on this new venture.

Father Mollison was pleased that Sister asked to see the retreat house and learn about the needs at the mountain location. In the summer of 1990, she began to work from her Englewood home and managed the retreat house called Jesus Our Hope. Within a short time the adjoining property went up for sale and they were able to purchase it with a house on it. Sister moved up the Hermitage which made it was easier to manage the property. There were 40 acres called the upper land (about a mile up from the retreat house and the place where she lived). The retreat house was on an additional several acres. In the meantime Father Mollison was assisting a young priest from the Congo in Africa to fill several large containers to send to the poor and needy people of his country. This priest, Father Gaston Muyombo, worked in the parish and helped Father Mollison while he raised money and supplies to send to Africa.

Sister Marie Joann had the privilege of traveling with Father Gaston to several parishes out of state to ask for help for his dear African mission. They worked well together and found many generous donors in New Jersey, Kansas, and Colorado. This resulted in the building of a church, school, hospital, and clinic and assisted the African people in a number of ways. When a decade of work at the Hermitage passed, Sister had celebrated 50 years in religion and was ready to leave the mountain home for whatever God had planned for her next. At 70 years old she thought the physical work was a bit more than she could do. There was the half mile of dirt toad to plow, decks on both houses to shovel, and wood to carry for the stove in her house. So, she found a fine deacon and his wife who loved the mountains and the snow and they took over the managing of Jesus Our Hope Hermitage in 2003.

Charles Kaufman

Charles Kaufman was born in Englewood in 1939 at 4360 S. Logan. He was baptized and married at St. Louis. He attended St. Louis School and St. Francis de Sales High School. Charles’ favorite priest was Father Roger Mollison who was very kind. He was especially kind to Charles’ wife. Over the years Charles has belonged to the Social Club, Home and School, and the Knights of Columbus where he was 4th Degree and held other offices. He has been an usher, lector and Eucharistic Minister, as well as a part of Public Rosary. He is also a Child of Mary. Charles painted and donated the Sacred Heart statue that is in the antiabortion shrine in front of the church. Charles would tell younger people to stay close to Jesus and feel his presence at St. Louis as he and his wife do.

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