“Build My Church”

(the motto of Brother Adrian Wewer, O.S.F 1836-1814)

Complexity theorists speak about a Tokyo butterfly that flaps its wings, and, by this action, causes a hurricane in Florida; all of nature is interconnected and small things have unforseen consequences. So too with human lives. If one had seen young Antonius Wewer hammering his first nail into a board in Harswinkel, Germany, in the 1840's, one could never have dreamed of the religious impact he would have on the United States and its Catholics, during the 19th, 20th, and 21st  centuries.

Brother Adrian Wewer, O.S.F. (1836-1914), provincial architect for the Franciscan Province of St. Louis, 1865-1914.

Many people who attend churches and appreciate the sacred in the church do not know who the architect of the church is or was. Church architects would love to hear it said, “I really feel close to God in this church. Whoever built this church did a wonderful thing.” It is true that cultures, societies and individuals have sacred places where they can commune with nature, with God, with God and nature, with other members of the community. E.V. Walter, in Placeways (UNorth Carolina, 1998), describes the value of a Gothic cathedral and believes that it both builds a feeling of exaltation and also exalts the eye. Brother Adrian would have identified with Walter’s analysis of the church as a sacred space which leads the person to a place somewhere between heaven and earth.

Today as Christians build chapels, churches, basilicas and cathedrals they often forget within a short time  the names of the  architects. It would be impossible to estimate the number of people who have prayed and received the sacraments and had their faith grow in  churches and chapels built by Brother Adrian Wewer, O.F.M. (1836-1914). Many of his churches are still being used in cities and towns from New York to California.

Brother Adrian Wewer would have felt at home with the changes of Vatican II  (1962-1965) and would have had no problem with its theology of worship, because his churches helped many people learn about God and to appreciate Him in their lives. In 1858, when Antonius Wewer was twenty-two years old, he joined the Franciscans at Warendorf, Germany, and received the name “Brother Adrian.” This was the same year that nine Franciscans, at the request of Bishop Henry Damian Junker of Alton, Illinois, journeyed from the Holy Cross Province in Germany to Teutopolis, Illinois to begin work in the diocese of Alton. In October, 1862,  Brother Adrian and four other friars traveled from Wiedenbreck, and arrived in Teutopolis November 21, 1862. Almost a hundred German  Franciscans came to the United States during 1875-1876 because  they were exiled by Bismarck.

The need for churches and schools was great as the Franciscans began to move into the midwest and assist in many  dioceses, not only in Illinois and Missouri,  but also in adjoining states. One can only wonder and continually be amazed at the genius of the Franciscan craftsmen and architects. Brother Adrian called St. Anthony’s in St. Louis his home for almost fifty years when he built churches in fourteen states. As the Franciscans grew in number, the St. Louis-Chicago Province found itself being asked by bishops in other dioceses to form parishes and to minister to those parishioners. As the settlers  moved to the west the German Franciscans were a great help. Wherever Catholics settled they wanted a house of God erected to His honor and glory and for the spiritual welfare of His people. Within its walls, Catholics would worship, receive grace to keep the commandments of God, receive the sacraments, and learn the principles of living as true followers of Christ.

It is difficult to determine where  he received his training as an architect, since he came to Teutopolis in 1862 at the age of twenty-six. He was referred to as an excellent carpenter in an early letter by his superior, and it was not long before he built his first church in Trowbridge, Illinois, in Shelby County  in 1864. In 1864 Brother Adrian,  assisted by other brothers and some lay persons, also designed the gothic altars and other furniture for the first St. Francis Church in Quincy.

The church was taken down in 1887 and the  new St. Francis was constructed in 1886. Those altars were placed in the new  church and can be seen there today.

Most of the churches that Brother Adrian built were in the neo-Gothic style. People often wonder just what makes some architecture “Gothic.” The Gothic architects used height and light to obtain a feeling of aspiration toward God and heaven.  Gothic architecture made its debut in the cathedrals of France in the 12th century. They constructed their buildings in such a way that the walls were not supporting the ceiling, so they could be designed with large openings. Artists filled these openings with stained glass which told the stories of Jesus and the saints in His Church. When the sun shines through these windows, the light is transformed into multi-colored patterns on the floor. The architects of the Gothic churches were trying to create an other-worldly feeling -- the beauty of heaven. The Encyclopedia Brittanica article notes that Gothic architecture was considered to be in the German spirit. Many American architects who liked the looks of the Gothic churches imitated them in the design of their churches in the 19th and 20th centuries. Experts explain that these churches are called Neo-Gothic because the true Gothic is structural besides being decorative. Professor James Harmon points out that Brother Adrian built more than 100 church buildings  from New York to California and Oregon by 1900. He also built friaries, schools, and hospitals. Some of his buildings are well known to Catholics in the heartland: St. Mary’s Church in Quincy, the old St. Anthony’s in Melrose, St. Francis in Quincy, Quincy University (the central part and the west wing), St. Joseph in Palmyra, St. Anthony’s in St. Louis, St. Francis in Washington, Mo., and St. George in Hermann are a few of  the many churches he planned and built.

Harmon quotes from the Chronicle of Santa Barbara regarding Br. Adrian’s prolific church building:
“In the year 1900 it was stated that up to that time he had drawn the plans for more than one hundred churches and superintended the erection of them [...] Drawings for almost all the churches, convents and residences of the Province, including churches of the missions founded or attended by Fathers, had been made by him with the assistance of one or other brothers, and the erection at least of all the more important buildings was superintended by him.”  Cf., Chronica of Santa Barbara Mission, p.93f.  ( http://216.1.106.152/archives/adrian.htm )

1891 must have been an especially  busy and exciting year for the Franciscan Brother. During that year he built five churches: St. Mary’s Church in Quincy, Illinois:

St. Mary's, Quincy, (1891)

Sacred Heart Church in Indianapolis, Indiana;

Rare church with two towers; Sacred Heart, Indianapolis IN (1891)

As well as St. Augustine Church in Chicago, Illinois (torn down about 1990); St. Francis Xavier Church and Friary in Superior, Wisconsin; Immaculate Conception Basilica in Conception, Missouri; and a major addition to St. Bonaventure Church in Columbus, Nebraska. One marvels at the amount of travel that was required for supervision of all those projects because  this was before planes and automobiles.

Churches and Other Constructions in Missouri


Conception Abbey Basilica, Conception, MO, under construction (1890)

One of the interesting accounts of Brother Adrian’s work concerns the beautiful Abbey Church at Conception, Missouri.   This great  story tells of the genius and ability of the Franciscan brother. Abbot Frowin Conrad
(http://www.conceptionabbey.org/Frowin/frowin3.htm (page 2) (9/1/01 2:30 PM) came to Northwest Missouri in 1873  to start a monastery  in the sparsely settled corner of Northwest Missouri to serve the people of the Catholic and Irish families in the area. When the monks had outgrown their first monastery and the simple frame church that had also served as the parish church, Abbot Frowin decided to build a permanent monastery. The abbot intended the Abbey church would express the spiritual purpose of the Benedictine monastic life. He called the church a “center of prayer, where God would be praised and glorified as the Lord of heaven and earth, thus calling down abundant blessings upon the people both far and near.” The architectural style of the church and monastery was very important to Abbot Frowin. He was adamant that it be designed in an authentic Romanesque style. Although most of the Benedictine abbeys in Germany and Switzerland were built in the Baroque style, his decision to go back to the Romanesque style indicated his belief that Conception would seek a more classical Benedictine spirituality. He searched for an architect from places as close as Iowa and as far away as  New York. No one knows how he became acquainted with Brother Adrian, but some historians think that he might have met Brother Adrian when the architect was building St.Columban Church and Friary at Chillcothe, Missouri in 1879. Since Brother Adrian had already built other churches in Missouri, St. Anthony’s in St. Louis (1869)  and St. Mary’s in Wien, Missouri (1871), Abbot Frowan had probably  already known of his work.

Conception Abbey as it appears today

Although Abbot Frowin began planning the Basilica’s construction as early as 1879 the church’s foundation was begun in 1882. A delay in completing the building was due primarily to strained finances, but also to the fact that Abbot Frowin was searching  for an architect whom he felt truly understood Romanesque architecture, a style not very well appreciated by a  mid-nineteenth century  architect. He was convinced that the simple lines of Romanesque architecture better complemented the dignified restraint of monastic chant, liturgy and discipline. He wrote in his diary, October 24, 1879): “The church and monastery should be built as much as possible in the simple, straightforward and dignified romanesque style. The monastery should announce itself  from its outward appearance as a house of prayer.”

The Conception Abbey webpage has some wonderful words to describe their abbot. It is not difficult to  appreciate the friendship between Abbot Frowin  and Brother Adrian, and one can understand why Brother Adrian asked the Abbot to preach the sermon at his Golden Jubilee as a Franciscan in 1908. It seems that Brother Adrian was a humble, self-effacing friar who was always ready to assist pastors and others with his expertise. In the parish histories that are part of Jubilee celebrations, one never finds any criticism of Brother Adrian, and it seems that he was always invited back to do more work in the parishes where he had built churches. Parish histories that are contained in  Jubilee Books contain very moving stories of the dedication and sacrifices that people made to have their own place of worship.Much of the work was done by parishioners when a church was built and Brother Adrian seems to have been able to inspire and encourage each parish group when he built their church.

Wien. Missouri—St. Mary’s Church (1871)
 

Photo courtesy of Mary Meinhardt
Wien Website administrator
http://www.geocities.com/wien2000us/


St. Mary's, Wien, MO (1871)

St. Mary’s parish lies in the village of Wien, in Chariton County , Missouri. Some of the early pastors knew Wien by the name “Bee-Branch.” The parish histories that record the building of its church have so many interesting stories about how their church was built and many stories about the parishioners. St. Mary’s 1976 history, which honors its one hundred years of service to Wien, is no exception. The visiting priest offered Mass in the home of one of the Wien residents. German families, Irish families, a few Protestants were present for the occasion.Within a short time a black man, Daniel Pedibren, with his wife and two daughters, was received into the Catholic Church.

Wien, Missouri is a good example of the development of a parish. Like St. Anthony’s in Melrose, Quincy, it indicates the difficulties that Brother Adrian met when he was building a church without a  ready source of skilled labor. The parish  begins as a mission, and as the number of people increases,  the need for a church in which to worship becomes evident. In 1873 the Catholics in Wien decided to build a log church. In 1876 a Franciscan, Fr. Franciscus Moenning, became pastor of two parishes, Wien and Brunswick.. He was to begin a Franciscan House from which the priests would serve other areas, such as Hagers Grove, Hurricane Branch, and Kelley Settlement. Brother Adrian built a Friary for  these men  in 1877.

Franciscan Friary at Wien, MO (1871)

In that same year a  cornerstone was laid for a new church for which Br. Adrian had drawn the plans. The 1976 parish history has this interesting account. It indicates that everyone,  including the pastor, was involved in the construction of the building. It again shows the ability of Brother Adrian to work with ordinary craftsmen and the willingness of the parishioners the cooperate.

The plans for the church and house were drawn by Brother Adrian. The blasting of the rock for the foundation was done at the Frederick Nanneman place. P. Franciscus, the pastor,  helped with the work. He took his dinner from the bucket of one farmer this day and from that of another the next. Between the monastery and school were burnt the bricks by George Damhorst of Quincy. (Page 8 of Centennial History of St. Mary’s of Wien.)

It is interesting that Brother Adrian who had built in Quincy, Illinois, brought some of their craftsmen to Wien to help build the church. It is also interesting that they used the clay from the area to burn the bricks for the new buildings. When he built St. Anthony’s church in Quincy (Melrose) Illinois (1870) , the bricks were also made from clay near the church. Even today some  families of St. Anthony’s, Melrose, remember  that their ancestors (great-grandparents)  turned the bricks in the playground during their lunch time.

Another human interest story is about the apprentice  blacksmith, Henry Hugger, in Wien. He came to the pastor of the church and indicated that he would like to join the Franciscan Order. The pastor allowed him to stay in the friary for private instructions, and, in the fall sent  him  to Quincy for college. His name became Fr. Titus Hugger when he joined  the Franciscans. The Centennial history has this interesting anecdote:

Mr. George Long tells how Fr. Titus left his anvil. One day he was in the shop when this lad read very distinctly and with much expression from a newspaper. Mr. Long said to him, “Young man it is too bad that you have to stand near an anvil.” That gave the lad courage to ask Fr. Franciscus for admittance with great success.”

The history records that Fr. Titus Hugger returned to St. Mary’s and gave a series of sermons which thoroughly impressed the parishioners who had known him in the blacksmith shop.

St. Mary’s continued to grow and a new church had to be planned and built. According to the history a church had been begun by Fr.Guido, but Brother Adrian finished it in the plain, simple Gothic style which gave the church a very devotional appearance.

The history of the parish has this interesting account: While hauling the building material, Jacob Palms had the misfortune of breaking his leg. The foundation was laid by Bernard Meinert. The rock was blasted by Frederick Nanneman. The digging for the foundation and the hauling of bricks and materials was done by the parish who gave great sacrifices of work and time. Every  family donated one load of wood for the burning of bricks which was managed by George Haas from Brookfield on the land 3/4 mile southeast of the church. The laying of the brick was done by John Conefes from Quincy. Mr. Brinks of Quincy had the contract for the carpenter work. The church was dedicated on the feast of St. Francis, Oct. 4th, 1892.

In 1914 the Franciscans left the parish and were replaced by diocesan clergy. The Franciscan Friary became the center for an ecumenical group called, “The Brotherhood of Christian Unity.” In 1964. Rev. Joseph Starmann was the founder of the new brotherhood  that was to promote Christian unity through prayer. The parishioners remember that the Brotherhood leadership consisted of four men of varied backgrounds, and that these men used the former Franciscan Friary for their offices. At one time there was a Syrian Orthodox Priest, Rev. Francis Forbes, with his family, an Episcopal priest, Fr. John Michael, Brother John Bona, an accountant and Catholic layman, and Brother Frederick, an evangelical minister, living in or near the monastery.  Brother Frederick was later found out to be Frederick Waldo Demara, the Great Imposter.  He came as an ordained minister and had hoped to spend the rest of his life here. He had said,  “I have come here to Wien to dedicate my life to Christian unity, to work and prayer.” The group was disbanded in 1966 after notification from the Vatican.

A number of Wien residents  also remembered the excitement that was caused  when The Great Imposter was recognized as one of the clergymen. He regularly drove the  bus to bring children to the ecumenical meetings. One lady remembered him as being quite jovial and friendly. It seems that someone recognized him from pictures and he disappeared the following day. As far as the Wien residents know he has never been seen again as an impostor.


Washington, Missouri: St. Francis Borgia Church (1869)

Professor Harmon has  Brother Adrian listed as the architect for this church, although the parish in Washington does not list him as such. It seems that no one is listed as the architect of the beautiful Gothic church.When this church was built the Jesuits were the pastors of St. Francis Borgia Church with the Franciscans coming later to serve the parish. An explanation might be that the Jesuits did not have an architect available at the time, or there might be other explanations as to why a Franciscan built the Jesuit church. Brother Adrian was well known to Archbishop Kendrick, of the St, Louis diocese, and it is possible that when the Jesuits were going to build a new church, the Archbishop could  have suggested Brother Adrian. It could also be that Jeusits, like the Benedictine Abbot Frowin, knew Brother Adrian to be an excellent architect. The Gothic style of  St. Francis Borgia Church certainly reflects Brother Adrian’s well-known style.


Chillicothe, Missouri: St. Columban Church and Friary (1879)

A brochure from St. Columban’s Church gives a brief history in which it states that the architect for the Church as Brother Adrian Wewer, a Franciscan from St. Louis. The cornerstone was laid on May 25, 1879. At the dedication, Abbot Frowin Conrad, OSB, preached the German sermon, and Fr. Michael Richart, O.F.M., of Quincy, IL, preached the English sermon.  It is also interesting to remember that Fr. Michael Richart, O.F.M. has been credited with helping Augustin Tolton, who had  escaped from his slave owners in Brush Creek, Missouri,  to become the first Black Catholic priest in the United States.

Folklore and/or Oral History
One would expect to find many stories about an architect who built so many churches, friaries, schools and hospitals, but it seems that he always kept a low profile. However there are a few interesting stories that have  been  passed down from generation to generation and these have become legends.

One of the stories involves St. Anthony’s Church in St. Louis, Missouri. Brother Adrian had built the first church and the new St. Anthony’s was being built fifty years later. Today the St. Anthony Church is one of the stops on some tours of visitors to St. Louis. One guide was heard to say that St. Anthony Church had  more stained glass windows for its size than any other church in the United States. The second  reason for the tourist stop is the quality of the windows. The windows, created by the Frei Company   are beautifully designed and their color is exquisite.

Two  former pastors  of St. Anthony  recalled a story that is repeated frequently when church windows are discussed. This is the story of how and why St. Anthony Church has such beautiful  windows. According to the story it seems that Mr. Frei, a church window builder [Emil Frei, Sr., foundr, Emil Frei Associates],  had been in California and did not like that part of the United States. He decided to return to Germany and passed through St. Louis on his way home. He met the South Side German Franciscans and enjoyed their company.  He also met Brother Adrian, the architect. Brother Adrian is supposed to have said, “I need windows for the new church.” Mr. Frei  is supposed to have replied, “I need a factory to make church windows.” Brother Adrian quickly responded, “I will build you factory.”  Mr. Frei supposedly answered, “ I will build you windows.” The two Germans, Mr. Frei and Brother Adrian, supposedly shook hands and today we have the beautiful Frei windows in St. Anthony’s Church. There was no written contact. Each man tried to outdo the other in generosity. Mr. Frei also created the large 30  foot window in the transept -- “The Visitation by the Magi.” This window was given to Brother Adrian by his many friends and admirers on the occasion of his Golden Jubilee as a Franciscan in 1908.

One former pastor enthusiastically related the wonderful experience at the Christmas Midnight Mass in St. Anthony Church.  Every year, at Christmas, after Communion, all of the lights in the church are turned out and one big light is put on the beautiful window of the Christ Child with the Magi. It is a marvelous religious experience to have everyone’s attention centered on the Feast of the Christ Child while “Silent Night” is sung by the whole congregation..

It also seems that the Holy Father sent a handwritten  letter to Brother Adrian on the occasion of his Golden Jubilee thanking him for his contribution to the Catholic Church in the United States. That letter was misplaced or lost and no one knows what happened to it. Maybe the letter was lost amidst all of the correspondence that Brother Adrian had received, or maybe he misplaced it. He might also have been too humble to acknowledge that the Holy Father knew of him and his work. Folklorists could imagine innumerable ways in which a letter (in Latin?) could disappear.

In September, 1910, St.Anthony's Church was honored by a visit of his Eminence, Cardinal Vanutelli of Rome, who had presided at the Eucharistic Congress at Montreal, Canada, and visited many of the larger cities in the United States before his return home. The Cardinal remarked that on his trip through the United States he had seen many beautiful churches, but that St. Anthony’s church surpassed all in beauty and goodness. (Diamond Jubilee  Book  of St. Anthony Parish (1863-1910) p.41). One can imagine how proud Brother Adrian and the other architects were when they  heard of the Cardinal’s appreciation of the big church at 3140 Meramec Street.

Quincy, Illinois

Quincy University, West Wing (1894)

Being so close to St. Louis, the Franciscans in Quincy, Illinois, had Brother Adrian for their architect for many buildings. He was the architect for a major part of Quincy University and also of St. Francis of Assissi Church in Quincy. When he built the 4-storey University with its tower it was an extraordinary event. At the time this building was the tallest construction in Illinois, south of Chicago. Br. Adrian did not want that information to be published in the newspaper.

St. Francis of Assissi, Quincy IL (1886). Brother Adrian also designed the main altar. In other projects, Br. Adrian also designed altars, confessionals, and other artifacts that are an essential  part of Catholic churches.

He also built the parish church, St.Francis. Brother Adrian designed the plans for the new St. Francis church and he wanted it to be cathedral size. The church was to be 200 feet long while the Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago was 218 feet. Brother Adrian underestimated the cost of the church, saying it would cost $45,000 while it actually cost $85,000. There is a legend that says when Bishop Baltes, of Alton, saw the plans at the laying of the cornerstone, April 26, 1886, he took a knife and cut off some of the length, saying, “Enough is enough.” Consequently the church was built one bay short -- only 182 feet in length. According to some priests who had preached in the church, the missing bay harmed  the acoustics because it was always difficult to be understood in that edifice.

St. Anthony’s Church in Quincy
St. Anthony’s Church in Melrose is a good example of how a group of poor Catholics decided to built a church and how everyone worked together to have their own place of worship. Brother Adrian, the architect,  had to work with a farming community with no money. He was able to compromise and achieve a beautiful Gothic Church. It began when Melrose Township was organized.

On April 2, 1850, 47 legal voters residing within the limits of the newly organized township, Melrose, met in Center School and elected township officials. In the summer of 1859 another meeting took place in the rectory of St. Boniface Church in Quincy.  The pastor, Fr. Herman Joseph Schafermeyer, suggested to the group that they should think of building a new church, rectory, and school in Melrose. There were many objections. Some of the people had just emigrated from Germany.  Their money had been swallowed up in buying their land, building their meager dwellings, and stocking their farms. The land on which they had settled was wild, and could only be subdued by the back-breaking swings of the axeman. The entire country suffered from the panic of 1857. The hills were thickly covered with oak and hickory timber and the German settlers, being very found of   trees, bought their farms at $5 an acre. The bottom land around Fall Creek was a swamp and had to be drained for many years.  There was also the religious reason, the pious settlers wished to be as close as possible to St. Boniface Church, the only Catholic Church within a hundred miles in those early days. An indication of  the scarcity of money was that the early pioneer walked with shoes in hand. On reaching his destination, he put the shoes on his feet. Shoes, even wooden shoes, were at a premium. The pastor encouraged the people at the meeting and told them, “Begin very small at the start,” and end up with grandeur. "If you cannot build a frame church, then make one out of logs.”  Before the first church was built, because of bad roads, the early pioneers came to Quincy,  7 or 8 miles, on Saturday and stayed overnight. The following day, they attended both Masses, had lunch and stayed for “Vespers” and then made their way home. Naturally, the church would need a name; uppermost in their minds, why not miracle-worker”?  Surely, a fitting name, especially since the Franciscans were promised as pastors — not to mention that Mr. Bordewick’s Christian name was “Anthony.” (Mr. Bordewick gave the land for the church.) So it became St. Anthony Church.  The first St. Anthony Church was 36 feet long,  24 feet wide with a square sanctuary 12 feet by 12 feet. It was certainly an example of “beginning  small.” For the most part the parishioners walked to church, some as far as six miles. When, however,  the creeks ran high, they came in their big farm wagons, sitting on chairs. Buggies and surreys were unknown to them in those early days.  The first church was dedicated in 1861 but it was too small even for the small number of parishioners.  The parish contacted Brother  Adrian who drew the plans for the simply lined, pure Gothic brick structure.

It seems that he often wished to build larger churches, such as at St. Anthony’s in Quincy (Melrose) but was forced to cut back his plans because of the lack of finances. He modified the original plans by keeping the forty feet width but he shortened the original plan to seventy feet from ninety feet. He also dropped the sixty-five foot height to fifty feet. He refused to allow the lack of funds to hamper the tower. The tower is the symbol of the spirit of the parish. He determined that it would rise every foot of its 125 feet into the sky, and it did. Work began on the church in 1869 and the new church was consecrated on June 13, 1870.

As with the building an any small church at that time in history,  the parishioners did much of the construction work. During the construction of  St. Anthony’s two brothers by the name of Blomer, who were traveling “jacks of all trades,” were bricklayers and they  were a  bit tough and rough. When they were teased by some of the regular St. Anthony’s parishioner about their heavy German accent, the bricklayers whipped out their  knives, and the  man who stopped the fight had his wrists slashed   for his peacemaking attempt. Brother Adrian’s church served the parishioners for more than 100 years and was replaced by a larger church in 1984.

It is almost too much to believe but Brother Adrian built churches in 14 States -- from New York to Washington, Oregon and California. Although all of the buildings have the imprint of Brother Adrian on them, each church is a little different from the others. He simply did not take the plans from one church and use them in another place.  Besides his Neo-Gothic and Neo-Romanesque styles he also made use of the Mission style of architecture when he built in the west.


designed by Brother Adrian in 1912

In a vast majority of his buildings, however, Brother Adrian worked with the Neo-Romanesque or Neo-Gothic forms common to his architecture in the Midwest. In his architectural designs, the Provincial architect combined the standard elements of his architectural vocabulary in seemingly ever varied configurations; in doing so, he planned each church to be somewhat different from all the others. All of his churches, nonetheless, show an architectural signature distinctly his own.

He also did much work in San Francisco after the earthquake and fire of 1906. He returned to St. Louis on December 13,  1908 to celebrate his fiftieth year in the Franciscan Order. It was a great celebration and his old friend Abbot Frowin Conrad of the abbey at Conception gave the festival  sermon at the mass. There were many letters and telegrams congratulating the Franciscan Brother, including as Professor Harmon notes, a congratulatory  handwritten letter from the Holy Father.

He continued to build churches until his death on March 15, 1914 in St. Joseph’s Hospital in San Francisco and is buried in St. Mary Cemetery, Oakland.

Phil Hoebing
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy

Quincy University
March 26, 2003

More of Brother Adrian's work:

St. Francis Borgia, Washington MO (1869)


St. George, Hermann, MO, style Brother Adrian (1915)


St. Boniface, Brunswick, MO (1902)


St. Joseph, Palmyra, MO (1899 -- with others)

A major source for information on Brother Adrian is Fr. Francis Jerome Gray, O.F.M., PhD, Professor Emeritus of History, Quincy University. Fr. Gray has been the historian of the St. Louis-Chicago Franciscan Province for many years. He shared much information on Brother Adrian for this article.

See also: James A. Harmon. "A Swiss-German Abbey at Conception, Missouri: Its Establishment and Its Century-Old Basilica and Murals-- The Fate of a Prime Example of Medievalism in America"  Yearbook of German-American Studies, vol. 26 (1991)

Click here for a profile of Brother Adrian from the Franciscan archives
 

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