"A golden opportunity for reaping a harvest of souls": A history of the ministry to African American Catholics in Milwaukee, 1908--1963

John M Vietoris, Marquette University

Abstract

This dissertation is a study of the ministerial outreach of the Catholic Church of Milwaukee to the African American community. Beginning with an overview of the social and economic problems African Americans faced in their urban setting from the late nineteenth century to the 1960s, it then reviews the church's ministerial norms and institutions of its missionary outreach that influenced the Catholic Church of Milwaukee. This dissertation traces the establishment of St. Benedict the Moor Mission in 1908 by Lincoln Valle, an African American layman, to the arrival of the Capuchin Fathers to serve the mission. The opening of St. Benedict the Moor School, the role of Father Stephen Eckert, O.F.M. Cap. and Father Philip Steffes, O.F.M. Cap., and the establishment of St. Anthony Hospital highlight the mission's history. Then, the education and spiritual life of St. Benedict the Moor School is described. Finally, the study ends with the changes that emerge from the end of the Second World War to 1963 and the Church's role and participation in the emerging Civil Rights Movement.

Recommended Citation

Vietoris, John M, ""A golden opportunity for reaping a harvest of souls": A history of the ministry to African American Catholics in Milwaukee, 1908--1963" (2009). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI3357976.
http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI3357976

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