Monday, November 15, 2010

Amanuensis Monday: Twenty-Five Years A Priest

Thanks to John at Transylvanian Dutch for providing a framework (and nudge) for transcribing family records, news clippings and other treasures.

This article is from the Morning Star and Catholic Messenger (New Orleans), Sunday, Sept. 8th, 1878 issue, and was found through the Chronicling America project of the Library of Congress.
St. Louis Watchman
On the 22nd August, Rev. W. V. Meredith, C. SS. R., celebrated the silver jubilee of his priestly ordination. Father Meredith is pastor of St. Alphonsus' church in St. Louis, and superior of the religious community attached thereto, positions he has occupied uninterruptedly almost since the advent of the Redemptorists into St. Louis. The occasion was one of joy to the large congregation worshiping in the Rock Church, and was the subject of a special celebration by the members of the Holy Family of which he is spiritual director. The latter presented with a neat and feeling address.
Father Meredith is an American by birth, and, we believe, a convert to our holy faith. During the whole course of his ministry he has been a faithful and devoted priest, and an honored member of the Redemptorist order. Personally he is the most affable and most considerate of men, a kind father to his community, a wise counsellor to his people and a devoted friend to the poor. He is a man with whom it is impossible to be in antagonism long. He sways the minds of men by mildness, or subdues them by a bluff honesty in which there is no element of hauteur or anger. There is not a more popular clergyman in the whole city than Father Meredith.
It is principally to the community over which he presides, that his worth is made manifest in all its fullness. Religious communities, not being subject to the control of bishops, are dependent for guidance upon those within their own bodies to whom God has granted the rare gift of administrative wisdom and foresight. Young religious priests need constant curbing. Fed for years on the highly-seasoned and rich pabulum of the tyrocinium, they come to to the work of the ministry with the fiery spirit of untamed zeal. They are "sons of thunder" and like the "Son of Thunder" among the apostles,are liable to rush headlong where wisdom bids them pick their steps. The Jesuits have an admirable method of disciplining their recruits, and, as a result, one of them seldom raises an issue which the whole order throughout the world is not ready to sustain. Young priests, with more courage than prudence, are, among them, taught now and then to pluck a few feathers from the wings of their zeal and insert them in the tail of their discretion. The Redemptorist Fathers of this city are a most excellent body of priests - holy, zealous, laborious and kind. They have made some slight mistakes since they came to this city, but they are mistakes of well-meant endeavor, and will soon be forgotten. One thing we do not hesitate to assert, had Father Meredith's advice been taken in those matters those blunders had never been committed. A religious community is not a thing of a day or a year, but of centuries. The tree planted by Father Meredith and his companions on Grand Avenue will continue to grow and bring forth fruit long after its planters shall have gone to their account. In this light the vains of a life like that we now honor in  the person of Father Meredith is beyond computation. If planted in the soil of obedience, and be watered with the sweat of holy zeal, and the blood of generous sacrifice and mortification, it will grow to be a vast tree and under its sheltering branches generations yet unborn will sit be refreshed. Father Meredith is comparatively a young man, and, if God spares his health, capable of further and great labors in the vineyard of the Master. That his health may be thus spared, and his usefulness prolonged is the prayer of the thousands who know and revere him.


Father William Vincent Meredith is my husband's 3x great-uncle, Margaret Meredith Palmer's younger half-brother Willie. He did not live long, unfortunately, but died six years later during a yellow fever epidemic in New Orleans.

St. Alphonsus Rock Church is one of the most well known parishes in St. Louis. Built originally to minister to a German immigrant population it now ministers to a primarily African American community. Its liturgies are filled with references to and expressions of African American tradition. The church itself, an outstandingly beautiful structure, was heavily damaged by fire in 2007.

I have to admit to real curiosity about Father Meredith's publicist (a Jesuit, perchance?) and the "slight mistakes" made by the Redemptorists in St. Louis.

"Twenty-Five Years a Priest," The morning star and Catholic messenger (New Orleans [La.]), September 08, 1878, Chronicling America online archive ( : accessed 18 September 2010), Page 3. 

1 comment:

  1. You and your husband have some really interesting ancestors. Enjoying reading about them.


Comments related to the information shared here are most appreciated. All comments are moderated, and since I am not actively researching right now it many take a day or two for your comment to post. Please know that it will post, and that I much appreciate the feedback.