Tuesday, January 31, 2006

January 31 St. John Bosco, more content added today

I had a great interview last night with Monsignor Norb Ernst. He grew up in St. Boniface parish and was a member of the class of 1960. Monsignor then went on to Prep Seminary, Cardinal Glennon College and Kenrick Seminary, where he graduated in 1972. He celebrated his first Mass at St. Boniface. He was even gracious enough to loan me his graduation class photo. You can see it in the Photos section.

I will be working on uploading the audio of this interview this week.

Monsignor Ernst is now the pastor of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque parish in South County.

Monday, January 30, 2006

January 30 St. Bathildis, more Oral History interviews

I have another oral history interview scheduled for this evening. I will post it by the end of the week, barring no difficulties.

Worked on the transcription software this weekend to transcribe some of our current oral histories so they can be made available in text format. Voice-to-text software is getting better, but not quite there yet.

For something completely different, here is a good underdog story. Go BB!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

January 28 St. Thomas Aquinas, updates

Congratulations Fr. Jim Gray on your incardination into the St. Louis Archdiocese.

More oral history interviews posted today: Earl and Anita Doggendorf in the Oral History section.

Friday, January 27, 2006

January 27 St. Angela Merici

Happy Friday all!

The genealogy page will be up later today. This update is my test of the Blogger update via e-mail.

[DONE! Genealogy page is complete as well as an updated site index and about this site page. Enjoy searching this weekend! cb ]

Thursday, January 26, 2006

January 26 St. Timothy and St. Titus, new additions

I'm working on the new sections and researching some other content areas for the site. I have come across more photos inside the church recently that I am working on for the revamped virtual tour.

We get a lot of requests for genealogical information, so I am working on adding more information to a section devoted to this very subject. I am hoping to be general enough to aid everyone, but for the most part, this will have a lot of information if you're looking for details from Carondelet and south St. Louis.

Again, if you have any ideas, send them over.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

January 25 Conversion of St. Paul: Updates today, grotto statues

The siteindex has been updated to include the recent photo additions. I am working on a few new ideas for content, such as the reunions page. Your feedback is welcome. Feel free to post a comment here or e-mail me.

It may be coincidence, but Restorations Plus in Carondelet is selling a set of statues that look like the Our Lady and Bernadette ones that once could be found in the Rectory grotto.

Their photo is here with this description (see lower page).These statues, according to residents, were recently removed from the grotto. Contact them for more information re: purchase.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

January 16 photos online, more interviews

Happy Tuesday to all!

I finally got the recent church and convent photos uploaded. They can be seen here:


I'm still working on more links within the site, so thanks for your patience.

If you'd like to participate in the Oral History section, please e-mail me at history@stbonifaceonline.com or contact me at 314-378-7273. It's at your convenience, so don't fret about times. If you're not in the St. Louis area, feel free to e-mail your story to me. We'll add it to our mailbag.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Happy Friday!

Happy 3rd Birthday Liam Shekleton!

It's been a busy week. I'm still working on those photos and adding more. Today, I am scheduled to be interviewed about the stbonifaceonline web site for a local media report.

Stay tuned for more information!

[Photos are done! Check this page. I will be working on the site index this weekend to include any new features.]

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Update 1/19

Happy Birthday Virgil Jarvis!

I had a couple of long conversations with some old friends last night, which reminds me that I'll have more oral history interviews coming up soon. I am waiting for information from a few people who were on vacation when I called earlier this week.

A request from the e-mail box today:

I know my great grandfather went to St.Boniface and his wife died in 1901 and he remarried in 1904. He was Frank Barozinsky and his wife(2nd)was Anna Buschschulte and I have no pictures of them at all. Would there be any old(1907-before) of parrishoners?

Don Grimes

Please e-mail me if you have any photos or information for Don.

Finally, I expect to add a reunions section to stbonifaceonline soon. If you'd like to announce your reunion information here, please contact me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Mailing list, photo status, Belleville article

If you'd like to subscribe to the stbonifaceonline mailing list, send an e-mail to stb@cberding.com. I am hosting this mailing list with my own personal web host, because the stbonifaceonline host does not have this service included in our fees. E-mails will be on a regular basis, but I do not expect to send updates more than once a month, since I update this blog regularly.

The photos will be added before the end of the week. I ran into some technical difficulties while transferring them earlier.

On a different note, I ran into this article today on the Belleville diocese at the National Catholic Reporter.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Happy Birthday and photos, photos, and more photos

Happy Birthday Fr. Jim Gray. Hope you're enjoying the vacation!

I spent part of my day yesterday taking more photos at St. Boniface. It was kind of like seeing the crown jewels stripped of their diadems, with only the setting remaining. Boards are only on the lower windows that opened at the bottom, so the effect is not as traumatic as seeing foot after foot of plywood going up the building.

Also, the former St. Boniface convent was stripped of its stained glass windows on the Schirmer side of the building and covered with newspaper. The convent, too, as mentioned before, is now also for sale. It has been privately owned since the early 1990s, as it housed a home for the elderly.

I really wonder if development will come to this area when so many properties are vacant and for sale or lease. It's not "if you build it, they will come" down here; it's really if you rent or sell it.

In addition, I managed to get some photos to scan from Mary Vasquez of several parish events in 2005. (Many thanks!) We have also had several other folks volunteer their photos a while back, which can be seen here: http://www.catholic-forum.com/churches/028stboniface/rememb.htm

Monday, January 16, 2006

MLK day, St. Boniface site reuse

Happy MLK Day. I'll be busy adding a few more content items to stbonifaceonline, since I am not in the office today.

I received an e-mail from Matt Villa, 11th Ward alderman today and it doesn't seem like much is new on the St. Boniface reuse subject. According to Matt, Rothchild's company intends to keep the school as a school (My note: the charter school has a long-term lease--dates are not specific) and the church as a church. If this is not successful, they'd like to find a theatre group that might be interested in it. The rectory will be turned into apartments if the school, church or tentative theatre group does not need it.

[Update: The church alone is listed for sale at $650,000 here. In addition, the nearby former St. Boniface convent is also on the market by Schaller Realty.]

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Opera Artis

I ran across this article while I've been doing some further research. It's from April of 1971, but its themes ring true today. The first four paragraphs, which I've quoted below sum up what a lot of us are already thinking.


"Works of art, the most exalted expressions of the human spirit, bring us closer and closer to the divine Artisan (1) and with good reason are regarded as the heritage of the entire human family.(2)

The Church has always held the ministry of the arts in the highest esteem and has striven to see that "all things set apart for use in divine worship are truly worthy, becoming, and beautiful, signs and symbols of the supernatural world."(3) The Church through the centuries has also safeguarded the artistic treasures belonging to it.(4)

Accordingly, in our own times as well, bishops, no matter how hard pressed by their responsibilities, must take seriously the care of places of worship and sacred objects. They bear singular witness to the reverence of the people toward God and deserve such care also because of their historic and artistic value.

It grieves the faithful to see that more than ever before there is so much unlawful transferal of ownership of the historical and artistic heritage of the Church, as well as theft, confiscation, and destruction."

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The latest oral history interview added

Today, we added the interview with Father Bob Samson, recorded on June 26, 2005 after the last Mass at St. Boniface.

Father Bob was at St. Boniface for three and a half years starting in June of 1994. Father talks about the things that happened during his pastorate. One of the the things Fr. Bob didn't mention was the St. Boniface auction. The first one at St. Boniface occurred at Father's instigation.

Father Bob is now serving as pastor of St. Sabina parish in Florissant, MO.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Mass at St. Matthias

I met with a few of the St. Boniface folks this morning at St. Matthias, where Fr. Jim Gray lives and says 8AM Mass on Fridays. Father has been in residence at St. Matthias since he left St. Boniface at the end of July 2005.

They are definitely a lively bunch. Mary Vasquez and Mary Toomey, participants in the Oral History project, along with Pat Richardson, the commemorative booklet author and several other folks are regulars. This is not just Mass --it's a fun weekly event, which is followed by breakfast at a local eatery.

While at St. Boniface, the regular Mass attendees met each day in the rectory kitchen for coffee and donuts and whatever else struck their fancies. The rectory, or parish house, was really comfortable and inviting, like your own house. Father put furniture in the living room and den areas so people could enjoy being together during the week and on Donut Sundays every month. My son Liam even had his christening party there on Palm Sunday one year. The weather was beautiful and we had tables outside and guests out on the patio.

It was a special camaraderie, of young and old, of faith and experiences, that I really miss. Good people who like you the way you are, foibles and all.

An interesting article from the San Diego Union-Tribune

While I was doing more research, I ran into this article about how collectible religious items are becoming.


There are several companies that appear in search engines when you search for antique religious artifacts. I will add more information as I find it to the Where is it? page. My aim is to provide a resource for former St. Boniface parishioners who are interested in what became of these beautiful items. If they would have been up for public auction as promised by the Archdiocese, I would have possibly bought something. :)

Disclaimer: I have a few religious items and artwork myself in my own home. I have some Brother Mel Meyer pieces in my home, because I genuinely enjoy his work. I am an alumna of a high school in St. Louis which has one of Brother Mel's earlier commissions -- a full chapel.

Brother Mel's work can be purchased at the Marianist Galleries on the campus of Vianney High School, near the intersection of I-44 and Lindbergh (Kirkwood) Road.

See http://www.melsmart.com for examples of Brother Mel's work.

As always, if you have any information on the whereabouts of any St. Boniface items, please feel free to comment or contact me via e-mail. See the stbonifaceonline main page for e-mail information.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Crucifix removed from eBay, stained glass history

I noticed on my last perusal of eBay the the St. Boniface crucifix is no longer for sale.

This evening I did some research on the stained glass windows which were in St. Boniface. These windows were marked as being from the Tirolei Glausmerei or Tyrolean Glass Works of Innsbruck, Austria in the tiny hamlet of Kufstein. This glass factory has been in operation since 1756 and has glass blowing demonstrations regularly and has a museum on its grounds.

The entire region is well known for its glasswork and some interesting examples of modern glasswork can be found on the Steindl glas site, which is headquartered in Itter.

The St. Boniface windows were made in the Munich school style, which was very popular during the late Victorian era, as the glass contains painted details to add the to the dimension of the art depicted.

Emil Frei, a German native who settled in St. Louis, was a master of this type of work.

More oral history profiles will be posted tomorrow.

The latest on eBay, my research and Oral History Project

I have actually found an online vendor who does not want to sell something they have listed. Several St. Boniface pieces are still in St. Louis (if their website is to be believed) but I cannot get a straight answer from them. I'd love to think it's a conspiracy, but that would be a stretch.

As a result, I'm working on a few interviews for next week, so we can have some material.

I'll leave the shopping to the power shopping sleuths on Find! for now.

Please check the Oral History project (link is on the right). I've added two more interviews today.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

From the St. Louis Review

Here is the information poster anonymous mentioned earlier. Have your paper copy available when you access stlreview.com and you can get to the link below. If not, call the folks at their office at 314-792-7500 and they will look up your information during business hours for you, since no online application exists to do that 24/7.


I guess this was the Review the dog ate. Here's the text of note from that article:

"Because St. Aloysius Gonzaga and St. Boniface were sold to commercial buyers, the archdiocese has removed a number of the buildings’ sacred objects. The archdiocese contracted with Emil Frei Associates to removed the stained glass windows at St. Boniface and will document and store them, Richter said. The bells have been removed and stored as well. "We hope to use the windows in another church building in the near future," Richter said.

The windows in St. Aloysius Gonzaga were taken out, as were the bells. "The bells went to the Poor Clares in South County. As for the windows, the people whose families originally donated them have been in contact Father Vincent Bommarito at St. Ambrose Parish about them," Richter said.

"None of the sacred objects, none of the things that made our Catholic churches Catholic, are ever left behind," he said. "The archdiocesan Reclamations Office spearheads that effort."

Where in the world is St. Boniface?

Besides hearing this question a lot in grade school when people tried to do the good St. Louis thing and ask about where you went to school, it's come up a lot lately.

The large white St. Boniface statue which sat in a niche on the front facade in this picture disappeared sometime last month. So far, it seems, no one knows where he is.

So like the famous childrens' program, I'm searching him out. Have any details? Let us know via e-mail.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

More items are appearing

What a productive lunch hour!

I spoke to Father Chuck Barthel of St. Stephen Protomartyr and found out a few more details of where things are.

Restorations Plus, the statuary restoration company on Virginia Avenue have purchased a number of items, which are for sale on their website, statuesplus.com, such as the crucifix, which was behind the main altar, some candle holders, a kneeler, the St. Louis and St. Boniface murals in the vestibule of church as well as the St. Ann and Sacred Heart statues (see these on the Virtual tour). They are also selling some items on eBay under the seller name, Christian Treasures.

I recognized the kneeler, because I remembered when it was refinished and recovered in 1986 when I worked there during the summer by Father Rico Garavaglia's uncle, "Pat" Pisani (RIP Uncle Pat) who was a retired union painter.

The other new item of note is that the St. Boniface main altar tabernacle is now located at the Chapel (formerly St. Mary and Joseph parish).

And regarding the rumors, yes, Emil Frei and Associates, the renown stained glass company here in St. Louis did come in to evaluate the St. Boniface windows. The details on any repair work is sketchy (more on that later) but the Archdiocese does intend on using these windows again and they may appear in a new church planned for St. Charles county.

I will be investigating a few more sources in the interim and will post once I have more information.

At least, we won't be seeing those windows on eBay!

Also, thanks Steve for your note on today's urbanreviewstl blog. I'm already getting mail. :)

The search continues....

Finally, after many hours of trying to get my child to go to sleep, I've done a little more eBay perusing.

Not many St. Boniface items are appearing in Christian Treasures, (I suspect a couple of small items) but there is a large (10) grouping of stained glass listed for $35,000. Unfortunately, they are not from St. Boniface.

I'm doing more research, but the trail seems to lead to a couple of the other closed parishes, including St. Aloysius. Stations, fonts, chasubles, and even the usher's collection baskets are there, too.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Where it went - St. Boniface crucifix

I know I posted in the Where it is section that the St. Boniface crucifix was on consignment, but seeing it on eBay was a bit of a shocker under Buy it now for $4900.


I'm working on where a few other things went, so stay tuned.

Welcome to St. Boniface online!

Hello all!

Thank you for visiting our site. I owe a debt of gratitude to Steve Patterson (http://www.urbanreviewstl.com/) for getting me inspired to finally start this blog. How appropriate on this day after the Epiphany!

As I've mentioned before, a lot of people are relying on me as webmaster of stbonifaceonline.com to help keep the story of this parish alive. I'm not a one-person show. So many people have shared their time with me to create oral histories on what it was like to be a parishioner. I am so proud of all of you.

My goal is to keep the information flowing and it's a two-way street....on y va! (Translation: Let's go!)