|St. Therese Church and School|
After we moved across town, I spent two years going to public school but eventually I ended up being a parishioner at St. Mary's, which is on the edge of downtown Appleton.
|Church of St. Mary|
St. Mary's was one of the first parishes in town. It had been traditionally the Irish church in Appleton; when Appleton was established in the late 1840s, the Irish were arriving in large numbers from the coffin ships, escaping the famine. These were the families that built St. Mary's.
The German immigrants began arriving in the 1850s, many of them Bavarian Catholics who were trying to avoid conscription by the Prussian Kaiser, who favored Bavarians for cannon fodder in the seemingly constant wars against the French. The German immigrants who arrived in Appleton attended St. Joe's, which was built only two blocks away:
St. Mary's was my home parish during my later school years and I attended the school for 7th and 8th grade. A number of my St. Therese friends ended up at St. Mary's at the same. While there was continuity in the Catholic education I received at these two different schools, there were definite differences. As we entered the mid 1970s, Vatican II was well established and some of the old school teachings my parents had experienced were fading quickly. St. Mary's had a retired priest named Father Nicholas Gross, who had been ordained in 1921.