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Evansville, Indiana
October 24, 1997     The Message
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October 24, 1997
 

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16 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana October St. Theresa celebrates 50 years of parish By MARY ETTA KIEFER, O.S.B. Message staff October 18 and 19 were big davs at St. Theresa. They cli- maxed the celebration of 50 vears of parish life. Saturday afternoon was an open house, with display boards of some of the big parish events in the late evening as the sisters were preparing to retire for the night. The hall was dark, and one night when Sister Beata was brushing her teeth, Sister Edna Market came into the hall and heard unfamiliar footsteps. Screaming, she reached for Sister Beata to warn her of an intruder, and discovered tlat she had grabbed Father across the years. Many peg- Conti returning to his quarters ple came to celebrate the  from holy hour. No one continued health of the ever knew who suf- St. Theresa family fered the most shock After all the Sunday from the encounter. former Masses, parishioners, The years melted away pastors, teachers and students,  Logo design by Sharon Ford, as Paul Wentzel and Gene Adler and friends of the parish gath- St. Theresa Church told of the barracks church and ered in the multi-purpose room school, where two school rooms for a festive meal and an after- greet Sister Mary Sharon Hoehn, shared a wood-burning stove, noon of reliving the moments his first teacher. Joining in the and where the priest saying which have built the St. There- story-telling were others of the Mass had to be careful how he sa's of today, first faculty, Sisters Victoria Pohl elevated the host and chalice, to Pastor Gene Schroeder led and Beata Mehling. Sister Beata avoid hitting the ceiling. those present along the time- told of the sisters' cramped Ladies present remembered line, beginning with the birthing quarters in three classrooms the establishment of the quilting pains of church and school which fronted a hall. She group in 1953, and that one of buildings. Jack Diehl, now 54, recalled that Father Conti, in the early leaders assigned chairs remembered his starting school temporary quarters in the build- to quilters and timed them and walked across the room to ing, always made his holy hour when they stopped for a lunch- break. Father Ted Tempeb in his reminiscence, suggested that the reason quilts are harder to come by now is that the quilt group lacks the militant discipline of that early period. Many recalled the boarded- up house the church bought for a first rectory, and there was dis- cussion about whether Father Carl Shetler, St. Theresa's first assistant pastor, was right when he said it was haunted, or whether the other rumor was true  that it had been a "house of ill-repute." Either way, the ladies agreed that it was the dirtiest house they had ever seen, and when they opened the front door, a rat was sitting in the middle of the living room. The new rectory, it is said, was built with "gambling money." It seems that nickel bingo was a regular event at St. Theresa, and coins were collected by the bucket. Many different fund- raising efforts by the women and men of the parish made it Pictured is the fiftieth jubilee quilt of St. Theresa, which con- possible to build the rectory tains squares made by many parishioners. Quilting was done by without incurring any debt. St. Theresa quilters. The jubilee quilt hangs on the wall in the Even the bathtub was a gift of sanctuary. Message photo by Man/Etta Kiefer, O.S.B. Father Saum's good friend, "Peck" Axton, proprietor of the : ii Jack Diehl and Benedictine Sister Mary Sharon happy momant at the St. Theresa fiftieth celebrati Jack started school at St. Theresa,and Sister Mary Shat0t his first teacher. Message photo by Mary Etta Club Troccadero, across the river in Henderson. Gene Adler told of the instal- lation of the first lighting in the church  an effort of five men who "crawled on their bellies" under the church, from back to front, stringing wire and sol- dering. There were many stories of the first socials held twice in the Armory, where the women washed and rinsed dishes in enormous tubs. Men kept them supplied with hot water and emptied the tubs at day's end. Parishioners called out the names of the pastors and their assistants, and more incidents surfaced. Through the afternoon, sto- ries unfolded of the many com- ical events and hard endured by the hardy of St. Theresa. The giving of all kinds is an inspiration ple who now sit in the able, The planning and their fiftieth jubil such generous parish is alive and Theresa. Rudy F/ora/ Fresh FI0wers o S Gift Items 207 N.E. 5th Washington, Indiana 1812) 25