Saint John Nepomuk Church, located at 1625 South 11th Street in St. Louis, is the oldest Czech church in the Midwest. Two of the most active groups within the church were the St. Aloysius Young Men’s Sodality and the Blessed Virgin’s Young Ladies’ Sodality, organized in 1866 by the beloved Monsignor Joseph Hessoun. Born in Bohemia in 1830, Monsignor Hessoun took over the parish of St. John Nepomuk on 4 October 1865, and within a year had organized the two social groups. Monsignor Hessoun passed away on 4 July 1906, but the Sodality groups continued to thrive. They celebrated their sixty-fifth anniversary in October 1931 with a special edition of the church’s journal, the Messenger.

This anniversary issue begins with a history of the two groups and the pastors who worked with them. The journal contains lists of the first members, photos of the church, and group photos of some of the early groups. Although the group photos do not mention individuals by name, later pages do hold photos of the clubs’ officers in 1931. There are several pages of ads, which reveal a bit about life during the Great Depression.

Present-day director of St. John Nepomuk, Deacon Mike Buckley, was kind enough to donate a copy of this special edition of the Messenger to StLGS. Deacon Mike also gave us permission to digitize the magazine and to place it on our website. Two of our members volunteered to index the contents so they would be easy to work with, and we thank Carolyn Finnigan of Missouri and Susan Stauder of Virginia, for doing the indexing.

You will need to look over the index carefully for your people. There are places in the magazine where people are referred to by initials only and other places where full names are given. We have no way of knowing whether W. Betlach and William Betlach are the same people, so they are indexed separately. On the other hand, we are fairly sure that Gene and Jean Barta are the same person; hence, they are indexed as one. There is a separate column for those individuals who have photos. The Misc. Notes column contains information about titles and roles people played in the Sodalities. In addition, those who took out ads in the last few pages are indicated by the size of the ad, which is in parentheses.

While many of the people contained within these pages don’t get more than a mention, there are some birth, death, and marriage notices and a lot of interesting background information for those looking to put some meat on the bones of family members who might have been involved with these groups.

The Messenger is in 5 parts to facilitate easy download. These 5 parts are in pdf format and have been reduced in size as much as possible. If a particular pdf has a picture that you are interested in, but can’t quite make out the picture, call the office for a higher resolution copy of the page. Click on the part below.

Messenger pages 1-10

Messenger pages 11-22

Messenger pages 23-34

Messenger pages 35-45

Messenger pages 46-end

As a convenience click here to go to the index.

Last modified: 30-Jun-2016 20:24