Search billions of records on


 Biographies Index  



California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Rev. John M. Cassin

Among Santa Rosa's beautiful buildings is St. Rose's Church, on B street, the handsomest thoroughfare in the city. It may be said that this edifice is one of the neatest Catholic Churches in the state. Constructed of stone, it is of English Gothic style tower and steeple. Its foundation is a deep bed of cement and the walls are reinforced with steel cables. Inf fact, Rev. J. M. Cassin, the pastor, must have had a premonition as he saw the ground broken for the cornerstone that June 1900, of the the great disaster of April, six years later. Albeit, he advised that the new church should be strongly built, and the wisdom of this was demonstrated when, on the morning of April 18, 1906, every other brick and stone edifice in Santa Rosa was badly injured and most of them totally destroyed. With the exception of a few stones from a cornice, St. Rose came through the dreadful ordeal unscathed. The cornerstone was laid by Archbishop Riordan with imposing ceremonies. Under it is a small stone from Bethlehem, an olive-wood cross from Jerusalem and a marble cross from the catacombs of Rome, all obtained by Father Cassin on his travels. Within the church is a picture of St. Rose of Lima. One of the beautiful windows is the gift of the Ursuline Sisters, whose splendid college and grounds adjoin the church.

John M. Cassin was born in New York City in 1847. He took his classical course in Gonzaga College, Washington, D. C., and the theological in All Hallows College, Dublin, Ireland, being ordained June 24, 1874, by Bishop Whelan, of Dublin. Returning immediately to California, after work in various parishes of the diocese, he was appointed pastor of St. Rose's Church at Santa Rosa in May, 1890. The celebration of the pastor's silver jubilee June 24, 1899, marked the beginning of St. Rose's new church. Under Father Cassin's ministry the church in Santa Rosa has prospered and the beautiful edifice well fulfills its sacred mission. It is interesting to chronicle that the city of Santa Rosa received its name from the baptism of an Indian girl on St. Rose's day (August 30, 1837) by a missionary priest, Juan Amarosa, in the creek adjoining the town, and from that time the stream was called Santa Rosa creek by the Indians.

The pastor is popular with his co-religionists, and possesses a host of warm friends among the membership of other denominations. It is the hope of his parishioners that he will continue to preside over their spiritual welfare for many years to come.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011