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 Researched and contributed by :  RITA

St. Partick's Catholic Church
Stiles, Oconto County, Wisconsin

built 1885

St. Patrick's Church in Stiles, taken at Christmas Mass in 1959.  
This is when they had the Latin Mass.  Fr. Geenan is giving the Homily.  St. Patrick's statue is above the alter.  Later he was taken down and put on the side. 
Photo and caption by John Larson

Please left click on the photographs below for a larger view.

St. Patrick Catholic Church, Stiles 
communion class 1910.

John Larson

St. Patrick Catholic Church, Stiles, 
first communion classes.

John Larson

History of St. Patricks Catholic Church - Stiles
The History of the Catholic Church in Wisconsin
published 1895 - 1898

     The Catholics living at and around Stiles were visited as a mission in the early days by priests from Oconto and Duck Creek, among them being the Rev. A. Vermare and Father Schwebach from the former, and the Rev. E. F. Van Hootegem from the latter place. It is also of record that the first church was devised and constructed during the administration of Father Schwebach. It was on or about January 1, 1885, that the parish of St. Patrick's was really established, at which time also the Rev. Charles Hoogstoel became the first resident pastor of the congregation. During his residence at Stiles Father Hoogstoel made numerous improvements to the church property, besides building a comfortable parsonage. He was succeeded by the Rev. E. E. Leccia, who built an addition to the church. Father Lcccia was succeeded by the Rev. Father Vanier, who besides his parochial duties at Stiles attended to the out-missions at Gillet and Oconto Falls.    The congregation of St. Patrick's numbers forty families.

    The congregation of St. Anthony's at Oconto Falls is attended from Stiles. The mission, which is at the present time composed of some sixty Irish, German, French, Hollandish, Belgian and Swiss families, was established by the Rev. Father Vanier on January I, 1896. There is a nice church at this mission built of brick veneer, which cost $3,500. This building was dedicated on December 27, 1896, the Right Rev. S. G. Mess-mer, D. D., Bishop of Green Bay, conducting the services. The mission is visited regularly twice each month.
Rev. C. Vanier
Another mission attended from Stiles is that of St. John the Baptist at Gillet. This mission was established about 1872 or 1873, and at present consists of sixteen families of Irish and German descent. Services are held here also twice each month.

The Rev. C. Vanier,1 rector of St. Patrick's at Stiles, was born in 1865 at Paris, France, and is the son of Etienne and Melanie (Vivier) Vanier. His family was originally from Burgundy, settling in Paris in 1702. His father, a traveling salesman, was killed in a railroad accident in 1866. His mother continued to reside in Paris and in 1873 was married to J. Muller, a well-known composer of that city, by whom she had two children, George, an officer in the French army, and Jeanne, who is a student in the Conservatory of Music at Paris. The subject of this sketch was also reared in that city, his earlier education being acquired in the college of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, conducted by the Maristes Brothers. Later he entered the college of the Immaculate Conception, conducteji by the Jesuit Fathers, from which institution he graduated in 1882. He then pursued the study of theology in the Seminary of the Holy Ghost, and after completing his course there came to the United States, arriving in New York City during the month of August, 1887. For two years following he remained there, being engaged as a teacher, and on August 25, 1889, was ordained to the priesthood by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Laughlin at Brooklyn. In September of the same year he removed West to Delwich, Uniontown, Door county, Wisconsin, remaining there as pastor of Our Lady of the Snow until October 20, 1893, when he was transferred to the parish at Florence, Wisconsin, where he remained as pastor of the church of the Immaculate Conception until October 8, 1895, on which date he was appointed to the pastorate of St. Patrick's at Stiles.

Rev. Victor Bally

The Rev, Victor Bally, present rector of St. Peter's, was born on the I7th of March 1850, in Colmar, Alsace. After having completed a commercial course in the Imperial Lyceum of Colmar, he took a course in Latin at the Scholasticat of the Fathers of the Holy Ghost in Brittany, France.

In 1868 he entered the French army and served as a volunteer until after the Franco-Prussian war, of which he stood all the hardships, after having spent one year previously in Algeria. In 1872 he resumed his philosophical studies, and five years later those in theology. 'Having some time previously met Father F. X. Leroy, then Vicar-General of the Diocese of Natchez, he was received as a student for that diocese, arriving at that place on May 22, 1877. On Septembers, following, lie was ordained priest by Bishop W. H. Elder, and from that day until September 20, 1896, worked as a missionary in Mississippi. Finally, owing to increased ill health, and the absolute necessity of seeking a cooler climate, he removed to the diocese of Green Bay, where for some months following he was associated with Father Fitzmaurice, Latterly he was appointed to his present charge. 


Patrick John Curley married Elizabeth McKeever in 1906

St. Patrick’s Lives On In Stiles

Written  1970 by Kathleen Whiting LeBeck

 In writing about St. Patrick’s at Styles it would be unfair to give the Irish all the credit . Many good people of other nationalities helped finance, buildand prosper the little church on the hill.

Still they were there……the Irish…. And still are. At present a good sprinkling of up through fifth generation sons and daughters of the Erin can be found at church services worshipping along with the other good folk who fill the church to capacity each Sunday.

The oldest known continuous member of St.Patrick’s parish is “Patrick” John Curley, R2 – Lena, the son of Patrick and Julia Casman Curley who was born in Stiles on May 31, 1889, and baptized in the church which was then only four years old. The parish started in 1885.

He is still an active member of the church and community and takes keen interest in their activities and the people. He recalls the good times the folks of the parish had at the St. Patrick’s Day parties which followed a mass at the church honoring the patron saint and  were held in the former Woodsman hall, now the parish hall. They featured talents of the parishoners. Mr. Curley, who was an accomplished singer, sang at some of the doings and was a member of the church choir for many years. Dancing was also an important part of the evening’s fun. Irish jigs and reels were prominent in ealy times as were squares (dances) and circular two steps.

From a reprint of an article written by William Campell at least 15  years ago furnished by Viola Curley Kirby of Costa Masa, California, a sister of John Curley, entitled “St. Patrick’s Day Dance at Pat Curley’s Hall” (Pat was their father) comes a descriotion which includes names of the Irish families which still live there along with others of other nationalities in the community. Though Stiles today is just a ghost of its illustrious past, many of the names will be recognized by the “old timers” and young folks as well.

“The Merleins band would play” The Hat My Daddy Wore” and “Wearin’ Of The Green” and we danced quadrills and waltzes and polkas by the score while Trepanier did the callin’ like he never did before.”

Included in the dancers were the Malooneys, the McCaulifs, Shedores, Wheelers, , Hurleys, McGuires, the Monaghans, the Pinkeys and the Clearys, the Murrays and Ryans and Flatleys and O’Learys and the Degans and Lanos.   

There were the O’Neills and the Gallaghers, the McDougals and Marrs, the Barrys and Morriseys, McLeans and McKeevers, the McIvers and Caldies, the McQueens and Murphys and the Ragens the Jarreys, the Heralds and the Careys,       

There were the Kenneys, the Devereauxos, the McCatheys and Dualmes who danced an Irish Reel. Also there were the Oshwalds, the McTravers, the Leighs, The Porterfields, The Flowers, The Nobbins, the Goggins and the Walls.

Also in attendance were the Caldwells and the Couillards, the Slatterys and Plains, the Colburns and McCluskeys, and the Langs and McAllisters and Johnsonsw, while the Walches and Farrells did the Irish jig.

Also there were the Rymers and Belongias, the Traceys and Carrolls, the Reynalds and the Temples, the Kellys and the Burns, the Meyers and the Campbells, the Bagleys and

It goes on to say “There were about 50 couples they couldn’t let in for Old Pat was short of grape juice and no room on the floor.”

The article conncludes “But when these grand old couples marched out the ballroom door they said they’d had the best old time they’d ever had before.”

So was the town and its surrounding territory with its happy life and simple pleasures an era of contentment compared to today’s hustle and bustle.

Though the spelling of the names has changed and most of the people of that day have passed on, the spirit of the Stiles community lives on thrugh a people who are dedicated to God, the old churches, the families and to having a little fun..

Addition by :  John Larson

First Mass at St. Patrick's Church, February 19, 2006

 St. Patrick's Stiles has it first priest in its 121-year history.  St. Pats has had a few nuns but to my knowledge has had no priests that were baptized there.

 Anson Eldred deeded the land for the church Sept. 15, 1882.  Tom and Isabel Leigh from Leigh Town donated the bell that is still in use today.  It is interesting to note that none of them were Catholics.  Most of the families were Irish that built the church so they called it Saint Patrick's.  First records start at Jan. 1st 1885.

 John L. Larson, son of John R. and Janice Larson, was baptized by Fr. LaQue May 24, 1970 and made his First Communion June 10, 1979 at St. Pat's.

On the day he made his First Communion with Fr. Mineau his Godparents asked him what he was going to be, His answer was "a priest."  No one thought much about it at the time. When he was going to school at Oconto Falls the computer came along and he took to it like a duck to water.  In High School he worked on the 1988 Annual and it was the first Annual in the school history to be sent in digital format.  He became a computer Programmer and worked for the Florida Dept. of Transportation five years.

He joined the Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception and became a brother.  He graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, Magnum Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts Degree.  He continued his education at The Dominican House of Studies in Washington DC.  He graduated Cum Laude with his Master of Divinity and Pontifical degree Bachelor of  Sacred Theology.

John L. was ordained a priest at the Crypt church of the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC on Feb. 11,2006 with a reception at The Pope John Paul 11 Cultural Center, Washington DC.

Father John L. Larson will be assigned to St. Mary's Church at Plano, IL.