St. George History


The History of St. George Parish

Hermann owes the Philadelphia Settlement Society for its existence. The Society had purchased

about eleven thousand acres in the Frene Valley area just south of the Missouri river and sold land to

German colonists in 1836. Among the immigrants were 33 Catholics. They longed for a church of their

own but could only attend Mass whenever a Jesuit priest visited from Washington, MO. In 1845 they

began building a church and in 1849 the bishop of St. Louis sent them a priest, Fr. Lawrence Kuepfer. In

1850, under the patronage of St. George, the Martyr, the parish realized its first church. Both town and

parish grew with the arrival of more German settlers. In 1854 the Missouri Pacific Railroad laid tracks

through Hermann, bringing an influx of Irish workers, many of whom married local Germans and put down roots.

In 1875 the Kulturkampf in Germany drove Franciscans from Germany; many migrated to a

newly established mission in Teutopolis, Illinois. American bishops in the Midwest asked for and

received Franciscan priests to staff their German speaking parishes, Hermann among them. Many skilled

Franciscan brothers came also. They were able to design and build; they laid a cornerstone for a larger

church 15 Aug 1915 and dedicated the church 9 July 1916. They built a friary next to the church and

blessed it 12 Feb 1916.

Parishioners had long been asking for a school, so the parish built one, an integral part of the

parish ever since. Staffing the school was no easy task. Both priests and brothers taught as they had

available time and for many years various orders of religious sisters held sway: Franciscans, Sisters of the

Notre Dame, Adorers of the Precious Blood and others, including lay people. In 1950 St. George Parish

built St. George High School, which graduated many young men and women until its closure in 1970.

Our first lay principal was employed in 1997 and since then the elementary school has been staffed by

lay women and men.

St. George church and school buildings have undergone many changes: roofs, floors, windows

and redecorating are part of a never-ending cycle. In addition, various updating must happen. For

example, the school has a modern computer and robotics room; the cafeteria has been redone; the

rectory has been refurbished. We now have both a pre-school and Kindergarten programs. One of the

finest elements of St. George School is that its graduates do very well in high school and college.

Any parish reality swells with the joys of weddings, baptisms, first communions, confirmations,

but has also had its share of illnesses, deaths, our youth going off to war, floods and droughts. St.

George Parish is blessed with many faithful, hardworking and generous families who support our priests,

school staff, our bishop and Diocese. An active Knights of Columbus Council, Ladies Sodality, St.

Elizabeth Sewing Circle, and Home & School, operate in the Parish, with many contributions to the Parish.

We are truly blessed to be living here and working together. We give thanks for our town, our

Parish, and all of our members. We will continue to work hard and pray fervently to build up God’s

Kingdom around us.