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.