Father Joseph Van Leeuwen's funeral service on Saturday, April 1, will be a solemn, historic moment for St. Paul. Father Joe is the first Passionist priest to be buried in the church garden cemetery in nearly 45 years. His will also be the first burial since the Passionist Monastery closed in 1983.
The Passionists recognize St. Francis Catholic Church as an important part of their history. Osage Mission was among their earliest western locations as they began their expansion west of Missouri in the late 19th century. In keeping with the importance of Father's funeral and burial, we expect at least seven Passionist priests including their Provincial.
With the Passionist presence in St. Paul gone for thirty-four years, the local memory of their ninety-three year presence here has faded. Those who do remember the Passionist era know it was a glorious religious experience. We became accustomed to having many priests, brothers, and students; and Mass schedules that accommodated any possible need. And there was the Passionist choir--Oh My Goodness those young men could sing!
We had our own small slice of Rome here in St. Paul and we didn't realize it until it was gone.
The Passionist Presence:
During this week before Father Joe's funeral our "News" page is featuring two articles about the Passionist presence here in St. Paul. Follow these two links:
Part 1 — The Passionist Era Begins Amidst Promise, Doubt and Turmoil. A brief look at a tumultuous period when the Jesuit and Loretto Missionaries were departing, leaving our parish and town in uncertainty. The article also discusses the work of an early Passionist Historian who was sent to Osage Mission to record the work of their predecessors and take stock of local facilities.
Part 2 — The Passionist Influence is Expanded. An overview of the substantial commitment the Passionists made to St. Paul in terms of capital investment and in saving our church building. It also describes our community life in a monastery setting.
Some Reference Information:
 The last Passionist funeral and burial here was also a St. Paul man. George Ferdinand Madl was born in Eudora, Kansas in 1900 and moved to St. Paul with his family in 1906. He professed to the Passionists in 1918 and was ordained on February 1, 1925. Father "Ferd" celebrated his golden Jubilee on April 1, 1968 and passed away on June 5, 1972. His grave is on the south end of our garden's Passionist cemetery field.
 The two articles above are from the A Catholic Mission website (www.acatholicmission.org).
This is the community website for the St. Francis de Hieronymo and St. Ambrose Catholic Churches in Neosho County, Kansas. Both churches are located in the center of the historic nine-county southeast Kansas area. We share one of the richest Catholic Heritages in Southern Kansas and the Four-State Region. For more information about our churches, history, organizations or programs browse our site including its links.