Hundreds of men have served the Diocese of Superior in its 100+ year history. These men have built churches and schools, offered the Sacraments, comforted the sick and dying, and have preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
These stories highlight a few of the bishops and priests that have continued the work of Jesus Christ and the Church in Northern Wisconsin.
Born in Hungary, Bishop Annabring immigrated as a young child with his family to the United States in 1903, settling in Turtle Lake, WI. At 15, he entered seminary at St. Francis de Sales Seminary in Milwaukee, then going to study philosophy at Grand Seminary in Montreal and finally studying theology at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, MN. Ordained a priest for Superior in 1927, he served the diocese faithfully for many years. In 1954, Ven. Pope Pius XII appointed him to be the next Bishop of Superior, the first to be named who had been a priest of that same diocese. In the brief remainder of his life until he died suddenly in 1959, Bishop Annabring began many important initiatives, including the Vocations Initiative which encouraged young people to discern God's will and calling for their lives. To read more about Bishop Annabring's life and ministry, click his photo to the left to go to his portion of the history section of the Diocese of Superior's website.
On July 27, 1836, three years after the Wisconsin Territory became part of the Diocese of Detroit, a new era in missionary activity began. This date marked the arrival in Wisconsin of a 38-year-old priest from Slovenia, Fr. Frederic Baraga, who was ordained to the priesthood in 1823. Fr. Baraga wrote seven books in Ottawa or Ojibwe, including the Dictionary of the Ojibwe Language, which is still widely used. Fr. Baraga also built a log church in La Pointe in 1838 at the site of a former Jesuit mission. On October 4, 1843, Fr. Baraga left his mission in La Pointe to start a new one at Keweenaw Bay. Fr. Baraga went on to become the first Bishop of Sault Ste. Marie. His cause for canonization is open, currently having the title "venerable," which means that the pope has recognized his life as being one of heroic virtue. Click Bishop Baraga's photo to the right to go to a more detailed history of his life and legacy on the Diocese of Marquette's website.
Fr. Gutowski was a priest ordained from the Diocese of Superior who was killed in Dachau concentration camp in Germany. He had come to the United States as a young, 16-year-old man and had gone to seminary at St. Lawrence High School Seminary and then to St. Paul Seminary in the Twin Cities. He was ordained a priest for Superior in 1927, serving the diocese until he received a call from God to go back to Poland in 1936. There, he served the people of Poland until he was arrested by the Nazis in 1941 and thrown into Dachau concentration camp, where he died in 1942. Click on Fr. Leon's photograph to the left to go to a Superior Catholic Herald article on his life and legacy: "What God gives, it will be" by Daniel Tracy.
Born and raised in Glenwood City, Msgr. Meulemans was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Superior in 1960, where he served faithfully until retiring to Arizona in 1998. His mentorship as a priest to other men in the diocese, both to those discerning and to those who were already living their vocations, has been a significant contribution in the lives of many. Click on Msgr. Meulemans's photo to the right to go to a Superior Catholic Herald article on his life: "Msgr. Meulemans a model of mentorship" by Daniel Tracy.
Cardinal Meyer was born in Milwaukee in 1903. He went to seminary there at St. Francis de Sales Seminary and later had the opportunity to complete his seminary studies in Rome at the North American College. Meyer was ordained a priest in Rome in 1926 for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. He became the rector of St. Francis de Sales Seminary in 1937 after teaching theology there for several years. In 1946, he was appointed Ven. Pope Pius XII as Bishop of Superior. As bishop, he oversaw the construction of 15 new churches and 9 new schools. He began the diocesan newspaper (the Superior Catholic Herald Citizen) and instituted the Apostolate Vocations. Ordaining 13 men to the priesthood for the Diocese of Superior before being appointed Archbishop of Milwaukee in 1953, Bishop Meyer encouraged young men to discern what God was calling them to. The tiny Diocese of Superior had 50 seminarians in various phases of formation. In 1958, Archbishop Meyer was appointed to be Archbishop of Chicago by Ven. Pope Pius XII, and he was elevated to the College of Cardinals in 1959 by Pope St. John XXIII. Cardinal Meyer participated in the Second Vatican Council and was part of the conclave that elected Pope St. Paul VI in 1963. Cardinal Meyer passed away in 1965, and his body was laid to rest at the cemetery at Our Lady of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, IL. Click his photo to the left to see a more detailed biography on the Diocese of Superior's website.