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.
Bernard Francis Casey was born on November 25, 1870 in Prescott, Wisconsin. In the early 1880s, Casey and his family moved to nearby Hudson, Wisconsin and began attending Mass at St. Patrick’s Parish where he would receive his First Communion in 1883. In 1890, Casey moved to Superior where he took a job as a streetcar operator. Casey decided to enter seminary after an encounter on the job where he witnessed an attack on a young woman and felt the desire in his heart to rid the world of evil. The 21-year-old Casey entered St. Francis de Sales Seminary in 1891 and completed high school studies there before leaving in 1896. After returning to Superior, in December 1896 he received a message from the Blessed Virgin Mary to “Go to Detroit.” It was there in Detroit that Bernard took the religious name of Solanus and went on to serve faithfully as a Capuchin Franciscan for 60 years in Michigan, New York, and Indiana. This saintly man spent 30 years of his life living in Wisconsin and is one of only three American-born men to be beatified. Click on Bl. Solanus's photo on the left to learn more from the Solanus Casey Center website.
Michael Cypher was the 10th of 12 children born to Lawrence and Elizabeth Cypher in Medford, Wisconsin on January 12, 1941. He received Baptism (1941), First Communion (1948), and Confirmation (1954) at Holy Rosary Parish in Medford. He entered the Conventual Franciscans at the age of 17 taking the name Casimir. Br. Casimir began seminary schooling in Illinois in 1959 and would complete his schooling in 1968 when he was ordained a priest at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minnesota on March 9, 1968. After serving for a few years as a parish priest in Illinois and California, Fr. Casimir was sent to Honduras as a missionary priest. Political unrest in the country at the time led to persecution of the Catholic Church which had supported a group of peasant farmers fighting for land rights. On June 25, 1975, Fr. Casimir was arrested, tortured, and martyred along with several other clergy and laity as one of a series of killings known as the Los Horcones Massacre. For more about the life of this heroic Franciscan priest, click on Fr. Casimir's photo to the right.
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.