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St. Andrew / St. Ann Catholic Church

Image by Josh Applegate

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Church Altar


ST. ANDREW CATHOLIC CHURCH stands as a beacon of faith in Murphysboro. The history of St. Andrew is a unique one. Unique in the fact that the first Mass was officiated by the Bishop of the diocese which comprised all of Southern Illinois. Unique in the fact that for more than three-quarters of the first century of its existence it was guided by the spiritual direction of only two pastors, Fr. Kaspar Schauerte and Fr. Joseph Taggert.

In 1867, Joseph Van Cloostere with his mother and sister settled on a farm about three miles south of Murphysboro.  It was he who, sensing the need and desire of the pioneer group to establish a church, addressed a letter in 1868 to "Catholic Priest", Cairo, Illinois, inquiring about the address of the nearest Catholic Priest.  An answer came telling Joseph Van Cloostere that the Bishop himself would be in Anna for Confirmation on a certain date.  The youth made the trip to Anna, and the Bishop agreed to come to Murphysboro on the eve of the Ascension, 1868.  Arrangements were made with Medar Lucier for the Bishop to stay at his home.  The Mass was said to have taken place in the Lucier home.

On the feast of Ascension, May 21, 1868, the first Mass ever to be said in Murphysboro was offered by the Fr. Damien Junker, the first Bishop of the Diocese of Alton, the See to which all of  Southern Illinois belonged. Impressed by the large outcome, the Bishop promised the group that Fr. F. Fockele, then pastor in Anna, would offer the Mass for them once a month.

A deed dated June 15, 1868, and signed by M. H. Logan, his wife Evaline, and J. V. Logan, conveyed two and one-half acres east of out-lot number 6 to Medar Lucier, Jacob King, and Henry Boucher, trustees of the Catholic Church.  The amount paid for the land was $800. The site purchased is the land on which the present church stands.  In the spring of 1869 the church, a frame building 24 feet by 50 feet with a small turret topped by a cross was planned and building began.

Fr. Theodore Wigman, replaced Fr. Fockele and served as Pastor until April, 1872.  He baptized 34 during his short stay and was succeeded in October, 1872 by Fr. Herman Jungmann. Fr.  Jungmann was the one who, after only 3 years since the first mass, made Catholic education in St. Andrew's almost synonymous with it's history. Before Fr. Jungmann was transferred in February, 1877, he had administered the Sacrament of Baptism to 177 members of the parish. He returned to Murphysboro to offer the Mass of dedication of the new St. Andrew's Church on October 16, 1889.

In 1888 St. Ann's church was blessed by a Bohemian priest from St. Louis. A German priest from Chester offered Mass once a month. Father Hessoun, a Bohemian priest from St. Louis,  would hear confessions and offer Mass. The triple window at the rear of the church bears Father Hessoun's name.
By 1912 the congregation had outgrown the church. On October 23, 1912, the present St. Ann Church was dedicated. Father Fred Witte came twice a month to celebrate Mass. Parishioners at that time totaled 43.
In 1923 Father Robert DeGasperi arrived. In 1925 St. Ann was removed from the jurisdiction of St. Andrew and merged with St. Elizabeth of Ava and St. Joseph of Willisville. After Father Elmer Schuhmacher arrived in 1931 a home in Raddle was purchased and remodeled as a parish hall. in 1981 the famous Duck Booya began on the first Saturday of October together with the parish raffle. Father Leo Hayes became pastor in 1963. 

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Parish Administration


Father Joel Seipp

Finance Manager

Tammy Gartner


Cindy Thompson


Bill Schwartz

Coordinator of
Family Faith Formation

Patty Williams
Parish Administration
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