Thursday, April 15, 2021



1515 - 1582
Doctor of the Church
Feast Day October 15

My Home Parish
This, our third church, was dedicated in 1856. New stained glass windows replaced the old clear glass windows in the 1920s. You can see in this 1925 photo that only some of those new windows had actually been installed at the time.  This church was designed by the same architect as the Cathedral of the Assumption and the Nazareth Motherhouse Chapel. 


St. Theresa Church located in Meade County, Kentucky, while not the oldest Catholic Church in the state of Kentucky, it is the oldest in Meade County.

Settlers began arriving in Meade and Breckinridge Counties in the late 1700’s. Services were held by missionary priests from Marion and Nelson Counties in the pioneers’ log homes when the priest traveled through. These homes were called “church stations.”

Fr. Badin, the first priest ordained in the U.S, gathered the first congregation of St. Theresa in 1805. The first log church was built in 1818 and consecrated by by our first bishop, Bishop Flaget. The second log church was built in 1827 and was also consecrated by Bishop Flaget. The third, and present, brick church was consecrated by Bishop Spalding in 1861. 

On the grounds of Saint Theresa, the Sisters of Loretto opened St. Theresa Academy as a boarding school for girls and a parish day school in 1866 and stayed till 1869. They were followed by the first colony of Sisters of Charity who arrived in 1870 to take over running the school. In the early 1900s, for a while St. Theresa Academy became a boarding school for boys only and a day school for parish children. The boys who lived in the Academy were referred to as "boarder boys." Some of them were "overflow" from Saint Vincent Orphanage in Louisville also operated by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.  The school stopped taking "boarders" in the fall of 1926 and the Academy became a parochial school for girls and boys until it was torn down @1950 and replaced by a new, but much smaller, school. Even that one was finally closed in 1993 after becoming a public school @1956 with a few Sisters still teaching in it. The Sisters could not teach religion in school from 1956 - 1993. Catholic children had to go to the church or parish hall for religious instruction.  They called it "released time."  

This photo shows Saint Theresa Academy from the backside with some of its farm support buildings. My father bought the Academy Farm around 1950 and held it until it was sold after his death in 1991. Both he and I attended the old Academy. I know every inch of that farm since I worked and played on it for many years growing up.

Both Father Bob Ray and myself attended St. Theresa Academy as day students from 1949 -1951, after which it was torn down and a newer smaller school was built. We both finished our grade school years in the "new" school. 

The Sisters of Charity served at St. Theresa for 123 years. After the school closed, they left in 1993. Saint Theresa Parish owes the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth more than anybody knows! They kept the Academy going all that time by subsidizing it more than once during the leanest of times. 

As proud as I am of its history, I know that "golden ages" are susceptible to decline and often fade into history. However, I also know that decline can be reversed and a "second golden age" is possible with faith and hard work. I experienced one such dramatic reversal when I was pastor of the Cathedral of the Assumption when it was on the verge of closing. I am praying for a "second golden age" to be realized at my beloved Saint Theresa Church. 

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating history, will pray for intercession on behalf of St Theresa of Avila Church.

    oremus pro invicem