History of Saint Rose

The roots of Saint Rose of Lima Parish go back to 1861.  In January of that year parish trustees were elected, under the leadership of Father Seraphim Bauer, the pastor of Saint Joseph Parish in Maumee.  The property of the Universalist Church on the corner of Front and Elm Streets was purchased and equipped for Catholic worship.  Father Bauer's late mother was named Rose and of Spanish descent.  Her memory was the inspiration for choosing the patron saint of the new parish:  Saint Rose of Lima, the first canonized saint of the Western Hemisphere.

The Parish

In 1863 Saint Rose Parish received its first resident pastor, Father Charles Griss.  In 1865 Father Griss purchased the current church property that was just across the street from the original church site.  In 1867 Saint Rose School opened on this new property.  In that same year property was purchased on Indiana Avenue for the parish cemetery

In 1889 the cornerstone of the current church was laid.  Stone for the foundation was brought from Lime City.  Built of Sandusky blue-stone, the new church was dedicated on May 28, 1893.  It remains one of the most beautiful churches in the area and the pride of St. Rose parishioners.

The pastors of Saint Rose Parish include:

  • Fr. Charles Griss (1863-1884)
  • Fr. Gustave Rieken (1885-1901)
  • Fr. J.H. Kleekamp (1901-1908)
  • Fr. Peter Schoendorff (1908-1915)
  • Fr. John Kiebel (1915-1946)
  • Fr. Charles Comte (1946-1954)
  • Msgr. Max Walz (1954-1968)
  • Msgr. Robert J. Yates (1968-1984)
  • Fr. A. Robert Lamantia (1984-1990)
  • Fr. John A. Thomas (1990-1999)
  • Fr. Thomas J. Leyland (1999-2007)
  • Msgr. Marvin G. Borger (2007-2015)
  • Fr. George E. Wenzinger (2015-Present)

Today, Saint Rose Parish is a vibrant and flourishing parish of over 7,700 members.

The Building

The present church building is the second to serve the Saint Rose Parish community.  By the early 1880's the first church building (located at what is now 80-84 Elm Street) had become inadequate for the growing Saint Rose congregation. In 1885 the pastor of Saint Rose, Father Gustave Rieken, organized a building committee.  After some deliberation, it was decided that a new church would be built of stone, the first of its kind in the area.

Church records credit John Burkhart (also spelled "Burkart") of Kenton, Ohio, as the designer and builder of the new church.  Burkhart was not an architect, but specialized in building with stone and brick.  It seems that the renowned German-American architect, Adolphus Druiding of Chicago, had prepared plans for a proposed St. Rose Church done in an elaborate Gothic Revival style. Druiding's rendering is found in his book, Church Architecture, printed in 1889.  His design was apparently rejected by the Saint Rose building committee, though it is very likely that Burkhart's design was influenced by Druiding's work. 

Ground was broken for the new church in 1889, and the cornerstone was blessed by Bishop Gilmour of Cleveland on September 8, 1889.  Stone for the church foundation was hauled by parishioners from the quarry in Lime City.  Sandusky blue-stone was used for the exterior walls, while the interior walls were of brick, covered with plaster.  The main body of the church measures 132 feet in length and 54 feet in width. The cross on the steeple stands 170 feet high.  Saint Rose Church is in the Victorian Gothic Revival style.

The first Mass was celebrated in the new church on May 29, 1892.  Bishop Ignatius Horstmann of Cleveland solemnly dedicated the church on May 28, 1893.

Three bells were cast by the Stuckstede Company of St. Louis and placed in the tower in 1890.  They are, from smallest to largest, named "Rose," "Mary," and "Joseph."

The pipe organ in Saint Rose Church is a historic, tracker organ built by Garret House of Buffalo, New York in 1873.  Originally installed in the first St. Rose church building, the organ was moved to the new church upon its completion.  It was extensively refurbished in 1975-76 by D. F. Pilzecker & Company, Organ Builders of Toledo.

The church has received many refurbishments and improvements over the years.  The last major refurbishment was completed in 1998, under the leadership of Father John A. Thomas.  In 2004 the church was air-conditioned during the pastorate of Father Thomas J. Leyland.

Saint Rose

St. Rose was born April 20 1586 (died on August 30, 1617), in the city of Lima, the capital of Peru. She received the baptismal name Isabel Flores de Oliva. She was from a large family. Her father, Gaspar Flores, was born in Puerto Rico and her mother, Maria de Oliva, was born in Lima. She was personally confirmed by Lima Archbishop Turibius de Mongrovejo. Her nickname Rosa (Rose) was a testament to her holy ties. When she was a baby, a servant claimed to have seen her face transform into a rose, hence her name, "Rosa."

In emulation of St. Catherine of Siena she fasted three times a week with secret severe penances. When she was admired, St. Rose cut off her hair against the objections of her friends and her family. Upon the censure of her parents, St. Rose disfigured her face with pepper and lye. She was very upset that she was so beautiful and hurt herself to help others.

Rose began to tell of visions, revelations, visitations and voices as her parents deplored her penitential practices more than ever.

Many hours were spent contemplating the Blessed Sacrament which she received daily. She determined to take a vow of virginity in opposition to her parents who wished her to marry. Her Vita emphasizes "her excruciating agony of mind and desolation of spirit, urging her to more frequent mortifications."

Daily fasting turned to perpetual abstinence from meat. Her days were filled with acts of charity and industry. St. Rose helped the sick and hungry around her community. She would bring them to her home and take care of them. St. Rose sold her fine needlework, grew beautiful flowers and would take them to market to help her family. Her exquisite lace and embroidery helped to support her home, while her nights were devoted to prayer and penance in a little grotto which she had built. She became a recluse leaving the grotto only for her visits to the Blessed Sacrament.

She took the name of Rose at her confirmation in 1597. In her twentieth year she had so attracted the attention of the Dominican Order that she was permitted to enter a Dominican convent in 1602 without payment of the usual dowry. She donned the habit and took a vow of perpetual virginity. "Thereafter she redoubled the severity and variety of her penances to a heroic degree, wearing constantly a metal spiked crown, concealed by roses, and an iron chain about her waist. Days passed without food, save a draught of gall mixed with bitter herbs. When she could no longer stand, she sought repose on a bed constructed by herself, of broken glass, stone, potsherds, and thorns. She admitted that the thought of lying down on it made her tremble with dread."

For eleven years this self-martyrdom continued without relaxation, with intervals of ecstasy (CE) until she died, at the age of 31. Her funeral was attended by all the public authorities of Lima, and the archbishop pronounced her eulogy in the cathedral.The Feast Day of St. Rose of Lima is August 30.

Symbols of Saint Rose include a rose, anchor and infant Jesus.

Courtesy WikiPedia.org