If you have any memories of St. Anthony Parish you would like to share, please contact Carole McGibany at [email protected].
The Church on the Hill
The growth of the Fussville-Menomonee Falls area is reflected in the growth of Saint Anthony Parish. From a rural parish serving some 100 families, its roster has grown to approximately 1200 families. Together with this growth and a more complex understanding of the nature of "Parish Community," work formerly handled totally by the priests is now delegated to responsible and cooperative lay persons.
Thinking Back to those Days
I arrived here in Fussville in 1945 when I was in 5th grade; 5th through 8th grades were in the downstairs classroom. The upstairs classroom had 1st through 4th grade classes; my younger sister was upstairs in the 3rd grade. Father Bolenbeck was our priest. He gave us religious instructions once a week. Sister Probata was my teacher; she had been transferred here from Chicago where she also taught. Sister Probata occasionally would have to send some boys home from school who had their barn shoes on, which would cause a bad smell. Sister was very smart and I thought at the time, too strict - now I realize just how smart she was.
We had a pump for our water right outside of the Sisters’ house porch - Sister would send some boys on very cold days to prime the frozen pumps to unfreeze them so we could get water to drink. Our school toilet was outside. We had outside toilets at our house, too, so it wasn’t unusual for me, but there were some students that weren’t used to it. During our noon recess, we usually played baseball. Once a week, us girls in the higher grades went to the church and cleaned the floors, pews, altars, and one of the Sisters would wash the altar linens. Also, once a week, we would clean the classroom and blackboards. If I remember correctly, the children took turns doing this.
Sister Probata sold candy bars and small bags of potato chips at noon. I think that started when I was in 7th grade. Every Friday we would all get a goiter pill; they tasted like malted milk to me. I loved them. My dad worked for the gas company. I remember him going to the Sisters’ house and fixing their gas stove and oven. The Sisters lived in the same house where the two classrooms were located. I don’t know if this was any help to you. I enjoyed thinking back to those days.
Memories of a St. Anthony Parishioner
Civil War Veteran Buried In St. Anthony Cemetery
OBITUARY: Waukesha Freeman Dec. 15, 1910 - "William Gross, many years resident in this part of Wisconsin and a veteran of the Civil War, died suddenly at his home in the town of Menomonee, December 7. Mr. Gross was born in Germany in 1844, came to Wisconsin in 1854 and with his parents settled at Germantown. When eighteen years of age he entered the army as a member of the Twenty-Sixth Wisconsin Infantry and took part in a number of important battles. He was wounded at Kenesaw Mountain. In 1869 Mr. Gross married Anna Maria Trost and fourteen children were born to them, eleven of whom, with their mother survive. The family had resided on their present home farm since 1874. Mr. Gross was highly esteemed by his neighbors. Funeral services were held at St. Anthony's Church, Saturday, Rev. N. Schaaff officiating."
Over 60 Years of Fabulous Fish Fries
According to St. Anthony historical records, before the parish built the school in 1953, “social events were held in local taverns or hostelries, particularly Schmitz’s Dance Hall on the southwest corner of Appleton and Good Hope”. But with the building of St. Anthony Parish School came a new place to gather – the school’s multipurpose room, Reichling Hall, and it was then the Christian Mothers started the St. Anthony monthly Fish Fry. Records say the event became a popular social for the whole community as well as a lucrative money maker.
“Older parishioners met the day before the event to prepare some of the food and visit. Whole families helped set up chairs and tables, fry fish, degrease the kitchen and sweep out the hall. Eighth graders waited on tables.”
Little has changed from those fish fries from days gone by. Volunteers made up primarily of St. Anthony parishioners, begin the Wednesday before, preparing all the dressings for the coleslaw and potato salad from scratch. One crew shreds 250-300 lbs of cabbage, carrots and celery; another crew peels and cuts boiled potatoes by hand. And a third group combines the dressings and prepared vegetables. St. Anthony students are still involved, serving guests, setting and clearing place settings, preparing to-go containers and washing and putting away dishes. The St. Anthony Boy Scouts give Reichling Hall a careful cleaning the following Saturday morning.
It is estimated that between 950-1300 meals are served each month.
The St. Anthony fish fry continues to be a popular social for the whole community and is generally served the first Friday of every month, from September to May. For more information, please call the parish office at (262) 251-5910 ext. 10 or visit the parish website. All our welcome – come be a part of this Menomonee Falls tradition.