No, he’s not a character from a Dickens novel. He’s Father G.B. Weikamp, a native of Westphalia, Germany. In 1850 he came to Chicago, where he started St. Francis Church. In 1855, he started the Indian Mission at Cross Village, Michigan, in 1855. He served there until his death on March 19, 1889. Father Weikamp’s secular garb, replete with walking cane, was typical of priests during the mid-nineteenth century. At a time when anti-Catholicism was particularly strong in American life, priests wearing overtly religious garb were subject to being attacked on the street. (It was also a custom in England for centuries as well.) Not until the Third Plenary Council of 1884, a national meeting of the American bishops in Baltimore, was it officially mandated that priests wear clerical garb. (This was also the council that gave us the Baltimore Catechism.)
Throwback Thursday Photograph!
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