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[Page 43]  St. Joseph's Golden Jubilee - Calumet

Bishop Baraga

born in Castle Malayas
in Dobrnic, Slovenia
Bishop of Marquette Diocese

The missioner Baraga came as a young man to what is now Baraga County in 1843. He lived temporarily at Assinins where now is located the Orphanage maintained by the Marquette diocese. In the ten years that he lived here he baptized 350 Indians and built 25 cabins for their homes. Bishop Baraga, at that time a young priest, had given up his wealth and title, being a member of the Slovenian nobility, to his sister Amalia.

It was indeed a hardship to step from a castle to a rude little log cabin which in time of rain leaked so badly that he covered his books with his coat and upon going to bed spread an umbrella over his head. One phase of his excellent European education he never regretted. His parents insisted that he take up law. Being a trained lawyer was a valuable asset to him in his work.

[Page 44]  St. Joseph's Golden Jubilee - Calumet

In 1847 he was informed by the Indians that white people lived farther north on Lake Superior's shore. So he took the Indian trail which led him to Eagle River and Eagle Harbor. He was amazed to find civilization in the wilds. That year he held a mission there and six years later built The Holy Redeemer Church. When he saw how many Catholics resided hereabouts, Baraga asked the Bishop at Detroit to send him a coworker. Word came back that no priest was available; so the missioner made his way by foot and canoe to Keweenaw at least once a year.

In spite of all the time taken up by travel the missioner found time to write. In the Slovenian tongue Dušna Paša, familiar to all Slovenes, was written. Six volumes dealing with the Life of the North American Indians was written in German and sent to Vienna. For the Chippewa Indians he wrote a Catechism in their own tongue. A work of the missioner's still widely used by students of Indian lore is a grammar in the Chippewa tongue.

The Holy Father saw the need for a diocese directed by a bishop in this territory. So on Nov. 1, 1853 Baraga was made Bishop in the Cathedral at Cincinnati. It was difficult to get priests to come into this wilderness so the Bishop went to Europe himself for them.

In 1857 the seat of the diocese was established at Sault Ste. Marie which 9 years later was moved to Marquette.

Altho a bishop, Baraga's wants were very simple. He was a strict vegetarian, potatoes being his mainstay. His younger sister Antonia commenting upon her visit in America said she was tired of eating potatoes thrice daily.

The Catholic Congress in 1867 convened in Baltimore. The bishop suffered a stroke while attending. He begged the Congress to pray for him so that he might be able to make the trip back to Marquette. His wishes were fulfilled and he died on Jan. 19, 1868 in Marquette.

The Bishop's passing was a sad event in the lives of the Indians, as he was their staunch protector and supporter.

The early Catholic settlers were indeed fortunate to find a man of his calibre in the priesthood in the Copper Country.

[Page 45]  St. Joseph's Golden Jubilee - Calumet

List of Slovenian Organized Lodges

St. Joseph's Lodge organized in 1882, the first Slovenian benefit society among organized fraternities. At one time it numbered 804 members.

The first Slovenian Choral Club was organized in 1892.

Marijina Družba was organized on Aug. 15, 1894. Later this was called the Altar Society. Organized to care for the cleanliness of the church and upkeep of the altar, decorations.

St. Peter's Lodge K. S. K. J. was organized in 1896.

St. Ciril and Metod J. S. K. J. was organized in 1898.

Corpus Christi Court, Women's Catholic Order of Foresters, was organized in 1900. This was the first Slovenian women's lodge in Calumet.

The Dramatic Club was organized in 1904. Activities were suspended in 1908.

St. Joseph's Society organized the Slovenian Croation Union in 1903.

St. Barbara's Society was organized in 1906. The Home Office was located in Forest City, Pennsylvania.

St. Ann's Society S. C. U. was organized in 1906.

The Austrian Gun & Rod Club (member of the National Rifle Association) was organized in 1907. In 1918 the name was changed to the Calumet Rifle Club. Many members received medals for marksmanship from the National Rifle Association.

Fraternal Harmony S. N. P. J. was organized in 1907.

Slovenian Benevolent Society was organized in 1908 by the young men.

St. Aloysius Society for young men became a benevolent society in 1908.

The above two societies entered the St. Joseph's Society.

The club Phoenix was organized in 1908. The club was very active in producing entertainments benefiting both the people and church.

St. Michael's Society was organized in 1912 and entered S. N. P. J. in 1919 and is called Jugoslovan.

The Holy Family Society was organized in 1915. Later joined K. S. K. J., St. Peter's branch.

St. Ann Society K. S. K. J. was organized in 1915.

Slovenec, a choral and dramatic club was organized in 1916.

[Page 46]  St. Joseph's Golden Jubilee - Calumet

Sacred Heart League was organized in 1925 and in a short while raised enormous funds to help defray church expenses.

The above two mentioned are no longer active.

The Holy Name Society was organized in 1924.

The Slovenian Ladies Union, branch 28, was organized in 1929.

The American Jugo Slav Educational League was organized in 1932 to promote the Americanization of our people.


Frank Pontelo         in soproga
Joseph Stukel          "        "
Mike Klobuchar       "        "
Mike Sterk               "        "
Joseph Vidosh          "        "
John Turk                "        "
John M. Vertin
Stane Fink
Mike Perusich
Mike Trdich
Stefan Grahek
John J. Plautz
Nick Saitz
Mike Zunich
John Stariha
Joseph Vrtasich
Joseph Vrdjan
John Kestner
Ana Brula
Barbara Grahek
Mrs. George Mishica
Mrs. Frank Sedlar
Mrs. Mike Gasperich
John Prebelich
Barbara Bajuk
Margaret Rom
Anton Sterk


John R. Sterbenz
Joseph Rupne
Paul H. Majerle
Peter Majhar


John Kobe
Paul B. Spehar
Joseph Zalec
John Zalec
John Filip
Matt F. Kobe


Joseph Z. Strucel
Matt Rogina
Kate Bahor
Mrs. Mike Zunich
Anton Plut


Joseph Murn in Soproga
Mike Galobich
Ursula Stanfel


Joseph Lovrenchich
John Medved
John K. Vertin
Martin Verderber
Stefan Verderber
Geo. Hrvat
Marcus Osterman
Joseph Osterman
Anton Bohte
Florjan Bohte
Matt R. Sedlar
John Puhek
Mike Schmalzel
Jacob Kocevar
Andrew Butala
Marko Strbenc
Matt Prebelich

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