Segue to St. Louis

One of the highway signs on our way out of Springfield, Illinois, on May 15th, 2003, indicated a straight shot to St. Louis, Missouri.  My girlfriends and I decided to turn in that direction because we know a Franciscan priest who lives and works there.  Father Bernardine Hahn, OFM, served as the priest at St. Victoria Catholic Church in Victoria, MN, from 1953-1955.  I came to know him in the early 1980's through The Victoria Gazette and his visits to my home in Victoria.  I gave him a call on my cell phone and suggested we meet for lunch.

Father Bernardine greeted us at the front entrance to the St. Anthony Friary, which is located on Meramec Street in St. Louis.  It is the provincial headquarters of the Sacred Heart Province of Franciscan Friars.  Fr. B. lives there with other Franciscans, but ministers to and says daily Mass for the Poor Clare Franciscan Sisters who live about a half hour away.  Fr. B. is already 87 years old!

Lunch came next, since it was noon.  Fr. B. had a hamburger and chocolate malt.  Mary had a crispy chicken sandwich.  Julianne had a fish sandwich.  I had a hamburger and fries.  Mary and Julianne filled Fr. B. in on all the old-time Victoria folks from both today and long ago.  Fr. B. remembered well Mary's parents, Hilda (Schneider) and Ben Wartman.  Fr. B. married Julianne (Diethelm) and her late husband Eugene.  He knows many of their relatives and friends, those who have gone before us and those not yet gone from the history pages of old Victoria.

I cleared the table at McDonald's and suggested more photos for posterity and for other Victoria friends who have access to the internet and for Allan, who likes to keep tabs on me.  Then Fr. B. asked if Julianne and Mary would like to see the church at the friary.  Allan and I had already toured the place with him in February, 2002.  (See "Winter Road Trip" in Sue's Album.)

This time I had an even better digital camera than last year, so my inside photos of the large and ornately decorated church at St Anthony's turned out pretty fine so I will include them this time.

There was one final hotel stop for us on the way back to Victoria from Springfield and St. Louis.   I believe this particular Ramada Inn was located in Beloit, Illinois.  I always have a hard time getting the emphasis on the right syllable in Beloit.  Anyhow, we were only gone a total of five days, though our luggage might indicate five weeks.  Oh, well.  A woman has to have her belongings.

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