HomePrefaceChapter 1: Franciscan World: 1730-1894Chapter 2: Franciscan World to 1894Chapter 3: Our First Church: 1895-1901Chapter 4: Our New Church: 1900-1910Chapter 5: Our Church: 1910-1920Chapter 6: Our Church: 1920-1929 TimelineTimeline
Biography: Author

Chapter 1 - St. Francis of Assisi Parish in a Larger World: Prehistory to 1894

        St. Francis Church/Friary

St. Francis of Assisi Parish

During the Great Depression the parish, in addition to serving its parishioners, reached out to serve the less fortunate in the community. Around June 1932, the parish began feeding a breakfast of bread and coffee to fifty homeless Sacramentans who gathered at the edge of Sutter's Fort Park. Each morning at 10:30 a.m., a friar crossed the street with 50 tickets that he distributed "to the worthy ones." The friars took care to exclude professional hoboes and tramps. The 50 were fed in a hall behind the friary. If there was any food left over, it was served to the others. This feeding went on until at least January 1934.1

Shantytowns and "Hoovervilles" appeared in Sacramento as early as 1931. During the 1930s there were acres of homeless camps north of the American River levee only a short distance from St. Francis of Assisi Parish.

Hoovervilles - PG&E Plant Hoovervilles - Jibboom Street Bridge
PG&E Plant Jibboom Street Bridge

Fr. Clement BerberichIn the 1930s, three pastors served St. Francis of Assisi parish: Fr. Celement Berberich, 1928-1931, Fr. Samuel Goggin, 1931-1937 and Fr. Gregory Wooler, 1937-1943. Fr. Clement's contributions as pastor are outlined in Chapter Six.2

Fr. Samuel GogginBorn in 1894, Fr. Samuel Goggin took his Franciscan vows in 1919 and was ordained in 1924. He served as pastor of St. Francis Parish from 1931 to 1937, the deepest years of the Great Depression.3

Fr. Gregory WoolerFr. Gregory Wooler served as St. Francis of Assisi's pastor from 1937 to 1943.4 Under his tenure, St. Francis of Assisi Parish hosted the Triennial Third Order Convention in October, 1937 and the State Staatsverband Convention in late August, 1940.5

During the 1930s, parish life took place within the context of the larger struggle between Communism and Catholicism. From its founding in 1922, the Soviet Union was dedicated to world-wide, atheistic communist revolution. 1922 was also the first year of the pontificate of Pius XI who saw the Catholic Church as a dedicated adversary of Soviet Communism. Pius XI believed that Catholics must create a truly Christian society, that Catholic religion must permeate every area of life. His first encyclical, Ubi arcano promulgated in December 1922, inaugurated the "Catholic Action" movement to implement his papal motto: "Christ's Peace in Christ's Kingdom.6

In 1925, Pius CI's encyclical Quas Primus declared the last Sunday of October as the Feast of Christ the King — celebrating the belief that Christ, not man nor any human ideology, is the king of mankind. The Feast of Christ the King was first celebrated in the Sacramento Diocese on Sunday, October 31, 1926.

In 1926, Pius XI issued the encyclical Rite Expiatis on St. Francis of Assisi that not only addressed Franciscans, but formed an inspiration for the Catholic Worker Movement.7

1931 Holy Name Rally, The Register
1931 Holy Name Rally, The Register

Pius XI also gave renewed emphasis to the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. The first Holy Name Rally in Sacramento has held on Sunday, January 4, 1931. More than a thousand men assembled at St. Francis of Assisi church and marched to the Cathedral. Thousands more lined the mile-long route as other parish communities and societies joined the parade. William F. Gormley served as grand marshall. At the Cathedral, Bishop Armstrong delivered a homily that "decried the results of godless education and lauded the example of the Holy Name men." The program, featuring music conducted by Prof. Dorndorf, concluded with selections from a Mexican band.8

During the 1930s, St. Francis of Assisi parishioners entered religious service. On June 14, 1931 Fr. Damian Lyons celebrated his first Solemn Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church. His ordination at Old Mission Santa Barbara on June 12 was a great joy to his widowed mother, Mrs. Hannah Lyons — who gave three of her five children to religious service. Two of her daughters were Sisters of St. Francis — one, Sr. Damian, was a teacher at Holy Angels, the Cathedral parish school.9

Our Lady of the SierraIn the summer of 1933, Fr. Bernardine Laumeister, an assistant pastor at St. Francis of Assisi from 1932 to 1936, began serving summer campers along U.S. Highway 50 in the Sierra, celebrating Mass in the dining hall at Camp Sacramento and in private homes along the South Fork of the American River.

With the help of Bishop Armstrong, Fr. Laumeister took the lead in building a chapel at Camp Sacramento on the north side of U.S. 50. Work began in May 1935 with parishioners Maurice Bamberry, David Cippa and John Steinman forming the core of the building crew and living in tents on the site. On June 23, 1935 the first Mass was celebrated in the chapel with forty-seven people in attendance.10

Our Lady of the Sierra WindowOn August 4, 1935, Bishop Armstrong dedicated the chapel to the Blessed Virgin with the title "Our Lady of the Sierra." The chapel cost between $4,000 and $5,000. Maurice Bamberry donated the stained glass window behind the altar. William Boderfelt donated an organ, and several years later a locomotive bell, donated by Carl Nissel, was installed over the entrance.

St. Francis of Assisi pastors who served Our Lady of the Sierra Chapel included Fr. Michael Egan, Fr. Gilbert Zlatar, Fr. Samuel Goggin, Fr. Gregory Wooler and Fr. Luke Powleson. In 1951 Our Lady of the Sierra chapel became a mission church of South Lake Tahoe's St. Theresa Parish.

On Sunday and Monday, October 27 and 28, 1935, St. Francis of Assisi Parish celebrated the Silver Jubilee of the new church's dedication in 1910. A headline in The Register stated: "The Commemoration will open with Solemn Pontifical Mass on Sunday at 11 o'Clock; Elaborate Program of Festivities is Prepared."

Bishop Armstrong presided over the Mass. That evening the clergy were feted at a banquet in the school dining room followed by an 8:15 p.m. Mass. Monday featured an 8 am Mass for deceased pastors and parishioners. The festivities concluded with an evening of entertainment and socializing beginning at 8:30 p.m. in the school auditorium.

Anton H. DorndorfAs Anton H. Dorndorf was well in to his sixth year as St. Francis of Assisi Parish Music Director, the music for the Silver Jubilee was extensive, elaborate, and no doubt extremely well performed."11 In the remaining years of the 1930s, Anton Dorndorf continued his service to the Parish, to Sacramento and the larger world of music. In April 1936, he served as co-director of the Parent Teachers Association Milk Fund Benefit Show at the Memorial Auditorium. In 1939, he led the Turner Harmonie Mixed Chorus to win the first place prize at the Fourth Annual Sangerfest in San Francisco.12



        SFAP Proscenium Arch & Golgotha Mural

During this period, five portraits representing the symbols of the meaning of the Holy Eucharist were painted on the church's proscenium arch. Reading from left to right they are — 1) Offering of the Pascal Lamb, 2) Changing Water to Wine at Cana, 3) The Last Supper (at the top of the arch), 4) The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, and 5) Moses and the Manna from Heaven. At about this time the mural of Christ's Crucifixion on Mount Golgotha was also painted above the old alter.13

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Sacramento: The Diocese

Bishop ArmstrongThe Diocese of Reno was created in March 1931. Encompassing the entire state of Nevada, it took eastern counties from the Diocese of Sacramento and western counties from the Diocese of Utah.14 Though the Diocese of Sacramento lost more than 38,000 square miles, it still comprised 53,400 square miles. The diocese included 25 counties stretching north from Solano, Sacramento and Amador counties to Siskiyou and Modoc counties on the Oregon border.15

One of Bishop Armstrong's first challenges when he was installed in 1929 was to shepherd the diocese through the hard times of the Great Depression.16 He helped Sacred Heart, St. Joseph and Immaculate Conception parishes renegotiate loans taken out during the prosperous 1920s. He helped Mercy Hospital refinance its loan with a San Francisco bank, and he developed a financial reorganization plan for Christian Brother's high school that saved the school from closing.

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The Diocese: Parishes and Schools

In 1931, Sacred Heart Parish dedicated its new church at 39th and J Streets; the parish school staffed by Mercy Sisters, opened in 1934. In 1940, the school enrolled 87 boys and 97 girls.

St. Joseph's in North Sacramento, founded in 1924, dedicated its new church in 1935.17 Holy Spirit Parish dedicated its new church at South Land Park Drive and Cordano in 1940.

In 1940, St. Joseph's elementary school enrolled 259 students, while St. Joseph Academy enrolled 225 women. Holy Guardian Angels School at 8th and S Streets enrolled 310 students. Immaculate Conception school at 33rd Street and First Avenue in Oak Park, which opened in 1933, enrolled 158 boys and 182 girls. Christian Brothers High School at 21st and Broadway had 350 pupils and 53 of whom were boarders.

In 1929, the Franciscan Sisters had opened a mission for Japanese children in a room at Holy Angels School. In 1930, Bishop Armstrong had a two-room bungalow built on leased land across from Grace Day home and dedicated the facility as Holy Family Japanese Catholic Mission. There Sister Roberta Clauter conducted a kindergarten through third grade school for Japanese students. She was soon assisted by Fr. Thomas Kirby of the chancery.

Japanese Mission - Nettie Hopley & Sr. Teresita
Japanese Mission — Nettie Hopley and Sr. Teresita

When the lease came up for renewal in 1935, Bishop Armstrong purchased an adjacent lot and moved the bungalow, fence, shrubbery and sidewalks to the new site. In 1939, Sr. Teresita Beeler replaced Sr. Roberta at the small Japanese mission school.18

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The Diocese: Social Welfare

During the 1930s, Catholic social services expanded in response to the Great Depression. In the early months of the Great Depression, the Catholic Ladies Relief Association, the Knights of Columbus and other Catholic agencies tried to cope with increasing social service demands. As noted in Chapter Six, in 1930 Bishop Armstrong hired a social worker from Los Angeles, Mary Ellen Grogan, to coordinate Catholic child care and other assistance activities. He also opened the Catholic Welfare Bureau.

Mary Grogan led the successful effort to move the deteriorating St. Patrick's and St. Vincent orphanages from Grass Valley to Sacramento. With Bishop Armstrong's leadership, a city-wide fundraising campaign culminated with a ground breaking on Franklin Boulevard south of Fruitridge Road in October 1931. In July 1932, 100 orphans, 14 Sisters of Mercy and the Rev. Patrick Bennett, moved into the new St. Patrick's Home.19

In 1940, St. Patrick's Home housed 48 boys and 40 girls, and was staffed by 13 Sisters of Mercy. St. Patrick's Parish school (St. Rose Parish) enrolled 70 boys and 63 girls who were taught by five Sisters of Mercy.

Fr. Stephen KeatingOn Christmas Eve 1934, Fr. Stephen Keating of the Cathedral distributed 400 food baskets; on Christmas day he brought gifts to 25 Mexican patients in the county hospital. Two days after Christmas, Fr. Keating distributed clothing to residents of Sacramento's Hoovervilles.

"Santo Nombre" BandWorking with Federico Falcon and Magdalena Martinez, Fr. Keating pioneered a diocesan ministry to Hispanics. Affectionately known as "Padre Esteban," Father Keating and Magdalena Martinez organized Spanish-Speaking summer religious schools, while he and Falcon organized the "Santo Nombre" band. Fr. Keating also organized missions and retreats and hosted annual celebrations of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12.20

Sisters of Social ServiceIn 1936, the Sisters of Social Service took over operation of the Stanford-Lathrop Home from the Sisters of Mercy.21 The sisters converted the house from a home for girls (who were moved to St. Patrick's) into a multi-faceted social service facility: including a care center for teenage girls, settlement-house services, meeting rooms, an auditorium, a library, and a community center where classes in art, music, cooking, homemaking and other skills were taught.

At the close of the 1930s, the Catholic Welfare Bureau and the Catholic Ladies Relief Society occupied Room 409 at the Native Sons building. From the same address, Fr., Thomas Markham supervised both the Catholic and Mexican Welfare Bureaus. In the West End, Arthur F. Ronz directed the Queen of Peace Hospitality House at 1931 2nd Street. During 1940 the hospital house provided lodging 2,300 men and served 125,900 meals.22

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The Diocese: Catholic Action

As the diocese added social welfare agencies to meet the growing needs of the Great Depression, it also enlisted agencies to fulfill the Vatican's call for Catholic Action. Among these were the National Council of Catholic Women, the Legion of Mary, the Catholic Youth Organization, Boy Scouts of America, the Catholic Women's Organization, the Catholic Rural Life Conference, and the diocesan Union of Holy Name Societies.

Fulfilling the Catholic Action credo can also be seen in a number of other activities. In the early 1930s, Bishop Armstrong and Rabbi Norman Golburg of Congregation B'nai Israel cofounded the Sacramento Religious Fellowship.23 In 1940, the diocese sponsored seven chaplaincies in and around Sacramento: at Christian Brothers High School, Mercy Hospital, Folsom State Prison, at the Preston School of Industry in Ione, the Weimar Sanitarium, the Sacramento County Hospital, and the Japanese Catholic Mission.

When Thomas Connelly died in 1929, The Catholic Herald died with him. Thus, in 1931 Bishop Armstrong affiliated the diocese with The Register chain of Catholic newspapers under the masthead: The Register: Superior California-Nevada Edition.24

Fr. Silvio MasanteIn 1937, the diocese launched the Italian Catholic Hour on KROY radio directed by Fr. Silvio Masante of St. Mary's Parish. In 1938, Bishop Armstrong sent a congratulatory note on the anniversary of the program.25

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The Diocese: 1940

In 1940, the Diocese of Sacramento had 158 priests, up from 92 in 1930. With the loss of its Nevada territory, the diocese saw its number of churches drop from 133 in 1930 to 115 churches in 1940. The total number of children under Catholic care stood at 9,463 — a three-fold increase over 3,044 in 1930. The total Catholic population stood at 82,166, an increase of 21,861 over 1930.26

Not only did the Diocese of Sacramento grow significantly during the 1930s, but it greatly expanded its social service capacities and its Catholic Action outreach. During this time Bishop Armstrong resided at 2030 Capitol Avenue on the southwest corner of 21st Street and Capitol Avenue, surrounded by the gardens he tended so carefully.

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Sacramento: City and County

In 1940, Sacramento's combined City/County population stood at 170,333 an increase of 20 percent since 1930; the city's population stood at 105,958, a 13 percent increase over 1930; the county population stood at 64,375, a 33 percent increase over 1930. Sixty-two percent of Sacramentans lived in the city, while 38 percent lived in the county, but in these ten years the county's population increased two and a half times faster than the city's marking a move to the suburbs that would continue to accelerate in the years ahead.

Army Air Corps Bombers in FlightIn April 1930, Sacramento hosted two aviation events: the dedication of the Sutterville Aerodrome on Freeport Boulevard and the Army Air Corps largest tactical exercise in its history between invading "Red" forces and a defending "Blue Army" headquartered at Mather Air Base.27

This mock invasion of California lasted three weeks, and attracted enormous interest from Sacramentans with thousands visiting Mather Field. Coverage in the Bee began on Friday, April 4, 1930 with a four photo front-page report. On Thursday, April 24th the Bee reported that the exercise was over the "Blue" forces had defeated the "Red" forces. All airships left Mather Field by 11:00 am the next day.

The Army Air Corps exercise contributed to Sacramento's reputation and growth. In July 1930, Popular Mechanics magazine featured Mather Field as "The West Point of the Air."

McClellan Air BaseIn the meantime, Arthur S. Dudley, Secretary-manager of the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce, had been responsible for bringing the Air Corps exercises to Mather Field. He then worked to secure the Pacific Air Depot, a facility that what would become McClellan Air Force Base, for Sacramento. On May 7, 1936, Congress appropriated $7,000,000. Construction began in June 1936, and formal ground-breaking ceremonies took place on September 8.

When the depot was officially dedicated on April 29, 1939, more than 50,000 Sacramentans turned out — many no doubt looking for full-time work; the air base would continue to contribute to Sacramento's economy for decades to come.28

In addition to Mather and McClellan Fields, more federal infrastructure funding came to the Sacramento region in the 1930s. Foremost among these federally-funded projects was the Central Valley Project. Approved by the state legislature in 1933, the CVP was designed to control flooding, enhance irrigation, create hydropower, and add recreational facilities. In the midst of the Great Depression, however, the state could not sell bonds needed to finance the project. In 1935, the Federal Bureau of Reclamation took over the CVP in what Shasta Damwas the nation's largest federal irrigation project. Groundbreaking for Shasta Dam occurred on February 19, 1937 with large scale construction beginning in 1938. The first bucket of concrete was poured on July 8, 1940; the last in 1944. Shasta Dam, the "keystone" of the Central Valley Project, was dedicated in 1945.29

In Sacramento, the Kings of Pythias building on the northwest corner of 9th and I streets was demolished in 1931 to Post Office/Federal Buildingmake way for a new Federal Building which opened in 1933.

Despite these federal projects, unemployment, poverty and labor unrest remained constants in Sacramento during the 1930s. In 1932, there were 27,000 people without jobs in Sacramento County and these numbers increased during the decade.30

"The biggest parade in Sacramento's history" took place on October 12, 1933. Seven thousand people marched, while another 30,000-40,000 people lined the streets to demonstrate support for Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 1933 National Industrial Recovery Act.31

The first general strike in United States history took place in San Francisco in July 1934 when 150,000 workers walked off their jobs. Subsequently, "a deep fear of Communism" spread over the state.32 On July 20th Sacramento police Conspiracy Trial Cardaccompanied by a Sacramento Bee reporter and a photographer, raided the headquarters of the Cannery and Agricultural Workers Industrial Union. Twenty-four people were arrested, of whom eighteen were brought to trial, charged with being Communist Party members. In the longest trial in state history to that date, eight defendants were convicted on April 1, 1935 and sentenced to from one to fourteen years.33

American River/Rancho Cordova HoovervilleIn 1935, an estimated 3,000 homeless people lived in the area between the American River levee and the Jibboom Street bridge, according to a survey by California State Emergency Relief Administration (SERA). Homeless camps were found along both sides of the Sacramento and American Rivers, as far east as Rancho Cordova.34 One of Dorothea Lange's memorable photos was taken at one of the American River Camps in Woman - American River Camp - Rancho CordovaRancho Cordova.35

The 1935 SERA survey found that over fifty percent of their clients had resided in Sacramento in 1930. Thus they were neither transient hobos nor foreigners — but homeless Sacramentans.36

By 1934, the Federal Public Works Administration (PWA) had begun to pump what would be a total of $3,000,000 into the city.37 Between 1935 and 1942 the Works Progress Administation (WPA) expended more than $4,000,000 in Sacramento.38

BridgesThe Tower Bridge partially funded by the Civil Works Administration was dedicated in December 1935.39 The first vertical lift-bridge in the California Highway System, it was named california's most beautiful bridge in 1936.40

As the 1930s progressed, Sacramento seemed to be working its way out of the Great Depression. For example, when the Tower Theater opened in 1938, just east of Edmonds Tower Theater/Edmonds Field PhotoField, Y Street was renamed "Broadway" with the goal of creating a theater and entertainment district.41

Changing transportation patterns were also evident as the 1930s drew to a close. In 1939, the first buses appeared in Sacramento, foreshadowing the end of streetcar service in 1947. Giving way to cars and busses, the sacramento Northern Railroad ended passenger service in 1940.

Sacramento Hotel



Sacramentan Lloyd Bruno has left us with vignettes of downtown Sacramento in the 1930s.42 On a Saturday, Bruno would alight from the streetcar in front of the Sacramento Hotel. The northwest corner of 11th and K Streets, he recalled, was occupied by"Sacramento's finest meat market and grocery store, Mohr and Yoerk's." From Mohr and Yoerk's, Bruno gazed across 11th Street to admire "the beauty of our Cathedral."

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St. Francis of Assisi Parish — 1940

Card St. Francis Church/Fr. GregoryIn 1940, Fr. Gregory Wooler was serving St. Francis of Assisi Parish, assisted by Frs. Ignatius Ganster, Gilbert Zlater and Valerian Girandot. Mother M. Clement was principal of St. Francis School where fourteen Franciscan sisters taught 160 boys and 178 girls.

St. Francis High School accepted its first ninth grade students in 1940; in 1941 a tenth grade was added. The first four year class gradated in 1945.43

During the 1930s, St. Francis of Assisi Parish played an increasing role in Sacramento life. The annual Holy Name parades began at St. Francis, and Anton H. Dorndorf played an increasing role in the parish, the diocese and the city's spiritual and cultural life.

St. Francis School Class 1940
St. Francis School Graduation Class 1940

Nonetheless, the fall of 1940, St. Francis parishioners might have felt that the 'grapes of wrath' were being trampled out in their time.44 World War II began in September 1939 when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Japan's invasion of China in 1937 was an Asian prologue to World War II. In October 1940, Sacramento men between the ages of 21 and 36 began registering for the first peace-time draft in American history.

The Great Depression was easing as the country began arming itself and its allies for World War II. Sacramento had in fact been arming for World War II since the mid-1930s when $3,000,000 was budgeted to re-activate Mather Field and $7,000,000 was appropriated to build the Pacific Air Depot/McClellan Field.

In 1940, California state employment in Sacramento had increased by 50 per cent since 1935. Increasing state employment and the increase in Sacramento County residents would be reflected in St. Francis of Assisi Parish: with the move to the suburbs more people attending St. Francis would be drawn not only from outside the parish, but outside the city, and increasing numbers of parishioners would be California state or other government workers.

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St. Francis of Assisi Church/Friary — Sacramento Public Library/Sacramento Room, postcard collection

Hoovervilles — Dorothy Lange photos courtesy Joe L. Moore, Director, California Central Valley Museum of Working Class Art and Culture Project.
a) PG&E generating plant; b) Jibboom Bridge in left background

Fr. Clement — Santa Barbara Mission Archives

Fr. Samuel — SBMA

Fr. Gregory — SBMA

Holy name rally — The Register/CH, 1.4.31. p.3 3. — photo by author

Our Lady of the Sierra Chapel — photo by author

Our Lady of the Sierra Window — photo by author

Anton H. Dorndorf — Sacramento Bee

Proscenium Arch and Golgotha Mural, SFAPA

Bishop Armstrong —Century of Grace, p. 68

Japanese Mission — Sr. Teresita Beeler/Nettie Hopley — Center for Sacramento History/Catholic Herald collection

Fr. Stephen Keating — CSH/CH

Santo Nombre Band — CSH/CH

Sisters of Social Service — CSH/CH

Fr. Silvio Masante, Celebrating 100 Years, p.9

Bombers in Flight — SPL, SR

McClellan Air Base, May 9, 2002, Wikipedia

Shasta Dam, Google Images

Post Office/Federal Building — SPL/SR

Conspiracy Trial Card — SPL/SR

American River/Rancho Cordova Hooverville — CSH

Woman, American River Camp, Rancho Cordova — Lange

Bridges — SPL/SR

Tower Theater/Edmonds Field Photo — SPL/SR

Sacramento Hotel — SPL/SR

St. Francis Church/Fr. Gregory — SFAPA

St. Francis School class, 1940 - — SFAPA

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Avella, Steven M., The Diocese of Sacramento: A Journey of Faith, 2006

Avella, Steven M., Sacramento and the Catholic Church: Shaping a Capital City, 2008

Bruno, Lloyd, Old River Town: A Personal History of Sacramento, 1996

Burg, William, "Red Menace! The Sacramento Conspiracy Trial of 1935," Midtown Monthly, December, 2009

Byard, Kyle, & Naiman, Tom, McClellan Air Force Base, 2007

Celebrating 100 Years: St. Mary, Our Mother Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow 1906-2006, 2006. A history of St. Mary's Parish

Central Valley Project, www.usbr.gov and www.usbr.gov/mp/evp/about.html

Diocese of Sacramento, Archivist — Fr. William Breault, S.J.

Diocese of Sacramento Directory, 1940. Diocesan Archives

"Flier Chief Reviews Army of Hawks," Sacramento Bee, April 4, 1930 — daily coverage of the Army Air Corps exercise continued through April 24th.

Henley, James E., "The Battle of California," Sacramento History Journal, Vol III, Number 2 & 3, Summer and Fall, 2003

Henley, James E., "Homeless in History: An Inside Look at Sacramento's Depression-Era Transient-Population," Golden Notes, Volume 39, Number 2, Summer 1993

McGowan, Joseph A., History of the Sacramento Valley, Volume II, 1961

"Magnificent Demonstration of Faith Shown in Big Rally of Diocesan Holy Name Union," The Register, January 11, 1931

Necrology, Vol. I & II, Franciscan Friars of California, Province of Santa Barbara

"Poor Are Fred by Franciscan Fathers Here," Sacramento Bee, January 19, 1934, p. 13

Register, The: Superior California-Nevada Edition, 1930-1940, selected issues.

Reis, Milton, "Hoovervilles: Depression Settlements in Sacramento, 1931 - 1935," Golden Notes, Volume 39, Number 1, Spring 1993

Sacramento History Center, formerly Sacramento Archives & Museum Collection Center, City of Sacramento: Pat Johnson, Carson Hendricks, et al

Sacramento Memorial Auditorium, Bryan Chatterton, Manager

Sacramento Public Library/Sacramento Room: Clare Ellis, James Scott, Tom Tooley, et al

"Saint Francis High School — Survey of Its Origins," undated, un-numbered typescript, St. Francis of Assisi Parish archives

Snyder, B. W., and Boghosian, P. J., Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium: Seven Decades of Memories, 1997

"This Light, This Air, Dorothea Lange's FSA Photographs of the Central Valley, 1930-1945." University Library Gallery, California State University, Sacramento, December 5, 2008 — March 2, 2009. Presented by The California Central Valley Museum of Working Class Art and Culture Project, Joe L. Moore, Director. Exhibition curated by Linda Gordon, Ph.D., New York University

Ward, Gerald, F., "The American River Camp." Video, 2008; e-mail to author, July 2, 2009

Williams, Fenton, S., "The Man Who Brought McClellan Air Force Base to Sacramento: Arthur F. Dudley," Golden Notes, Vol. 41, Numbers 3 and 4, Fall and Winter, 1995

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1 "Poor Are Fed by Franciscan ...," Sacramento Bee, January 19, 1934, p. 13. The bread was donated by Anchor Bakery.

2 Following his service here, Fr. Clement served as pastor for seven years at St. Anthony's in San Francisco. He died at St. Joseph's Hospital in San Francisco on July 12, 1953 at the age of 71 and is buried in San Francisco's Holy Cross Cemetery.

3 Following his service here, Fr. Samuel served at St. Boniface in San Francisco, where he was also a member of the provincial mission band. He died suddenly at Mission Santa Barabara on January 30, 1945 at the age of 51. He is buried in holy Cross Cemetery, Colma.

4 Necrology, February 21. See also http://stanthonyretreatcenter.homestead.com/history. Following his pastorship at St. Francis of Assisi, Fr. Gregory served as Provincial Minister from 1943 to 1949. In 1955, he founded the St. Anthony Retreat center at Three Rivers, California about 30 miles east of Visalia at the edge of Sequoia National park, where he served as director for 23 years. Born in 1894, Gregory Wooler took his Franciscan vows in 1914 and was ordained in 1921. Fr. Wooler died on February 21, 1979 at Mission Santa Barbara at the age of 85.

5 The Staatsverband was a German Catholic federation; thus this might be translated as "The California German Catholic Federation." St. Francis of Assisi Parish's hosting this convention attests to its continuing importance as a German Catholic community.

6 Pius XI's years as Pope, 1922-1939, were characterized by his initial opposition to Communism and his ultimate opposition to both Communism and Nazism. Believing Soviet Communism the greater danger, he concluded a controversial concordant with Nazi Germany in 1933, but his 1937 encyclical "Mit Brennendner Sorge" (Cura Ardens) condemned Nazi racism, totalitarianism and violations of the 1933 concordant.

7 The Catholic Worker movement was founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in New York City in 1933. Dorothy Day served as editor/publisher of The Catholic Worker newspaper until her death in 1980. The Catholic Worker movement continues to this day as a collection of autonomous communities dedicated to works of mercy and charity.

8 The Register, Sunday, January 11, 1931. On Sunday, January 3, 1932, Governor James "Sunny Jim" Rolph lead the second Holy Name parade from St. Francis of Assisi Church to the Cathedral.

9 "The Register, June 7, 1931, p. 8. In July 1931, Miss Margaret Hanratty, a parishioner and graduate of St. Francis School entered orders as a Franciscan Sister of Penance and Charity. The Rev. Mother Clement accompanied her on her journey to Stella Niagrara, New York.

10 Our Lady of the Sierra Chapel is more than 60 miles east of 26th and K Streets at an elevation of about 6,200 feet. Land was leased from the U.S. Forest Service, and architect Harry J. Devine designed the chapel.

11 Register, "Musical Program," October 27, 1935, p. 5. The music included, but was not limited to:
Sunday, October 27, 11:00 a.m. — Gregorian Chant, Mass in G, in honor of the Holy Spirit: with mixed chorus, organ and quartet, "The Heavens Are Telling," by F. Haydn: mixed chorus, organ and string quartet.
Sunday, October 27, 5:15 p.m. musical performances by Sacramento Turner Harmonie Male Chorus, a violin solo by Miss Melba Ruhe, Sacramento Turner Harmonie Ladies Chorus, soprano solo, Miss Dorothy Lindner, soprano solo, Mrs. Fred Cippa, and selections, The Turner Harmonie Mixed Chorus and string quintet.
Monday, October 28, 8:00 a.m. — Gregorian Chants sung by the St. Francis Vested Boys' Choir.

12 Awarded by the Reichs Musick Kammerer of Berlin, Germany, the prize is on display at the Sacramento Turn Verein Cultural Center.

13 Further research indicates that these portraits may have been painted in either 1928 or 1938: "Fr. Anthony stated that the murals (the crucifixion specifically) was painted in 1938, by Franz Mayer of Munich, Inc. However, Roberta Wahlberg contacted the Company (via e-mail) to discover that the man who designed the mural died in 1932. Rudolph Schmaizl (1890-1932) was an artist and son-in-law of Franz B. Mayer. Rudolph Schmaizl studied at the Munich Academy of Arts under Professor Martin von Feurerstein (1856-1931). The painter might have been Joe (Joseph) Mayer who worked for Franz Mayer, Inc. Therefore, it is more likely that it was painted in 1925.

"In 1944 nearly all of the company's pre-war files were destroyed by a fire bomb. The company states that they used to intensively cooperate with artists and professors of the Munich Academy of Art, but also with English artists."
e-mail, Jennifer Stanley to author, April 11, 2009.

14 The Diocese of Reno, encompassing 110,540 square miles was the largest in the lower 48 states.

15 The Sacramento Diocese at 53,400 square miles was a vast area; if it were a state, it would rank between Wisconsin, 65,498 square miles at 26th and Arkansas, 53,183 square miles, at 25th. Thus, the Sacramento Diocese would be the 25the largest "state" in the Union.

16 Avella, Diocese, pp. 67 ff.

17 At 1717 El Monte Avenue, northwest of the Del Paso Boulevard and Arden Way intersection.

18 Avella, Sacramento/Catholic Church, pp. 183-184. Address: 1916 7th Street.

19 Avella, Sacramento/Catholic Church, pp. 172-175

20 Avella, Diocese, pp. 74-75. Fr. Keating left the priesthood in 1935, but continued working with Latinos in Los Angeles as a social worker. Avella, Catholic Church, pp. 223-229

21 In a survey the sisters found that the neighborhood included marginal housing, a "red light" district and a multi-ethnic community of mostly Mexican and Italian families.

22 In 1940, the diocese's social welfare agencies in Sacramento included, but were not limited to: Grace Day Home staffed by eight Franciscan sisters which served 412 families including 578 children; St. Patrick's Home staffed by 13 Sisters of Mercy which housed 70 resident boys and 63 girls, in addition to serving 60 children in St. Rose Parish; the Stanford-Lathrop Home staffed by six Sisters of Social Service serving 30 girls of high school age; and the Japanese Catholic Mission staffed by the Franciscan Sisters. Mercy Children's Clinic also offered medical, surgical and physical therapy.

23 Wyatt, Jewish Settlement, p. 76

24 Avella, Diocese, p. 72. The Catholic Herald masthead would be restored in 1949.

25 "It is with sincere pleasure, I take this occasion to facilitate the Rev. Pastor of St. Mary's Church, Fr. Silvio Masante, O. S. J., and the Italian colony of Sacramento upon the first anniversary of St. Mary's Church Italian Radio Broadcast over Station KROY. May I take this opportunity to urge the Italian people of this locality to continue their support of the program of the Italian hour, so that it shall grow as a channel of expressing their Catholic Faith and the classic arts of Music, Drama and Oratory flowing from the heart of every son and daughter of Dante, Michelangelo, Rafael, Palestrina and Manzoni. May God bless all artists and supporters of Italian radio program." Celebrating 100 Years, p. 6.

26 In 1940, the diocese had 57 parishes. The 1940 Catholic Directory did not tabulate the number of parishes in the diocese. The number was arrived at by a manual count.

27 The Bee reported that on April 3, "Thousands of Sacramento Valley residents saw the United States Army Air Corps put on the largest aerial review since the World War at Mather Field."

The Air Corps offered free rides to everyone, and on April 5, the Bee reported that Governor C. C. Young had flown in one of the planes. This too was front page coverage accompanied by a photo. On Monday, April 7th the Bee reported that the next day would be a maintenance day at Mather, and thus not a good day to visit. But it also reported that in the afternoon, "Brigadier W. E. Gilmore will pitch the first ball opening the coast league baseball season at Moreing Field."

On Tuesday, April 8th, the Bee carried a front page story and photo of the two ton bombs which were so heavy that a plane could only carry one. They also reported that as there would be one exercise in the morning and another in the afternoon, "spectators at Mather tomorrow will have one of the best opportunities" to see the Air Corps in action.

On Wednesday, April 23rd the Bee announced that "Blue" fleet ships would leave Mather Field at 11:30 a.m. for a concentrated attack on "Red" fleet forces off the Golden Gate. Both the Columbia and the National Broadcasting companies provided nation-wide radio coverage of the battle.

28 Williams, "Arthur S. Dudley," Golden Notes, 1995; Byard and Naiman, McClellan Airforce Base, 2007.

29 Central Valley Project Overview, 1944, www.usbr.gov; and McGowan, II, pp. 293 ff. The Central Valley Project began with the construction of the Contra Costa Canal in 1937; it started delivering water on August 16, 1940; and was completed to its terminus in 1948. The massive Shasta Dam on the Sacramento River, the largest and most important dam in the Central Valley Project, was begun in 1938 and completed in 1945. Power was first generated at the dam in June 1944.

With the completion of the Friant-Kern Canal in 1951, the CVP extended more than 500 miles from Shasta Dam to Bakersfield. The last CVP dam, New Melones on the Stanislaus River, was completed in 1979.

30 McGowan, Sacramento Valley, volume II, "The Sacramento City Social Service cared for 1,000 families in August, 1932, and added 5,000 families over a twelve-month period ... before its funds were expended." p. 257

31 McGowan, II, p. 264.

32 McGowan, II, p. 275. The strike began on May 9th, in San Francisco, but soon all major West Coast ports were shut down. July 5th became known as "Bloody Thursday" when San Francisco police and vigilantes killed two strikers. On October 12, the arbitration board ruled in favor of the International Longshoreman's Association on all major issues.

33 The three convicted women, serving their sentences at Tehachapi, were released after a year; the five men were held at San Quentin until 1937 when their convictions were overturned by the Third District Court of Appeals. See Burg, "Red Menace!"

34 One of the worst poverty sites, known as "Rotten Egg," was within walking distance of St. Francis of Assisi church at the end of 25th Street on the river side of the American River levee. The next site to the west was called the "Rattlesnake District." Nearer the river homeless people had dubbed their camp, "Riverview Terrace." The largest camp, "Shooksville," consisted of about 1,000 shanties between the city incinerator, the PG&E plant and the Jibboom Street Bridge.

"The American River Camp," video, 2008, writer, photographer, narrator Gerald F. Ward. In an e-mail to the author, Mr. Ward, wrote, "The Shacks I photographed were about 200 yards north of Folsom and a quarter of a mile west of Bradshaw. You can see the levee. This was in 1972." July 7, 2009.

These directions would place the shacks north of a strip-mall at 9551 Folsom Boulevard and south of Riviera East Park.

35 This photo of "Ruby" has an interesting history. In her notes, Dorothea Lange wrote, American River camp, Sacramento. Home of Tennessee family, now migratory workers. Seven in family, came to California July 1935, following relatives who had come in 1933. Father was a coal miner in Tennessee. Reason for coming to California. "Our neighbors were coming. We only got one or two days work a week (relief.) Thought we could make it better here." Since arrival family has worked in walnuts, tomatoes, peaches, and the mother has worked in a fruit cannery, November 1936, photo by Dorothea Lange.


In a wider photo of the tent, the levee can be seen in the background.

However, the Oakland Museum catalogues a photo of the same women in a slightly different pose as, "Ruby from Arkansas," and notes that she was suffering from tuberculosis.

But further inquiries to Drew Johnson, Oakland Museum, Photo Curator, resulted in the following e-mail to the author on July 13, 2009: "We have six 'Ruby' images, three negatives and three vintage prints. The negatives were originally in a box with the following note:

"Box 4/Refugees from Drought, Dust & Depression Flight to Calif. Beginning April 1935-36 Human Erosion. This box describes their condition in Calif. Refugees stopped at Calif. border station. The best of the negatives describing this condition are in Library of Congress." In addition, one of the prints has the following note written on the back: Home Tenn, family of 7 now migratory workers living in camp outside of Sacramento, Calif. (typewritten) Ra 9906-C (in pencil) Kindly use the following credit line: Resettlement Administration Photograph By - Lange (ink stamp)"

From this information it appears that "Ruby from Arkansas" was an early clerical error, and that "Ruby from Arkansas" is in fact the un-named woman in Sacramento's Rancho Cordova, American River Camp, Dorothea Lange photo.

36 Henley, Golden Notes, Volume 39, Numbers 1 and 2, Spring and Summer 1993. In less than two months, between December 1935 and January 1936, 10,866 people applied for relief in Sacramento.

37 Among the facilities built by these funds were a Home for Aged Women at the County Hospital, C. K. McClatchy High School on Freeport Boulevard, and the City College auditorium just down the street.

38 This funding financed 46 new public buildings, 220 miles of streets and highways, improvements at Land and Del Paso Parks, fourteen new buildings at the State Fairgrounds, the Oak Park Library, additional runways at McClellan and municipal Airport, as well as funding for musicians, artists, historians and other cultural projects.

39 The Public Works Administration, 1933-1943, in general, funded large scale construction projects. Followed by the Works Progress Administration, 1935-1943, which was designed to put people directly to work. Raking leaves as some derisively put it, but also in the arts, historic preservation and a broad range of community services. It ultimately put 8,000,000 Americans to work.

40 The 1930s was an era of bridge building in Northern California: in addition to our Tower Bridge, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opened in 1936, and the Golden Gate Bridge was completed in 1939.

41 In addition to the new Tower Bridge, the 16th Street Bridge across the American River was widened and rededicated in 1935. In 1936, the Clunie Clubhouse in McKinley Park featuring an auditorium, meeting rooms, swimming pool and branch library was dedicated. In 1938, the California State Fair passed the Minnesota State Fair to become the largest state fair in the country. The Sacramento Senators played their first night game at Edmonds field in 1930.

42 Bruno, pp. 69 ff. The City Plaza, he recalled, was Sacramento's "equivalent of London's Hyde Park or L.A.'s Pershing Square with nostrums peddled by true-believing zealots: the Townsend old-age pension plan, the 'Ham and Eggs' movement with its promise of $30 every Thursday, Upton Sinclair's crusade to 'End Poverty in California' (EPIC), Technocracy, Mankind United, and straight old Communism, both of the Stalinist and Trotskyite varieties."

43 SFAP archives, "Saint Francis High School — Survey of Its Origins," undated typescript.

44 From Julia Ward Howe's 1861 Civil War anthem, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.

Original reference: Revelation 14: 19-20
And the angel cast his sickle into the earth, and gathered
   the vintage of the earth, and cast it into the winepress,
  the great winepress of the wrath of God.

And the winepress was trodden without the city, and there
   came out blood from the winepress.
Even unto the bridles of the horses, as far as a thousand
   and six hundred furlongs

John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath, 1939, was awarded both a Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature. The Academy Award wining film was released in 1940.


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Beault, Fr. William, S. J., Diocese of Sacramento, archivist

Ibe, Ray, volunteer webmaster, St. Francis of Assisi Parish

Joyce, Patrick V., volunteer editor, St. Mel's Parish

Moore, joe L., Director, California Central Valley Museum of Working Class Art and Culture Project

Sacramento History Center formerly Sacramento Archives and Museum Collection Center, staff

Sacramento Public Library, Sacramento Room, staff

Ward, Gerald F., producer, "The American River Camp," Video, 2008


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Long-time member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish and professional historian, Gregg Campbell (b 6/17/1935; d. 11/28/2015) wrote this history of St. Francis and its surrounding community for the 2008 Centennial of our church building.

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©  St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Sacramento, CA