St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church

             (Prior to the 1980’s, this church was named the St. Philomena Catholic Church)


                                  Located on the corner of E. Sycamore & N. Madison in Kinmundy, Illinois,

                                      the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church is still active today!


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   We are looking for photos of people and/or places from around Kinmundy & Alma.  Can you help?

Or maybe you have stories or memories from the "Good Old Days"?  What do YOU remember?

        The Kinmundy Historical Society would be honored to preserve your memories and stories.  We also have the

equipment to scan (or copy) your photos so that they may be enjoyed now as well as for generations yet to come!

        We would love to hear from you!  For more information, please contact: 


   Dolores (Ford) Mobley –

                       208 Joan Dr.; Divernon, IL  62530; (217) 625-7527



            Gladys (Corrie) See –

                                         408 S. Washington St.; Kinmundy, IL 62854; (618) 547-7731




                               St. Philomena Catholic Church



                                                                         St. Philomena Catholic Church





St. Philomena Catholic Church























Blessing & Ground breaking of new Church building - July 30, 1950




June 10, 1951




















































Interior of the Original St. Philomena










                                                                St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church - 2011



The following historical articles are from "The Kinmundy Express":

Nov. 8, 1945: St. Philomena's Church Celebrates Diamond Jubuilee Tuesday, Bishop Althoff present: The seventy-fifth anniversary of St. Philomena’s Church was observed Tuesday morning at 10 o’clock, with a Solemn High Mass, the Rev. John B. Henken, of Okawville, as celebrant.  Fr. Henkin was pastor of this church 40 years ago and he deemed it a great honor to come back for this occasion.  Reverends Francis Hodapp, New Baden, and W.E. Hanagan, Eldorado, served as deacons to the celebrant.  The reverends Eugene Fix, Centralia, and F.A. Kaiser, Belleville, served as deacons of honor to the Most Reverend Henry J. Althoff, D.D., Bishop of Belleville.  The sermon was by the Rt. Rev. Monsignor Bernard Hilgenberg, Carlyle.  Other clergymen present were Reverends Louis Ell, East St. Louis; Gregory Holtgrave, Belleville; Joseph Immethun, Flora; Charles Siefert, Royalton; and the local pastor Rev. A.B. Schomaker, who had arranged the whole affair.  Mass was sung by St. Mary’s girl choir from Centralia, as follows: “Mass in Honor of the Infant Jesus” by J.W. Marsh; offertory, “Exultate Dombry” by Zangl; “Proper of the Mass”, Gregorian chant; and “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name.”  The church was filled almost to capacity by the parishioners, former parishioners, visitors, and friends of the church in this community.  The church was beautifully decorated with flowers appropriate for the occasion.  Immediately after the ceremony, the priests were taken to the newly finished home of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Kleiss where they found a delicious luncheon had been prepared for them by the ladies of the church.  

Feb. 23, 1950: Donate Site for New St. Philomena’s Church: Mr. and Mrs. Fred Kleiss have donated a deed to a part of Lots 1 and 2, Block 2, Mary E. Eagan’s addition to the Original Town, now City of Kinmundy, to St. Philomena’s Church for the sole purpose of erecting a new church there.  The local Catholic congregation has been anticipating erecting a new church, for the past several years.  Under the leadership of the local priest, Fr. A.B. Shomaker, a building fund was started some time ago.  This fund is large enough now that the parishioners think they can start on their new building program. Most all of the parishioners wanted the new church more centrally located in the city but the Bishop of the Diocese thought it ought to be erected on the present site.  The Bishop finally gave his consent to change the location.  So now, in the very near future, probably this summer, a new beautiful brick St. Philomena will be erected on the corner of Madison and Sycamore streets.


Aug. 3, 1950:  Site Blessed and Ground Broken for New St. Philomena Church Sunday Morning: To the parishioners of St. Philomena’s Church, it is a dream coming true.  For several years, they have dreamed of having a nice, new, modern building in which to worship, one that would be more comfortable, more beautiful and more conveniently located.  About five years ago under the leadership of Rev. Fr. A.B. Schomaker, a move was started to build this new church.  Since that time, donations have been accepted, others pledged, and a social held each summer to create a building fund for the new church.  Plans have been made and re-made.  Sites have been looked over.  Materials have been priced.  In other words, all the preliminaries have been done.  Some time ago, the parishioners voted 3 to 1 in favor of a site located on the corner of Madison and Sycamore streets.  This lot was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Fred KLEISS, members of the church.  It was, in turn, donated to the church for the purpose of building a new church thereon.  Bids were taken for the building of the new church and were opened on July 25th.  On Sunday, July 30th, the new site was blessed after the ten o’clock mass.  This was followed by the breaking of ground.  This ceremony was attended by the parishioners and a few visitors from Salem.  ___________________________________________ & Frambes, Inc., of Salem.  Actual work of pouring the footings for the foundation was started yesterday.  This building is to be built of variegated brick, 70 x 32 ft.  It will accommodate 120 in the nave of the church.  At the present time, St. Philomena parish has a membership of 75, representing 22 families.  Provisions are made in the plans so that the building can be enlarged in the future should the occasion arise.  The building committee consists of Rev. Schomaker, and the lay trustees, Fred Kleiss and Alex Stock.  The old church, a poorly constructed frame structure, standing in the northeast part of town, was built in 1870.  Only living members can recall the building of this church are Charles Metzger, 89, and John Like, 86, both living away from here, making their home with their children.   According to the history of the church, services were held in Kinmundy as early as 1866 in private homes, by visiting Franciscan Fathers from Teutopolis.  After the building of the church, services were held every two weeks, with the building of the hard roads and the establishing of a resident priest in Salem, services were held every Sunday.  This new church is to be modern in every respect.  It will be blessed by oil and the local firm of A.C. Dunlap & Son will install the heating and plumbing while the Doolen Electric will do the electrical work.   It is hoped that the new building will be completed by cold weather.


March 8, 1951: Rev. Fr. A.B. Schomaker To Lay Cornerstone of New St. Philomena Sun. Morn: Appropriate ceremonies for the laying of the corner stone of the new St. Philomena Church located at the corner of Madison and Sycamore streets in Kinmundy will be held Sunday, March 11, at 11 A.M.  The Rev. Fr. Alphonse B. SCHOMAKER will officiate.  In the cornerstone will be placed a printed history of St. Philomena’s Church as was recorded up to 1945 when it observed  the 75th anniversary in 1945; a list of the present parishioners; a copy of this issue of the Kinmundy Express; the front page of a metropolitan newspaper; a current issue of The Messenger; official publication of the Belleville diocese; a few coins bearing the date of 1951; a Centennial Medallion of the Illinois Central Railroad; and a parchment containing the following information:  In the year of Our Lord, 1951, on the 11th day of March, in the 13th year of the Pontificate of His Holinesss, Pope Pius XII, In the third year of the episcopate of the Most Reverend Albert R. Zuroweste, D.D. of the Diocese of Belleville, in the 174th year of the Independence of the United States of America, Harry S. Truman being the President of the United States of America; Adlai Stevenson Governor of the State of Illinois; Fred Gammon, Mayor of the City of Kinmundy; Rt. Rev. Msgr, Charles Gilmartin, Protonotary Apostolic and Vicar General of the Diocese of Belleville; Very Rev. Msgr. Leonard Bauer, Chancellor of the Diocese of Belleville; Rev. Alphonse B. Schomaker, pastor of St. Philomena Church, Kinmundy, Alex Stock and Fred Kleiss, lay trustees; The Reverend Alphonse B. Schomaker, before a large congregation, solemnly blessed and placed in the foundation the cornerstone of this church, erected to the honor of Almighty God, under the invocation of St. Philomena.  St. Philomena Parish was established in 1870 by the Most Reverend Peter Baltes, D.D. Bishop of Alton, who appointed Father Killian Schlosser, O.S.F., as its first pastor.  Mass had been said by him in private homes as early as 1866.  Fr. Schomaker extends an invitation to the public to attend this ceremony.


March 15, 1951:   Fr. A.B. Schomaker lays the cornerstone of the new St. Philomena Church Sunday morning.  The ceremony was held immediately following mass in the old church and was well attended by all the parishioners as well as several visitors from Salem.  Pictured above from left to right: Alex Stock and Fred Kleiss, (lay trustees), Fr. Schomaker, and Johnny Like, Eugene Kramer, Kenneth Kramer and Wayne Like, altar boys.  According to the contractor, the church should be ready to occupy by July 1st.  Another week’s worth will find the brick work completed.  (A picture accompanied this paragraph.)



"The Kinmundy  Express" - June 14, 1951:


About 400 people attended the dedication ceremonies of St. Philomena Church Sunday morning and afternoon.  The church was filled to overflowing during the dedication services and the Pontifical Low Mass.

A public address system carried the ?foessage of the Most Reverend Zuroweste, Bishop of Belleville, who officiated at both ceremonies to the overflow crowd outside of the church.

Rev. Gregory Holtgrave, secretary to the Bishop, acted as Master of Ceremonies.  Deacons for the Dedication  Rite were Rev. Eugene Fix, Centralia, and Rev. Edmund Shumacher, Sandoval.  Deacons at Pontifical Mass were Rev. Francis Hodapp, New Baen, and Rev. Walter McPherson, St. Louis.  Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament was given in the afternoon by Rev. A.B. Schomaker, Pastor.                 

At the noon hour luncheon was served by the ladies of the church to those who desired to remain for the afternoon services.  Many went to their homes immediately following the morning services.  Many stayed and enjoyed the fellowship of one another. And many came in the afternoon to inspect the church and to attend the benediction services.

All who attended the dedication received souvenir booklets many of which will be preserved for years to come.  It was very gratifying for the parishioners to have with them for this occasion their oldest living member, Mrs. Margaret Rooney O’Brien.  Being born in Kinmundy, she was christened in old St. Philomena.  She also received her first communion and was married in the old church.  Her four daughters were christened in that church.  And practically all of her immediate relatives have been buried from that old church.

            So old St. Philomena brings to the memory of this good lady, many fond recollections, as well as many heartaches.  For more than 80 years she trod through rain, sunshine, dust, mud, ice and snow to be present at the services in this old church.  But now she is rejoicing still more at the beauty and splendor of her new church.  And she is extremely happy in the thought that God has  spared her life to see the completion of this new church.

            The new St. Philomena church measures 73 feet 3 inches by 32 feet, and seats 120 people in the nave and 30 more in the Mother’s room and the organ  loft.  The side walls are ten feet high.  The beauty of the building is enhanced by use of autumn leaf red brick.  Contrasting with the exterior walls is the gray-block asphalt tile roof.  The interior walls are brought up with haydite block, each alternating block serrated.  All-window lights in the church are decorated with symbols.  The windows in the sanctuary have in them the symbols of the four evangelists.  The symbols of the 12 apostles are in the nave windows in the Mother’s room which also contains a baptismal font, a symbol of baptism was chosen.  At the stairway to the organ loft, the lyre symbolic of church music was selected.  The large rose window at the west entrance displays a burst of warm colors mindful of the setting sun.  The colored glass in the various window s was imported from foreign countries.  The baptismal font was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Quandt.  The liturgical altar and sanctuary furnishings are a memorial to Sgt. Harold Kleiss, who gave his life for his country in World War II and was donated by his parents, Mr. And Mrs. Fred Kleiss.  The stations, an original create of a local artist, Mrs. Elizabeth McHugh, are painted in oil and valued at $500.  Statues, organ, vestment cases and tower bell are items brought over from the old church.  Heating of the church will be by hot air furnace.

            The large stone plaque of St. Philomena on the outside front of the church is a gift of the Knights of Columbus of Council No. 1025 at Centralia, Illinois.

            Thus there is achieved what was planned by the architect, W.W. Chorlton and hoped for by the pastor and parishioners from the beginning – an economical  building of character and dignity.  To do this was a matter of faith and arithmetic.  The total cost of the building including furnishings, heating, windows, altar and pews is approximately $33,000.

            To the good parishioners and to our many kind friends go the major share of the credit for the beautiful church which will service this community for many years, and upon them we ask God’s choicest blessings.

            The old Catholic Church as seen much humanity come and go.  She has seen growth, progress, collapse, rebuilding, improvements, downfalls by the score.  Still the Mother Church goes on, and in our city of Kinmundy, we see that history repents itself.  Through our little city daily roars one of the luxury trains of America.   “The Panama Limited”, and peacefully watching it is St. Philomena Church.  She knows too that long after this famous train will no longer run – the Church will still quietly go on as always.  Perhaps people will not travel by train but only through the air.  And should this particular Railroad Company continue it’s first class train and its name surely the mechanical parts will wear out, and will be replaced, with new equipment.  But St. Phillomena Parish with its deep rooted Faith will quietly and peacefully continue to go on in the hearts of good men and women. 

            In closing, Rev. Schomaker and his parishioners want to thank all those who attended the services and all of those who have shown an interest in the building of the church.  To those who have helped financially, he is sure they will be blessed.

            Rev. Schomaker would also like for us to mention that on account of his pilgrimage to Rome, which will ___________________________held for the benefit of the building fund of the new church, will be held on Aug. 11th, after his return.  It was originally planned for July 7th.


"Kinmundy St. Philomena Church"; "Sesquicentennial of Marion County, IL (1823-1973)"

The centennial of St. Philomena’s Catholic Church in Kinmundy was observed Sunday afternoon, November 8, at 4:00 p.m. with a concelebrated mass.  St. Philomena, like most all churches, has had her good years and her lean years. Just twenty-five years ago, there was a problem whether the church should be continued or discontinued. But through the insistence of Bishop Althoff’s encouraging words to the congregation to continue in the labor of love and his personal donation toward the building of a new building, gave the parishioners new hope.  At that time, the building was old, having been built in 1870, in the northeast part of Kinmundy on land donated by Isaac Eagan. Before the building was erected, as early as 1866, the Franciscan Fathers from Teutopolis were holding religious services in the area, in private homes.  The present structure, a beautiful brick building, was erected in 1951 under the pastorate of Fr. A.B. Schomaker. In 1968, under the pastorate of Fr. Arthur Niemeyer, the catechetical building built adjoining the church on the south. This building is being used for religious instructions and as a fellowship hall. The land for the new church was donated by the late Mr. and Mrs. Fred Kleiss and the land for the catechetical building was donated by their daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Kleiss. (A picture was included: Greetings from the churches of Kinmundy with scenes from earlier days in the town.)


The original Catholic Church was located on the 300 block of N. Church St. on the east side.   This was a frame structure built in 1870 on 2-acre lot. 



“Brinkerhoff’s History of Marion County, Illinois - 1909”; by Prof. J.H.G. Brinkerhoff -  p. 150-151


Catholic Church 


            There are but five Catholic churches in the county and only two of these have resident priests. 

            The Centralia church is quite strong and has a large, beautiful church building and school and parsonage.  A priest is located here and the church is in a flourishing condition.

            Sandoval also has a fairly strong congregation, a good church and parsonage and a resident priest. 

            Kinmundy, Patoka, and Salem have but small buildings and only a few adherents.  They have services by priests from other charges once a month.



The following excerpts came from the following webpage:


Early Beginnings

It seems as though Saint Elizabeth (in Kinmundy) and Saint Theresa (in Salem) parishes have always been "sisters," at least in the sense that they have shared a common heritage. Almost since their beginning, they have been linked by the priests who have served them, by the rails and roads that have connected them, and by the faith and hope that have sustained them.

A history of these two parishes must begin with the history of Salem, Kinmundy and all of Marion County, for the parishes are, and have always been, an integral part of these communities.

(The town of) Kinmundy was established in April 1857, after having served as a station of the Illinois Central Railroad Company. In fact, the town was named for a lake near the ancestral estate, in Scotland, of one of the London representatives of the Illinois Central Company. To this day, it is the only town in the United States to have the name.

The First Catholics

In 1843 the Chicago Diocese was created and took jurisdiction over the entire state. Bishop William Quarter and his successor, Bishop James Van de Velde, kept a close eye on southern Illinois. In an attempt to divide the state's burgeoning population in 1853, the Quincy diocese was created, but complications ensued and southern Illinois was temporarily placed under the diocese of St. Louis.

Early settlers in Marion County came from Tennessee, Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia and Pennsylvania and were mostly Protestants. The building of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad (later named the B&O) through Salem from the east to St. Louis, and the Illinois Central from the north to Cairo, brought the first Catholic settlers into the area. These railroad lines were established here between 1850 and 1855. Most of these Catholics did not settle here but moved on to St. Louis from the east, seeking newer and better livelihoods. Those who remained attended Mass at Saint John the Baptist and Saint Matthew Apostle parish in Odin.

The First Catholic Churches

Father I Killian Schlosser had been saying Mass in private homes for Catholic families in the area around Kinmundy since 1866. In 1870, the first church, under the patronage of Saint Philomena, was built there on 2 acres of land donated by Isaac Eagan. On his deathbed, Patrick Carrick bequeathed a note with interest amounting to $809 that helped finance the building, which cost $2,072.83. The parish's first pastor was Father Francis Moening, a Franciscan priest from Teutopolis.

The first year after the erection of the Kinmundy church, it seemed as if there were good prospects for the future, but failure in crops, and general depression of business from 1874- 1897 greatly disabled the parish.

Kinmundy parishioners continued to be served by Franciscan priests from Teutopolis until 1878. Then, Fathers James Eckerle (from Centralia) and Hubert Riesen (from Flora) began serving the two parishes (Salem and Kinmundy) together in 1878, and the parishes have been united ever since. Priests from Sandoval served the parishes from 1907 to 1922. Father Schomaker's sixteen years as pastor would prove to be the most industrious time in the history of the parishes. Under his guidance, parishes built new churches, Saint Theresa purchased the rectory (now the parish office and meeting space that bears Father Schomaker's name) and construction was begun on the convent and school.

The Production of Oil

For most of their existence, Salem and Kinmundy relied on agriculture and railroad commerce. But the 1930s brought about tremendous change. A highway between Kinmundy and Salem was completed in December of 1930, which allowed the two parishes to have Mass every Sunday. Then, in 1938, the Texas Company's Tate No. I began producing oil in commercial quantities, changing Salem and the surrounding area into a "town where the night has been cheated out of darkness." A thousand flares from a thousand oil wells cast a glow over the entire community that could be seen as far away as St. Louis. Parishioners report having been able to stand on their porches in the middle of the night and read the newspaper.

Kinmundy Catholics quickly followed Salem's lead. In 1951, Father Schomaker layed the corner stone for a new parish church, which was constructed on land donated by Mr. Fred Kleiss. The cost of construction was $33,000, and the new church was dedicated by Belleville's third bishop, Albert Zuroweste, in June.

A Reformed Liturgy

Regarding the liturgy, it became clear that changes would have to be made in order to accommodate the Council’s mandates. Father Victor Sulkowski remodeled the sanctuary of the Kinmundy church in 1964. Three years later, Father Arthur Niemeyer completely remodeled the Salem church at a cost of $21,400. Prior to that, Mass had always been celebrated with the priest facing away from the people. One of the first major changes was to have the priest and people face each other. This was accomplished by the construction of temporary altars in front of the permanent ones.

Another change involved the very language of the liturgy. Prior to the Council, the entire Mass was said in Latin. In 1965, portions of the Mass were said in English, with the congregation responding in part. English was also used for the first time in the biblical readings. And by 1969 the entire Mass was being said in the vernacular (the "language of the people"). Because these changes were difficult for many Catholics to embrace, lay commentators assisted them by giving them directions.

Greater Involvement of the Laity

Next to the reformed liturgy, the Council's most enduring legacy was the increased involvement of the laity in every aspect of parish life. The Council made it clear that the laity are a vital force in the management and guidance of the Church. The first parish councils were organized in 1967. Participation in decision-making and collaboration in the Church's mission was said to be an essential part of the laity's baptismal call and the very means whereby they were to live their faith and to work for greater love, peace, and justice in the Church and in the world.

Toward Christian Unity

A third vital component of the Vatican Council would take much longer to implement: working for unity among all Christians and people of other religious traditions. For generations, Catholics had always been a small, yet faithful community throughout Marion County. Relations between Catholics and other Christians were marked by suspicion, rancor, and, sometimes, outright hostility. Vatican II encouraged Catholics to cooperate with their Christian brothers and sisters in the works of charity, justice and peace. The Council also invited all Christians to join Catholics in their worship and ministry. Further, the Council fostered dialogue with those of non-Christian religions, and facilitated real and substantial progress in bringing together many people who had long been divided because of ancient hatreds that had been smoldering far too long.

Over 100 Years of Catholic Faith

Earlier that year (1968), a new parish hall was constructed at Kinmundy at a cost of $40,000. It featured a kitchen, four classrooms, and restrooms, and was built on land donated by Mrs. Mildred Kleiss. The building was dedicated by Bishop Zuroweste in March. Saint Elizabeth Parish celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1970 with a Mass and banquet.

The canonization of Elizabeth Ann Seton as the first American-born saint prompted Saint Philomena parish to change its name in her honor.

(In the 1990’s) in Kinmundy, Father Knopik had new gutters installed at a cost of S3, 000 and arranged for the addition of an image in stained glass of the parish's new patron at a cost of $8,000. Father James Deiters began restructuring parish council committees, fostering a greater sense of parish unity, and having discussions about remodeling the first rectory. And Father Jon O'Guinn, the parishes' twelfth resident pastor, oversaw the development of the Schomaker Center, an office and meeting space housed in the first rectory which soon became a hub of activity for both parishes. Costing $36,000, and with equipment and furnishings valued at more than $6,000, it was dedicated by Belleville's seventh bishop, Wilton Gregory, in August of 1997.

New steps and handrails were installed, accessibility for persons with disabilities was enhanced, and the Kinmundy church received a new roof, front doors and landscaping. Saint Elizabeth parishioners also established a sister-parish relationship with Native Americans at Our Lady of the Sioux parish in Oglala, South Dakota, sending them school supplies, clothing and monthly contributions.

Toward the New Millennium

At the dawn of the new millennium, Saint Elizabeth parish had grown to 60 families.

This brief history of Catholic faith in Kinmundy and Salem intends to evoke a spirit of praise and thanks for the good work God has accomplished in the last 130 years. For every name or moment remembered here, there are countless others now forgotten -- but remembered by God, which helped the Catholic faith take root in these communities. As Father Schomaker noted in 1940, "Let us view the past with gratitude, the present with confidence, and the future with solemn trust that Heaven will continue to bless us, and that this Church will be a source of grace and consolation to the generations yet to come."


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