1800 - Yes, date unknown
||Simon Sanderl |
||Malgersdorf, , Bayern, Germany
||Roman Catholic Priest |
||St. Agatha, Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada
|Eby ID Number
||Yes, date unknown
||23 Feb 2021 |
- St. Clement's Roman Catholic Church
The first Catholic missionaries in the area were Father James W. Campion, Father Cassidy and Father John Cullen - beginning c.1828. They were followed by the St. Agatha missionaries, Fathers John Louis Wiriath (1834-1837) and Peter Schneider (1838-1844), but it was Father Simon Sanderl (1844-1848), also from St. Agatha, who organized the construction of a church. The deed for the land, located on the northwest corner of Duke and Guelph (now Dolph) Streets and purchased from the Erb brothers (for five shillings), was dated March 9, 1846, but it is thought that building actually began in 1844. The new church was reported to be "perhaps the only substantial Catholic church west of Toronto" (Spetz 1916: 139).
Services were held more or less monthly for many years as priests were in short supply and had to be shared by other congregations. Regular monthly services began in February 1882 with the arrival of Father William Kloepfer of Berlin who looked after Preston as well. Then, beginning in 1889 Preston and Hespeler became missions of Galt. Finally, on March 25, 1905, Preston received its own resident pastor, Rev. Jonas Lenhard. By now it had become apparent that a new and larger church was definitely needed but it was not until January 1907, when Father William Gehl was pastor, that land further along Duke Street was purchased. The cornerstone for the present church was laid September 4, 1911, and the basement of the building was ready for use the following year. The basement continued in use for services until the church was completely finished in 1922. The old church had been torn down in the summer of 1915. Fire on December 26, 1971 caused considerable damage, but the church was not damaged structurally. Repairs were made and the church was rededicated on June 25, 1972.
Waterloo County Churches A Research Guide To Churches Established Before 1900 By Rosemary Ambrose
CHAPTER VI - THE REV. SIMON SANDERL, C.SS.R., IN WATERLOO
COUNTY 1844 TO 1846, IN GUELPH 1846 TO 1850.
Father Sanderl came to Waterloo County early in the year 1844. He made his home in St. Agatha, and lived in two rooms of the old church-school, like his predecessors had done. He began a new Register, telling in the margin where he performed his ministrations so that it is not difficult to trace his footsteps. In it the following places are continually mentioned: Wilmot (St. Agatha), Preston, New Germany, Kingsbush (St. Clements), The Huron Tract (South East Hope), Alona, near Toronto, Peel County, Chippawa, Rainham, Guelph, Greenwood, near London, Puslinch, Wellesley and Woolwich. His last baptism here was Nov. 2, 1846.
Sometime while at St. Agatha a serious difference arose concerning the old trouble about the Church Deed. The School Board had the Title to the site of the log church school, and they have it still. The new church was built across the street on land donated by Nicholaus Dietrich. As yet he had not given a deed. The friction seems to have been about the site of the new church, and became so acute that the church was closed for a time, when or how long could not be established. It is said that the Bishop and some priests had come to the village without celebrating Mass. The trouble was not settled then, but the church must have been re-opened after some time, leaving the settlement of the difference to a more propitious time. A letter to Father Schneider indicates that this difficulty had arisen when the building of the new church was proposed. It continued to disturb the parish till the Jesuits finally succeeded in persuading the people to give the title to the Episcopal Corporation of Toronto, May 24, 1848.
Then a joint deed was made covering the cemetery, given by Margaret Gatchene, besides the old schoolhouse, by Alois Schneider and Bernard Brenner for two acres on the southeast corner, and by Nicholaus Dietrich for two acres on the northeast corner, the site of the church. On June 18, 1890, another plot of one and 53/100 of an acre was purchased from Mr. Joseph Kaiser to enlarge the cemetery, the price being $120.00.
In October, 1847, Father Sanderl left Waterloo County for Guelph, when Father Gibney had died, Oct. 17, 1846. There a fine stone church had been built by Father Gibney after the destruction of the first church of frame, Oct. 10, 1844. The new church had scarcely been completed, and but poorly furnished when Father Gibney died. Hence Father Sanderl must have found much to improve and a considerable debt to pay. He no doubt was hard pressed by creditors and had, in consequence, to be very active in collecting dues and subscriptions.
This brought upon him a serious difficulty which unfortunately put an end to his further usefulness as pastor. The story of the trouble is told differently by different people. The sum and substance of it is this:
A member of the parish had a child to bury, and came to the pastor to make arrangements. The pastor demanded his dues from the man before he would bury the child. Thereupon the man went away and buried the child himself. Hearing this, the pastor ordered the child's corpse to be exhumed, and, as some say, sold to the doctor.
When the storm broke over Father Sanderl's head he fled from Guelph and retired, at first secretly, to the island in Puslinch Lake a few miles south of Guelph, where he built himself a hermitage and chapel of stone. Here he lived about two years and also made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but returned to his hermitage. On the Island he was much visited by sick people, who believed he had the power of curing their ailments. He is said to have cured many. During the year 1852 he left the island and went to Gethsemani, Ky., where he became a Trappist in that celebrated Monastery. He spent the rest of his long life under the rule of that strictest of Orders, and finally died in the odor [sic] of sanctity, as the Very Rev. Abbot reports, Feb. 22, 1879.
Father Sanderl was born at Malgersdorf, Diocese of Passau, Bavaria, in the year 1800, joined the Redemptorists at Vienna, Austria, Nov., 1832. He had been ordained priest May 28, 1835. After having been at Baltimore he came to Toronto, from where he was directed to take charge of the missions of the County of Waterloo, etc.
While in Berlin he is said to have fallen and broken his leg. He found hospitality and care at Mr. Rebscher's home till he was able to use his nether limb again. One might wonder whether there was then not a Catholic who would be charitable enough to give shelter to the disabled priest.
Father Sanderl certainly was a learned man and very zealous in the ministry. But there must have been something lacking in his judgment and method of dealing with people. At St. Clement's he also seems to have had some disagreement, when he quit attending there. When he left Waterloo County there was no priest to serve it with the exception of Father Schneider's short return from March 30, 1847 to June 15, 1847.
On June 15, 1847, the Jesuits came into the County and brought new life and vigor into the affairs of the county and far beyond.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN WATERLOO COUNTY BOOK I
With a Summary History of the Dioceses of Hamilton, Book II, and a List of the Clergy Who Labored In Its district from the Beginning to the Present, Book III. By Rev. Theobald Spetz, C.R., D.D. 1916