Remembering Fr. Mazzuchelli


To the Editor:
In 1982 the Dubuque Telegraph Herald newspaper sponsored a contest to name the new bridge that connected Dubuque with Wisconsin. Though the name “Mazzuchelli Bridge” received the most votes, the bridge was named the Dubuque-Wisconsin Bridge.
In my opinion, like Pope Francis, Father Samuel Mazzuchelli was already Christ’s bridge of compassion and justice to Catholics and others in Illinois, Iowa, Upper Michigan and Wisconsin. At Fort Mackinac, Mich., he defended Catholic soldiers’ right to attend Sunday Mass. He protested injustices against Indians and settlers. He opposed slavery and condemned the Civil War’s bloodshed. His example inspires us to support rights of the unborn, immigrants, minority groups and other victims of injustice.
When cholera struck New Diggings, Wis., Fr. Mazzuchelli helped to bury the dead and comfort survivors. When fire destroyed Benton’s Primitive Methodist Church, he sent a large amount of money to help rebuild.
He assisted Bishop Mathias Loras during his first years as Dubuque’s bishop. Fr. Mazzu­chelli built the following Iowa churches: Dubuque’s (original) St. Raphael Cathedral; St. Anthony, Davenport; St. Paul, Burlington; St. Patrick, Garryowen; Assumption, Iowa City; St. Mathias, Muscatine; and St. Andrew, Bellevue.
In 1847, Fr. Mazzuchelli founded the Sinsinawa Do­minican Sisters who continue his work. In the forward to Fr. Mazzuchelli’s book Memoirs, Bishop James Shannon wrote that it is hard to name a group that has done more to Christianize and civilize the Midwest than these thousands of religious women. I agree.
During 2014, the sesquicentennial commemoration of the Venerable Fr. Samuel Mazzu­chelli’s death will be celebrated. It will extend from Feb. 23, the date he died, to Nov. 4, his birthday. Pilgrimages, special Masses and other activities are planned. Additional information is available by e-mailing Sister Betty Kuji at or calling the Sinsinawa Dominican Archives at (608) 748-4411.
Father Don Lange
Platteville, Wis. (Sesquicentennial Committee member)

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