St. Joseph Church — Sugar Creek

A statue of St. Joseph was dedicated Oct. 31 this year.

(During the Year of St. Joseph, The Catholic Messenger is featuring churches whose patron saint is St. Joseph.)
Location: St. Joseph Church-Sugar Creek is located in Clinton County and is part of Ss. Mary & Joseph Parish. The church building is used for Mass on Sundays, weekdays, weddings, funerals and more. Father Francis Odoom serves as pastor for the parish of 82 families. He also is pastor for Assumption & St. Patrick Parish in Charlotte, St. Patrick Parish in Delmar, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Lost Nation and Immaculate Conception Parish in Petersville.

The exterior of St. Joseph Church in Sugar Creek.

History: Henry Nurre arrived in rural Clinton County in the 1840s and settled in Sugar Creek, then known as Brown’s Station. When his wife, Mary, became ill with typhoid fever, she asked him to donate 40 acres of ground for a Catholic church, according to the parish’s history book. A deed from Henry Nurre was filed Jan. 5, 1859, in Clinton County. It stated that Bishop Mathias Loras of the Diocese of Dubuque paid $1 for 40 acres on which to erect a Catholic church, school and cemetery for “the benefit of the Catholic congregation where this land is situated.” A small-frame church was built for $1,500. In 1911, Clinton County became part of the territory of the Diocese of Davenport.

By 1888, the parish was assigned it first full-time resident pastor and a new rectory was built. Shortly afterwards, fire destroyed the rectory, which was replaced with a brick veneer building. St. Joseph Catholic School was established in 1898, opened in 1902 and closed in 1967. The building was converted to a retreat center in 1983.

On July 1, 1993, St. Joseph Church in Sugar Creek and St. Mary Parish in Bryant merged to form Ss. Mary & Joseph Parish – Sugar Creek-Bryant. The parish later clustered with Assumption Church in Charlotte and St. Patrick Church in Villa Nova. Later, Petersville, Delmar and then Lost Nation joined the cluster.


Following the death of 18-year-old Daryl Burken in 1969 from leukemia, St. Joseph-Sugar Creek erected a memorial in his honor. On Oct. 31 of this year, Father Odoom dedicated a new St. Joseph statue, located at the entrance to the church grounds. A plaque states, “St. Joseph, Pray for Us.” It stands behind the memorial dedicated to Burken.

For decades, St. Joseph-Sugar Creek has celebrated its annual Corpus Christi procession, which includes four stops at outdoor chapels.

Year of St. Joseph: The parish celebrated the feast of St. Joseph on March 19 with a new statue of St. Joseph placed at the entrance. The sign to the property’s entrance was repainted and new brickwork completed in memory of St. Joseph.

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