The history of the Diocese of Superior dates back to the 17th century. Our Journey Through Faith offers a glimpse into the historic events that played a role in the growth of Catholicism in Northern Wisconsin.
Our Journey through Faith: A History of the Diocese of Superior,
The first Catholic pioneers arrived in the Hudson area in 1840, and in 1855 Fr. George Keller of St. Paul offered the first recorded Mass. One year later, under the direction of Fr. J.M. McGee, who was sent by Bishop John Martin Henni of Milwaukee, a frame church was built at the corner of Second and St. Croix streets. Several priests followed, and in 1868, Fr. Chrysostom Verwyst established the first parochial school and purchased land for a cemetery and a new church. Fr. Martin Connelly, born in Ireland, arrived in October 1872 and began the erection of a larger church on the corner of Fourth and St. Croix. In 1874, Bishop Michael Heiss of La Crosse blessed and dedicated the new church under the patronage of St. Patrick. Fr. Thomas Kelly, who arrived in 1875, built the present rectory and organized the Hudson branch of the Catholic Knight Insurance Society. In 1889, Fr. John Barney began the longest pastorate in the parish’s history, 36 years. He completed a new parochial school, which was staffed by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration of La Crosse. In 1905 the Sisters of St. Agnes of Fond du Lac replaced the Franciscan Sisters and served Hudson for over 90 years. In 1914 the Knights of Columbus Council 1762 was chartered. Fr. Peter Szleszinski, who retired in 2005, arrived in Hudson in June 1986 and saw St. Patrick become the largest parish in the Diocese of Superior. Under his leadership a large new church was erected and the education building enlarged.
REFERENCE: Our Journey through Faith: A History of the Diocese of Superior,
by Sam Lucero, 2005.