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Statues - Hither & Thither

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New Ulm

5th N Street
(Loretto Park)

Father Alexander Berghold

Dirnreith, Austria 1838 - Voitsberg, Austria 1918
Pioneer missionary
Paul Rieffer

New Ulm /  Father Alexander Berghold   New Ulm /  Father Alexander Berghold


Bronze statue.



Pioneer Missionary

On three sides of the pedestal:


Walnut Grove
Sacred Heart
Fort Ridgely-Fairfax


New Ulm
Lake Benton

In South Dakota:


West Newton Township in Nicollet County
Swan Lake in Nicollet County
Home Township in Brown County
Sleepy Eye
Birch Coolie
Beaver Falls
Redwood Falls

Three plaques:

"vivat floreat, crescat
ecclesia in america!"
(may the church in america
live, flourish and grow!)
the last known written words
father alexander berghold

remembering a missionary priest
who had a burning desire to
spread the good news of jesus christ
"in everlasting thanks to god for
the life of fr. berghold."
donated by
st. raphael's parish

Information Sign

Father Alexander Berghold

The life and work of Father Alexander Berghold is an indelible legacy
of a missionary priest, author, architect, civic leader and historian. He
profoundly influenced the Catholic community of the Minnesota River
Valley, the City of New Ulm, and westward into South Dakota, being
driven by his love for the Church and his zeal for the salvation of sould.

Alexander Berghold was born in Dirnreith, Steiermark, Austria, on
October 14, 1838, to Philip and Josefa Klöscher Berghold. Recruited by
Father Francis Pierz, he arrived in New York on May 1, 1864, and at the
age of 26 traveled to Minnesota to pursue his priestly studies and
missionary work among the Catholic immigrants.

Ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Thomas Grace of St. Paul on
October 26, 1864, Father Berghold completed a four-year assignment
to Belle Plaine and surrounding area.

Following a visit to New Ulm in 1866 he expressed a desire to become its
first pastor, after going to Austria to visit his aging mother.

Upon his return he received his desired assignment to New Ulm, where he
celebrated his first Mass for Holy Trinity parish on January 10, 1869,
in a newly-built hall on the south end of the city.

He was the architect of the Church of the Holy Trinity, now the
Cathedral Church of the Diocese of New Ulm.

After establishing St. Michael's Academy in 1872, Father Berghold recruited
as teachers the Sisters of Christian Charity of Paderborn, Germany.
Open to all denominations, this school became the foundation for
today's New Ulm Area Catholic Schools.

Father Alexander Berghold

After a tornade raved the city of New Ulm on July 15, 1881, the
injured were taken to St. Michael's Convent which served as an
emergency hospital with care provided by the Sisters of Christian
Charity. This event evoked a $40,000 national response managed by the
New Ulm Citizen's Relief Committee with Father Berghold serving as
secretary. These monies were distributed to those in need. From this
experience Father Berghold strove to initiate a community hospital.

In July 1883 Father Berghold issued an appeal for funds to construct a
hospital. By November 1, 1883 the new facility, St. Alexander Hospital,
opened under the temporary management of the Sisters of Christian Charity.
On year later the Sisters of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ of
Chicago and Fort Wayne came to manage the hospital on a permanent basis,
allowing the Sisters of Christian Charity to return to their teaching
profession, catechizing the young people of the area.
Today it is the New Ulm Medical Center.

Father Berghold continued to fulfull his missionary resonsibilities by
establishing churches and serving 19 pioneer communities scattered
throughout the Minnesota River Valley and into South Dakota.

Father Berghold authored several literary works: a historical review of the
1862 Dakota Conflict, "The Indian's Revenge;" a traveloge, "Land and
People;" and a collection of poems, "Prairie Roses." He contributed
regularly to "Der Wanderer," a newspaper for German speaking Catholics
and developed a guide for immigrants suggesting they come to Minnesota.
He also co-authored a history of the Church of the Holy Trinity in New

In 1907 Father Berghold resigned his position in Minnesota, returning to his
homeland where he served a parish in Mooskirchen. He died suddenly in
Voitsberg, Steiermark, Austria at the age of 80 on November 20, 1918.



Sources & Information


Location (N 44°18'41" - W 94°28'39")

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WikiMapia map

Item Code: usmn18; Photograph: 22 October 2010
Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
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© Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt

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